I decided to do the impossible, and challenge myself to make a list of my top 15 favorite photos from our trip around the world.
Originally I was going to make a top 10 list, but it became nearly impossible to narrow it down. Since we took over ten thousand pictures throughout the past year, I gave myself some slack and bumped the number up to 15.
To make the process easier, I set some ground rules for myself. This meant that I could only choose two animal photos. Without this rule, it is guaranteed that the entire list would have consisted exclusively of images of elephants and orangutans, with the occasional cow or pig shoved in there for good measure.
I tried my best to pick images that I haven’t used too much on this blog or on my Instagram (which was also hard and I did not succeed at this).
These pictures are some of my favorites, but depending on my mood I would probably pick a completely different crop if I did this same exercise tomorrow. Not only do I love these pictures, but they also represent moments over the past year that were special and stuck out to me for one reason or another. Mostly, it was just an excuse for me to look through our pictures again.
In no particular order, here are my top 15 favorite travel pictures.
1. The Julian Alps
Why I chose this picture: On the third day of our trip, Al and I went on our first hike in the mountains of Slovenia. We had no plan, and no idea where we were heading as we meandered into center of the the Julian Alps. To find our way, we followed random paths as they appeared before us. One of these paths led us to the most stunning clearing where we found ourselves surrounded by unbelievable mountain views and wide green hills (pictured above). The whole experience was magical, and I was in awe the entire time.
2. Game of Thrones
Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Why I chose this picture: Being in Dubrovnik was such a fun experience for me. Al and I got to share it with two of our best friends, which made it even more special. The four of us heard rumors of a bar where you could sit along the cliffs of Dubrovnik and watch all the brave (or crazy) people dive off the rocky cliffs into the sea. We even briefly considered joining the ranks of these jumpers, but once we reached the cliff bar, the weather started taking a turn for the worse and we decided against it.
Instead, the four of us sat on the edge of the bar nursing cold beers, watching people plunge into the sea. We watched as 50ft waves rose up and crashed against the fortress walls dating all the way back to the 7th century. The dark skies mixed with the thrashing wind and rough sea made me feel like I was on the Game of Thrones set. Moments after this picture was taken, the rain started pouring down and we ran around the walled city laughing and looking for a bar to take cover in. The above picture reminds me of what a great experience that whole day was.
3. Dreaming of an Orange Christmas
Location: Sandakan, Malaysia (Borneo)
Why I chose this picture: Christmas Day 2016 was one of the best days I have ever had. Al and I spent the entire day watching orangutans in the wild. I’ve already gone into detail about this experience on a previous post, so I won’t rehash it all here. After the family of orangutans finished up their dinner, they left the feeding platform one-by-one, and climbed a rope that was located directly above my head in order to reach a more secluded tree. I snapped this picture of one of the older baby orangutans as he weaved his way across the sky. He was so active and playful, I almost felt like I was watching an actual human child run around. I love how you can see the curve of his foot and the fringe of his hair silhouetted in this image.
4. Kravica Falls
Location: Kravica Falls, Bosnia
Why I chose this picture: The first day our friends Nina and Zach arrived to travel with us in Bosnia, we drove 30 minutes outside of Mostar to visit these gorgeous waterfalls. We spent the day drinking beers, swimming, climbing the falls, and (for Al and Zach) even jumping off of them. I love this picture because it catches the moment right before Al goes underwater, as Nina watches from nearby. It reminds me of how fun and carefree the whole day was.
5. Irish Blessings
Location: County Claire, Ireland
Why I chose this picture: I probably could have chosen every single picture for this list from our week in Ireland, that is how much I loved our time there. One of my favorite days from the week was our visit to the Cliffs of Moher. That morning, our Airbnb host gave us secret directions on where to park and how to avoid the crowds, the only catch being that we would have to walk about a mile down the road pictured above. I ended up enjoying this walk almost as much as the cliffs themselves, and could not stop taking pictures the entire time. I love this one of Al casually heading back to the car, surrounded by the beauty of Ireland.
6. The Elephants
Location: Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Why I chose this picture: Because, look at them! I am continuously amazed and fascinated by elephants. One of the reasons that Al and I went to Sri Lanka is because they have one of the largest populations of wild elephants in Asia, and I wanted to get a glimpse of them for myself. Our trip to Yala was really special, because we lucked out and had a safari truck and guide completely to ourselves for two days in a row. We spent hours silently watching these elephants together. I snapped this one of a baby following her mother around the plains and it ended up being one of my favorite pictures from the safari.
