2014 Travel Highlights: The Best Travel Moments Of The Year

Helijet Chopper Selife

Happy New Year friends!! I hope that all of you had a restful and festive holiday season, either spending time with friends and loved ones or traveling of course! I spent the holidays with my family up in Vancouver and now I’m back settling in Los Angeles only to get back on the road again next week. I didn’t think it would be a big year of travel, to be honest, but in the end, I did manage to have a lot of great and memorable experiences. We’re already a week into 2015 so I thought I would share some of the highlights from 2014.

Palm Springs For My Birthday With My 2 BFFs

I planned a weekend trip for my birthday with one of my best friends and she surprised me by flying in our other BFF all the way from Toronto. I love Palm Springs. It’s my favorite escape from Los Angeles. It’s only a 2-hour drive from LA or San Diego and a great place to go with friends, a partner or even solo! It’s not just all snowbirds or festival goers.

Click here to read my Desert Guide

Palm Springs - Mount San Jacinto Hike

We took the aerial tram up the canyon and hiked a bit. Snow in February!

Fire Pits at Parker Palm Springs

I kind of love the Parker Palm Springs. To death!

Attending The Canadian Media Market in San Francisco

I was invited to attend a conference organized by Canadian Tourism in San Francisco. The event was for US-based travel writers to meet with Canadian Tourism offices and brands. I met many awesome people in the tourism industry in Canada and forged friendships with other travel writers. After the conference, I had a few days extra to explore San Francisco and Oakland.

 Need coffee? Check out my SF coffee guide. Food? Here’s my SF Food Guide

View From Fairmont San Francisco

The view from the CMM welcome reception at the Fairmont San Francisco

Street Car San Francisco

Ding ding!! A San Francisco trolley car

Solo road trip from Los Angeles to Vancouver

I’ve driven up from SoCal to Canada in the past. When I went on my RTW trip, I drove my car up north so I could leave it at my parents’ place. When I did the drive years ago I pushed myself to drive crazy hours but I didn’t feel like doing that this time so I gave myself plenty of time to get up to Vancouver. I stopped into to see friends along the way which is always a nice time.

Click here to see a GoPro Time Lapse of the drive or click here for some still images

Oregon Coast Border - Road Trip

Stopping at the border to take a selfie (with a tripod)!

Oregon Coast Selfie

An epic selfie along the Oregon Coast

Running My First Road Race, The Vancouver Sun Run

Growing up in Vancouver, it’s a bit surprising that I had never run the Vancouver Sun Run. In 2014, the race had its 30th Anniversary and to celebrate a milestone birthday year, a group of our friends decided to run it. We all signed up, trained and completed the 10K race. I’m not really the best runner so I was proud of this accomplishment. Read more here.

Vancouver Sun Run 2014 Finished!

A happy Sun Run finisher!

Catching A Sturgeon On My Trip To Harrison Hot Springs

I went up to Harrison Hot Springs for a few days with my friend Paul in late April. I have this thing about trying to see more of British Columbia whenever I go home to Vancouver. So we planned a couple of days at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and went sturgeon fishing with BC Sports Fishing Group.

Catching A Sturgeon With BCSFG Harrison Hot Springs

Whoa, sturgeon!

Traveling Around Vancouver Island 

When I was growing up in Vancouver, I barely spent any time on Vancouver Island. Now I am somewhat obsessed with it and have this grandiose idea that if I don’t retire on a tropical island in Asia, I’ll end up living on Vancouver Island. I am enamored with Victoria and loved exploring Parksville and Qualicum area.

Heading to Victoria? Check my food guide, a post of things to do, and my stay at the Oak Bay Beach Resort.

Chairs on Beach Drive Victoria BC

The relaxed nature of Victoria. “The Chairs” on Beach Drive in Oak Bay

Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island

Giant trees at Cathedral Grove at MacMillan Provincial Park

Malahat Lookout on Vancouver Island

The Malahat Lookout on Vancouver Island

Caving at Horne Lake Caves On Vancouver Island

I went spelunking at Horne Lake Caves

Winnipeg Is Cooler Than You Think

I went on a trip at the end of May to explore Winnipeg. Most people tend to ignore most of Canada and just focus on Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Cities like Winnipeg have cool gems too not to mention some of the nicest people you will ever meet. While I was there I attended an event called Table for 1200, visited the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, saw rescue polar bears up close, had some luxe time at the Ten Spa, ate some killer food at Deer+Almond and shared a frozen treat at Bridge Drive-In, a local institution, with a good friend. I would definitely go back and seek out more awesome gems.

