15 Best RaulersonGirlsTravel Photos of 2022 (Year in Review)

Sailing with Sail Outer Banks on Ablemarle Sound in the Outer Banks

This year has been a rough struggle figuring out how to make a living as a freelance travel writer and photographer. With highs and lows being the norm for freelancers, I haven’t changed my mind that this is my path in life. Although I had several lows this year, I had some successes that I’m proud of. I published 13 articles in magazines and online outlets this year, and I contributed to my first published book – Capital Cities: A Journey Around The World Through 118 Capital Cities, which you can get at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and other book outlets. My travels were less frequent this year; however, the ones I did take were meaningful. Here are the best RaulersonGirlsTravel photos of 2022.

Sailing with Sail Outer Banks on Ablemarle Sound in the Outer Banks

Route 66 Signs

Vintage Ranch House Cafe Route 66 Sign in Tucumcari, New Mexico

I took a few road trips to Arizona to visit my friends Janet and Ian at Auld Macdonald Farm and drove along Route 66. I love taking pictures of the old Route 66 signs, especially in Tucumcari, New Mexico. This year I did stop at the Route 66 Museum in Clinton. Oklahoma, and even went on a press trip to Southeastern Kansas to explore their 13 miles of Route 66. Someday I will drive the entire Route 66 from Chicago to California.

Horseback Riding at Fort Huachuca, AZ

Heather horseback riding on Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista

My friend Kathy and I went horseback riding a couple of times while I was in Arizona. I haven’t been horseback riding in years, so getting back on a horse was wonderful. The first time we rode, we went on a busting trail ride, where we traversed down the mountain, not on a trail. It was exhilarating! The second time we went, we rode some new trails that gave us amazing views of the San Pedro Valley. I can’t wait to ride again the next time I’m there.

Photographing Hummingbirds in Sierra Vista, AZ

Black-Chinned Hummingbird in Arizona

The highlight of my year was getting an assignment for National Geographic. I will be working on this article early next year on hummingbirds. Spending time in the Hummingbird Capital of the World was beneficial to capture as many photos as possible that would be Nat Geo-worthy. I spent hours after morning chores on the ranch going out to capture photos of these little beauties that were so elusive to catch. Check out my SmugMug link to see some of my favorites.

Wright Brothers National Memorial

Orville Wright at the Wright Brothers National Memorial

Earlier this year, fellow travel writers invited me to the Outer Banks to explore, and explore we did. We had to deal with some windy weather, but we made the most of our time there. Did you know that this is where wind, climate, and dune height make perfect conditions for flight? One of the highlights was visiting the Wright Brothers National Memorial. This is where their first flight happened, and I enjoyed every minute there and did some cheesy posing as well.

Hang Gliding at the Outer Banks, NC

Heather Hang Gliding with Kitty Hawk Kites at Jockey's Ridge State Park

My first hang-gliding adventure was off the same dune that Orville took on one of his practice flights. I was anxious before the flight, but once my feet lifted off the sand, I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. This shows that you are never too old to try something new for the first time. You can watch all of my giddiness in the following video. I was determined to make it the farthest out of my group that I wore out my instructors.

Sailing on the Outer Banks

Sailing with Sail Outer Banks on Ablemarle Sound in the Outer Banks

Another first this year was my sailing adventure with Dan and Katherine of Sail Outer Banks. What a thrilling adventure, sitting toward the bow with the wind blowing through my hair, watching the brown pelicans glide above the water’s surface near our boat. And the exhilaration of captaining the sailboat and being allowed to maneuver the boat through the water with the wind was empowering. I’ve always found peace by the water, and after experiencing this, I want to go sailing again. Does anybody want to go with me?

Cape Hatteras National Sea Shore

View of the Atlantic Ocean from the Outer Banks

I’ve always enjoyed visiting National Parks and Memorials; now, I’m glad to add another National Seashore to my list. I was so glad to visit Cape Hatteras National Sea Shore on a clear day. A nor’easter hit the Outer Banks right before we arrived, so most of our stay was filled with wind and rain. This was our last day, and the sun came out for us to enjoy the water, lighthouse, and beach.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

I was fascinated by the cars/trucks that drove right on the beach and the fishermen with multiple fishing poles stuck in the sand with their lines out in the water. Besides them, I watched little sandpipers running into the surf, trying to get food in the sand before the waves came back in. It was a lovely way to spend our last morning in the Outer Banks.

