Check out where I went and what I saw in this photo post below! More details on each trip to come.
1. Los Angeles area and San Diego, California
|Stopping to take a photo on a drive through the mountains near Beaumont, CA|
My brother and I flew from different parts of the US to visit our grandmother in Southern California in March 2014. She was incredibly generous and paid for our plane tickets out there and we were able to spend a whole week with her! And we squeezed in a day trip to one of my favorite cities in the entire US - San Diego! Gorgeous weather, great beaches and even better food!
|Perfect day at Pacific Beach in San Diego, CA|
2. St Augustine, Florida
|Outside of the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida|
|On top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse after having climbed all 219 steps to get there!|
After months and months of contemplating and praying over a decision to move, in late March 2014, I moved from Jacksonville, Florida (where I went to college and lived two, almost three years after graduation) back home with my parents in Dayton, Ohio. Just like moving to Jacksonville in 2007 was life-changing, moving out nearly 7 years later, also changed my life. It wasn't easy to leave but it was -and still is- the best decision for me. Still miss all my friends who were like family there! :)
3. John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, Ohio
Moving home back to my parents' house in Ohio afforded me the opportunity to explore more of my own state and do things I hadn't wanted or been able to do. One of those things was to visit a few parks like John Byran State Park, use the many bike trails around the Dayton area and go canoeing on the Little Miami River in Oregoina, Ohio with new friends. I was not only able to do new things in an old place but I was also able to meet new people from all over the world in just 6 short months. I also miss all of my friends and family who are back home and reading this! I think about you all often and with a smile on my face. :)
4. Chicago, Illinois
I had to go to Chicago (which is just a short 6 hour and $20 Megabus ride away from Cincinnati, Ohio) in order to apply for my visa to teach in Spain but I ended up going three times in a span of three months, haha! The first trip (June 2014) was to see a friend who's lived there for a little while now, the second one (August 2014) was to apply for the visa at the Spanish Consulate and the third one (September 2014) was an unsuccessful attempt to help my friend apply to teach English in France at the French Consulate (conveniently located right across from Spain's! haha) I got to drive almost all the way to Chicago one way before I kissed cars and US interstates goodbye for 9 months so that was much needed! Each trip was its own adventure and I went alone two out of three times and ended up liking that city after all. ;-)
5. Omaha and Bloomfield, Nebraska
|Standing next to the Nebraska sign just a few feet away from South Dakota|
|Taken on the way to the best small town in the world: Bloomfield, NE|
6. Des Moines and Sioux City, Iowa
|On the drive out to Des Moines, IA (caution you might fall asleep!)|
|Not much difference between IA and NE except for more turbines in IA and more hills in NE|
7. New York City, NY
8. Madrid & A Coruña, Spain
|"Spain is the destination that you carry inside." (taken in the Barajas Int'l Airport in Madrid)|
|First view of the Torre de Hercules that watches over me and my new home each night!|
Spain and I said "hola" again as I flew from NYC > FRA > MAD and landed the morning of September 27th, 2014. I spent just a few short hours in Madrid and saw an old study abroad friend Paige (she blogs at the Town Mouse) who helped me navigate the metro of Madrid with all my luggage a bit. I have to get back down there to see the city and the surrounding small towns but it was a good entry into Spain before I headed North to Galicia and got settled in A Coruña, my home for the next 8-9 months.
9. Oporto, Portugal
|Porto as seen from the Torre de Clerigos (tower)|
The second weekend of November 2014 I embarked on my first solo "international" trip to Oporto, Portugal. I had already made plans about two months earlier to travel here to see a well-known fado singer Carminho's in concert but little did I know that this trip would change my view of Portugal and the Portuguese language entirely. After studying Portuguese for almost a year and a half, I finally got to go to Portugal for the fourth time but for the FIRST time in my life, I understood what the people around me were saying! And I forced myself to speak the language with as many locals as possible even though it came out broken or mixed with Spanish the majority of the time. Oporto itself was an enchanting city filled with great seafood, wine (oh, my the wine!!!!) and beautiful views like the one you see above. I plan to go back in the spring when the weather's a lot nicer. Let's see how much Portuguese I speak this next time! I'm still so pumped about the language and have even more of a motivation to keep learning and practicing it! Obrigada, Oporto! :-)
10. Finesterre, Spain
|At the "end of the world" aka overlooking the Atlantic and Cantabrian Seas|
11. Barcelona, Spain
|The Sagrada Familia as seen from the back. SO impressive!|
12. Paris & Grenoble, France
|First time I set eyes on the famous and known-around-the-world icon, le Tour Eiffel!|
On December 18th, 2014, I flew into Paris ORY that morning and spent 5 jam-packed days in the City of Love. It was a birthday/Christmas present to myself as I would be away from my family during my birthday that week. I learned a lot about Parsians, French culture, the French language and even myself and my travel style during that trip. I would love to go to Paris another time when it's warmer but I will have to save up a ton more money in order to do that. It's beautiful but very expensive as they say! :-P More on the City of Lights and Parisians in future posts.
|The Lower Alps as seen from the Bastille in Grenoble, France|
And last but not least, on December 23rd, I headed to Grenoble (Greh-knob), France to see my friend Gwen (she blogs at Ad-French-Ures: Grenoble) and spend Christmas with her and her new friends and "family" there. I stayed until December 30th, 2014 and had a fantastic time exploring the city and navigating the French language a bit better with my amazing translator! ;-) It was definitely interesting to spend the holiday away from home but I felt right at home with Gwen and her friends from the start. I did miss speaking Spanish terribly and while using English to communicate was fine, I wanted to be able to communicate through cultures sometimes and English didn't always help. At any rate, I was so happy to be near the mountains, see snow, drink warm beverages, eat amazing Italian and French food (and comfort food at Christmas) and learn how people in another part of the world live and celebrate the holidays. More posts on all those things I listed soon!
That's my 2014 travel recap. Where did you go last year? Were we in any of the same places at the same time but missed each other? Tell me about it in the comments below!