Learning to dream bigger. and never stop

Queen Victoria Market
Melbourne, Australia
This year, without a doubt has been the best year of my life. No other year may ever compare, and I'm quietly ok with that. This year has been a year full of traveling. Starting our first year of marriage off by moving to Australia has been an incredible ride. This time last year, I remember writing this, not knowing what the next year even held for me. 2013 is a year I will always hold dear to my heart as it's the year I started this beautiful site, released my first official line of art, started my photography business, and started sewing again (and actually selling my handmade stuff!). I learned how to sail, hiked an alpine glacier in New Zealand, dove on the Great Barrier Reef, traversed The Great Overland Trail in Tasmania- which was intense, hiked around the heart of Australia (Ayers Rock), went caving in Fiji, skied the Andes Mountains in Chile, hiked the tallest mountain in Central Africa, went on safari in Malawi, road-tripped to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park, and visited the remote Dry Tortugas Islands. I visited so many countries this year it was borderline insane: Australia, (Tasmania), New Zealand, Fiji, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, and Malawi. This year was more than I could have ever dreamed my life could be or become. This taught me that I should dream bigger. and never stop dreaming bigger.  

We rang in the New Years exactly 365 days ago at a salsa club in downtown Melbourne, Australia. The fireworks were breathtaking, and while the club emptied onto the street to watch them, we stayed inside. The band kept playing and we found ourselves the only ones left on the dance floor. The first few moments of 2013 were my favorite. In the arms of my best friend, the love of my life, dancing even when everyone else had stopped. 
Melbourne, Australia

Hobart, Tasmania
We left promptly for Tasmania, flying into the port of Hobart with camping/hiking gear and tons of food. We visited Wine Glass Bay, camped there on the beach, and hiked to the point the next morning. We took a road-trip across the island, seeing wombats, echidnas, and wallabies everywhere. Tasmania was beautiful and intense. We had a boat drop us off at the start of The Great Overland Trail. This hike led us through thick forest of HUGE ferns, of all kinds. By the end of the hike, it was raining, cold, and we were covered with leaches. With that said, I'd go back to Tasmania a heart-beat.

Port of Hobart
Wineglass Bay, Tasmania

Boat to the Overland Trail
The Great Overland Trail, Tasmania

Daintree Rainforest, Queensland
The next trip we took was to Queensland, Australia. Heat, humidity, sunshine, palm trees. Also known as my heaven on earth. We stayed in a wooden hut in the Daintree Rainforest and saw an endangered Cassowary! A huge bright colorful bird thought to be around when Dinosaurs still roamed the earth. We took a night hike with a grizzled man name "possum". One of the highlights of our Daintree trip. We then headed to Port Douglass where we went scuba diving on the Opal Reef. Due to all the ocean traffic in Cairns we heard Port Douglass was a healthier reef. I remember the first time I put my masked face in the water, I cried. Diving the Great Barrier Reef is something I've always wanted to do and I felt incredibly lucky to be able to experience it this year. We headed to Cairns next and swam in the infinity public pool in the middle of the city (town?). I boarded the plane that day to go back home to Melbourne in a wet bikini. The state of Queensland never stopped surprising me. 

Queensland, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia



Franz Joseph Glacier

 New Zealand was next on our list to travel. We flew into Christchurch, rented a car, and road-tripped (our favorite) all over the island. WOW. Was New Zealand gorgeous! One of the most beautiful places I've ever been in the world. I flew in a helicopter for the first time on this trip on our way up to hike the Franz Joseph Glacier. We put on these things called crampons, which were basically metal spikes that clipped to the bottom of our shoes so we could grip and hike the ice. We visited Lake Tekapo on one of our stops. I'll never forget coming over a hill and seeing the water for the first time. It was the most turquoise fresh water lakes I'd ever seen. Our last stop was Greymouth, a small fishing town on the edge of the island, where we stayed in a local hostel. It was actually at Greymouth where I took the photo that I now use for my Hippie by the Sea logo. The ocean was incredibly beautiful that day, the sky full of birds. Love that part of the world.


The Opera House

Before we left Australia to move back to the USA, we hit up the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, Everything possible in Sydney, and Uluru (Ayers rock) also known as the heart of Australia. Sydney is one of my favorite cities in the world. We took boat taxies everywhere! Manly Beach, the Opera House, Darling Harbor, the iconic bridge, and so much great food- what's not to love about Sydney!? 

Manly Beach, Sydney


Our trip to Uluru was an eye-opening experience. More poverty there than I saw on any of my other travels in-country. Beautiful sunrises/sunsets, cold nights, intense desert sun, red dirt, camels, and aboriginal art. Hiking around the rock was amazing.


