Best of the Blog 2014: The Top 10 Faves

Laughing Clowns - Version 2

We can hardly believe this is the fourth year you’ve helped us ring in the New Year here at Gallivance. And what a fantastic year 2014 has been.

We took you along with us to 19 countries and 48 cities across the globe. And in our Slice of Americana series we toured all 50 states in the USA – with lots of help from some very talented bloggers.

We combed through our statistics and your comments to discover the posts that were your favorites this year. And we love the results! You certainly have diverse tastes – from travel tales and public art to harrowing situations and memorable characters. Thanks so much for following along and making our day – every day!

Ostia Antica

1. Mules, Gods, and Ad Men: Ostia Antica’s MosaicsOstia Antica is, without a doubt, one of the most underrated tourist attractions in Rome. Wandering around Ostia gives visitors a feel for what life was actually like in a busy, successful Roman seaport. Hopefully, this popular post will inspire travelers to make the short trip outside central Rome to take a step back in time.

The Bear at the Bus Stop

2. The Bear at the Bus StopA trip to see the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska – on public transit – turned out to be a bit hairier than we expected … literally!


3. Digging Ancient Art – Literally: Cologne’s Dionysus MosaicWe spent a week in Cologne, and were pleasantly surprised to discover one of the best Roman museums in Europe. There’s lots to see and do in the city, but the Roman-Germanic Museum and its collection of mosaics is reason enough to put Cologne on the itinerary for your next German excursion.

The Kindness of Strangers

4. Be a Kind StrangerWe’ve given up trying to predict the popularity of our posts, but in this case, we suspected that it might strike a chord with our readers. Many of our readers are avid travelers and have undoubtedly been on the giving and receiving end of kindness on the road.

Dodging Bullets in Sarajevo

5. Dodging Bullets: From the Corner Office to the Front LineWe never imagined that our trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina would be so pivotal. After viewing the bullet-riddled buildings in Mostar we came to Sarajevo – proud home of the 1984 Winter Olympics; then less than a decade later, the sad site of the longest siege in the history of modern warfare. Our research lead us to the poignant wartime photography of Christian Maréchal, so we shared his story.

Bill Murray on Travel

6. Travel as a Relationship Test: Bill Murray On MarriageThis popular post reconfirmed a couple of blogging axioms that we hold dear at Gallivance: inspiration can come from anywhere, and if you write about issues that people can relate to, readers will read and comment. This was a fun post to write, and we’re glad that so many readers gave us their personal perspectives.

Queen of the Gypsies

7. Queen of the Gypsies: Long May She ReignThe Queen’s gravesite and the story of her mysterious life are a perfect example that it’s not always necessary to travel to exotic locations in far-flung countries to find intriguing sights. And we’re happy that so many of our curious readers commented on a weird and wonderful piece of Americana.


8. A Traveler’s Thanksgiving: 10 Things I’m Thankful ForThe physical act of traveling isn’t as pleasant as it once was, but there’s no denying that quantum leaps in technology have improved just about every aspect of a traveler’s life. Practical posts like this one are a fertile forum for the exchange of ideas and tips, and we’re happy that others found it useful.

Into the West

9. Into the West: 10 Links You’ll LoveIn the USA, July is the apex of the frenzy that is summer. Vacations are in full swing, and life is good. In honor of this All-American month we featured our Slice of Americana Series.” From bears and buffalos to wigwams and weathervanes, we shared snapshots of all 50 states. And on Saturdays we gave you lots of juicy links to some great bloggers and their stories about destinations in the USA.

Javier Marin Sculpture-Morelia

10. Javier Marin Sculptures: Creating Memories in MoreliaWe’re big fans of street art, and it’s gratifying that one of our top posts was on Javier Marin’s wonderful works in Morelia, Michoacán in Mexico. Of course, it didn’t hurt our stats when the artist posted a link on his personal Facebook page. Thanks Javier!

* * * * *

So, that’s it for us this year. Did we miss any of your personal faves? Just let us know! 

Happy New Year,
Terri & Jamescarnival-by-by-xandert-version-3

Photo Credits:

1. wallyir
3. Denali National Park and Preserve via Wikimedia Commons
6. Christian Maréchal via Wikimedia Commons
7. Paul Sherwood via Wikimedia Commons
9. D.H. Parks via Wikimedia Commons
10. taliesin


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

49 thoughts

    1. It’s always interesting to do these year-end wrap ups Andrew. We don’t keep close track of stats on each post throughout the year, and we’re frequently surprised by what shows up on the list. ~James

  1. Like Andrew I remember them all. Congrats on the second Freshly Pressed! My fave of this bunch is the bear at the bus stop. Perhaps the northern girl showing her roots. Looking forward to more wonderful tales in 2015!

    1. Thanks Sue, and thanks for continuing to follow along. There are always a few surprises on these lists, and it’s fun to see how it turns out. One year our top post was a short, funny piece I wrote on a trip to the DMV. I spent about 10 minutes writing it, and it got a huge number of views. Afterward I said that if I’d known it was going to be so popular, I would have worked harder on it. 🙂 All the best with you, Dave, and your blog in 2015. ~James

      1. It is always a bit of a surprise seeing what is popular with the audience. We have had some surprises too. Dave’s guest post went through the roof. Hmmmm I wonder what that means. 🙂 Wishing you and Terri a fabulous year ahead.