7. Lovely Day for a Guinness
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Why I chose this picture: On our first full day in Dublin, we went to the Guinness factory with my mother and father in law. I love this picture, because it was right after I asked the bartender for a glass of wine for my mother-in-law, Patti who isn’t much of a beer drinker. The bartender laughed at me and suggested I try somewhere other than the Guinness Beer Factory for a glass of wine. I brought her this pint instead, and she was such a good sport and enjoyed every drop. This picture reminds me of how much fun we had laughing and talking with each other all while standing on this crowded rooftop overlooking Dublin. We were in such good spirits, and this picture really captures the feeling of the whole day.
8. Waiting to Exhale
Location: Koh Mak, Thailand
Why I chose this picture: We spent two weeks on this beautiful, quiet, untouched island. During our time here, I could feel myself totally detaching from the world around me and any type of reality that existed outside of me, Al, and this little island. We spent hours reading our kindles on this beach. Once I discovered I could comfortably lay on this swing, it became my favorite place to read. I remember thinking often during this time that I was so lucky to be having this experience. I love this picture Al captured of me and my swing, because it reminds me of that gratitude.
9. Feel the Rhythm, Feel the Rhyme
Location: Sarajevo, Bosnia
Why I chose this picture: When we arrived in Sarajevo, I came across a blog post that mentioned there was an old abandoned bobsled track from the 1984 olympics (hence the Cool Runnings quote above). Naturally, I had to see it for myself. Al and I drove around following obscure directions until we finally stumbled upon it. It was such a unique experience walking along the abandoned track, taking in the old war graffiti, while imagining the athletes who had once flown down the exact path I was walking on.
10. The Luck of the Irish
Location: County Claire, Ireland
Why I chose this picture: The cliffs of Moher are so unique, because you have no idea that they exist until you’re actually standing on top of them. You’re walking along a path surrounded by what seems like endless green Irish country, until all of a sudden, the entire earth just completely drops off into the sea.
Ever since I was a kid, I have loved climbing and sitting on the edge of cliffs, much to my parents dismay. As an adult, not much has changed.
I chose this picture because of what it captures, but also because of a memory I had the moment I sat down on this rock. My oldest sister, Lauren, moved to Ireland almost 15 years ago, back when we were all just starting to use digital cameras. She sent home some pictures, and one of them was an image of her hanging off of a cliff, with her hair blowing in the wind. I remember thinking Ireland seemed like such a far off exciting world, never dreaming that I would one day be in the exact same position. I love when moments of your life unexpectedly overlap like that. You can see that picture here.
11. Sitting on the Dock of the Bay
Location: Kotor, Montenegro
Why I chose this picture: The mountains and landscape surrounding Kotor are unreal. In this picture, we were well on our way to our Airbnb in Kotor, when Nina realized she left her favorite sunglasses at the last scenic detour we had taken. Al and I waited for them to return at this beautiful spot, and quickly became lost in our surroundings. A few minutes later, Nina and Zach returned with her glasses, and we were on our way.
After about ten minutes of driving, Al realized he left our nalgene of fresh water behind, and we had to turn around once again to retrieve a forgotten item. Proof that when the scenery is so beautiful, you tend to forget yourself.
12. Along the Tracks
Location: Ella, Sri Lanka
Why I chose this picture: Sri Lanka was so full of life. No matter what part of the country we were in, I was mesmerized by the energy of the people. During our days in Ella, Al and I spent a lot of time walking up and down these (active) train tracks. So much happened along these tracks, and there was always something interesting to see.
In this image, a group of women are walking to a nearby water pump where they spent a few hours each day washing clothes. They always had umbrellas in hand to shield them from the harsh rays of the Sri Lankan sun.
13. Peace and Peacocks
Location: Ohrid, Macedonia
Why I chose this picture: This monastery sits about a half mile from the Albanian border, standing on a high, rocky wall right at the edge of Macedonia’s lake Ohrid. It is surrounded by forests and fountains, and filled with wild peacocks that roam the grounds. This place was one of the most tranquil and serene destinations I have ever encountered, and I love this picture because it reminds me of how peaceful it felt to wander around such an ancient part of the world.
14. Float On
Location: Hvar, Croatia
Why I chose this picture: Another one of my all-time favorite days from our trip. Al and I rented a boat to explore the surrounding islands of Hvar. We would find a desirable cove, anchor our tiny boat, and swim our hearts out. I love this picture because Al looks like the most happy and content person on the planet.
15. Vietnam Vibes
Location: Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Why I chose this picture: I guess it is fitting that my last picture on this list is a sunset. Besides the obvious beauty of this picture (the colors, the water, sky, boat, and silhouette of a fisherman hard at work, etc)., this memory is special because it was our last day together after spending over a week bouncing around Vietnam with our best friends Christie and Dan.
An expat-turned-local we met the previous day recommended this section of the island to us, and it did not disappoint. The four of us lucked out and had an entire beach, and beach bar to ourselves to watch the sun go down over the ocean. It was perfect in every way and this picture captures it.