Best of the Blog 2013: The Top 10 Faves

Carnival by By xandert - Version 3

This year has been a joy for us here at Gallivance. We took you along with us to 26 countries and 74 cities across the globe.

You camped with us around the US in our new pop-up camper, and shared our elation of finishing our Basecamp Gallivance renovation. We sifted through our statistics and comments to discover your favorite posts this year, and the results were fascinating. You certainly have wide-ranging tastes – from travel stories and gear advice to personal anecdotes and photo essays. So in true David Letterman style, we’ll start with #10:

James was bushwacked!

10. Bushwacked in Krakow After traveling the world for so many years we’ve learned to “expect the unexpected” when it comes to bathrooms. But James never dreamed he’d meet his match in the uber-modern bathroom of our Krakow apartment.

Wroclaw Gnome

9. The Wroclaw Gnomes: Too Much Fun!  If you thought that gnomes were only found in kitschy gardens … think again. Wroclaw, Poland has transformed these vertically-challenged creatures into high art and the best scavenger hunt on the planet.

W Hotel NOLA Blue Lights

8. Capture the Colour: Blue on Blue When we were invited to enter the Capture the Colour photo contest, we decided to ask your opinion on which photos to submit. You were fabulous! And although we didn’t win, we sure had a blast getting to know you better.


7. Finding Common Ground How do you find a way to connect with people when you don’t speak their language? Terri faced this challenge as a young teacher in Washington D.C. You’ll love the solution.

Casa Amatlier

6. The House that Chocolate Built  With an opening sentence that paired chocolate and sex we got your attention. But our love of unusual architecture lead us to a fascinating discovery in Barcelona.

Gypsy Wagon

5. The Global Cottage Despite all our cultural differences across the planet, millions of us have one overriding thing in common: we live in modest dwellings. From gypsy wagons and RVs to house boats and bungalows. We called these shelters “Global Cottages” and they captured your imagination.

Lotus Ubud, Bali

4. The Lotus: An Exquisite Flower and Symbol of Faith If there’s one thing we’ve learned about you this year it’s that you love symbolism. This post really struck a chord on so many levels.

Starbucks Ubud, Bali

3. Starbucks in Bali: Coffee is Optional  Even if you’re not a coffee drinker … and hate Starbucks, you loved this little slice of heaven in Ubud, Bali.

Eiffel Tower

2. 7 Reasons to Rent an Apartment the Next Time You Travel If you want to transform yourself from a “tourist” into a “traveler” and live like a local on your next trip, we shared a whopping 42 ideas and money-saving tips on renting an apartment in our most popular 3-part series.

RNC_04_protest_45 - Version 4

1. Travel Zoom Cameras: The Perfect Compromise We were surprised that this post was far and away our most popular for the year – but in retrospect, maybe we shouldn’t have been. Most of our readers are travelers as well as bloggers, and when bouncing around the globe, you struggle with how to take great photos with small, lightweight gear.

* * * * *

So, that’s it for us this year. Did we miss any of your personal faves? Just let us know! Also, check out these great 2013 retrospectives from some of our favorite bloggers – you will love them.

Bronwyn’s Top 5 Posts over at Journeys of the Fabulist will keep you laughing into the new year. Her post “Twenty-four Gift Ideas for Travellers, Expats, Minimalist and All Other Human Beings” wins our “Best of the Season Award.”

Jeff at Planet Bell is an astounding photographer and talented, hilarious travel writer. He highlights 20 of his Best/Favorite Photos of 2013.

Nicole at Thirdeyemom celebrates a year filled with family adventures and her incredible global volunteer work in The Wonderful Joys of 2013.

Sue at Travel Tales of Life just finished her first marathon and survived the earlier floods in Alberta Canada. Check out her Best of 2013.

James at Plus Ultra writes an elegant travel blog that will transport you to jaw-dropping destinations. We really enjoyed his 2013: a year in review.

Cathy at Nomad, Interrupted is the definition of intrepid. Her post Twenty-Thirteen will blow your mind with her adventures.

Leslie at Chic Adventurer had an incredible travel year, with both highs and lows. Check out her Best and Worst Travel Moments of 2013.

Suzanne at The Travelbunny has had a fantastic year of travel which included flying goats! I kid you not. See her Travelbunny Highlights 2013 for more.

• Bama at What an Amazing World provides the smart, compassionate insight to destinations and cultures that all travelers crave. You’ll enjoy his 2013, The Journey Continues.

• And we love Jennifer’s tongue-in-cheek post at Expat Lingo with her Top Ten Predictions for 2014.

* * * * *

The final and most important thought that we want to leave you with in 2013 is:


Thanks for your friendship, love, ideas,  support, opinions, and great conversations!

Wishing you all the very best in 2014. Can’t wait to find out what’s ahead for all of us.

See you next year.
Terri & James
IMG_0507 Photo Credits: 1. By xandert 5. By Chilombiano 7. Evelyn Simak via Wikimedia Commons 10. Cezary via Wikimedia Commons 11. Jonathan McIntosh via Wikimedia Commons


We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

70 thoughts

    1. Sue, the day we discovered you was a joy. I still remember it – your post “Slovenian Game Show” just knocked our socks off! We think you’re amazing and wish you the very best in 2014. 🙂 ~Terri and James

      1. Wow! You leave me humbled and speechless…and that is a rare event. 🙂
        I am so very grateful you found me..and I you. My sincere thanks for your generous compliments. Looking forward to sharing tales of adventures in 2014!

