After thinking about all of the places that I wanted to go, it made me start to think about all of my favorite places that I have been. This was so hard to pick just 20 of my favorites, there are so many amazing and beautiful places in the world. There are so many places that I didn’t include that I feel like should be here too… but then the list would be sooo long. So I tried to narrow it down to the things that I really loved the most. I mostly picked the places I have been as an adult, because those are what I have good digital pictures of, but there are definitely some places that I went to when I was young and totally remember loving but I don’t have a picture to share of them… and I don’t remember them as well and the ones I have been too as I got older.
Machu Pichu, Peru – If I had to pick just one absolute favorite place then this would be it. It was one of those that I dreamed about visiting my whole life and then was just so amazing in person, even after all the anticipation. We stayed in the little town by it for 2 days, on the first day we took a tour and learned about the history and then wandered around for a few hours, then the second day we hiked up Huano Pichu (the peak that is behind me in the picture) and that was pretty intense. I am pretty short and those steps were all pretty narrow and tall between each step so my legs were shaking so bad by the end. But it was totally worth it. We wandered around more after the hike, and that second day was all foggy and I loved it so much seeing, it in both conditions. It was just so big and so pretty and so amazing!
New England Fall – This was another one that I waited many many years before I got to see it, and is just so amazing. Fall is my favorite anyway, but it was so great in New England. There are still so many more spots that I want to go back and see all the beautiful colors, especially as I see my sister Rachel go to them all. I went just 3 1/2 years ago when Rachel first moved there and spent almost 3 weeks there to guarantee I caught the peak of the season. I wandered around Boston during the week, and then over the weekends we went out to Palmyra, New York and Acadia National Park in Maine.
Paris, France – I have been to Paris a few times, the first time was for my 8th birthday when my family was living in England and I fell in love with it and have loved everything France ever since. I went back when I was 19 with my family, and then when I was 20 I did a study abroad in Paris. I loved my study abroad so much, being able to wander around and explore this city that I love so much. The last time I went was just for one day for a layover, and it was way too short. I have always dreamed of going back and living there for a couple of years, hopefully someday I will be able to.
San Francisco, California – We went once when I was like 12, and I only have vague memories of that trip, but then we went again the summer before my freshman year of college and that is when I really came to love it. It is one of those cities that has so many of things I love. Vu and I stopped for one day on our west coast drive trip. All of the trips here have been similar, where we had a very limited amount of time spent actually exploring the city. Vu and I will be there for a whole week at the end of the month, and I am so excited.
Cresky Krumlov, Czech Republic – I visited this little town when I went to Europe with my family in 2016 and I had never even heard of it. It was one of the places along the way that my mom wanted to stop and visit and I loved it so much. I love all of the small towns in Europe anyway, but this one was just so cute and charming, it has a tower in the middle of the town that provides amazing views, and then with all of the beautiful red roofs characteristic of the Czech Republic, I just loved it. I love this kind of thing, where you find something amazing that you weren’t expecting.
Banff, Canada – I went for the first time when I was a teenager and then again with a bunch of my family just a couple years ago. I am pretty sure that most nature lovers knows about Banff, it just so beautiful: mountains and beautiful turquoise blue glacial melt lakes and amazing hikes and everything is so picturesque.
Loire Valley, France – I don’t have any digital pictures of this, because I went when I was on my Paris study abroad, which was just a few years before digital camera’s became main stream. If you don’t know, the Loire Valley is a river valley where all the French Kings and Queens used to live and they built a bunch of “chateux” that are so much fun to explore. One of my favorites (pictured above) is Chenonceau, I love how it was built over the river and the architecture and it also has beautiful gardens.
Boston, Massachusetts – I have mentioned a number of times how much I love Boston… it has been one of my favorite things that Rachel has lived there so that I can go visit her so many times. I always get so jealous hearing about and seeing all of the amazing things that she is doing there that I wish I could be doing too. One of my favorite things about Boston are the neighborhoods of red brink buildings: Beacon Hill, the North End and Back Bay, but there is so much more I love about Boston as well.
Hallstatt, Austria – This was another stop on the trip I took with my family in 2016, but this one was my choice. I had seen pictures of this cute little town for a few years before we went and it did not disappoint. The town is right on a little lake with some mountains peaks around it and it has this walkway along the edge of the lake that curves around as it goes up the hill so you get the picturesque view of the town with the church along the water. We didn’t spend very long here so I would really love to go back.
Oregon Coast – I have mentioned my great love for the Oregon Coast before… I have visited a number of times over the years: a family reunion when I was in high school, another reunion the year after Vu and I got married, on our west coast drive 2 years ago, and I think we have stopped a few times randomly on other trips with my family growing up, but I think my favorite trip was when Rachel and I went shortly after we moved to Washington and did an Oregon lighthouse tour and we took our time driving the short distances between each lighthouse. It was in October when the tourists were gone and the lighthouses had limited hours so we mostly had them to ourselves and then we were able to explore the small towns and beaches along the way. It was awesome!
