30 Best RaulersonGirlsTravel Photos of 2018 (Year in Review)

Reflections on Loch Oich

Two thousand eighteen was a pivotal year for me. I started a new job in January that allowed me to travel a lot more than previous years. This was also the year that I focused on making this blog, Raulersongirlstravel, a business. At the end of the year, adding up what I have done so far includes: adding six more countries to my total of 18; making beneficial contacts at BlogHouse Memphis that propelled me to start making money on my blog; making some deep and lasting friendships at TBEX Ostrava; selling my first of hopefully many of my photos online; and quitting my job and leaving the corporate life to follow my dreams of traveling full-time in 2019. The following images are the 30 best Raulersongirlstravel photos of 2018.

Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville was my first work trip in 2018.  I went not sure what to expect on my first trip with the new company. I was pleasantly surprised. After working all day, the group leader made a point of showing us newbies around the town in the evening and on our last day before we flew back home. We explored Churchill Downs, went to the Louisville Slugger Museum, and had some unbelievable meals. Louisville is a great city to visit for a weekend. There is so much to see and do here!Churchill DownsLouisville Slugger Museum

Hot Brown

The Hot Brown at the Brown Hotel – An open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce and a whopping 345 calories, but so delicious!

Ontario, California 

I traveled to California many times this year, but only to Ontario which is not as scenic as other areas of California. Although one particular day we were on a drive and went through the mountains. I had to make them pull over so; I could get out and capture this view.

mountain view Ontario California

Dallas, Texas

Dallas was another city that I flew to for work. And since I was working, I wasn’t able to see much of it. Although the locals I talked to said there wasn’t much to see. I was fascinated by the Dallas Airport Car Rental Center. The set up reminded me of a mall. I got a kick out of how big this place was just for renting cars. They also had giant statues on pillars of a cowboy on horseback trying to rope two steers.  It is true what they say, “Everything is bigger in Texas.”Cowboy on horse at Dallas airport car rental

Holland, Michigan

Holland, Michigan has the largest tulip festival in the United States. For two weeks, in the spring, you can wander through the town and immerse yourself in colorful tulip displays of all varieties. This year, I flew my niece, Madison, to Michigan for a weekend of tiptoeing through the tulips. The weather didn’t exactly cooperate the whole time, but we made the best of the dry periods. Madison Orange Tulips in Holland MichiganTulip Festival Holland Michigan

Miami, Florida

My first time in Miami, I spent most of it driving around in traffic for work. But, on the off times, I was able to explore around my hotel as much as could comfortably with the warnings “Beware of poisonous snakes and alligators.” I was able to find some humongous iguanas lounging in the sunshine.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

One of my favorite vacations has been relaxing on the beach. And this year, my niece, Kayla, and I took a long weekend to Myrtle Beach and did just that. We spent the majority of our time laying on the beach, me getting tan and Kayla getting burnt. Why do young people insist on not wearing suntan lotion? We also splurged on a great dinner at the Rip Tydz Oceanfront Grille that was amazingly good.Sand Castle at Myrtle Beach - Best Raulersongirlstravel photos of 2018

Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis was the city where my realization happened to make this blog something bigger. I was invited to be a part of Bloghouse Memphis. This is where a small selective group of bloggers are invited to participate in an in-depth training conference geared to help you get to the next level. There were experienced mentors there to help us with our questions on SEO, affiliate programs, and provide an audit on our blog website. I learned so much and have already implemented many of their suggestions. I can’t wait to see how my site grows in the future! Bloghouse Memphis was also held at the infamous Peabody Hotel. And we were given a private viewing of our very own Duck March. We also worked extensively with Memphis Tourism. This was the first time I worked directly with a tourism board, and I was able to get a press pass to visit the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, National Civil Rights Museum, and Graceland. You can read more about my Memphis trip here.Ducks marching at The Peabody Hotel

Billiards room at Graceland

Billiards room at Graceland

Ostrava, Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is a wonderfully inexpensive country to visit in Central Europe. This summer, TBEX was held in Ostrava. This happened to be my third TBEX travel conference, but it was the one that made the most impact on me. I went on my first press trip and explored Pardubice and the East Bohemia region of Czechia. It was this trip that solidified my decision to travel full time. By being hosted by CzechTourism and East Bohemia I experienced staying overnight in a castle, riding go-karts, paddle boats on Lake Sec, and zip lining through the Czech forests. It was a fantastic adventure, and I want to go back and experience more of this fascinating country. You can read more about my adventures in Pardubice and East Bohemia.

lunch on Beskydy Mountain

Lunch on Beskydy Mountain

Andy, Sara, and me at Ostrava train station

My TBEX Travel Buddies: Check out their blogs – Andy (AvrexTravel), Sara (MajorHoffTakesAWife), and Me

Real Honest Guides (Honza, Janek, me, and a photo bomb from Kaleigh)

Meeting the guys from the Real Honest Guide – Honza, Janek, me, and a photobomb from Kaleigh (kktravelsandeats)

Hrad Kuneticka Hora

Hrad Kuneticka Hora in Pardubice

Zip Lining in Czech Republic

Zip Lining in the Czech Republic (Yes, that is me!)

