What a year it’s been! As 2011 draws to a close, the travel tally stands at:
- Four countries: Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Turkey
- Two continents: Europe and Asia (Three if you count flying over Greenland, which I’m inclined to do because (a) the pilot flew low enough for us to see it, and (b) I think that’s as close as I’ll ever get to actually experiencing it.)
- Twelve cities: New Orleans, Costa Maya, Belize City, Roatan, Cozumel, Long Beach, Catalina Island, Ensenada, Denver, Istanbul, Izmir, Selcuk (Fifteen if you count cities we had layovers in: San Antonio, Atlanta, and New York.)
Frankly, I don’t know that 2012 can top all that.
I certainly had no idea when 2011 started this would be the year’s travel agenda. It’s a far cry from the places I expected to go, which were New York, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. All my plans for those completely fell through. (Although, I still made it to New York, via the layovers mentioned above. But not for the U.S. Open as I’d been expecting!)
Which is okay. Other opportunities presented themselves and I am super grateful they did. These are my favorite year in review travel memories from 2011:
- I jaunted in search of haunted Mayan ruins in Mexico. Sadly, I came up with nada. (Except a tour guide thinking I was crazy for looking for ghosts when it wasn’t Dia de los Muertos.)
- I had a monkey sit on my head and steal my barrette in Belize. Which was actually pretty awesome.
- I learned how difficult it is to shoot underwater video. But I got a lot of practice at it due to all the snorkeling I did in Belize, Honduras, and Mexico.
- I hoped any ghosts in the Hotel Monteleone were affording me privacy during my bathroom time.
- I was prepared to find chupacabras in Ensenada, but instead came across the remains of the Whale Man. (Something I only mentioned briefly, but which I need to devote a post to. That was an awesome find to stumble across!)
- I journeyed underground in Istanbul’s Basilica Cistern in search of Medusa.
- I payed my respects to the Sultan tombs at the Ayasofya.
- I roamed where some of the most legendary authors have tread, like the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans and the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul.
- I went looking for ghosts at the Rippavilla Plantation, came up short, but got to try my hand at chucking pumpkins.
- I had my soul shaken at Ephesus when I had a reaction I wasn’t expecting. I basically found my heart heavy with mourning thinking of the Greco-Roman polytheistic societies that once lived there, before Christianity overwhelmed them. That was by far one of the most powerful experiences not only of the whole year, but of my life.
- I got to see many oceans and seas this year: Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, Pacific, Black Sea, Aegean Sea, and the Bosphorous. I even got to swim with the fishes in some of them!
Here’s some of my favorite images from travels this year: