Julie RTW 44 Comments

This is a recap of the first 12 months of our trip around the world. So, here we are, 32 countries visited, 365 days of travel, and thousands of memories made.

Here is a recap of our year, shown with our 100 favorite photos. In no particular order at all, here are some of our best moments, favorite spots, and unforgettable things we have done. Most captions link back to the post for anyone interested. Enjoy!

365 Days of Travel

Our year around the world began in Rome, Italy.  Here are Tyler and Kara, on day three of the trip, happy to be in Italy, eating pasta, and wondering just what this year holds in store for us.

Italy with Kids

We love taking these goofy family photos.  We shoot a few serious ones but the crazy ones are our favorites.  Here we are in Tuscany, at the very beginning of our adventure, fresh, clean, a little naive, and ready for anything.

Earth Trekkers Italy

A hot air balloon ride over Bagan, Myanmar.

Myanmar Balloons

Trekking back from Everest Base Camp. Our guide, Indra, is leading the way.

Trekking Nepal

On safari at Kruger National Park in South Africa, we took a sunrise excursion to look for lions and hit the jackpot. Isn’t she a beauty?


Hiking the Puez-Odle Altopiano in the Dolomites, Italy.

Italy View

Pure fun…riding ostriches while on the Garden Route of South Africa.

Ostrich Riding

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE. In my opinion, this is the most beautiful building in the world.

Grand Mosque

Hiking Kings Canyon in Australia.

Kings Canyon

Tyler with the holy men in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Tyler Rivenbark Nepal

Setting off lanterns on New Years Eve in Chiang Mai, Thailand.


Beautiful Vernazza, one of our favorite views while hiking along the Cinque Terre in Italy.


Auckland, New Zealand, a beautiful city in one of the world’s most beautiful countries.


Bayon…I never knew this existed before coming to Siem Reap, Cambodia.  The world is full of surprises.


Tuk tuks and motorbikes on the streets of Varanasi, India.

India Street

Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. This was taken in September 2014. Everything from the face up was destroyed in the earthquakes that hit Nepal in April and May 2015.


Fiji has the best sunsets.

Fiji Sunset

Great White Shark cage diving in South Africa, one of the coolest things we have done.


The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar.


Going on safari at Chobe National Park in Botswana was probably our favorite activity of the entire year. The amount  of wildlife we saw was amazing, as was sleeping out in tents at night, hearing lions and other animals off in the distance.


Walking through the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam.


Going on a camel safari in the Indian desert just outside of Jaisalmer.

Camel Safari

Hiking in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Hiking New Zealand

Mt Everest seen from our flight from Kathmandu, Nepal to Paro, Bhutan.


Zebras and their reflections, on safari at Kruger National Park.


The Star Ferry in Hong Kong.

Star Ferry

Looking up from the courtyard of the campanile in Siena, Italy.

In Siena

One of many spectacular wood carvings on the buildings in Bhutan.


The storybook castle of Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, Germany.


Driving the Sani Pass from South Africa into Lesotho.

Sani Pass

In Vietnam, it is amazing what people carry on their motorbikes.  This is one of our favorites.


Longtail boats of Krabi, Thailand.

Thai Boats

Sunset in the Sydney Harbor, Australia.

Sydney Australia

On safari in Kruger National Park again, this time capturing the ostriches who are posing perfectly for a photo.


Touring the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.

Mekong Delta

Siem Reap, Cambodia was one of our favorite places we visited.

Earth Trekkers Cambodia

That’s quite a cigar!  Meeting the people in Bagan, Myanmar.

Old Lady

Sunset in Florence, Italy.

Photographing Florence

A Nepali girl we passed on our Everest Base Camp Trek, photo taken at Namche Bazaar.

Nepal Girl

Shanghai is one of the world’s largest and most crowded cities but it sure does clear out when it rains!

Street Signs

Cycling the Li River Valley in Yangshuo, China.


A different perspective of the Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal

Cycling the Marlborough wine region in New Zealand.


Trashi Chhoe Dzong in Thimpu, Bhutan.


Rock climbing in Krabi, Thailand.  Kara was a natural and she may have found herself a new sport to pursue once we are back in Maryland.

Kara Rivenbark

Angkor Wat through the haze.

Angkor Wat

New Zealand is filled with awe inspiring views.

Roys Peak

Visiting a floating market on the Mekong Delta, Vietnam.


Making it to Everest Base Camp…challenging, rewarding, an accomplishment to be proud of.

Everest with Kids

Posing in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Da Nang

Selva di Cadore, our home base in the Dolomites, Italy.  This is a place I want to return to.

Selva di Cadore

Krabi, Thailand was one of our favorite places…for the rock climbing, island hopping out to Koh Phi Phi, the beaches, and the place where we celebrated Christmas.

Phra Nang Beach

Playing soccer in Swaziland.

Swaziland Soccer

Walking the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal.


The quintessential Vietnamese scene… rice fields just outside of Hoi An.

Rice Fields

I am so glad Tyler urged us to do this and we all had the courage to go through with it, Bungy jumping in New Zealand.