Great Wall of China – When Vu worked at Microsoft he would fly to Beijing, China every now and then so on one of his trips I went with him. I do want to go everywhere in the world, but China wasn’t really very high on my list, but it was a great opportunity that I just had to take. It was a very interesting experience, but by far my very favorite thing was visiting the great wall. Vu’s coworker arranged for us to have our own personal driver for the day, and another coworker visited with us. I loved seeing it snake out over the hills. I wanted to walk along a good section of it and get all of the different views and angles, but Vu would have rather stepped on and then right back off… he was not a fan of all the walking along it. It was pretty crazy in some sections, they didn’t build it all just nice and flat and easy. The walkway often slopes with the ground underneath so parts of it were pretty steep, from side to side as well, and at times we had to more climb than walk on the well worn and a bit slippery stones.
Venice, Italy – (this is another one that is a scan of the original paper photograph) I have only been to Venice once when I was 19, and we were just there for a day and a half, but it made a big impact on me. Everything about it was amazing in my opinion. I loved all the canals and just walking around exploring the maze of streets, I loved walking around a turn and coming upon the cutest scene. It was also the first time I ever had pesto and it was so amazing, we ate at this restaurant in their outdoor courtyard and the whole thing kind of felt like a dream. It was so long ago now, that it feels like it was. I have been dying to go back again for a long time.
Swiss Countryside – Another European countryside one, because I just love them so much. This area of Switzerland, around Bern and Interlaken is amazing! So many beautiful and cool waterfalls, the mountains and valley’s and adorable hills dotted with the Swiss cottages, I love it all. I have been to this area a few times, the most recent was again on the big trip with my family 3 years ago.
New York City, New York – I have been twice, once just this past summer, and then the first time was about 8 years ago when I was checking off the last of my 50 states and had Vermont left, so fulfilled my lifelong goal of going to New York City and then added in a day at the end to go to Vermont, the one state in the East Coast that I hand’t yet been to. No matter how much I do when I go, I always have a long list of things I didn’t get to when I leave. This is another city that I would love to live in for a short period of time.
Outer Banks, North Carolina – This was another trip for checking off states, this one the 49th state that I had been too. We rented a house on the beach and I loved this beach. I loved the green shrubbery in the sand dunes and these picket fences they have everywhere, and the longs stretches of sandy beach that are not very crowded since there isn’t a lot of public parking so it mostly just the people in the houses. And then there are still fun things to do around the area, like the Wright brother’s museum and lighthouses, if you want a break from the beach.
Lake Como, Italy – One last one from our big Europe trip in 2016… Lake Como is so beautiful. Beautiful mountains with beautiful lakes and all the charming Italian architecture. I love how so much of the area is a small stretch of land along the mountain and lake edge, although that does make the driving a bit challenging. So many cute towns and amazing views and really cool estates to tour and of course gelato to eat!
Zaanse Schans, Netherlands – (Another scan of a picture) After my Paris study abroad in 2002, my mom and cousin came over and we traveled around for a couple of weeks. It was April so of course we went to Holland, and one of the places we stopped was Zaanse Schans. It is this long row of windmills along some dikes (the land they built up in the water) and there are pathways along it and we rented bikes and I just loved riding along it. We toured one of the windmills and they have the wooden shoe stores, it was all very calm and peaceful and pretty.
Kauai, Hawaii – Because I mean, it is Hawaii. This is the only Hawaiian island I have been too, but I am pretty sure once I go to the others it will still be my favorite. I loved the rugged garden beauty of the whole island, all of the different mountains and waterfalls, and of course my favorite of all, the Na Pali coast line. My favorite thing we did was the helicopter doors off tour, it was my only time so far in my life riding in a Helicopter and it was the perfect place to do it with so much amazing landscape around the island that inaccessible over land. This has probably been Vu’s favorite vacation ever and he frequently talks about wanting to go back.
Sydney, Australia – I went with Rachel and another friend of ours in 2011 and Sydney was just such a fun city. It was very walkable, despite being pretty large, I love the Bondi beach and cliff walk and seeing koala’s and kangaroo’s and visiting the Opera House, and then my favorite of all was doing the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb. It was so fun since both Rachel and I love bridges anyway, but it was really fun to be on top of the bridge and to have the amazing views of the whole area.
Maine Coast – Something else that I feel like I mention here all the time is how much I love lighthouses, and the Maine coast and all of theirs are some of my favorites. I love the rugged rock outcroppings they are often built on and all the different and unique ones. And the seaport towns are so cute and fun.