Happy New Year! As today marks the beginning of a brand new year, I thought it would be fun to do a recap of the best of the blog in 2014. 2014 brought many adventures with a trips to Cuba, Ethiopia, Bolivia, New York, Washington DC and several visits to Arizona. It was a whirlwind year in which I was somewhere other than home for over a total of 8 weeks.

My blog has grown in maturity as January marks the fourth year anniversary since I timidly wrote my first post. Looking back, I had no idea what I was doing and the first several months of posts were more like a travel diary than a blog. Yet these were the posts that kept me going and today as my blog has matured more into what I want it be. I look forward to what the new year will bring and can’t wait to get back to my regular posting. Wishing you all a wonderful 2015 filled with joy, adventure, peace and love. Thank you for following me along.

Taking aside the posts that for some reason continually get a ton of internet search hits, here are the top five posts of 2014 on my blog in order of popularity:

1. Out of Africa: A Drive through Ethiopia’s Rift Valley

My June trip as a fellow with the International Reporting Project was a huge highlight of the year. I spent two weeks in Ethiopia reporting on newborn and maternal health and fell in love with the country. I wrote many posts on the trip but this post stood out in popularity. It was picked up by the Ethiopian diaspora press in the US and was read thousands of times by Ethiopians who left their country and longed for photos from their homeland.

Rural Ethiopia

2. Un”belizable” Belize: A Day at Rendezvous Caye

Last Christmas, we went on a family cruise that included Mexico and Belize. We spent a day with our family visiting a tiny little caye in the midst of the gorgeous blue-green waters off Belize. It was a wonderful family memory that I wrote about at the start of January 2014 after we returned from the trip.


My daughter Sophia and her cousin Hanna watch the ocean en route to our tiny caye.

3. The Art of Surviving a Minnesota Winter

Last winter was one of the coldest winters on record in Minnesota. We experienced our first “polar vortex” of extreme frigid air that bottomed out many times at 20-30 below zero. The kids were kept home from school and my window panes froze. People wondered why on earth I’d ever chose to live in such a cold, extreme climate. This post explains why.

frost on windows

Taking a look out my bathroom window, it is covered in brilliant diamonds of frost.

4. Exploring Central Havana’s Hamel’s Alley

I loved this post because this place was so incredibly cool! A dear, fellow blogger recommended the post via twitter to WordPress and its as Freshly Pressed shortly after. I love all the color and culture in the photos.


5. In the Background: Life in a Delhi Slum

Although this post was written in May of 2013, it still remains one of the top posts of 2014 and one of my personal favorites. It is a post about poverty, despair and hope. The social good stories that I love to tell and hope will make an impact.



My Top Five Favorite Photos of 2014:

This is a hard one for me because I tend to take a zillion pictures when I travel. I have found the besides landscape shots of mountains I have come to love photographing the amazing people I have met around the world. Each photo has its own special story that I shared on my blog. Here are my five favorites of the year.

Ethiopia – Mosebo Village June 2014

Mosebo Village Ethiopia

Girls in rural Ethiopia

Havana, Cuba – February 2014

Havana, Cuba

Old Cuban Friends

Lake Tana, Bahir Dar Ethiopia – June 2014

Lake Tana Ethiopia

The highlight of the trip was a boat tour in search of hippos and the island monasteries on Lake Tana.

Havana, Cuba – February 2014

Havana Cuba

Project Mercy – Ethiopia. June 2014



Top Internet Searched and Viewed Posts: 

This is mostly for fun as I honestly don’t know how much some of these were read but these five posts below were the top posts that were searched and viewed via internet search engines.

A New American: The Rise of Somalis in Minnesota

With over 11,000 views this year, this post lead the way of the top posts found by searching google and other internet search engines.

The notoriety of Being Blonde in China

This post which isn’t the best (I’m being honest here! It is one of my older posts) is very popular in the search engines and comes in second place with over 8,000 hits and views.

Miss Representation: How Women are Truly Viewed in Society and Why it Damns Us

Again, this post had a lot of hits and views. I liked this post but it wasn’t as popular with my readers.

The meaning of Mom

This post is a tribute to my mother on Mother’s Day. Obviously thousands of people are searching these words on the internet!

Women in Morocco

I enjoyed writing this post. I spent a week volunteering in Rabat, Morocco and learned a lot about the culture there. This post was written a few years ago but still ranks in the top five internet searched and viewed posts.

Looking Back…..

As I end this post and say goodbye to 2014, I want to add in my most special moment and highlight of the year. A hiking trip to Bolivia with my dad. I am so grateful for this time together and I look forward to our next trip and finishing all my posts on Bolivia.

Condoriri trailhead Bolivia

My dad and I at the start of our first hike, to Mount Jaillaico (16,800 feet)

 Happy New Year!


    1. Why thank you! 🙂 I like recaps too. For me, it is great way to reflect and think about what each year brings to us. Happy New Year to you too! 🙂

  1. What a fabulous year you have had Nicole! Thank you for taking us along on your journey. I know I am richer for it. May you have a year of abundance and much love. 🙂

  2. What a great year that you have passed!
    Happy wonderful new year to you and your family, Nicole.
    May it brings new blessings and new hopes to all of us 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.