Top ten favorite moments of 2014

I'm back home in Louisiana for the holidays! It's been a year since I was here, and as I catch up with family and friends, I reflect on all of the great adventures and memorable moments I've had in 2014. Here are my top ten favorite moments of my first year in New Zealand (some of which I've yet to blog about, but stay tuned!)

10. Kicking off the new year in Napier, New Zealand

Days after arriving in New Zealand, Joe, my sister Gabrielle and I celebrated New Year's Eve in the Napier Sound Shell with a swing band and bag pipers under a sky of fireworks. It was a truly magical night and a great way to kick off this adventure.

Days after arriving in New Zealand, Joe, my sister Gabrielle and I celebrated New Year's Eve in the Napier Sound Shell with a swing band and bag pipers under a sky of fireworks. It was a truly magical night and a great way to kick off this adventure.

9. Getting stuck in traffic at Fox Glacier

This was just such a classic New Zealand moment! While traveling across the South Island of New Zealand with my parents, we were forced to stop and turn off the car in the middle of the highway while a sheepdog steered a herd of cattle around our car.

This was just such a classic New Zealand moment! While traveling across the South Island of New Zealand with my parents, we were forced to stop and turn off the car in the middle of the highway while a sheepdog steered a herd of cattle around our car.

8. Holding a spring lamb in Hawke's Bay

After months of 'sheep stalking' and admiring all of the spring lambs around Hawke's Bay, I finally got the opportunity to hold and feed a little lamb when my friend Charlotte invited Joe and me to see her neighbor's new lambs. They're just too cute!

After months of 'sheep stalking' and admiring all of the spring lambs around Hawke's Bay, I finally got the opportunity to hold and feed a little lamb when my friend Charlotte invited Joe and me to see her neighbor's new lambs. They're just too cute!

7. My first helicopter ride... over a glacier... on my birthday

Such a cool experience! I think this video pretty much captures my excitement.

6. Black Water Rafting at Waitomo Glowworm Caves

This was seriously one of the coolest experiences of my year. I rappelled down into a glowworm cave, zip lined in the dark, tubed down an underground river under a ceiling of glowworms and hiked up waterfalls. I highly recommend splurging on this activity if you travel to New Zealand!

This was seriously one of the coolest experiences of my year. I rappelled down into a glowworm cave, zip lined in the dark, tubed down an underground river under a ceiling of glowworms and hiked up waterfalls. I highly recommend splurging on this activity if you travel to New Zealand!

5. Scuba diving at Poor Knight's in Tutukaka

Poor Knight's is on Jacques Cousteau's top ten dive sites in the world. This was my first time diving in cold water and my first encounter with nudi branches - super cool and colorful sea slugs! They might be tied with Clown Fish and sea turtles for my favorite sea creature.

Poor Knight's is on Jacques Cousteau's top ten dive sites in the world. This was my first time diving in cold water and my first encounter with nudi branches - super cool and colorful sea slugs! They might be tied with Clown Fish and sea turtles for my favorite sea creature.

4. Hiking the Tongariro Crossing

Standing in the south crater during our 8 hour hike across active volcanoes on the Tongariro Crossing.

Standing in the south crater during our 8 hour hike across active volcanoes on the Tongariro Crossing.

3. My first encounter with a preying mantis in Nelson

This still gets me every time! When I'm having a bad day, I just watch this clip and laugh.

2. Watching Joe show Fijian children how to 'beatbox'

Joe and I visited a Fijian village in the Yasawas, attended a church service with the local villagers and made friends with the children in the village. This was one of the most wonderful and heart-warming experiences of the trip. The people of Fiji are some of the most kind and beautiful people I've ever met.

Joe and I visited a Fijian village in the Yasawas, attended a church service with the local villagers and made friends with the children in the village. This was one of the most wonderful and heart-warming experiences of the trip. The people of Fiji are some of the most kind and beautiful people I've ever met.

1. Bungy jumping in Queenstown with AJ Hackett Bungy

This was the most terrifying thing I have ever done in my life, but I am so proud of myself for doing it and I will probably never ever do it again, so it makes my #1 moment of 2014!

This was the most terrifying thing I have ever done in my life, but I am so proud of myself for doing it and I will probably never ever do it again, so it makes my #1 moment of 2014!

I hope you've had a wonderful year, and I hope 2015 is filled with new lessons, adventures and experiences! Happy New Year!