Once we were done in downtown Victoria, our driver took us to Butchart Gardens. This place was probably one of the craziest explosions of flowers I've ever seen. It's an old lime-rock pit that they turned into gardens representing countries around the world.

2016 Travel Diary

This is always one of my favorite posts (check out last year’s here). I love looking back on the year and thinking with such humble gratitude about all of the amazing opportunities God gives us. Most importantly, I love remembering all of the special times we’ve had with the ones we love. With each passing year, I’m reminded why God didn’t create people to be alone and he wants us to enjoy the things He’s given us. Obviously, this means different things to different people, but to me, I love enjoying God’s world by traveling with loved ones, being reminded that there are genuinely beautiful people everywhere and learning a few lessons about myself along the way. This year’s travel adventures in particular have challenged and grown me in ways I don’t think any other experience could have. Also, I love what traveling does to Matt and I’s relationship. As time has gone on and we’ve tackled more trips together, we’ve been given more opportunities to be team players, figure out what we’re good at and discover more reasons why we’re good for each other. Nothing makes you work out your problems like being stuck in a foreign country with your spouse and being forced to face your problems head on.

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

Here’s a look back on our 2016 travels and a few lessons I learned along the way. Blog posts about each city or destination are highlighted red. Enjoy! :)

  1. Seattle, Washington: What a cool city with history, beautiful weather and a million things to do. We especially loved the food and easy access to all kinds of famous natural landmarks. I learned that there really is such a thing as a “gum wall” and it’s exactly what you would expect. Gross.
    The first thing we did upon arrival at our hotel (we loved the Warwick for so many reasons) was venture out to the Pike's Place Market. They have the original Starbucks, fish being thrown around, flowers by the bundles and all sorts of other things to see.

2. Mount Rainier, Washington: This place and this day was one of my favorite things we’ve ever done. I couldn’t stop thinking about how beautiful and diverse our world is when I saw Mount Rainier. I’d never seen something like it. Playing in the snow, taking photos of things that didn’t even seem real and soaking in the beauty of this mountain is worth the trip. I learned that Mount Rainier should be on everyone’s bucketlist.

Also, remember to bring sunglasses to a mountain. ;)

Also, remember to bring sunglasses to a snow covered mountain. ;)

3. Vancouver, British Columbia: I learned that I would definitely live in Vancouver. I thought it was really cool to be in a place where you could literally snow ski, water ski and golf all in the same day. I loved all of their beautiful bits of nature and the ways they incorporated it into the city.

Vancouver, Canada

Just can’t get over this place.

4. Victoria, British Columbia: What an adorable place that almost feels like a magical fairyland. We especially loved the gardens and coffee. I learned that I may want to retire here when I’m older. IMG_3216

5. Blue Ridge, Georgia: With our sweet family, we got to have a few days in the Blue Ridge Mountains and watch sunsets like this. I’ve actually learned from our mountain adventures that I’m not the best mountain person and I think I prefer big cities with nearby nature. πŸ˜‰

Blue Ridge, GA

6. Diosd, Hungary: We visited this quaint city while on our mission trip to help at a camp in Hungary. I learned that suburbs of big cities are pretty much all the same (in a good way) whether you’re in the USA or Eastern Europe. I also learned that communicating to kids in a different language isn’t as impossible as you think, you just need to know how to dance, braid hair and give high-fives.

We also got to explore quaint little Diosd in the evenings.

7. Budapest, Hungary: Budapest was an unexpected surprise to me. I had read about it and heard a lot about it, but it was different than I expected. I often felt like I was walking a street in Paris and then suddenly, I’d feel like I was in a place I’d never been before. I learned that sometimes, unexpected is a very good thing.

Loved the Castle District.

8. Istanbul, Turkey: I couldn’t do a travel diary without mentioning this place. We didn’t mean to go to Istanbul and we didn’t see anything outside of the airport, but I always want to remember what God taught me in this airport and on this flight. To read the full story check out this post.


9. Asheville, North Carolina: I love this place so much and I think it’s one of the best weekend getaways close to Georgia. We went to a wedding for one of my oldest friends and got to explore the Biltmore together. On this trip, I learned that I will probably always cry at every wedding I’ll ever attend. πŸ˜‰img_5546

Cheers to many more travel plans and adventures in 2017! Seriously, I can’t wait forΒ  our trips this upcoming year….eeeek! πŸ˜‰