I have been looking forward to creating this post all year. I love looking back on the places I’ve traveled and reflecting over my experiences. It’s also fun to compile my favorite photos of the year.
Before I started writing this post I looked back over my 2017 Wrap-Up and I saw how many amazing places I went last year, and how I thought that was an incredible year, but it can’t even compare to this year. I also saw when I looked into 2018 how much my plans had changed. While I didn’t make it to Central America, I did make it to Europe a few times and I drove extensively around the Eastern United States.
So let’s get into this re-cap!
Mammoth Caves National Park
This was a really cool weekend trip for me. I had never been into a cave system as extensive as these. There’s a reason they’re named “mammoth”! This was a great winter vacation because inside the caves the temperatures are very neutral all year round (54 degrees F). The one thing to look out for are cave crickets – be sure to plan your trip during the low season!
Read More: Visiting Mammoth Caves National Park
I had such a fun afternoon in Nashville re-living my Grecian dreams. A must-do in Nashville is stopping at The Pharmacy for one of their burgers and hard shakes. I personally love the falafel burger and the rosé milkshake (so much so that I came back over the summer on a road trip!). Then hop over to see a to-scale replica of The Parthenon. This magnificent Greek temple is famous, and it’s cool to see the building in pristine condition.
Despite growing up in Indiana I have rarely spent any time in Indy. It was a great weekend trip for Galentine’s Day. I lived one of my childhood dreams of seeing Funky Bones, which was made popular by John Green’s book “The Fault in Our Stars.” Shopping at Circle Center Mall, the White River and the Indiana State Museum were all fun things to do during the winter.
Read More: What to Do in Indianapolis During the Winter
Read More: A Girlfriend’s Getaway Guide to Indianapolis
Can we talk about bucket-list destinations for a moment? Italy is a spectacular country. Everywhere you look you’re just amazed. I went to Rome and Siena, the bustling, historic capital and a charming, medieval city tucked into the hillside of Tuscany. I filled up on pizza, pasta and espresso. I sat in cafes and people-watched. I threw coins into the Trevi Fountain. I took a pasta-making class. But best of all, I did it all with a dear friend. Female travel is the best travel, after all.
I ended up returning to Italy in the fall! I guess I just can’t get enough. This time I traveled to Florence where I saw Michelangelo’s ‘David,’ toured a winery and ate as many carbs as I could in 3 days.
Read More: How to Spend 3 Days in Rome, Italy
Read More: Rome in Photographs
Read More: Photos to Inspire You To Visit Siena, Italy
Read More: What to Pack for a Trip to Italy in the Spring
Read More: How to Travel Italy by Trains
Read More: Why You Should Take a Cooking Class in Rome
Read More: My Favorite Food in Florence
Read More: The Perfect Walking Itinerary in Florence
Read More: Wine Tasting in Tuscany
I love the East Coast, although I haven’t spent very much time at its beaches. Seeing Topsail Island was a blast because it was such a relaxing week. I read five books, laid out in the sun, and once in a while I was brave enough to get into the ocean.
Read More: Exploring Topsail Island, North Carolina
New York City
New York City, where all your girls are pretty… if you can name this song comment below! This is my favorite place on Earth, and one day I will be able to call it home. For now though, I’m just a tourist. I love this city because every time I go I still do so many new things! I barely repeat myself and yet somehow my schedule is packed to the brim on each visit. The MET & the Cloisters were my favorite part of the trip. I can’t believe I had never been to the art museum here. It’s absolutely magnificent. I also went to Highline Park, Liberty State Park, the 9/11 Memorial and the Oculus for the first time!
Read More: 5 Things You Can’t Miss in New York
Read More: Your 5 Day Itinerary for New York City
I finally, finally checked New Orleans off my bucket list this year! It was one of my favorite trips of the entire year. I felt like Kim Kardashian at Cafe du Monde. I heard chilling ghost stories on a haunted pub crawl. I strolled down Bourbon Street, drink in hand. I saw the American Horror Story: Coven house. It was an absolute dream! Next time I’ll be returning for Mardi Gras.
