Goodbye 2013: Our year of travel in pictures

Posted on 31. Dec, 2013 by in Argentina, Arizona, Bolivia, Chicago, Chile, Germany, New Mexico, Photo Essay, Travel Reflections, Uruguay

I remember leaving for the airport in London like it was yesterday. Dani kept looking at me with my big, funny backpack, and I at hers (and the extra bag she had filled with magazines she just had to finish before we left the U.S.) as we walked to catch the bus to the airport. We were filled with exhilaration that we were actually free – like high school seniors on the last day of school.

2010 brought us from Europe, through the US and Mexico to Central America, it was an unforgettable 2011 through Central America, Europe, Canada, the US and then Thailand. In 2012 we spent time in South East Asia, India and finally to South America.

Now here we are, this is the FOURTH time that we’re looking back at our year of travel. 2013 was as much a year of city-hopping as it was spent in some of the least populated areas of natural beauty on Earth. Our travel style was mostly on four wheels overland and technically slow, visiting only seven countries, but we covered a huge portion of this planet this year across Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, the US, Germany, Bolivia and Peru.

Follow along as we look back at what we are still able pack in, nearly four years after setting off on this nomadic adventure. Click through on the dozens of links to read in more detail about each of these stops along the way.

The year began in Santiago, where we housesat for two months. We still think often about our two adorable Scottie dogs there.

1 january santiago de chileWe were practically becoming locals, so we had to rip ourselves away at the start of February to start our travels through Chile. We began in Valparaiso, and fell in love with this colorful city on the Pacific.

colorful houses in valparaisoFrom there we headed to the Lake District and the island of Chiloe, before returning to the Argentine side of the Andes to explore Bariloche and Nahuel Huapi National Park with its famous black glacier. Then it was time to hit Patagonia.

2 bariloche cathedralAfter that infamously long 27 hour bus ride, we landed in El Chalten, where Dani set off on some solo hikes, and continued to El Calafate, where we visited the impressive Perito Moreno Glacier.

2 argentina perito moreno glacierThen it was back over the border to Chile to see Torres Del Paine. We opted for a full day tour of the National Park, and it became one of our favorite places in all of Patagonia.

3 chile torres del paineAfter a few days in Puerto Natales, the base town for Torres del Paine, we continued our journey south and traveled to Tierra Del Fuego via the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas before finally reaching Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, after hitchhiking from Chile back into Argentina.

UshuaiaOur next stop was Uruguay, a quick flight from Ushuaia, where we visited Montevideo (and almost got robbed!) and the dreamy colonial town Colonia del Sacramento.

3 uruguay colonia del sacramentoOf course we couldn’t leave without visiting some of Uruguay’s famous beaches!

3 march uruguay punta del este3 uruguay beach dayAt the end of March, we went from Uruguay to the north of Argentina and spent a lovely week in Rosario, before we made a 48-hour bus detour to the Iguazu Falls – a detour that was well worth it!

4 argentina dani and jess iguazu fallsWe continued our journey through Northern Argentina to Salta, a city we didn’t love as much as we thought we would, but we fell for the small wine town of Cafayate four hours south of there.

4 cafayate streetThe road took us back north through Salta to Jujuy, where we rented a car to road trip through the Quebrada de Humahuaca for two days.

4 purmamarca street and seven color hillHere we also stopped at the first of three sets of salt flats we’d see this year. 4 argentina salinas grandes salt flats salt rainAfter returning the car, we took a bus to San Pedro De Atacama in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

4 san pedro de atacama streetIt turns out that we seriously love this town and the surrounding scenery on this first of two visits to San Pedro in 2013, and were actually excited to know we’d be making our way back up here again later in the year to continue our travels to Bolivia from here.

4 april northern chile atacama desertDuring this first visit, we took a tour that showed us some of the breathtaking landscapes around San Pedro…

4 april chile atacama desert… including salt flats #2.

4 salt flats chile atacama desertBut instead of heading north to Bolivia from here, we broke our South America journey to fly to New York City for a two-month housesitting gig that made our dream of living in New York come true (at least temporarily!). We landed in New York just in time for our third anniversary as nomads and loved ‘our’ two cats and ‘our’ apartment, just a five-minute walk from the Brooklyn Bridge.

