If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my recent posts counting down my favourite 10 travel moments of 2014. It was sparked from the hundreds of emails from readers asking one question… Where in the world is my favourite place? As it is too hard to narrow down to one place, I thought that sharing these favourite moments of 2014 might be a good insight…
My favourite travel moment of 2014 was watching the sun rise over Cappadocia, along with hundreds of hot air balloons. I stayed in nearby Ortahisar at the incredible Hezen Cave Hotel. We decided to watch the balloons at sunrise over the surreal landscape of rock formations, caves and fairy chimneys before doing the hot air balloon ride ourselves the following day. Thank you to the people of Turkey and your beautiful country, I will remember this road trip as one of the best weeks of my life.
You can see more of this sunrise here, with my full blog post coming shortly.
My second favourite travel moment of 2014 was visiting Stingray City in Antigua. We caught a boat to floating pontoons over the bluest of Caribbean waters- where dozens of huge, dark shadows were gracefully darting underneath the surface. From the moment I climbed into the water and felt these beautiful, silky animals for the first time I was only relaxed and grinning. You can swim and snorkel with, hold and even feed them squid. There is a common misconception of stingrays because of a few, but extremely rare incidents. The stingray would only naturally react with it’s barb when it feels threatened, or accidentally stepped on.
I spent 2 weeks in Croatia during August 2014, one week of road tripping and one week sailing the Dalmatian Coast. On the road trip we drove from Zagreb – Plitvice – Sibenik – Krka – Split – Dubrovnik. On this day we started driving from Zagreb before sunrise and could barely see through a thick fog rolling along the freeways and fields. We made it to Plitvice Lakes National Park the moment it opened and were able to experience it’s enormous beauty on our own. The National Park is set in deep woodland, and made up of sixteen lakes that interconnect by a series of stunning waterfalls. I dream about returning here in the depths of winter… google image search to see what I mean!
I first visited Cinque Terre, Italy in 2010 in the early months of my blog while I was backpacking by myself, and coming back in August 2014 somehow left me even more in awe than the first. I previously stayed in a hostel in Riamagiorre, but this time chose to rent an apartment in romantic Manarola overlooking the town and vineyards. There are hundreds of stairs, overpacked trains that run on Italian time, the best pesto, pasta, pizza and gelato that I still dream about, with surreal sunsets over the colourful cliffside towns.
You can read my blog post from my first visit to Cinque Terre here, with my 2014 post coming shortly.
I visited Marrakech in November 2014, for a shoot on location with Jimmy Choo. I was able to arrive a few days early to explore Marrakech and stayed in Riad Monceau near Jemaa el-Fnaa square, that became an oasis from the hustle and bustle. My favourite part of Marrakech were the Souks… at first they seemed like an endless maze of rugs, spices, ceramics and trinkets but after a few days with the help of kind locals, it felt like we knew every turn. I really hope to see more of Morocco in the coming years!
You can see more of my photos from Marrakech here, with more posts coming shortly.
In early August 2014 my partner and I road tripped for a week through Turkey. We drove from Fethiye – Bodrum – Kusadasi – Efes – Pamukkale – Aksehir – Cappadocia – Kayseri. We started our drive at 4am this day to visit Pamukkale Thermal Pools before the summer heat and tourists arrived. Pamukkale (Cotton Castle in Turkish) is an unreal landscape of mineral forests, petrified waterfalls and a series of terraced basins. It was a surreal feeling like we were in a scorching hot snow desert, with every inch of patterned minerals under our feet differing from the thousands of years of flowing water.
I had a brief love affair with Jamaica, in September 2014. I stayed in the parish of Portland and was completely surprised by how green and luscious it was. I spent days exploring waterfalls, islands and coves. My favourite moment was rafting down the Rio Grande and stopping halfway down the river at Belinda’s wood fire kitchen for Jerk and spicy crayfish.
You can read my post from Goldeneye on the other side of Jamaica here, with more from Portland coming shortly.
8. Oahu, Hawaii.
During January 2014 my close friend & photographer Melissa Findley and I road tripped around Oahu. On this day some beautiful locals took us to their favourite beach, Yokohama Bay. We couldn’t swim due to 30ft swells but instead danced between the crashing waves along the shore.
9. Istanbul, Turkey.
I visited Istanbul for the second time in July 2014, after being mesmerised with the city the year before. I adore the food, the smell of spices, sharing tea with market owners, the bustling crowds and listening quietly while the Call to Prayer filled the skies at sunset. There is a dwarfing ambience from the cascading domes and minarets of the Blue Mosque, with nearly every inch covered in blue İznik tiles.
I visited Montenegro while working with Budva Tourism in July 2014. I was in awe of Tara Canyon, completely shocked at how little I knew about the pristine beauty of this country. We spent the day rafting down the crystal clear river and discovering hidden waterfalls. I hope more people consider Montenegro on their European adventures.
I have thousands of photos of my travels from over the years since I started backpacking in 2009, and am realising that I should share them and my travelling thoughts every now and then, not just left forgotten in my blog archives. If anyone has any feedback I’d be so appreciative to receive your comments and questions below!
I can’t wait to share what travels 2015 brings with you…