H.E. Williams Candy Factory in Chesapeake, VA

H.E. Williams Candy Factory in Chesapeake, Virginia

This is probably the closest I’ll get to visiting Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. H.E. Williams Candy Factory is a family-owned candy-making business that has been creating these sugary sweets for over 100 years. We got to go into the small factory and watch them make the infamous Peach Buds with an old-fashioned Taffy Puller. This business is old-school, and you can’t even pay by credit card. However, that doesn’t stop them from selling out every day. And, of course, I bought a few bags home with me. My favorite is the Hot Rocks Candy with a strong cinnamon flavor.

Bergey’s Breadbasket in Chesapeake, VA

Heather playing with the goats at Bergey's Breadbasket
Photo Credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

A great family place to visit in Chesapeake, Virginia, is Bergey’s Breadbasket. A small store at the front sells delicious sandwiches and ice cream, but the highlight is what you find behind the store. This farm has a petting zoo that allows you to get up close with the animals, and I had a blast petting the baby goats. I think they also had as much fun getting up close to me.

River Dogs Kayaking in Chesapeake, VA

Heather kayaking with River Dogs Kayaking
Photo Credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Another adventure I had while in Chesapeake was kayaking on the south branch of the Elizabeth River with River Dogs Kayaking. It is a different kayaking experience as the owner has a tool that allows kayaks to be launched from the side of the boat, which allows us to kayak in new areas. This particular part of the Elizabeth River by the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway has shipwrecks to explore and many birds everywhere you look. This was my second time on a kayak, and I can definitely see myself doing this again. It is peaceful being on the water that is so still that you can hear birds swooping for fish nearby.

Cars on the Route in Galena, KS

Cars on Route in Galena, Kansas

I had a fascinating press trip to Southeastern Kansas right after my birthday. One of the highlights was seeing the 14 miles of Route 66 in Kansas. It isn’t a large portion of the Mother Road, but the activities and museums on the route were unique, including Cars on Route. Several stops along Route 66 in Galena are from the Disney Cars movie. Doc Hudson is right in front of Gearhead Curios, an old Texaco station. And Tow Tator is next to the Kan-O-Tex service station on old Route 66. This rusted tow truck was the inspiration for Tow Mater in Radiator Springs. You’ll find The Sheriff, Lightening McQueen, and Luigi a little distance down the road. If you love the movie Cars, you must visit Cars on the Route in Galena, Kansas.

Martin & Osa Johnson Safari Museum in Chanute, KS

Martin & Osa Johnson Safari Museum in Chanute, Kansas

The most memorable place I visited this year was the Martin & Osa Johnson Safari Museum in Chanute, Kansas. Martin & Osa were the very first travel bloggers from 1917. They documented their travels through film and stories, just like how we do it today. This museum gave me a profound sureness that I’m on the right path and more ideas on where I want to travel next. They were both truly inspirational people who took the less-traveled path and forged a new destiny for themselves from the ordinary into the extraordinary.


Robin and Heather at Cape Hatteras National Sea Shore
Photo Credit: Teresa Otto

For the limited travel that I had this year, I accomplished a lot of exhilarating firsts, including hang gliding and sailboating. I was disappointed I missed doing something or going somewhere special for my big milestone birthday last year. However, I have to say that doing these adventures this year made up for it a bit. And I made some great new lasting friendships along the way. I hope you have enjoyed reading about my favorite moments and the best RaulersonGirlsTravel Photos of 2022.

My chosen career path is challenging, and most of my family doesn’t understand why I don’t return to the stable engineering world. However, it isn’t for them to understand my life as long as I do. I chose this path for myself and those who love to travel and want to be inspired through my stories to travel themselves. So, here’s to a new year with more travel, opportunities, happiness, and luck!

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Further Reading

If you are traveling the United States this year, check out these posts for extra travel inspiration:


  • Mcarthur Joanne 28December2022 at 8:04 PM Reply

    The trips you took this year may not have been International but it looks like you enjoyed yourself siteseeing in the USA! Keep the faith and more trips will be coming your way.

  • Teresa Otto 28December2022 at 1:42 PM Reply

    Yes, I agree with Robyn. The hummingbird photo is absolutely perfect! Thanks for sharing your photos, Heather!

    • Heather 28December2022 at 8:21 PM Reply

      Thank you, Teresa. I’m glad you liked them. It means a lot from a fellow photographer!

  • Robin Smith 27December2022 at 9:37 PM Reply

    Loved all your pics. My favorite is the hummingbird. I think National Geographic should use it as the cover.

    The photo of you with the goats…is that the one I took of you? It looks good. Thanks for including a photo of me as a new friend. Here is to more travel in 2023.

    • Heather 28December2022 at 7:52 AM Reply

      You actually took a few of those photos. Thanks for being a great friend this year and I’m looking forward to traveling with you next year!

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