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 CanyonΒ and Las Vegas, and also some lesser-visited spots like Sedona, Monument Valley,Β 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. Absolutely beautiful photographs!
    I love the picture of the temple.

      Thanks, Fidel! The one of the temple is one of my favorites, too! It was such a pretty spot.

    What a journey and what extraordinary photographs in this collection. I just love the street shot in Yellow Springs and the sunset in Monument Valley not to mention practically all the others as well. Wonderful!!

      Thank you so much, Jeff!! It sure was a great year.

    It’s cool to see the year laid out like this! And the idea of an architecture tour in Chicago is brilliant – I never would have thought of it, but I’m sure it’s a lot of fun. πŸ™‚

      The architecture tour was great! I’m waiting until spring to write about it since they don’t run at this time of year. It was really informative and a fantastic way to see all the cool buildings Chicago has to offer.

    Dont you love Chicago?! I’d live there (downtown) in a second if I wasnt such a chicken of the cold winter winds. So glad you mentioned the Cultural Center, I found it so beautiful when we were there in August, more ppl should go see it.

      I DO love Chicago. I can totally understand why so many people choose to live there — lots of people I went to school with live there now.

      And my cousin actually had his wedding reception at the Cultural Center, underneath the Tiffany dome! It was beautiful. I agree that everyone should stop in to see it!

    That photo of Lanterman’s Mill is fantastic. How great is it when you end up travelling more that you thought you could or would, it’s the best. Hope you have a great Christmas.

      Thanks, Sam! I really love that mill photo, too. Definitely one of my favorites from this year! And yes, it’s always nice to travel more than expected!

      Happy holidays to you, too!

    I love your photos. Looks like you had a successful year, can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2012!

      Thank you, Claire! I have some really great things cooking for 2012!

    It was great year. I wish even more trips for you next year πŸ™‚

      Aww, thanks, Vi! I’ll certainly do my best to travel as much as I possibly can!

    Merry Xmas! These pictures are GORGEOUS, especially the turtle one πŸ™‚

      Merry Christmas to you, too, Andi! And that turtle photo was definitely a popular one this year! Glad you liked it. πŸ™‚

    Great pictures – you had an amazing year! Awesome that you went to Chicago three times πŸ˜‰

    Merry Christmas!!

      I did indeed have an amazing year! And I’m hoping 2012 will be just as great! (Though, I can’t say I expect to visit Chicago quite so many times again! Lol.)

      Merry Christmas to you, too!

    Awesome photos, hope 2012 is even more amazing for you! πŸ™‚

    Wow what an amazing year! Beautiful pictures!

      It was indeed an awesome, travel-filled year! Thanks!

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