Prague, Czech Republic

I was only in Prague for a very short time. Just enough actually to make some strong first impressions, but also to make me want to come back and explore more. The Old Town Square is way too touristy for me. It was very crowded, and with the astronomical clock being under repair (digital only) I wasn’t impressed. Although with the heat wave during the summer it was nice to see the fire engines spraying water into the crowd to cool everyone down. My friends, Skye and Sara, and I opted to go and watch a movie instead. It was really neat to watch the film with Czech subtitles. I was learning how to swear in Czech.

Afterward, we met up with the rest of the TBEX stragglers left in town for dinner at Manifesto Market. (I know I didn’t take this photo, but all my friends are in it so it got added). This is a great food market built within shipping containers that are cash only. There are tons of different food stalls to choose from. I couldn’t decide what to eat until I went from one to the next to see everything that was offered. I did not leave hungry there, and the lavender lemonades were terrific. It was at the end of this dinner when everyone was commenting on how that they were looking forward to going back home. In my head, all I could think was that I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to go home yet. I wanted to stay traveling. This is the moment that I knew I had to make changes to my future.Fire engine spraying the crowd in Prague

Friends meeting at Manifesto Market in Prague

Friends meeting at Manifesto Market in Prague

Amsterdam, Netherlands

It was only a few weeks later that I decided to go back to Europe for a weekend. This time, I visited Amsterdam with my own personal tour guide. We went on a free walking tour around the city, and now I’m so geeked about these and that they are offered all around Europe. I am so planning on going on more of these next year. The only thing I really wanted to do was go a canal cruise at night. And it was exactly as wonderful as I thought it would be! Even with how fabulous the cruise was, Amsterdam is too crowded for me, and I’m not a particular fan of the coffee shops. So, we opted to try a different city the next day.Canal Cruise in AmsterdamBicycle on Bridge in Amsterdam

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Rotterdam is my kind of city. It had tree-lined streets with cafes and restaurant patios, street murals everywhere, a bustling harbor, and fewer crowds. We happened to be there on a festival day. After walking around the town and being shown all the awesome instagrammable sites, we ended up sitting right on the edge of the harbor eating out of a paper cone of piping hot frites and listening to bands play right next to us. It was one of the best days I’ve had this year. I’ve always considered Scotland my ideal country, but Rotterdam moves up on my list of one of my favorite cities. I could see myself living in this city, and I’m definitely planning on coming back to explore more of this perfect town.

Cubes houses in RotterdamRotterdam

Edinburgh, Scotland

My last trip to Europe took me to my favorite country, Scotland. This time I came to stay for a long weekend in Edinburgh. I stayed at Adria House for the second time and just like the first time; they take care of you. From making sure you have everything you need in your room to providing you a packed breakfast if you have to leave early for a tour and have to miss breakfast. This visit had me exploring Rosslyn Chapel, taking a cruise on Loch Ness, taking a Grayline Scotland bus tour with tons of photography stops of the beautiful views of Scotland, and topping it off with a ghost tour of the underground vaults. I do so love this country! So much so, this is my first stop next year! My one-way ticket is booked for Edinburgh for January.

Rosslyn Chapel

Rannoch Moor (Lochan na h-Achlaise)

Rannoch Moor (Lochan na h-Achlaise)

Loch Ness Scotland

The calm water of Loch Ness

Reflections on Loch Oich

Reflections on Loch Oich

Tanzania, Africa

Last but, not least is my trip to Africa with Great Escapes Publishing over Thanksgiving. A new continent added to my list. This was an unbelievable trip in many ways. I met some amazing photographers that love traveling as much as I do and I hope that we run into each other on our travels in the future. I stayed in some amazing places where there were live animals right outside our tents at night. I saw and captured photos of animals that I have only seen in zoos before. And it is quite the experience to see them interact in their natural habitats. But, the highlight has to be what happened at our first photo review. This trip was designed for us to go on daily game drives then review them with critiques and tips from our professional photographer, Carli. At the review, she got to my photos and said out loud, “Damn, these are better than what I take.” This was such an amazing thing to hear from someone who I admire and has been working in the business that I aspire to be in. After that, it was a constant stream of compliments and admiration from the other photographers that I haven’t been accustomed to. At the end of the trip, Carli asked what is one thing I have learned, and with tears in my eyes I answered: “to be more confident in my photo taking skills.” She said “Definitely,” and that she can’t wait to see what I’m going to be doing in 5 years. Neither can I!

Leopard jumping off tree in Tarangire TanzaniaZebra butts in Tarangire Tanzania

I can’t tell you how motivating this trip was for me and how this entire year has shaped how it has ended and how 2019 will begin. I hope that you enjoyed the 30 Best Raulersongirlstravel Photos of 2018. And I hope you continue with me as I share my stories on my transition next year from working in a 9-5 job to traveling full-time as a photographer and travel blogger around the world.

2 Comments

  • Diane Hollands 28December2018 at 12:18 PM Reply

    Heather, you have inspired me to get moving more on my new life. I will be following, and maybe shadowing you a bit, if you don’t mind. I still remember your fabulous pictures of the leopard and those darn cute lion cubs.
    On to new learning! All very best to you in 2019!

    • Heather 28December2018 at 1:14 PM Reply

      Thank you, Diane! I hope that this gets you to add a few more places on your list to visit next year. And hopefully, we can meet up somewhere fun!

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