    1. Thanks Jeff. I’m pleased that you enjoyed the post, and that you got some useful information from it as well. (Don’t tell you wife I said that.) Happy New Year to you as well. ~James

  1. What a great idea for a post – your Top Ten of 2013! I must have discovered you somewhere after some of these stories went live, so I was delighted to have this quick reference to your past stories. I was quite moved by the Vietnamese students story. I am still reading. It’s like finding a book I hadn’t read by a favorite author. Thanks! – Mike

    1. Mike, thanks so much for your kind words. It’s so interesting to see what people like to read about. Sometimes we predict correctly … and other times we miss the mark. But the most baffling are the posts that fall flat initially and then suddenly gain popularity. Ah, the mysteries of the Universe. Happy New Year to you and Florence. ~Terri

    1. Happy New Year Bronwyn! Thanks so much for the very kind link to our Best of 2013 post. Thanks to your wonderful idea, we’re including the retrospectives of some of our favorite bloggers too. We both loved your 24 Gift Ideas posts (we’re minimalists and human beings 🙂 ) and think you deserve the “Best of Season Award.” It’s been such a joy getting to know you this year and we can’t wait to see your adventures in 2014. All the best, Terri & James

  2. You are both an inspiration to all of us! Thanks so much for all your great posts this year. I’m so happy to have met you, virtually of course! I’m bookmarking this page to peruse your blog posts at my leisure, though I’ve already read some of them. Keep traveling and have a great 2014! 🙂

    1. Thanks Ruth, and Happy New Year to you as well. I suspect that this New Year celebration will be a bit different in Colorado – with legal weed and all. Stay safe and warm. ~James

      1. It’s hard to believe, James! I think that once our schools become the best-funded schools in the nation, other states may sit up and take notice. And then look out. 😉

    1. Curt, Starbucks gets a bad rap, but I have to admit, that they nailed this location. I haven’t seen another location like it in the world. Also, we were very lucky to be there to see the offering being made at the Hindu Temple out back. Pretty cool. Have a Happy New Year. ~James

      1. The day I was at the Monkey Forest there were a bunch of not-too-bright tourists there, and the monkeys were getting pretty aggressive; so I steered clear. The forest is quite a place really. Having a colony of wild (well semi-wild) monkeys this close to town is pretty cool. ~James

  3. Great post which I’ve bookmarked to re-visit and catch up with properly – some fab topics and excellent posts throughout the year. Thanks also for the mention for which I’m honoured 🙂

    1. Thanks Leslie and Steve. We’re in the process of making some plans, but don’t have anything firmed up yet. Shopping for great deals and new destinations. Happy New Year to you both. Are you in Australia or France? ~Terri

  4. Sorry, these two comments from Steven are really from Leslie! My computer crashed (just in time for Christmas…) and I forgot I am logged in as Steve. Not sure how to delete the comment. Sorry for the confusion.

    1. Thank you Tricia. Today we’re just hangin’ out celebrating my birthday, and doing some travel planning for 2014. Happy New Year to you and Shawn. Can’t wait to see what you’re up to next year 🙂 ~ Terri & James

  5. A great way to do your “year end” post! 🙂 I don’t pay enough attention to the stats but the WP “hoorah” has just come in so I’d better take a close look. And check out that camera post- all those people can’t be wrong!
    Most importantly of all, thanks for your company this year and have a very healthy and happy 2014. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Jo! It has been such a joy hanging out with you this year – thanks for all the fabulous conversations. And now you’re heading to the Algarve. Wishing you a wonderful 2014, and see you next year. ~Terri

  6. What a creative way to celebrate end of the year! Dear Terri and James: I wish you both a wonderful 2014, with love, health and happiness! You have shared so many interesting things around the world with us throughout the year. Thank you!

  7. What a fantastic round-up Terri & James! I was impressed at how Starbucks in Ubud made an effort to blend in with its surroundings – and the lotus pond and temple just behind it were such a wonderful surprise. Thanks too for the mention and wish both of you many more adventures in the new year!

    1. Thanks very much James. I’m glad that you saw the Starbucks when you were in Ubud this month – well actually, I should say, the garden behind it. We just wanted to move into the treehouse and have that incredible view all day. Happy New Year to you, and many wonderful adventures. ~Terri

  8. I was in Ubud roughly two weeks ago and spotted that Starbucks. I love what they did with the rustic architecture incorporating Balinese traditional elements on the outlet. I didn’t go inside though, but looking back, probably I should’ve gone inside. Thanks for the mention and wish you an even greater year ahead!

    1. Thank you Bama. I too was glad that they used the rustic Balinese architectural elements – they certainly enhanced the passage to the garden beyond. I can’t wait to read about your Bali adventures – hopefully it will contain one of your fabulous food posts. 🙂 Wishing your all the best in the New Year. ~Terri

    1. Thanks so much Vilma for the link to our post. These review posts are always fun, and they always produce a few surprises. I’m sure that it’s getting close to fireworks time in Helsinki. Stay warm and have a fun New Year. ~James

  9. Couldn’t be more pleased to have found your blog. You have taken us along on a whirlwind trip this year and taught us much about international travel in the process. May you both continue to have grand travel adventures in 2014, making memories that will last a lifetime. 🙂

    1. Awww, thanks so much LuAnn! And you and Terry have taught us all so much about love and compassion. Wishing you both a wondrously happy and healthy New Year! Hugs, Terri & James

    1. Hi Peggy, so glad you stopped by. Your blog is a joy and I’ve been working my way through several of your posts. It sounds like we’ve had many parallel experiences and it’s always great to meet a kindred soul. Looking forward to it. ~Terri

    1. Thanks so much Miranda. I have a favorite quote: Adventure is when I put my ignorance in motion. For you as well as us, let’s hope our adventures are fun, that our suitcases keep bouncing, our feet keep moving, and we continue to explore. All the best to you in 2014. ~James

  10. Thank you for taking the time to like my blog. Found some of your articles very interesting. Will definitely be popping by to have a peek from time to time. All the best.

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