How great was 2011? For myself it was a pretty awesome year. However I predict that 2012 might be even better but I’ll leave that for next weeks post on How Great 2012 Will Be.
Yes WARNING~ loud noises~ flashing lights~ this is another recap 2011 post. Instead of being a best or worst its an accomplishment list.
Here is the quick bit – Newfoundland, London, Manchester, Paris, Edinburgh, Iceland, Cross Canada road trip (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia), New York, Puerto Rico, Montreal, Quebec City, San Francisco, Oakland, London, Wales, Tenerife and Berlin. I think thats it! (continue reading for a “slightly” more detailed version…)
2011 wasn’t an extremely big year for travel for me ie only two continents but it was still wicked.
In March I visited Newfoundland for my second time to visit Candice and I also made a “travel-ish” video with her and my friend Actor and Comedian Mark Critch which is now actually my most successful video view wise on YouTube. It was also pretty close to St. Patrick’s day which meant a lot of drinking and some green mustache wearing. That’ll happen…
A couple weeks later I was off to London to meet up with friends and then I took the train to Manchester for the first time for the first TBU conference. TBU was awesome and I met so many great European travel bloggers that I have been connected with for such a long time and was now finally being able to meet.
After Manchester I went back to London and met up with my sister to show her a taste of my travel bug and a bit more of over seas. We took the chunnel to Paris (bucket list check), we scored a sweet boutique hotel, explored the Catacombs, went to the top of the Eiffel tower and a whole lot more. This was my third time in Paris and it just made me love it even more. (Watch Paris in a Minute).
Next we headed back in the completely opposite direction and we took the train to Edinburgh, Scotland. I had been there almost a year previous by myself and it quickly became one of my favorite cities and I was excited to share it with her. Free walking tours, deep fried mars bars, drinks with friends it was another successful visit before returning to London where my sister flew home and I headed to Iceland.
MEGA BUCKET LIST CHECK honestly I hadn’t thought about traveling to Iceland before, but in the past year I had read blog posts from Stephanie and Bethany & Randy who had visited there. I was looking for a different and awesome place to visit and after finding a $400.00 round trip ticket from London Iceland was the place for me.
Iceland was probably one of my most successful trips of the year. I made one of my best videos to date which was actually selected in the top 11 films of the first ever Nomading Film Festival in New York. I saw a lot of the natural beauty the country had to offer (sadly didn’t get to see the Northern lights because of the clouds ~touchy subject…), I saw a lot of amazing waterfalls, breathtaking beaches, unique museums, a geyser, I stood in between a ridge of two continental plates, got a massage while floating in the Blue Lagoon, went on an entertaining brewery tour, ate fermented shark and more… WATCH THE VIDEO.
In May Candice came to visit me in Halifax and in June we started our epic two week Cross Canada Adventure. (MEGA BUCKET LIST CHECK) We took the train from Halifax to Montreal (sitting up for 22hours in the same seat hurts your butt). We partied in Montreal for two nights, then we took the train to Ottawa our nations capital for two more nights before taking the train to Kingston, Ontario and picking up our car from HitTheRoad.ca and continuing on to Toronto to celebrate my birthday.
We were surprised at how long it took us to get out of Ontario, that province is huge! We crossed through the Prairies with our jaws dropped at how big the sky was there (odd but you have to see it for yourself) and then we made it to one of my favorite places of the trip BANFF! Our goal of the whole trip was to make it to Vancouver (in one piece) and to attend the 3rd TBEX conference and we did in style.
This trip was definitely meant to be. I know this because when I was trying to figure out what to do after Vancouver, I stumbled upon the cheapest flight ever from Vancouver to New York direct $169,00 after tax. Amazing yes but it allowed me to attend the first every Nomading Film Festival to see my Iceland video screened and to hang out with my own kind. The travel video people. Watch my video from New York HERE. It was my third time to the city that never sleeps and I felt like I was actually able to take it in and enjoy it not so much as a tourist this time and I loved it.
I didn’t travel again until August when I had the chance to go on my first press trip as a travel blogger / travel vlogger to Puerto Rico. This trip definitely gave me hope that I am doing something right by giving it a go at this whole travel blogging and video thing.
(editors note just realized how long this post is getting… didn’t think I had that much to say… but I’ll continue.)
In September I found out that I Aussie friend of mine (Anna Jura) was headed to Montreal to visit Jodi of LegalNomads.com, I didn’t have a job at the time so I hopped on a plane to join them. Anna and I also took a trip to Quebec City which I actually fell in love with while she fell in love with poutine for the first time from one of the original “poutineries”.
When hanging out with Anna I was enticed to meet up with her again in San Francisco a few weeks later. A city and State I had always wanted to visit I flew down and we basically did everything you could do in San Francisco in less than a week. We went to a food festival, a MLB baseball game, rode bikes across the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito, visited Alcatraz, hung out in Chinatown, ate a lot of food, rode the cable cars, walked around fisherman’s wharf, took a hop on hop off bus, ate at iHop and more. It was a great trip and another great video came from it. Watch it HERE.
My last and final trip of 2011 was back in the UK and Europe. In November of 2010 I had made an impromptu trip to London to visit friends (read: I found out I had 5 days off work in a row on a Tuesday at noon and I was literally on a plane that same night at midnight). While there in 2010 I first learned about the World Travel Market (WTM) and spent a day there and knew I had to come back for it again. This year at WTM there was literally 20 times as many travel bloggers around, there was a lot more talk about Social Media, and honestly with all of the after hour activities I think WTM 2011 might be the best of all the travel conferences I’ve been to.
After London I took the train to Cardiff, Wales for the weekend where I got my fill of castles, then I flew to the Canary Islands for a quick tour around the island of Tenerife visiting two UNESCO World Heritage sites in one day, before flying to Berlin. While in Berlin I partied like a local and ran around the city like a tourist, I froze in the cold weather and ate too much currywurst before flying back to London for one last night and wrapping up my travels for 2011.
2012 watch out – you have a lot to live up to!