Our Year in Review: Transition to Travel Life [2014]

Our Year in Review: Diana Southern and Ian Norman's Year of Transition to Travel (2014)

Quitting my job set the stage for it all, as this year our full-time traveling dream became reality. New beginnings and new experiences made our year exciting and challenging, and a lot hard work resulted in some pretty big achievements.

Have a look with us, as we review this whirlwind year! 

Farewell to “Normal”

Diana and her bicycle in Venice, California at night

We spent the first two months of 2014 planning our transition to our travel life. We made a plan, sold my car and booked our trip to Norway.  We would depart on March 2nd, our 2-year anniversary. My last day of work was February 28th.

Three Months in Europe (A blog is born!)

Ian and Diana go sailing in Norway

While I pondered where my new entrepreneurial path would take me, Ian and I explored Fjord Norway in March. Our wonderful Airbnb hosts took us sailing, Ian was featured in the local paper, and I started working on North to South.

Hanging out at the Olympus Photo Playground in Berlin April 2014

We spent April in Berlin “hanging out” with friends and family who came to visit us abroad. We drank beer in the street, jumped on trampolines, and I said my first full German sentence to a couple of strangers eating ice cream.

Diana and brothers in Venice canals in Venice, Italy

In May we found a home in Milan and toured northeastern Italy by car. We saw the castles of San Marino and the serenity of Como, and spent excessive amounts of time trying to figure out the train system around Milan. I wrote my groundbreaking article “Quit Your Job & Travel the World” and started sharing my first North to South posts with friends and family.

A HOT Summer in the U.S.

Diana and Ian at Arches National Park, Utah

By summertime, Lonely Speck (our Milky Way photography website that Ian started after quitting his job) became a very reliable source of income. No longer in need of the extra funds that our occasional astrophotography workshops provided, we held our final workshop in June. We sold Ian’s gas-guzzling 4Runner, bought another Yaris, and started off summer road-tripping and camping in the U.S. We hit parks and points of interest from California to Missouri (completing the most terrifying hike of my life in Zion National Park).


In July, North to South made its first dollar — $12.98 total for the month — and hit 100 Facebook likes. (That’s good, considering many bloggers don’t make any money for a year.)

Ian and Diana at Burning Man 2014

We went to three air shows, I experienced my first water landing in the Seabee, and we headed up to Black Rock City to finish off summer at Burning Man.

On the Road Again in Fall

Diana and Ian at Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

When autumn came, we steered our travels to the north. Ready for something more colorful than the desert terrain, we departed from Reno for a trip through the Pacific Northwest.

Diana Southern rock climbing Leavenworth, Washington

We picked up a National Parks Passport to start tracking our park trips and checked off Lassen and Crater Lake on our way up to Washington, where we enjoyed the outdoors — stand up paddleboarding off Mercer Island, trying outdoor rock climbing in Leavenworth, and hiking to Colchuck Lake in search of the colorful autumn larches.

Ian and Krystin at Colchuck Lake, Washington

With Canada so close, we booked a stay on Vancouver Island. We hopped on the ferry and found plenty of things to do in Victoria — and more fall colors!

seal and kayaks at Brothers Islands in Victoria, BC, Canada

In October, we released a short video about photographing the Milky Way on Lonely Speck, and it gained widespread appeal on the Internet; it was even featured on The Atlantic. I learned how to crochet, we started North to South’s new weekly post series, Shot of the Week, and I launched a new travel fashion blog for women, Stylish Travel Girl. The following month, that blog reached 50 Facebook likes and started making money, too ($34.28 total for the month)! Lonely Speck was back in the news in November with another popular tutorial from Ian, this time getting the attention of photo and tech blogs PetaPixel and Gizmodo.

Another Year Older (and Wiser!)

Diana on the observation deck of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, Nevada

After finishing our second big road trip of the year, we returned to California, stopping first in Vegas to celebrate my birthday. We drank frozen daiquiris and strawberry mojitos and hung out at the Stratosphere hot tub, chatting with people from Australia, The Czech Republic, and Chicago.

We made one final desert trip out to Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree National Park in November, taking advantage of the final month before our annual national park pass expired.

The Price is Right with Diana's Family

In December, Ian and I have been hanging around LA as family has been coming in and out of town. We survived a taping of The Price is Right (scheduled to air Feb. 27) and have been spending most of our time outside taking photos, blogging and hanging out with Tiger and the other animals at “The Hoof and Woof Ranch.”

Diana Southern and Ian Norman hiking to Sandstone Peak in Malibu, California

It’s been quite a year! Thanks for keeping us company through it all!

What’s next for us? We’ve got a few things in mind… Follow our blog on Facebook to stay up to date on our 2015 travel plans!

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