“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go. ” – Dr. Seuss
I check my hotmail account about once per week, if that. It is the place where all my junk mail gets sent, the email I use for any purchases or mandatory sign-ups, it pretty much gets the shaft. But every so often I’ll find the diamond in the ruff, this week it was in the form of a free 16×20 inch photo print via Shutterfly. I definitely could not pass up on this opportunity and immediately started scouring my iphoto library for the perfect picture. With WAY too many options to choose from, I limited myself to my world wonder travels, because I knew eventually I wanted them all framed and on my wall. This still left with me with at least a hundred photos of, Machu Picchu, Coliseum, Giza Pyramids and Petra to choose from. Helping myself out again, I figured it would be best to acquire these prints in chronological order, therefore narrowing it down to the plethora of glorious green and grey photos of the Incan ruins. Once I had made it to this step, the choice was easy, I wanted the full view of the ruins, while also including our six smiling faces. Done and done.
So anyways, this is the “short” back story to my inspiration for this post. Basically I LOVE making lists, and while browsing all the pictures I decided it was a good idea to compile a group of pictures, one from every country I have visited. So here it goes…retitled…Oh the Places I’ve Been…
1. Argentina 2005: The opportunity to play and tour around Argentina for 10 days with BringIt Promotions (now my agency) was something I could not pass up.
2. Austria 2011-14: I took my first trip to Austria on a road trip with my Dad, little did I know that I’d be living there for the next two years. Can you name the reenactment from the picture?
3. Croatia 2009-14: Road trips across the border for scrimmages became second nature playing in Koper, but my first real trip was with my teammate’s family to Mali Losinj. I’ve been back every summer since, so yeah, I’d say Croatia is a keeper.
4. Czech Republic 2010-13: A girls road trip from Koper to Prague during the Christmas season. Can you say FREEZING! I have ventured back to this great city a few more times, always something to see and do.
5. Dominican Republic 2008: A summer father daughter trip; including repelling for the first time, rafting and exploring some of the top Caribbean beaches.
6. Ecuador 2007: So blessed to experience JanTerm at Saint Mary’s, I chose to spend the entire month adventuring through Ecaudor with 15+ other students. From the rainforest to the Galapagos, every moment/memory has contributed to my cravings for travel.
7. Egpyt 2013: Lucky to be in Egypt at the right time, this country has so much more to offer than I could have ever anticipated. I truly hope the best for the county and the people, so that this treasure can continue to be shared with the world.
8. Germany 2012-13: Another place that we’d go for scrimmages, Germany is everything you would expect it to be. Clean, well managed, orderly…well, except when it comes to beer tents/houses. The couple visits I made to Munich were perfect, and now I just need to make it back for Oktoberfest.
9. Hungary 2012-13: Budapest is one of my favorite cities in Europe, I’ve been twice as a tourist and still have plenty more to see and do. And did I mention the food?!?! Fantastic and dirt cheap!
10. Italy 2009-14: Living about a ten minute drive from Italy, I think I have started to take it for granted. I picked the most cliche picture ever, because well, I still enjoyed every second of it. Venice, Romeo and Juliet, pizza, Rome, Gelato, you would think that they are all overhyped and overrated…well they ARE NOT! It’s every bit as glamorous, beautiful and tasty as it has always seemed to be.
You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights. You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest. Except when you don’t because, sometimes, you won’t. -Dr. Seuss
Before I continue the next 10 countries, here’s a few random thoughts. (1) The picture above is a wall decal I saw on etsy or pinterest or somewhere online. I think it’s a pretty awesome decal. Although maybe I little large, I’d like to get a print or something similar to be the centerpiece around my travel wall collage. This only semi-links to my previous post about printing travel photos. But at least I sort of tied it in. A lot of future plans roll around in this head of mine. (2) Reading “Oh the Places You’ll Go” absolutely never gets old. I love it. Ok, enough procrastinating…
11. Jordan 2013: It wasn’t the easiest country to get to from Egypt, but 100% worth the work. Wish I had more than the five days we stayed here, sometimes there’s just never enough time.
12. Laos 2007: Crossing the Friendship Bridge from Thailand to Laos was one of the best decision Emily and I have ever made. We found ourselves “stuck” in the backpacker town of Vang Vieng, tubbing, trekking, kayaking and even moto-ing throughout the postcard-esque landscapes.
13. Montenegro 2011: A road trip down the coast from Slovenia, with my agent and two other American volleyball players. Cory showed us how it’s done, stopping in awesome little coastal towns along the way. Each one was awesome in it’s own way, but the mother of them all had to be Dubrovnik.
14. Peru 2009 – Our first big group trip, Emily and I managed to corral six tourists ALL around Peru. From the tallest mountains to the most beautiful beaches, climbing among the Incan ruins to rafting on the crystal blue rivers, Peru had it all. But best of all, the stories that came from that trip, priceless.
15. Puerto Rico 2008: The second part of our father-daughter trip was Puerto Rico. More Americanized than we would have imagined, my Dad and I rented a car and drove around the entire island. The most unforgettable part, jumping on a tiny plane to head over to the tiny island of Vieques. We experienced something magical. The bioluminescent bay there is one of the most concentrated in the world, and the light show that ensued was indescribable (and also unable to be documented).
16. Romania 2011: Can you believe that the only picture I have from Romania is of our weird hotel shower? This was a really quick two night (barely) trip to Bacau for a CEV Cup match. We practiced, slept, ate, lost, slept and traveled home. But I still can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures. Fail.
17. Serbia 2012: This was another road trip, from Linz, Austria down to Belgrade, Serbia for a CEV match. I chose a picture from the van crossing the border, because well, that’s where we spent the majority of our time. Too much driving. I 100% need to go back to Serbia and experience it for reals.
18. Slovakia 2011-13: We played in the capital, Bratislava, twice per season when I played in Austria. That meant for me, I’d stick around a few times, exploring the city and what it had to offer. I was lucky enough to convince my teammates to do the same, and even had Dylan and Heather fly out for the weekend (from Germany). Great little city, and cost efficient.
19. Slovenia 2009-14: I’m probably biased, but I have to say it’s my favorite country in Europe. You can drive across the entire thing in about three hours, but that doesn’t mean it is lacking anything. Mountains, valleys, cities, seas it has it all. And don’t even get me started on the people, the best.
20. South Africa 2010: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this might be my favorite trip ever. Between the drama and excitement of World Cup, the mix of family and friends and the typical tourist adventures (safaris and shark diving), this trip will go down in history. Ayoba!
So that wraps up the next 10, I’ll hit you up with my final five later! (I know, I wish there were 10 more!)