We spent our 30th birthdays together in Fiji. More sunshine, turquoise water, palm trees, sand, and coral reef. Tons of kava drinking, dancing on the beach, swimming, snorkeling, eating, and meeting new people. We even went caving at a cave called The Blue Lagoon- where they filmed the movie "The Blue Lagoon". I did not want to leave Fiji. 


We returned to our home, with a stop-over in Satellite Beach, Florida to visit friends and family before heading to our new home in the Midwest. We love our summers in Door County, this one was no exception- fresh strawberries, cherries, amazing wine vineyards, and sunsets that will blow your mind. I crossed off another thing on my bucket list I've always wanted to do: learn to sail. I spent the summer sailing on Lake Michigan with some great people.


North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota

I was lucky enough to take a road-trip out west with my best girlfriends which was a blast! We drove through: Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. We slept in every national park we could get our tires on! The National Grasslands, which run through North and South Dakota, was really pretty and I think a park that's sometimes overlooked as it's more of a region in the middle of nowhere. We also visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, The Badlands, and Devils Tower. Talk about epic. We did that trip all in one week. My favorite camping spot was in South Dakota at Sage Creek- a remote campground where we were literally surrounded by buffaloes! That trip was full of animal spotting and birding. We saw prairie dogs, elk, moose, wolves, buffaloes, eagles, and a grizzly bear and her cubs!! We were always shouting at each other to look out the window at something.

Washington Island
I returned home to my husband to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary. We traveled up to Washington Island on the northern tip of the Door County Peninsula. We had to take a car ferry to get to the island where we stayed at a small cabin in the forest with an outdoor hot-tub. There were wheat fields everywhere, growing the wheat for one of my favorite beers, and miles of beautiful shoreline. 

Banff National Park, Canada

We hopped on a plane the next week and headed up to Canmore, Canada for a wedding in Banff National Park. More ice cold  beautiful turquoise waters, lots of great hiking, canoeing, and lake swimming. The beauty of this place, with it's snow-covered mountains, was comparable to what we saw in New Zealand. I can't wait to return to Banff one day.


We ended our summer right with a canoe trip on the Au-Train River in the UP of Michigan. There was lots of canoe tipping, laughing, and tire-swinging. We even got stuck in a huge thunderstorm and had to abandon our canoes to take shelter from the storm. Have you ever done something with friends that you think, "I have to do this every year"? This was one of those things. I will be on this same river, hopefully with the same people next year. 



No sooner did we start to unpack our boxes in our new apartment that fall, we were jet-setting again. Bogota, Colombia; Santiago, Chile; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Mexico were calling our name. We went for my husband's job and luckily I got to tag along with a short stop-over in Key West to use a wedding gift we received- a trip to the Dry Tortugas.  


Colombia, Chile, Brazil

 My days were full of art museums, city tours, and coffee shops. Our evenings were spent dining at amazing restaurants all over the city, cocktail parties, and relaxing- windows open, city buzzing with energy. My Spanish is decent, but my Portuguese is horrible. I think we came through customs in Brazil trying to say "Thank you very much" in Portuguese, but winded up saying "very much" to the customs agent. We almost peed our pants laughing once we realized later what we had said. Getting to Ski in the Andes Alps in Chile was definitely the highlight of all three of those countries.


We topped off our South America trip relaxing on the beach in Mexico. I swam so much, even when the afternoon summer rain came, I just kept swimming. I ate empanadas and champagne for breakfast and stayed on the beach until dark every day. I have a total love affair with the country of Mexico. In another life, I believe I lived there.

Malawi, Central Africa

I hopped on a plane to Malawi two weeks later, alone. A challenge for both of us and an opportunity to love each other in a different way. I worked for 8 weeks for a non-profit in a malnutrition clinic on research to improve RUTF formulas. It was incredible work, but hard. Hard to see other human beings suffering so immensely. It was eye-opening for a million reasons. I felt so happy to be back working in the field after almost a year off with all of our traveling. It was on this trip that I went on safari at Majete Wildlife Park south of Blantyre, and hiked Mt. Mulange. Both great trips that challenged me tremendously- both mentally and physically.

Mt. Mulange

Cocoa Beach


My love and I were reunited in Cocoa Beach, Florida almost 2 months later. I'll never forget how good it felt to be back in his arms, back in my home country, my old stomping grounds, and back with my family for Thanksgiving. We spent our last month of the year snowshoeing and ice-fishing in Door County. Surrounded by family here in the snowy Midwest. 

Lake Michigan 

Door County has become somewhat of a second home for me these last 7 years. I'm so excited to be spending my last day of 2013 on this beautiful frozen peninsula. This year has left me feeling thankful, blessed, and so ready to jump into 2014 has for me. I wish you and your family a year full of health, laughter, and beauty- and the best year yet to come. Because it's the only one right in front of you.