6 brooklyn bridge new yorkIn June, we flew straight to Germany to test out five weeks living in Berlin, which is now one of our favorite cities in the world.

7 alexanderplatz at nightWe couldn’t have asked for a more perfect summer in Germany, where we were featured in the Suddeutsche Zeitung, one of the national newspapers and interviewed by a major radio station about our housesitting book before flying back to the US in August.

sueddeutscheIt felt great to jet set in the summer as we flew from Berlin to New York to spend the weekend. We were mainly on a quest to find the best pizza in NYC, but also had time to revisit some of our favorite places off the beaten path and cycle through Manhattan on the Citibikes.

8 best pizza in williamsburg brooklyn new york city white pizza5 dani roosevelt islandOur next stop was Tucson, to a housesit we’ve done three times now for homeowners and a dog, Miss Millie, who we just love! We enjoyed some quality time by the pool and the desertscape that we love so much.

8 Jess and Millie in TucsonIn September, we took off on one of the best adventures of this year: a road trip through New Mexico, which would finally bring us all the way back to Chicago via Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa.

We started at the amazing yet little-visited Gila Cliff Dwellings, followed by the otherworldly White Sands…

9 white sands jess & daniThen we spent Jess’ birthday at Carlsbad Caverns before moving on to the aliens of Roswell, Las Vegas (the small New Mexican town) and Albuquerque…

9 carlsbad cavernsThen we hit Santa Fe, explored Georgia O’Keeffe country, the Bandelier Cliff Dwellings, various Pueblos and then finally spent time in magical little Taos, our last stop in New Mexico. Here we got to trek down into the Rio Grande gorge with llamas and our wonderful guide Stuart of Wild Earth Llama Trekking.

9 bandelier monument new mexicoAfter 19 incredible days on the road, we reached Chicago, where we visited friends and family, hit plenty of our favorite sightseeing spots and ate our way across the city.

10 bean reflections at night chicagoChicago is where Dani got to experience her first ‘real’ Halloween in the U.S.! Look at what we did to her face! :)

10 globetrottergirls halloweenIn what now, looking back, seems like our year of New York City, we spent another long weekend in Manhattan before hopping onto the return leg of our flight back down to Santiago, Chile – but not without eating more pizza, spending time in Williamsburg, meeting up with quite a few good friends and watching the New York Marathon.

11 New York sunsetFinally we flew down to enjoy all the things we love about Santiago – and just in time for the perfect spring weather (and escaping the freezing cold New York weather that hit the day after we left!)

11 santiago lastarria churchInstead of pushing through on the 24 hour bus ride to San Pedro De Atacama, we visited three new places on the way: La Serena, a quiet though sizable colonial town with a wide beach seven hours from Santiago by bus. This is the jumping-off point for the beautiful Elqui Valley, which became one of our five favorite places in all of Chile.

11 la serena street with churchThen we traveled 19 hours through the narrow piece of land between the Andes and the Pacific to Iquique, a beach city in the north of Chile. The town grew on us slowly, and we ended up enjoying our fourth visit to the Pacific in 2013. This was our last beach visit of the year, too.

11 sea lions in iquiqueThen we went on to San Pedro and made sure to visit the Tatio geyser fields – an incredible piece of desert nearly 5,000m high where geysers explode, gurgle and spurt. It was well worth the 4am wake-up call to see the geyser field at sunrise.

11 geyser de tatio chileAfter a few days of an obsessive amount of research on good tour companies, we finally jumped on our three day off-roading tour through Bolivia’s South West, otherwise known as the Salar de Uyuni salt flats tour. Our first ever border crossing in a jeep, on a tour and in the middle of absolutely nowhere, there was so much more than the salt flats. We saw more otherworldly landscapes, volcanoes, flamingos, lagoons and rock formations of just about every shape and color imaginable.

11 Bolivia laguna verde11 laguna hedionda flamingos bolivia11 arbol de piedra and mountain boliviaOn the last day of the tour we spent sunrise out on our third set of salt flats for the year, which also just so happen to be the largest salt flats in the world, the Salar De Uyuni.