Read More: Where I Ate in New Orleans
Read More: 36 Hours in New Orleans
Read More: Road Trip: Indy to New Orleans
I love this city! It was not a new destination for me. Growing up in Northwest Indiana meant it was easy to hop on the South Shore Line and ride the train to Millennium Park any time I wanted, so I’ve spent my life taking day trips to this city. However, it’s always fun to go back. This year I discovered Eataly where I could reminisce over my Italian getaway, and I went up in the John Hancock tower!
Read More: Chicago in a Day
I studied abroad here for an entire semester! I can hardly believe all of the amazing things I’ve seen and done. I visited so many castles, partied at Oktoberfest and Bad Durkheim, and I shopped at the most charming Christmas markets I could have ever imagined. Berlin took my breath away with its night life and modern architecture and was one of my favorite trips of the semester.
Read More: Fairytale Castles
Read More: Germany’s Biggest Festivals
Read More: Cologne in a Day
Read More: How to Spend 3 Days in Berlin
Read More: Christmas Markets blog post coming soon!
Paris has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. It always seemed to magical. It is called the city of romance after all! How many people can say they’ve seen the Mona Lisa? (6 million tourists a year according to my Google search). Eating croissants, visiting the most impressive cathedrals and bringing home a half dozen macaroons were just a few of the highlights of this trip.
Read More: Paris in a Day
Read More: What I Ate in Paris
Salzburg, Austria is the most incredible city. It was by far one of my favorite destinations of this semester. I not only lived out my Sound of Music dreams, but I went to the top of a fortress, went underground in the salt mines and took a gondola ride into the clouds! It was so easy to fall in love with this city. It makes me want to explore even more of Austria.
Read More: A Weekend Getaway in Salzburg
Read More: Day Trips from Salzburg
I have never been so impressed with a city before Zurich. Everywhere I turned was beautiful whether it was the old churches, clear blue water or the gardens interspersed throughout the city. Even though I paid over 7 Swiss Francs (it’s an almost identical exchange rate to the USD) for a tall Starbucks iced coffee, I had the best weekend. Who else wouldn’t want to climb to the top of a church steeple or take a water taxi ride through the main canal?
Read More: How to Spend a Weekend in Zurich, Switzerland
Read More: Photos to Inspire You to Visit Zurich
Similar to Venice and Amsterdam, this medieval city is filled with water canals! It is a quaint city in Belgium that I’ll always remember. It’s old architecture is what sets it apart from other places in Europe that I’ve been. I divulged in the Belgian classics: waffles, chocolate, fries and beer!
Read More: Brugge in a Day
This is arguably one of the most popular cities in Europe to travel, and for good reason. With the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh museum and party life, Amsterdam brings in people of all interests and ages. I loved the beautiful canals and picturesque bicycles lining the bridges, and my canal tours was one of the best parts of my day.
Read More: 3 Things You Can’t Miss in Amsterdam
Read More: What to Book in Advance when Visiting Amsterdam
Luxembourg is a tiny country between France and Germany, and one that I didn’t know anything about before I visited. However, it was such a nice day that I spent here! The city is built on multiple levels so you can see the entire city from the top of the ancient casements, and you can travel down into the gorge and walk through a lovely park. However, one of my favorite parts was the iconic Chocolate House!
Read More: The Best of Luxembourg City
I’ve been dreaming of visiting Spain since I was in eighth grade, and it certainly didn’t disappoint! I love the culture, weather and food, and I especially love the siestas! Visiting the royal palace wasn’t even on my itinerary, but it ended up being my favorite part of this city. I can’t wait to return to Spain and explore more of this amazing country!
Read More: Madrid blogs coming soon!
2019 Travel Plans
One of my biggest accomplishments of 2018 was graduating from college! After 4 1/2 years I am on my way to adulthood. But nevertheless, the traveling will continue. There is so much of this world left to see.
Looking ahead, I have some exciting plans in 2019. I’ll be hitting Asia for the first time! I already have some plans in place for this spring so I can’t wait to go. I’ll also be returning to New Orleans and working on visiting a few more States. I’d like to explore Canada more, and just like my goal from last year, I’d like to explore South America if I get the chance.
2019 is going to be a big year for me because I’ll be applying for jobs and moving out of Indiana, I just don’t know where I’ll be going yet! Life is full of surprises.
To everyone who visited my blog this year, thank you. To all of you adventurers, I’m wishing you a Happy 2019 filled with exciting travel, friends and memories. Cheers!