Julie Rivenbark

It takes several hours to hike to this viewpoint, the Tigers Nest in Bhutan.  This monastery is built into the cliff walls high above the ground.

Tigers Nest

Another favorite memory, feeding the African Elephants just outside of Knysna, South Africa.  We LOVED this, feeding them fruit, getting slimed, watching these elephants push each other’s trunks out of the way.  This was pure fun and after this, no elephant encounter in Asia even came close to just how awesome this was.

Feeding Elephants

This is paradise.  Modriki Island, Fiji.


While driving through the South Island of New Zealand, it is hard to go far without stopping to take yet another photograph.  We caught the morning mist perfectly when driving from Queenstown to Wanaka.


What’s better than meeting a Vietnamese man and his buffalo?  Getting a chance to sit on it, too.

Kara in Da Nang

Tim’s view while hiking through the Dolomites, Italy.

Tim in Italy

Entrance to a Buddhist monastery while trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal.

Monastery Gate

It was always wonderful having our Moms join us.  Here we are at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls

It’s so colorful and perfect that it is hard to believe it’s real…Rothenburg, Germany.


Victoria Terminus train station in Mumbai, India. I spy only two women.

India Train Station

Another hike through the Dolomites.  Other than Norway, the Dolomites in Italy is our favorite place in the world to go hiking.

Hiking Dolomites

The only good thing about Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam, was our sunset dinner on the beach.  We dined on fresh grilled fish and drank Saigon beer.

Sunset Dinner

Sliding down the Great Wall of China.

Great Wall China

Motorbikes and European architecture in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.


Nighttime city scene in Taipei, Taiwan.


Queenstown, New Zealand, one of our favorite cities.  This is where we got our “crazy” on, bungy jumping, jet boat riding, and paragliding.

Queenstown NZ

Visiting some of the best ruins in Thailand, Sukhothai.


Tim’s towering height was fairly common all over Asia. This photo was taken at a village in Laos.

Tim in Laos

We could not resist giving money to this family, just outside of Mandalay, Myanmar.


Mountain biking in New Zealand.

Mountain Biking

A surprise moment came in Zhangjiajie, China during the Lantern Festival.  Tim and I went out, curious about the festivities.  I stood on a stepladder in order to take photos of the crowd, not at all expecting to become the main attraction. With my position up on the stepladder, all eyes and cameras turned towards me and I got my five minutes of fame.

The Corwd

Sheep crossing in New Zealand with Mt Cook in the background.


Sunrise on the Ganges River in Varanasi, India.


Watching the sunset from Victoria Peak in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong

The Bridge of Sighs in Venice, Italy.


While on safari at Chobe National Park in Botswana, we got lucky with a lion pride sighting.  To the right were the lions and to the left were these elephants at play.  Getting so lucky with both of these sightings within 20 meters of each other with our safari jeep sandwiched in between was a safari dream come true.  As Kara succinctly stated, “How are we getting so lucky with this?!”


Here are the lions, watching from the other side of our safari jeep.

Lion Cubs

My favorite view in Sydney, Australia.  Watching the sunset from Luna Park.

Sydney Photography

A three day cruise on Ha Long Bay in Vietnam.

Ha Long Bay

Exploring the temples of Siem Reap, Cambodia.  If only Indiana Jones looked this cool.


How often do you get to see that…


Almost as fun as feeding those elephants in South Africa, feeding kangaroos in Tasmania was fun for the whole family.

Feeding Kangaroos

Walking through the rice fields, one of our favorite activities in Bali.

Walking Bali

Bagan, Myanmar, one of the best sunset spots in the world.


In our opinion, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is New Zealand’s best single day hike.


I love capturing our kids capturing the sights on their iPods.  Here we are viewing Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy.

Florence with Kids

For several days we explored Zhangjiajie, China, the landscape was the inspiration for the scenery in the movie “Avatar.”


On the way to Everest Base Camp in Nepal.  We love meeting the children along the way.

365 days of travel

Another view of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar.  This was our first shiny, golden pagoda and it made quite an impression on us.


The two day cruise down the Mekong River from Thailand to Luang Prabang, Laos was unexpectedly awesome.  We only spent one week in Laos but we should have stayed longer.

Mekong Laos

Heading back from Everest Base Camp.  The scenery is always changing and always magnificent.

Nepal with Kids

Watching the sun going down over Venice, a view that we would never get tired of.


Like the Shwedagon Pagoda, the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi made quite an impression on us.  There are five more amazing photos of this building sitting in my hard drive that could be included in this post.


And, so here it ends with a final family photo from one of our favorite spots in the world, New Zealand.  It has been a spectacular year with just a little more time to go.  Here’s to making the most of it!

Earth Trekkers Family

Comments 44

  1. HI, I just have a question, if you could redo a trip that you went on that year, which one would it be? (Eg. hong kong-hiking victoria peak, basecamp-Nepal, safari in Africa, etc?)