11 Bolivia salt flatsThen we started our travels through Bolivia, with our first stop in the 4000m-high colonial town of Potosi. For those of you who think in feet, this is 13,500 ft high, or almost three ‘mile-high’ Denver cities stacked on top of one another. This is officially the highest city in the world, and we enjoyed the beautifully maintained historic town center which was a great introduction to the country – although just walking its hilly streets was a massive challenge at that altitude.

12 potosi viewsNext were three weeks in both of Bolivia’s capitals: first in Sucre, the official capital (and a city we spent two weeks battling a massive stomach bug that practically laid us flat for half the time)…

12 sucre street bolivia…and then La Paz, the de facto seat of the government. It was from here that we signed up (read: Dani signed US up!) for the mountain bike trip down the world’s most dangerous road – and survived (barely :) ).

12 death road boliviaOur final stop in 2014 was Lake Titicaca, first on the Bolivian side in Copacabana, where we spent Christmas, then followed by a couple of days on the Isla del Sol and then crossing the border into our first stop in Peru – Puno – where we are celebrating New Year’s Eve.

lake titicaca with boats copacabana bolivia

This was a big year for us as The GlobetrotterGirls as well!

We released a second and much, much sexier version of our book, The Ultimate Guide to Housesitting – check that out here if you want to start housesitting in 2014.

We started the Break Free podcast, where I interview globetrotting women who have created the incredible life balance of running successful businesses while traveling the world. You can listen on the website or subscribe in iTunes.

Then there was the launch of our Escape Route travel planning and consulting service. We seriously love helping people make the most of the travels, and we’ve loved being able to help readers and clients plan their perfectly customized holidays.

Perhaps most exciting for us is the launch of our GlobetrotterGirls Getaways – starting with our seriously epic overland trip from San Francisco to Seattle in May 2014. If you’re interested in joining us on a seriously unique trip (in a custom-converted American school bus!) read more about the Getaways here. Early-Bird pricing ends today, December 31st, so if you’re interested, save $150 and put down your deposit today!

Dani and Jess in Argentina

Thanks so much for following along on our journey in 2013. Stick with us in 2014 for even more epic adventures through Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, the US, Europe and who knows where we’ll end 2014!!

Happy New Year!

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32 Responses to “Goodbye 2013: Our year of travel in pictures”

  1. Lauren

    31. Dec, 2013

    Amazing, amazing photos! I’m so ridiculously excited to get to South America in 2014 now :-)
    Lauren recently posted..2013: My Travels In Photos

    Reply to this comment
  2. Sam

    01. Jan, 2014

    What a jam-packed year! Looking forward to seeing what you thought of Lake Titicaca.
    Sam recently posted..December 2013 Report

    Reply to this comment
    • Dani

      01. Jan, 2014

      Thanks, Sam! We loved the Isla Del Sol and the villages along the lake (between Copacabana and Yampupata) where we met the friendliest people in all of Bolivia (seriously!). We weren’t big fans of Puno or Copacabana though. Happy New Year to you and Zab!

      Reply to this comment
  3. Jeff

    01. Jan, 2014

    What a recap. Looking forward to read more of your experiences this year 2014. Keep it up.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Monica

    02. Jan, 2014

    Wow, what an incredible year!
    Monica recently posted..Highlights from 2013

    Reply to this comment
    • Dani

      05. Jan, 2014

      Thanks, Monica! Your 2013 looks amazing, too!! Africa, India, Barbados… wow!! Here’s to another incredible year of travel :)

      Reply to this comment
  5. sarah

    02. Jan, 2014

    OMG! Being just 4 months into our new nomadic travel life reading your recap of 2013 makes me soooo excited for 2014! Although I will savor every second of the coming year I can’t help but anticipate what my 2014 reap will look like!
    Thanks for the inspiration as always lovely ladies.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Hogga

    02. Jan, 2014

    happy new year!

