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2014: Our Year in Review

I know I say this every year, but this year has been one hell of a ride!

2014 saw us visit 17 countries and have some of our favourite travel experiences to date. Thanks, as always, for following along on our adventures!

Here are some of our highlights of the year that was.


We brought in the New Year at one of the most epic bonfires we will likely ever see in the Hague, the Netherlands. The Dutch are crazy!

New Year Bonfire New Year Bonfire Scheveningen, The HagueIn yet another Dutch New Year tradition, we dove into the North Sea with 9,998 others to start 2014 off with a splash. Before all our Australian friends start commenting on how that sounds rather nice, it’s winter there, you guys. Yep, the Dutch are crazy. ;)

New Year Dive Scheveningen, The HagueI got in touch with my own crazy Dutch roots. Salted herring anyone?

Dutch salted herringWe looked after these darlings for three weeks in Germany while housesitting.

Housesitting in Berlin, GermanyWe went to the most bizarre bar we have even been to in Berlin. Why, yes, I am being “re-born”?

Peristal Singum Labyrinth Bar BerlinWe ventured to the far northern reaches of Scotland and sat in this hire car in a paddock to catch the Northern Lights.

Northern Lights, Thurso, ScotlandWe saw London in the sunshine for, like, a week straight! March 2014. It happened.

London sunshineWe participated in World Pillow Fight Day in Trafalgar Square.

World Pillow Fight Day, Trafalgar Square, LondonWe made amazing new friends at the first annual Instagram International Instameet (now that’s a mouthful!) in Turkey. #IstanInsta2014

Instagram International Instameet Turkey 2014 #IstanInsta2014We ticked another item off our travel wish list with a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia.

SONY DSCWe saw the Whirling Dervishes twirl one mesmerizing evening in Konya.

SONY DSCWe climbed to the top of the World Heritage Site of Mt. Nemrut for an unforgettable sunrise and sunset.

Mt. NemrutWe ventured through the Balkans and realized that it’s one of our most favourite regions in the world.

Bosnia and HerzegovinaAnd that Belgrade has the best gyros! And t-shirts!

Gyros in Belgrade, SerbiaWe celebrated my dream birthday in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower from our apartment! By the way, I kinda like my hair in this photo. Please help me decide what to do next: cut it again or let it grow…

View of Eiffel Tower from Apartment, Paris We virtually had Rome to ourselves while we house sat over the summer.

Colosseum, RomeBut the Pope got back from his summer travels just in time for me to snap this selfie.

Selfie with the PopeFinally fixed that lean. You’re welcome.

Fixing the Leaning Tower of PisaChecked Venice off our list, minus the gondola ride.

Venice, ItalyDiscovered that Slovenia is all kinds of awesome!

Lake Bled, SloveniaWe made the Croatian news!

Croatian national newspaperHai tried to get on Game of Thrones as an extra while they were filming in Dubrovnik. No luck, but we did get to go inside the Red Keep on a wonderful Game of Thrones tour, which is where we snapped this pic!

Dubrovnik, CroatiaWe went to Athens for the TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) Conference and got the opportunity to go sea kayaking on this gloriously sunny day.

Kayaking in AthensAnd go on a 4-day cruise around the Greek Islands and Turkey with some awesome travel blogging friends.

Aegean Sea CruiseWe hauled it back to London to once again attend World Travel Market for a very busy but amazingly productive week.

World Travel Market London 2014We took a bus, ferry and multiple trains to get from London to Rome via France and Germany in 48 hours.

Thalys train from Paris to CologneWe were selected as two of the world’s top 50 travel bloggers to attend the inaugural TBC (Travel Bloggers Conference) Asia in Sri Lanka (woo hoo!), where we encountered these beautiful creatures in the wild (charged twice and lived to tell the tale).

Elephants at Kaudulla National ParkAnd saw wild leopards! Let’s stay in the jeep, you guys. He seems to be coming down from that tree.

Wild leopard, Yala National ParkWe took to the skies in an amphibian Cessna!

Cinnamon Air, Sri LankaAnd harvested fresh cinnamon. Did you know this is where cinnamon comes from? We sure didn’t! And it’s hard work too!

Harvesting fresh cinnamon, Sri LankaFinally, we returned to our adopted home of Japan, where we spent Christmas Eve on the ice in Yokohama and reliving last year’s Christmas at the German Christmas market with Glühwein and currywurst.

Christmas Eve, Art Rink, Yokohama
It’s been a big year. What was your most memorable moment of 2014?

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Daria Hvozdyk

Monday 2nd of February 2015

Cool year, Jess and Hai! How many places have you visited in 2014 - difficult to count! I would love the same stunning 2015! :)

Jessica - Notes of Nomads

Wednesday 4th of February 2015

Thank you, Daria! It was a fun year. What was your most memorable travel moment of 2014?


Friday 9th of January 2015

What a year!! It was so great to meet you two, I wish we would have talked more, I am quite shy so it takes me a while to warm up, but glad I met the two of you.

Jessica - Notes of Nomads

Wednesday 14th of January 2015

So glad to have met you too, Cacinda! 2014 was a great year. Hope to meet and chat again more soon somewhere around the world. :)

Britt Skrabanek

Tuesday 6th of January 2015

Such a year! 2014 was quite bonkers for me as well, so I'm looking forward to—fingers crossed—a little boredom to just enjoy.

I say...cut the hair! Mine keeps getting shorter. :)

Jessica - Notes of Nomads

Wednesday 7th of January 2015

A little breathing time is always important!

I know I really shouldn't care that much about my hair. I was super keen to cut it in the summer and really liked having a different style. The problem is now it's just getting long enough to tie back and Japan is tempting me with all its cool hair accessories. Ah, Japan and my indecisive mind.


Saturday 3rd of January 2015

Wow Jessica, that sounds like an amazing year! I will definitely have to try and visit some of those places, especially Scotland to see the Northern Lights. Glad you guys made it back to Japan!

Jessica - Notes of Nomads

Saturday 3rd of January 2015

Thanks Stephanie! The Northern Lights in general are no where near as strong in Scotland as in many of the Nordic countries. We were blessed with a year of high geomagnetic activity that made them more visible there than on an average year. That said, Scotland shouldn't be discounted as a great alternative for Aurora Borealis viewing. Provided you have a dark setting and some patience, you'll hopefully have luck like we did. It was actually kind of fun going "hunting" for them in a place where tourism hasn't really developed yet. Locals didn't seem to really care about them or think of them as an attraction, and we were the only crazies in that paddock! Haha Looking forward to meeting you sometime soon. Photo walk on the 12th?


Thursday 1st of January 2015

Epic year guys! Glad to have met you too. Can't wait to see what 2015 brings for you! xoxo

Jessica - Notes of Nomads

Saturday 3rd of January 2015

And you, Christine! Bring on an amazing 2015 for us all! xox

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