The Year in Travel: 12 Photos From 12 Months

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Even though I had predicted that 2011 would be a big travel year for me, I had no idea just how great it would turn out to be. I traveled away from home far more times than I anticipated this year, and had some amazing adventures both on the other side of the world, and in my own backyard.

Here, then, are some of my favorite travel photos from 2011 to sum up my adventures this year.


During the coldest part of Ohio's winter, I escaped for a week to Hawaii to visit a friend going to school in Honolulu. I spent my week checking out Oahu's best beaches, snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, visiting Pearl Harbor, stalking out some LOST filming sites, and much, much more. It was a great winter getaway.

Sea Turtle, Laniakea Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
A green sea turtle at Laniakea Beach on the North Shore.
Byodo-in Temple, Oahu, Hawaii
The Byodo-In Temple near Kaneohe


In March, I made my very first trip to Chicago for a long weekend with my best friend from college. We ate some deep-dish pizza, checked out Chicago's tallest towers, and saw some great improv, among other things. It ended up being the first of 3 trips to the Windy City in 2011.

Millennium Park, Cloud Gate, "The Bean," Chicago
“The Bean” sculpture in Millennium Park


I stuck closer to home in April, exploring more of what Ohio had to offer. This included visiting Mill Creek Park in Youngstown, which is especially pretty in the spring/summer.

Lanterman's Mill, Mill Creek Park, Youngstown, Ohio
Lanterman's Mill in Mill Creek Park


After taking part in the Blog4NZ campaign in late March and finding myself the proud winner of a semi-sponsored trip around New Zealand, I decided to head South in May for two weeks in my favorite country. This time around, I focused on doing/seeing things I haven't done before in NZ, which included exploring the Kapiti Coast, enjoying French-infused Akaroa, taking the TranzAlpine train across the South Island, braving the tallest bungy jump in the country, hiking on a glacier, visiting misty Doubtful Sound, and much more. Every time I visit New Zealand, I swear I fall more and more in love with it.

Kapiti Island
Looking back toward the mainland from Kapiti Island
TranzAlpine, New Zealand
Riding the rails through the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine


Only a few weeks after returning from New Zealand, I again boarded a plane — this time bound for Seattle and Vancouver, where I attended the TBEX travel bloggers conference. I didn't have nearly enough time to properly experience Vancouver, but what I did see of it was fantastic.

Outside the Vancouver Convention Center


I was pretty well broke in July, so I once again stuck close to home. But being in Ohio during the summer months isn't all bad. I took weekend trips to places like Yellow Springs, a hippe enclave near Dayton.

Yellow Springs, Ohio
A street in Yellow Springs


August was the month of the road trip for me. My sister and I took off for 3 weeks to explore more of what our country had to offer, and traveled more than 6,500 miles across more than a dozen states. We visited big, famous sites like the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, and also some lesser-visited spots like Sedona, Monument Valley, and the Cadillac Ranch. We had a ton of adventures, and made plenty of memories that we'll never forget. I'm so glad we did this, and would recommend it to anyone.

Big skies of Texas
Monument Valley, Uath
Sunrise at Monument Valley
Grand Canyon South Rim
Desert View at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon


I rounded out my 2011 travel with another trip to Chicago at the beginning of October for a wedding with my whole family. Along with checking out Grant Park, celebrating Oktoberfest at Navy Pier, and admiring the Chicago Cultural Center, we also took an architecture boat tour up the Chicago River, something I've wanted to do ever since my first visit in March.

Chicago Architecture Boat Tour
Taking photos of the Willis Tower on an architecture boat tour

Yes, 2011 was a pretty fantastic, travel-filled year for me, and I'm so thankful for all the adventures I was able to have. Here's hoping 2012 is even better!

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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40 Comments on “The Year in Travel: 12 Photos From 12 Months

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  1. February is definitely my favorite.. 🙂 happy new years!

      Hawaii was so great; I really want to go back soon!

      Happy New Years to you, too!

    Awesome year, A. I’ll be the first to admit Gerard and I haven’t explored much within the States. So much to explore in our own backyard, but we’re hoping maybe a road trip across America one day to see it all. Ohio seems like a beautiful place. Great year and cheers to a greater 2012!

      I definitely recommend road tripping across the U.S.! I think sometimes we forget how huge and diverse our own country is. There really is a ton to see/do here!

    Wow….stunning pictures, you have been a very busy traveler….I hope 2012 is even better and I’ll bookmark your blog to see what you get up too. Happy travels Amanda from sunny (well cold at the moment) Spain.

      Yes, 2011 was certainly a busy year for me! Hopefully 2012 will be just as full of travel. Happy travels to you, too!

    Hi! Just found your blog – wonderful pictures! I’m looking for some inspiration for travelling in 2012 and those pictures of Chicago and Monument Valley sure look appealing. So far my experience with the US is limited to New York and California, but I’m sure that’s going to change in the coming years.
    Just reading travel blogs like yours make me look forward to upcoming adventures.

      Welcome to my blog, An! So glad to hear that you found some inspiration in these photos. The U.S. is indeed much more than just New York and California — it’s chock full of really amazing places! Hopefully you’ll get to explore more of them soon!

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