2023 Travel Diaries

Alrighty. Just the other day I asked on Instagram to see what my followers wanted me to blog next and majority voted for my 2023 Travels. So buckle up, it’s a LONG post! To give some background: my workload is pretty busy from April-December. But traveling fills my cup up; so during my off-season, I try to squeeze as much as I can. And I feel like all these places deserve their own blog posts but on this travel blog post I tired to give you a brief of what I’ve done. I hope this helps someone for an upcoming trip, or inspire to explore more. I travel single most of the time, which a whole different game but I love it for so many reasons. If you have questions about traveling solo as well, please don’t hesitate 🙂 OK, let’s start!

1- San Diego in January.

San Diego is my absolute favorite city in USA. It’s small but big, the weather, the food, the vibe… just it is, for me. So after visiting here 2 times, when my friends moved in, I made it an annual goal to visit here- especially in January, my birthday month. In fact I am writing this post from San Diego currently. 4th time and every time I visit, I try to visit a different area cause there is so much! But for now enjoy my 2023 San Diego Trip below:

san diegosan diego california

2-Hocking Hills, Ohio.

I visit Hocking Hills with my kids every spring! But last year I made my 1st winter trip there and was absolutely amazed! I am a lover of all seasons. I will hike in any season (safely, no worries:) so seeing HH in winter made me fall in love with it even more:

hocking hills ohio

3- Zion National Park, Utah

I wanted to go to Zion for a while and when I won the lottery to hike at Angel’s Landing last year, I finally checked it off my list! It rained the whole 3 days while I was there, but I always say that there is no bad weather, just wrong equipment:) So, I shopped for the necessities and made the best of it. The pro of it, the park was empty and we could hike so many trails. The first photo shows a few photos from the hikes.

zion national park

The 2nd day, when I hiked Angel’s Landing, I didn’t take my camera out a lot because of the rain but also I needed both hands to hike up to Angel’s Landing in snow:)

I can talk about Zion A LOT more, especially my hike to Angel’s Landing in snow; A-MAZING! Due to rain and season, the Narrows was close so I will definitely be back!

angel's landing zion

4- Bryce National Park

When you go to Zion, it’s almost mandatory to go to Bryce as well- even there is a heavy snowfall warning:) But I think the snow on red rocks made it extra beautiful! Some trails were close due to snow, so again, I may need to go back 😉

bryce national park 5- Sedona, Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, Phoenix

Well I told you that I won the lottery for Angel’s landing hike… I actually won it for 2 different dates last year. At first I didn’t know when I was going, so announced on Instagram that I may be starting the trip from Phoenix and asked if anyone wanted a photo shoot around my route. Well, a sweet Columbus family did! They were getting together for Easter in Phoenix and said that they looking for a photographer for an extended family session. I got lucky and dates aligned so I flew to Phoenix. You can see their session HERE. In the meantime, I had already visited Zion so changed the route to Sedona, Flagstaff, Lake Powell (highly recommend kayaking there!) and Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend. Most of this trips photos are from my iphone this time; cause i did A LOT in a very short trip and i do not regret:)

My favorites were Devil’s Bridge and Subway Cave (6.5 miles!), along with Bell Rock and sunset at Cathedral Rock- what views! I was there only for 4 days and definitely not enough; take me back:) Anyone visiting this year and want a photo shoot? I am semi-serious!

sedona, arizona

I have to post photos from Antelope Canyon separately. What a beauty! wow! I took my camera with me but the group was  moving fast so I used my phone more again. The tour guide was amazing tho. She pointed many famous silhouettes… see the 1st photo below. Isn’t is fascinating?!

antelope canyon

On my way from Antelope Canyon tour to Flagstaff, out of nowhere I saw these abandoned buildings and had to stop to check it out.Later I found out it’s a part of Painted Desert project. Loved it!

  Number xyz- I am lost 😛

Right after my solo trips to West, I took my kids to Gatlinburg for Spring break. We stayed there 3 days and made the best of it! The downtown Gatlinburg was not for this nature lover, so instead we took the lift up to Anakeesta ; and I absolutely recommend. Live music, food&beer, amazing playground for kids, ice cream, gift show and VIEWS! We also drove and hiked up in the Great Smoky Mountains and ended the trip at Riley’s Aquarium!

smoky national park

Our Annual trip to Turkey

Many of you follow me on social media and may have seen parts of our annual trip to Turkey; cause I share a lot. It’s where my roots are 🙂 So here is the small town where my parents own a summer house, Erdek in Turkey.

For the last 3 years, I’ve been taking a girls trip to Aegean side with my girlfriends. We’ve been trying to go different locations every year and this year we picked Cunda Island. See why below. This cutest little island has an amazing old  Aegean village vibe. SO MUCH history. Amazing sea. It’s right across from Greece and just like Turkey in general, it’s so underrated. Don’t you think so? Every corner is picturesque so I am sorry for the photo overload; I hope you still like it!

Ok we are coming to an end, I promise!

The last trip of the year was to Cuyahoga National Valley. This trip happened because I was asked to shoot a wedding in Akron (coming to blog soon!) so I decided to stay at an airbnb the night after the wedding and make a day trip to Cuyahoga Valley the next day. It was not enough, OMG! We have a FREE National Park in Ohio and why have I not visited before?! I hiked The Ledge , did a trail run and visited a few cute little towns but also learned about all that history I didn’t know… I am going back, who wants to come? 🙂

cuyahoga valley wedding photographer

Annnnnd that’s it! Alright! wow! I didn’t even realized how much I did- but obviously no regrets! I love that my job allows me to travel and write long blog posts from a coffee shop in San Diego. So to sum… if you have travel plans with family, eloping somewhere and like my photography, KEEP ME IN MIND! If I can, I would absolutelly capture your life and milestones outside of Ohio; never hesitate to ask:)

Thanks for staying till the end, if you did and I hope you liked and learned a few from it. I know the photos look small here but I love them and I may actually open a print shop soon- what do you think? Should I give it a try? 🙂

Nursah Wood