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      That’s tough to answer! So many cool things to pick from. All four of us LOVED our time in New Zealand, so that might be the winner. However, trekking in Nepal was a trip of a lifetime. Our kids (and Tim and I) were wowed by the Chobe Safari. The Garden Route of South Africa was so much fun with the hiking and the animal experiences. I would love to go back to Tasmania in the summer…phenomenal place! And Japan also stands out as one of our favorite places we visited. Cheers, Julie

  2. WOW! Love your blog! Am traveling to Mendoza and reading all about wine tasting! I hope to taste all wine possible!
    I was recently in Bagan, Myanmar lovely place.

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  3. Researching Ireland itineraries for a celebratory trip for our triplets’ graduation from high school and found your blog. Wonderful stuff! Wonderful life you are living! Thank you for sharing!

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  4. Thanks take me to everywhere in the world. It looks like travel with you when surfing your blog. I’ll go with you wherever you go!
    Message sent from Taiwan

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  5. I came across your blog whilst looking for travel magnets organizers on pinterest! ? 4 hours later, I am in such awe and deeply moved by all your travel photos. I am from the Philippines and now live in beautiful Ireland and have travelled a good bit around the globe and everyday I long for more adventure. Your blog has inspired me more and I am now in the middle of looking for a few weeks holiday in Asia.
    Thank you so much Julie, and to your family for being an inspiration.

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  6. Today I stumbled onto your blog while researching a hike in Norway and 4 hours later I’m still reading about your amazing adventure. I wanted to say thank you for documenting your adventure. Your posts, insightful comments, details on the day-to-day, the good and the bad, and the amazing photos….have been inspiring to read/see. My family and I also love to travel, and while my two children are a little bit younger than yours – I’m excited to see what could be possible in just a few years from now. I can’t wait to read more about your adventures!

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      Thank you for the wonderful comment. I am glad that we can be an inspiration for you and your family. I have been surprised at how well our kids travel and what they have been able to do…start them early with traveling, it makes things so much easier later!

  7. Julie, I was a patient of yours with Dr. Matz. I have thoroughly enjoyed following your family’s adventures this past year. I hope that when you travel in the future you will still post to this site so I can see more of the world. Thank you very much!!!

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      Hello, Terry. Of course I remember you! We most definitely will continue traveling in the future, just maybe not as long term as what we have just done. The world is full of so many amazing places to visit and I really just feel like we scratched the surface. I still have plenty to write about once we get home. Thanks for following!

  8. Hey Jul. Am I reading this correctly? The number of LIKES is 2.1k. Wow. I’ve so enjoyed reading the comments, really fan mail, on your blog. They are a testament to your and Tim’s hard work in making the trip happen and in keeping the quality of the experience you’ve given us so consistently great throughout the long year. And this particular blog shows that you always strive to get the best shot. I was there with you when you snapped the one of the Myanmar grandmother smoking the cigar! It was on a break from cycling on the dirt roads of Bagan to see the temples. We were welcomed onto a family’s back porch by the woman of the house while Tim was getting help in fixing a bicycle tire. I was stunned when the grandmother came out and squatted down on her haunches like it was nothing and started smoking her afternoon cigar. Now that was lucky!

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      Hi Mom! You picked a good place when you chose to join us in Myanmar. Cycling Bagan was so much fun, the balloon ride was amazing, and you were even there when poor Tyler got so sick. One more month to go and then you have us back!

  9. Congrats you guys! That 365 mark is definitely a rewarding one. Loved your photo walk down memory lane. We have some of the same pics and your photos inspire us to visit to Myanmar, Nepal and some of the other spots our family hasn’t made it to yet. Keep it up!

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      Thank you, Tracey. We have been watching your travels through South America with fascination. We are not making it to that continent on this trip but are hoping to have a Part 2 RTW tour sometime in the future. Happy travels!

  10. I just randomly came across your blog tonight while researching the Trolltunga hike (going next month!) And I’ve been reading it obsessively for the entire 2 hours I’ve known it existed. Your family inspires me and I hope I am able to travel like you throughout my life. I’m an American living in France and my boyfriend and I both have caught the travel bug big time. We have many travel dreams and aspirations and I will definitely be using this blog as a guidebook for future trips. The cultural observations and travel information you provide are very useful and very fun and interesting to read. Plus, your photography is absolutely beautiful! You have some really breathtaking photos. Your children are going to grow up to be very mature, cultured, and well rounded people. It’s a wonderful gift you are giving them. There is nothing more valuable in life than the experiences you get with travel and exposure to different cultures. Thank you for sharing your experiences, I’m so glad Google let me stumble across this blog tonight!

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      You have just given us the best compliment we could get. Our goal is to inspire other travelers and families to go outside of their comfort zones and see the world. I remember sitting in front of my computer screen, reading travel blogs for inspiration. Sometimes it is still hard to believe that we are now on this side of things. I am so glad that Google let you stumble across our blog, also. Please let us know if you have any questions or travel advice, we would love to help. Have a great time in Norway and in France! Merci!

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