Polar Bear Winnipeg Assiniboine Zoo

This polar bear at the Assiniboine Park Zoo has my kind of humor

Table for 1200 Winnipeg

All of the lovely diners dressed in white at the Table for 1200

Choppering Over Vancouver With Helijet

Riding a helicopter for the first time was definitely a highlight of 2014 for me. But riding over my hometown on a perfect summer day made even better. To see more from my ride, click here or for a 60 second YouTube video, click here.

Helijet Chopper Selife

A chopper selfie

Vancouver Sightseeing Tour With Helijet

Flying over the North Shore Mountains

Exploring More of Hong Kong

I’ve been to Hong Kong a handful of times and for my trip, in September I was really keen on visiting places I had never bothered to check out before. My friend and I went to Lantau Island to see the Tian Tan Buddha, Tai O fishing village, check out different markets and gorge on food. Hong Kong is always a fantastic place to visit.

Check out these posts for Hong Kong: 

6 views not to miss in HK

Visiting different markets in Kowloon

A Jet Lag Photo Series 

Visiting The Tian Tan Buddha and Tai O

Hong Kong Harbour The beautiful Victoria Harbour

Tian Tan Buddha Hong Kong RTWgirl.com The Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island

A Michelin Meal at Shang Palace In Hong Kong

A Two Star Michelin Meal at Shang Palace at the Shangri-La in Kowloon

Phuket Redux

When I went to Phuket on my RTW trip almost 4 years ago now, I have to admit I was very wary of it. Friends and other travelers shared their opinion and I didn’t have much interest to experience it. I went only to go surfing as it’s one of the few places you can surf in Thailand. I went and I left quickly. For this trip in September, we were visiting friends of my friend. I always feel like my perception and feeling of a place changes when I have a local showing me around. Highlights from my weekend Phuket include visiting Singpatong Muay Thai gym, boating through Phang Nga Bay and stopping for lunch at Ko Panyee, visiting Old Phuket, getting tons of spa treatments for cheap, and eating of course.

Some posts about Phuket:

10 Must Dos In Phuket

Exploring Phang Nga Bay 

Phuket’s Old Town

Singpatong Muay Thai Gym Phuket

Singpatong Muay Thai Gym

Spa Treatments Phuket

Someone may have gotten a lot of massages and spa treatments while in Phuket!

Phang Nga Bay Thailand

So beautifully unreal in Phang Nga Bay

My Annual Big Apple Trip

It seems as though an annual New York trip happens. I won’t complain, I love that city. It was nice to explore and have no agenda. Oh, and eat of course. One of my BFFs was there too and we celebrated her birthday. I walked around and had some hang time with my NYC based friends as well as travel homeys.

I updated my NYC coffee guide and NYC food guide

Pell and Doyers Chinatown NYC

Walking around NYC’s Chinatown, specifically Pell and Doyers Streets

Freedom Tower In NYC

Visiting the 9/11 Memorial and the Freedom Tower downtown

Mario Batali Food Tour Walks Of New York

I took the Walks of New York Mario Batali Food Tour and I can’t recommend it enough!

The Highline rtwgirl

I always visit the Highline every trip. This trip I went 3 times!

Christmas In Vancouver

I’ll be honest and admit that I’m not a fan of Christmas. Ever since my mom died it just hasn’t felt the same and I haven’t bothered to come home in several years. This past summer my Pops moved into an assisted living home and I decided that I need more time with him AND I miss my nephews. So I came home, was able to celebrate my beautiful sister in law’s birthday, do some fun winter activities with the fam, see friends who come home for the holidays as well and have some relaxation time.

Volunteering At The Vancouver Food Bank

I felt like Vancouver gives me so much so it was time to give back to the Vancouver Food Bank

Celebrating My Sister In Law

Me and my beautiful sister in law Melissa just before her birthday

Not Very Good At Ice Skating

I’m a bad Canadian and can’t skate

My nephews and I

Quality time with my nephews

Canyon Lights At Capilano Suspension Bridge With My Family

On Christmas Eve my family and I went to see Canyon Lights At the Capilano Suspension Bridge

Happy New Years friends and I wish much travel, adventure, and love in 2015!!!

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