By Cacinda Maloney

Tonight as I reflect on the tremendous travel that I did this year, not knowing what my 2014 travel year will look like, I take a few moments to pause and thank you all, my readers, my sponsors and my travel friends for all the experiences I had this year.  I am all about the destinations and then the experience I have when I am there, and this year was spectacular!

9 countries and 33 cities!!

as compared to 2012, which was:

8 countries and 38 cities.

I started out the year in a sleepy little town I had been dying to see for years:  Zihuatanjeo, Mexico.  We had an amazing stay at the great condo overlooking the beach and just minutes walk down to the shore.  It was a grand vacation for the family and we did enjoy our time there.

Ziahuatanejo Mexico

Ziahuatanejo Mexico

Then from the warm waters to the freezing snow, up next was a quick week’s jaunt to Berlin, Germany in the dead of winter.  What was I thinking when I booked that ticket?  Well, there was the world’s largest travel show going on, so maybe that had a little to do with it!

Germany, Berlin

Germany, Berlin

Next Colorado Springs, CO, because I got a great invitation from the “Frequent Flying World” and that was to meet the original Frequent Flyer Randy Petersen , founder of Flyertalk and Milepoint, which are two large communities of frequent fliers.  He was a man after my own heart as he is also a tequila connoisseur.

Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado Springs, CO

Next up, another convention of travel bloggers and an invitation to Bloghouse in Toronto, where I honed my skills as a travel writer/blogger/photographer.   Thanks Navigate Media Group!

Niagara Falls, Canada

Niagara Falls, Canada

This next country was the one that I was most amazed (ok stunned) at its beauty and how pristine everything was.  She is a stunner and a must visit place:  Norway.  I was able to visit Oslo, Stavanger, Pulpit Rock, Bergen and Flam at the invitation of VisitNorwayUSA.

Flam, Norway

Flam, Norway

Now closer to home, an Arizona easy vacation, only a 4 hour drive is Puerto Penasco, otherwise known as “Rocky Point“.  An old favorite that has changed so much through the years.

Rocky Point, Mexico

Rocky Point, Mexico

Then back to what seems like an old lover, Italy stole my heart a long time ago and this time was no exception.  I can never get enough of Italy, that is for sure.  This time I landed in Genoa and made my way to Bocadasse, Comogli, Santa Margarita and then to the creme de la creme Portofino.  This region is called Liguria and I cannot say enough about how much I love this region (skipping my beloved Nervi this visit.)

Genoa, Italy

Genoa, Italy

From there, up to Milan, down to Bologna and now I am in another favorite region Emilia-Romagna.  This was a first time visit to this region and I have to say, it is amazing as well!  From Forli and Cesena and little towns in between, myself and 5 other travel bloggers traversed that region to our hearts content. And then one quick jaunt to Venice.  As being this close, I could not resist! One can never get enough Venice, this time staying in the Castello neighborhood, a bit off the main tourist area.

Portofino, Italy

Portofino, Italy

The next country was a return trip for me, but of course, I love the Irish, so Ireland was once again fabulous.  This time to the city of Dublin and from there Adare, Kilkinney, Kilarney, Dingle and Cork.  I never can get too much Ireland and its friendly people.

Kilarney, Ireland

Kilarney, Ireland

Following this trip, I ended up in a place I just have a hard time with, yet said “The third time is the charm” and that is Las Vegas, NV.

Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas, NV

And finally, I was one of five lucky writers to be invited to Thailand and Malaysia with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Malaysian Tourism Board.  How lucky is that?

James Bond Island, Thailand

James Bond Island, Thailand

A two week tour through SE Asia!  In Thailand, I had a chance to visit Bangkok and Phuket.  In Malaysia, it was Penang, Georgetown, Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh.  I have not had a chance to introduce you to my sights and sounds, but that will be coming up first thing in 2014, as I have a dedicated SE Asia month.  I look forward to reminiscing about my travels through this wonderful region.

Ipoh, Malaysia

Ipoh, Malaysia

Unfortunately, my white Christmas to the mountains of Telluride, CO got cancelled due to a health situation, but hey, I think my year turned out pretty great!

Also, two awesome travel bloggers interviewed me this year back to back in December.  One was by TJ over at Mighty Travels and the other by Brandon at EyeandPen.  It was a pleasure to answer a few questions about how and why I travel.

 

  Overall, I would say it was a good year!  I am blessed and humbled to do this in my life.

 

 

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