    Reply to this comment
  7. Oliver

    02. Jan, 2014

    Lovely recap of the past 365 days and almost wanderlust overdose! Felt a bit like a tremendous written and visual hitch-hike, so thanks for taking your readers along on your amazing journey!!
    My very best wishes to the two of you and best of luck with all the small and big adventures and surprises throughout the year! May life embrace you and vice versa… :)
    Oh, and I’m already looking forward to your recap of the first decade of the globetrotter girls circling the globe! ;)
    Take care and speak soon…
    Oliver recently posted..Happy New Year(ning)…

    Reply to this comment
  8. Angela

    02. Jan, 2014

    Looks like a great and busy year for the two of you! Travel on!
    Angela recently posted..2013 Travel Round Up

    Reply to this comment
    • Dani

      05. Jan, 2014

      Thanks, Angela! Your 2013 round-up doesn’t look too shabby, either ;-) Gets us excited for our time in the PNW this spring!!

      Reply to this comment
  9. Alfredo Begazo

    03. Jan, 2014

    Nice recap. Looking forward to read more of your experiences this year 2014!!!!
    Alfredo Begazo recently posted..The Galapagos Islands

    Reply to this comment
    • Dani

      05. Jan, 2014

      Thanks, Alfredo! We hope that the Galapagos Islands will make our top travel experiences (next month!) :)

      Reply to this comment
  10. Aisha

    04. Jan, 2014

    Nice recap, I love reading about your adventures. I hope you’ll do a Tops and Flops post soon, as those posts are my favorite.

    Reply to this comment
    • Dani

      05. Jan, 2014

      Thanks, Aisha! We stopped doing our 100 days round-ups at 1000 days, but I think we’ll revive the Tops & Flops, favorite moments, etc. for each country! :)

      Reply to this comment
  11. Wow what a fabulous year! Your photos from Bolivia make me really want to go there! Next time you’re in NY let me know- would love to meet up again! :) Happy New Year!
    Jessica | A Passion and A Passport recently posted..2013 Travel Highlights and 2014 Travel Plans

    Reply to this comment
    • Dani

      05. Jan, 2014

      Thanks, Jess! Bolivia is well worth a trip, yes!! We hope we can squeeze in a visit to NYC this year – miss that city so much!! Let’s meet for some Artichoke Bastille pizza :D

      Reply to this comment
  12. Amazing photos- they make me want to just follow you around in your footsteps!! You guys have especially made me want to travel to Bolivia, a place I had never really given much thought to before!
    Casey @ A Cruising Couple recently posted..Experiencing Community and Karma at Om | Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

    Reply to this comment
    • Dani

      05. Jan, 2014

      Casey – Please feel free to follow in our footsteps :) The landscapes in Bolivia are just amazing! And it’s super cheap. Definitely DON’T miss it on your way south!

      Reply to this comment
  13. Alex

    06. Jan, 2014

    Happy New Year, you rockstars! I think you left something important off this list though… meeting Alex :P
    Alex recently posted..Earning Abroad: Doing Farm Work in Australia

    Reply to this comment
  14. Nina

    07. Jan, 2014

    That’s pretty good looking year!
    Happy new year to you and I wish you great travels for 2014. I have South America on my to do list but might not make it there this year.
    Nina recently posted..Location independent lifestyle: Chiang Mai

    Reply to this comment
    • Dani

      07. Jan, 2014

      Thanks, Nina! Happy New Year to you, too! We hope you’ll make it to South America soon (maybe next year?) – so worth visiting! :)

      Reply to this comment
  15. Ross

    10. Jan, 2014

    Amazing photos. Looks like an incredible year. I spent a while all over South America and I think it is the most fascinating continent. The photos bring me back

    Reply to this comment
    • Dani

      14. Jan, 2014

      Thanks, Ross! It sure is an incredible continent – so diverse, and so many things to see. It would take years to explore it properly :) Looking forward to seeing more of it this year!

      Reply to this comment
  16. Wesley

    13. Jan, 2014

    I love the pictures.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Ryan

    18. Jan, 2014

    Awesome photos, love the boot one…very cool perspective! Seems like 2013 was an epic year for you…here is to another great year!
    Ryan recently posted..An experience with a Ghost in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand that brought me to tears

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