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Annika Ziehen_best of 2014_traveling the world_midnight blue elephant_burj khalifa_dubai

It has been a moving year literally and figuratively. For someone who is not a professional (yet) I have travelled a lot. A spent a month in Thailand, I attended a wedding in Tuscany, one in Hamburg, and one in Nierstein, I was in Morocco twice and attended my very first travel conference, I went to Egypt and Dubai for the first time ever and stood on the for now tallest building of the world. I ate a lot of amazing food, fell in love with an Italian supermarket, fell in love with a guy, had to leave Italy and make do with the German supermarkets, got my heart broken by said guy and had to make do with others.

I swam in many oceans and realized again how I like the prickly feeling that salt leaves on my skin. How I like the moments when you are walking through really cold water and you are almost happy once your feet get numb. When you start thinking that the water is actually warm and you wade a little deeper and the moment vanishes and the water is still bloody cold.

Oh yes, I also moved countries and quit my full time job. While it was big, it also wasn’t and already seems like a lifetime ago. Do I miss my old life? I actually haven’t even thought about it yet. I sometimes get a fleeting feeling of something that feels familiar and wonderful and isn’t there anymore, but then the feeling goes away to and my mind wonders on to other projects.

So has it been a good year? I can’t even say, but it has definitely been busy and after feeling stuck for a long time, things are moving again. Mind you, sometimes getting unstuck can be a little uncomfortable.

With all that movement I have realized that I am not really good at being in the moment. Just breathing and being still is something I think I desperately need to learn. So with that in mind I have decided to stay still for December. To work a normal job with normal hours, to spend time with family and friends, to actually review the things that have happened, the places I have been to and the people I have met and the ones I had to let go. Write more, reminisce more, and do a lot less searching of last minute tickets to random places just so I don’t have to stand still.

As if to help me with this my knee that I had operated two years ago has been acting up for no reason, making me limp and cry and is basically forcing me to chill on the couch. I’m definitely not in the mood to climb mountains or even just squeeze myself into a tiny plane seat right now…ouch.

On this couch I am now quietly watching Sex and the City reruns reflecting on my year of travel and the best moments of 2014 and the oscars go to…

Best transport A limo in Cape Town that my friend had organized for my farewell party. I had never been in one and as you can see I’m enjoying the ride. Best beach While not The Beach (too crowded, too small, too not like in the movie) it is in Thailand. The award goes to Chalok Baan Kao Bay in Koh Tao. Best room This was a tough one because I stayed in numerous amazing hotels this year, many of which I would love to visit again. But my favorite was riad El-Fenn in Marrakech and my beautiful courtyard room. There is no better feeling than getting a tour of all the other rooms and suites only to return to yours, knowing it is the prettiest of them all. Best meal eaten, hands only Grilled prawns, frites, salade des olives at the Essaouira fish market. Best thunderstorm Florence. Especially since I got to see it from my hotel which I had arrived minutes before it started pouring down. That’s also where the Worst misstep happened. I fell in front of the most handsome man in the world, the David. Camera and iPhone and dress went unharmed and I got away with bruised knees and ego, but nothing a couple of glasses of wine and some gelato couldn’t fix. Best view While I thought the Burj Khalifa at night was a magnificent view, watching this boy on the top was even better. He seemed absolutely mesmerized by the view and fearlessly pressed himself against the glass while I took a few steps back. Best kitten You be the judge, because I cannot and will not decide. Best boat trip While I was on many boats, big and small, the best trip was definitely the informal rehearsal dinner we had while cruising through Hamburg for my friend Marie’s wedding. Especially as some of my favorite people from New York had come for the occasion and the sun was out, something that is no guarantee in Germany in May. Best shop Coop supermarket in Tuscany. I wanted to sleep there it was so wonderful. Best un-photographed moment Seeing Black tipped baby reef sharks while snorkeling in Koh Tao. It was so exciting and I can now proudly say that I chased a shark. Best wedding Ha, just kidding. You don’t think I would answer that with all three brides reading this? Let’s just say they were all very special.


  1. Caitlin Jean says

    Wow 2014 definitely has been a whirl wind of changes and moving forward.
    Yay for being unstuck 🙂



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