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Egypt

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Pharaohs, pyramids, hieroglyphics, temples and the Nile River…all are things that I remember learning about in school as a child, but this week, Perry and I had the opportunity to experience them in person. From Kenya, we traveled north to one of the most ancient civilizations on the planet. Egypt really is full of as much history as you might imagine it to have. I remember being fascinated by it as a child, but seeing something like the Great Pyramids of Giza before your eyes is truly incredible.

There are three spans of history that ancient Egypt is split into: the New Kingdom (around 1550-1070 BC), the Middle Kingdom (around 2055-1550 BC) and the Old Kingdom (around 2685-2180 BC). Just think: the Old Kingdom dates back almost 5000 YEARS from today. It kind of blows my mind. Most of what we saw this week is from the Old and New Kingdoms. Throughout each kingdom, the capital city of the country changed around: Memphis (close to Cairo): Old; Thebes: Middle; and Luxor: New. No matter wh…

Masai Mara

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In all honesty I don’t even know where to start with this post. If you’ve seen our Instagram stories lately then you know that after spending about a month in South America, we hopped on a plane and headed east to Kenya. It took us about 34 hours to finally reach Nairobi (14 hour flight to Paris, 12 hour layover in Paris, and 8 hour flight to Nairobi) so we were exhausted, but we knew it would soon all be worth it.
When Perry and I started talking seriously about this adventure over 1.5 years ago, one of the first places that we put on our list to visit was Kenya and specifically the Masai Mara. We had seen TV shows and YouTube Channels talk about the incredible landscapes and animals of the Mara, and we knew we had to get there. Everything we read and saw about the Mara drew us in to this place. So when I say we had high expectations, I mean we had HUGE expectations about our time here. But I will say that the last week exceeded those expectations on all accounts. As I sit here writin…

Buenos Aires

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From Rio, we traveled south to the land of tango for our final stop in South America: Buenos Aires, Argentina. When we had originally planned this adventure, Buenos Aires was not on our list. Mostly because our time window in South America was short, but when we realized we had a few more days than originally planned, it didn’t take long for B.A. to get added to the itinerary. And we are both happy it did!

Buenos Aires is a pretty unique city in South America. With a large portion of their population made up of European immigrants who arrived in the mid 1800s from countries like Italy, Spain and Ireland, it has a fairly Western European feel to it. The city is nicknamed “the Paris of the South”, and after walking the streets for a short time, you can quickly see why. The buildings reflect a very Parisian style of architecture with their own Argentine feel to it. The people are kind and friendly, and while they all speak Spanish, all of the population doesn’t necessarily look like what …

Rio de Janeiro

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After exploring the mountains of Peru on the west coast of South America, we crossed the continent to find the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on the east coast. Our first introduction to the city came as we flew into Rio’s SDU airport where you circle through the Guanabara Bay, past Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer before landing. To say it’s impressive is an understatement. Rio is certainly full of breathtaking topography with beaches and mountains that sprawl for miles throughout the city.

As a Portuguese colony, Brazil is similar to other countries in Latin America, but with its own unique Portuguese twist on history. And Rio itself has an identity and personality all its own. Its people are colorful and vibrant with a laidback beach style in the heart of a huge city. It’s honestly hard to put into words what it’s like without going there and experiencing it yourself. There are colors everywhere…especially when it comes to the street art, which I have to say was one of …

Peru (Cusco and Machu Picchu)

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After spending about five weeks in the States visiting with family and friends, planning for the spring, and eating way too much of our favorite foods, we set out on January 2nd for Peru to once again travel this wonderful journey we’re on. Neither Perry nor I had ever visited Peru before, but after hearing stories from people who had, our expectations were high. And after spending the last eight days there, to say that those expectations have been exceeded may be an understatement.
Our flight pattern to reach our final destination of Cusco was long and a little crazy so once we arrived, we were quite happy and tired. Unfortunately, to get to Cusco from the U.S., you almost certainly have an overnight connection through Lima (although this will hopefully change once Cusco opens their new airport around 2026). Yes, this can be a bit of a struggle, but trust me, it’s all worth it once you reach Cusco :)
For some background on Cusco, it was once the capital of the Incan Empire from the ear…

TransAtlantic Cruise and Canary Islands

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Some of you may have wondered why we started in Europe in August only to work our way all the way to Australia and then end up back in Spain again in November...good question! Geographically it doesn’t make a ton of sense, we know! But it’s all because of this silly yet wonderful way for us to travel home to the U.S. for the holidays...a TransAtlantic/Repositioning Cruise!