  2. What a great year! And I loved all these posts because you let us see the world through your eyes. Thanks for good writing, humor, and insight into what makes us all so human! Best wishes for another great year!

    1. Thanks Rusha. We’ve enjoyed having you along for the ride and we especially appreciate all your kinds words and encouragement. Best of luck and best wishes for a wonderful 2015. ~James

  3. A wonderful summary of your talented blog! I remembered them all, but Dodging Bullets really struck a chord with me.
    I look forward to reading more of your adventures and insights in the coming year. Best wishes for 2015!

    1. Thanks Joanne. We spent a couple of weeks in Bosnia, in Mostar and Sarajevo, and while I can’t say that it was necessarily a pleasant experience, seeing these war-torn places was incredibly moving for both of us. And while we probably wouldn’t return to Bosnia, we are very glad that we visited. ~James

    1. There were a couple of good things about this bear encounter Joyce. First, this mama bear had no interest in us once she saw that we weren’t a threat, and second, it happened so fast that we didn’t have time to be terrified. Afterward I reminded Terri of the old joke: “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun YOU.” All the best to you and Dascal for 2015. Love, JH

  4. What a year. Thanks for sharing James and Terri. I’ve had some good laughs and learned some fascinating facts. I am excited to continue along with you on your adventures this year. As for my favorite of the above, it was the Queen of Gypsies. 🙂 –Curt

    1. Thanks Curt. Even though I read the story of why the Queen ended up in Meridian, MS, I still find it hard to believe. It only shows that there’s lots of wacky stuff right here in the good ol’ US of A. Best of luck to you and Peggy in the New Year and also with your book. ~James

      1. Thanks, James. Almost every town has some type of story to tell, and you and Terri are good at digging them out. Had a Nashville experience today and it wasn’t country music; it was eating hot chicken, ghost pepper hot chicken. Woohoo! 🙂 –Curt

    1. Thanks Linda. Interesting you should say that. Some years ago we lived for 3 months in Berlin, and loved it. It’s a very cosmo place and it gave us an opportunity to soak up the history and museums at a slower pace. All the best for 2015. ~James

  5. Thanks for adding so much color to my world this year. I am looking forward to the surprises you have in store for us in 2015. Happy New Year to you both! 🙂

  6. I’m partial to your Mendenhall Glacier bear post. It sums up the unpredictable magic of Alaska. You never know when a bear or moose will appear, when the northern lights will come out or a rainbow will sprawl across the sky between two mountains. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I agree Jeff, Alaska is a wonderful place. We’ve only been once, but in addition to the bear encounter, we were there for salmon spawning which was very cool. Of course, when we were checking out the salmon, we were keeping an eye out for bears. Most of the trails at Mendenhall were closed because of bears – and I had no problem with that … at all. All the best in 2015. ~James

  7. What a year! This has been my fourth year too! Can’t believe it! So glad I found your amazing blog. Wishing you both the best in 2015 and looking forward to following your adventures!

    1. Thanks very much for continuing to follow along Nicole. Readers like you keep us motivated to keep churnin’ out the posts. We’re looking forward to reading about your adventures in 2015 as well. Happy New Year! ~James

    1. Thanks for continuing to follow along Peggy. Our posts aren’t in the same league as penis gourds, but few are. We’ll be keeping a close eye on your adventures in 2015 as well. All the best and Happy New Year. ~James

  8. James and Terri, thank you for a fun look back. It has been a rewarding ride following along not only with your travels, but also with your photos and well-crafted stories. Seeing GALLIVANCE show up in my inbox is always a treat, like when one of my favorite authors releases a new book.

    Keep up the great blogging in 2015. I will be following along as always. – Mike

    1. Thanks very much Mike, that’s kind of you to say, and high praise coming from a writer like you. It’s good to hear that you think that our stories are well crafted. We work hard to write the kind of posts that we like to read; fun, informative, interesting, and concise. If we’re doing this, we’re doing good. Thanks very much for continuing to follow along and all the best for you and Florence in 2015. ~James

  9. I like them all, but If I had to choose just one, I would go for the post on marriage and Bill Murray. I spent two years in Japan with the person that later became my wife, and it was exactly those years in a foreign country that tied us together. Soon we will be married for 20 years!
    Happy New Year Terri and James and thank you once again for sharing your fantastic stories with us!

    1. Thanks Vasilis. As a expat, it helps so much having a built-in support network, and that’s exactly what a travel companion is. Even for experienced travelers, there are so many instances of uncertainty and stress that are made easier by having a friend along. It’s always good to hear of another success story. All the best in 2105. ~James

    1. Thanks Pam. This is always an interesting exercise because of the surprises that show up. One year our top post was a short, funny piece I wrote about a trip to the DMV. We’ve learned that it’s impossible to predict. ~James

      1. Oh you are so right – it is impossible to predict! I loved the picture of you in that funny bathroom overseas.

    1. Bronwyn, it’s always funny to see the discrepancy in what I think will be popular, and what actually is popular. Bottom line: there are tons and tons of blogs and post topics, and people read what interests them. We have guidelines we follow, but our formula is pretty loose, and that makes it fun for us as well. ~James

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