Each year, in the fall and the spring, large international cruise companies such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival move their cruise ships between different areas of the world based on the seasons/weather. In the summer months, there’s a large cruising industry in the Mediterranean Sea around Europe, but as winter approaches in Europe, the cruise season there ends and ramps up in the Caribbean. For this reason, the ships based in Europe in the summer cross the Atlantic to work in the Caribbean for the winter. The same goes for the Alaskan and Australian areas of the world. And you can travel on these cruises all for a …

Barcelona

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From Alicante, we traveled to Barcelona, where we were able to spend almost a week exploring this amazing city. Out of the Spanish cities that I knew we would be visiting this trip, Barcelona was the one I was most excited about. Barcelona is a beautiful city on the coast with fascinating buildings and unique architecture. Its blue skies and sunshine are almost constant as it only rains about 20 days per year. The culture and food are amazing as well. It certainly lived up to all of its hype, and I think I would say that it is one of my favorite cities in the world.
Neither Perry nor I have really spent any time in Barcelona before. We briefly flew in and out of the city on our honeymoon where we took a Mediterranean Sea cruise that travelled in and out of its port, but sadly our only experience in the city was in the airport and on a bus to and from the port. We both remember thinking as we sailed away from the city five years ago that we definitely wanted to return one day and spend …

Alicante

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In May and June of 2010, Perry spent several weeks in Alicante, Spain on a University of Tennessee study abroad trip. While there, he took a Spanish class and lived with a Spanish host. He absolutely loved his time in Alicante where he was able to learn and practice his Spanish, spend his afternoons on the beach, and explore different parts of Spain and Europe with his classmates. Sounds like a pretty nice way to study abroad, right?
When planning this trip, we knew that we wanted to come to Spain and struggled with where we wanted to go. Spain is an amazing country with SO many places to see and explore. They have big cities, small villages, mountains, beaches, castles, cold weather, warm weather and everything in between. Figuring out where to go in a short period of time can be quite the conundrum. One place that we knew we wanted to visit though was Alicante. Perry has such fond memories of his time there, and to be able to return and show me around was something he has wanted to d…

Madrid

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After our wonderful week in Australia, we boarded a plane and began the 30+ hour journey to Spain. To say it was long is a bit of an understatement. We flew Cairns to Sydney (3 hours), Sydney to Abu Dhabi (14 hours) and Abu Dhabi to Madrid (7 hours). We were both pretty happy to be off a plane once we touched down in Madrid. I love to fly and don’t mind long flights, but the jet-lag and short layovers made even me ready to be on the ground. The only issue was that we arrived in Madrid and couldn’t check into our AirBnB for 8 hours so if you ever want to know anything about the Madrid Arrivals area in Terminal 1, specifically the seats located close to the rental car area, we are your people ;) 
Needless to say, we were still excited to be back in Europe in the land of Espana. We both love Spain. The culture, the people, the language, the food…all of it are wonderful. Spain was also the first European country for both of us to ever visit- Perry in 2010 on a UT summer study abroad trip, …

Australia (Sydney and Cairns/Great Barrier Reef)

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Kangaroos, koalas, platypuses, wallabies, wombats and crocodiles…what do you immediately think of? Australia, of course! Over the last week, Perry and I visited the land down under. While we unfortunately didn’t get to spend time in the “outback” seeing them in their natural habitats (but we’ll definitely be back, Australia!), we did get to see all of these amazing animals in our short trip to Sydney and Cairns (pronounced “Cans”) at a zoo :)
We weren’t sure how we would feel about Australia after we fell completely in love with New Zealand and didn’t want to leave, but I have to say that these two cities did not disappoint us. Sydney was quite lovely with its views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge over Sydney Harbour. And Cairns was a dream come true as we checked an item off our bucket list by getting to visit the Great Barrier Reef.
We started our time in Australia with four days in Sydney. As the capital city of the country, Sydney is quite large and has the same feeling of a b…

New Zealand (Auckland, Greymouth, Christchurch, Queenstown and the miles (err…kilometers?) between)

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If you follow our Instagram account (@wonderfulroad) then it's likely you've figured out by now that we spent the last nine days traveling through New Zealand. And based upon our “Stories” you probably already know that we are in awe of the beauty of this country. In the last week, we've constantly found ourselves saying things like, “Look at that!”, “Wow!”, “That’s incredible!”, “I have never seen anything so pretty!” and “Of course it looks like that because everywhere is beautiful here…” over and over and over again.
In all honesty, when we were first planning this trip, New Zealand wasn’t on our list to visit. I know, it sounds like craziness especially with how I’m raving about it now, but we knew our time would be limited here if we came and we didn’t want to rush through the country. Thankfully, we decided to give in and visit anyway even if it meant we were only “dipping our toes in the water”. And honestly we already have a mental list of where we want to go when w…