I can hear the virtual groans now, another self-reflective slightly saccharine overview of 2012? Well no, I hope not. But it is a good time of year to think back on everything that I’ve done and what I’ve been through and I want to share the best and worst with you all. What follows are some of my favorite posts of the year about the good, bad and ugly of my travel experiences.
Best Domestic Travel Destination
I usually don’t do a lot of domestic travel, but this year I was thrilled to visit some great places here in the good old U.S. of A. My favorite has to exploring Maui, an island that was completely new to me and which continued to prove just how much I love Hawaii.
- Journey to America’s Forgotten Capital
- Alone in the Rain – Personal Journey Through a Maui Rainforest
- Getting High in Napa – Hot Air Ballooning Over Wine Country
- Shrine to Carbonated Goodness – The World of Coke in Atlanta
Best Travel Experience
This was truly difficult to winnow down. I’ve been very lucky this year and have been through some amazing travel experiences. When push comes to shove though, these are my top favorites.
- African Safari Close Ups
- Great White Shark Diving in South Africa
- Cruising Along the Mekong in Laos
- So What’s Reykjavik Really Like?
- Finally Dancing on the Bridge in Avignon, France
Best International Destination
Another difficult category to address, but ultimately the answers popped into my head almost immediately. Out of all of these Cape Town was probably my favorite and I cannot wait for another opportunity to return to South Africa and start exploring the rest of the country.
- Five Ways Cape Town, South Africa Surprised Me
- Exploring Iceland’s Golden Circle Through Photos
- 42 Things I Love About Banff, Canada (in the winter)
- Costa Brava in Five Senses
- Five Things That Surprised Me About Tokyo
- Five French Towns You Should Visit ASAP
Worst Travel Experience
As great as travel can be, there are of course always hiccups. These experiences don’t reflect on the destinations themselves, they’re amongst my favorites. But these specific encounters were without a doubt some of the least enjoyable for me personally.
- How Not to Bike Down a Volcano in Hawaii
- Battling Armies to See a Cabin in Canada
- Free Isn’t Always Good – Why You Should Pay for a Tour Guide
- Trashy Tourism: Why I Hate Khao San Road in Bangkok
Best Foods Enjoyed Traveling
Food and travel go hand in hand and my most popular posts seem to be food related. In 2012 I was able to enjoy a lot of great food from a variety of cultures, from Laos to Spain and even Cape Malay cuisine in Cape Town. Out of all of those however these few are my most memorable.
- Salt is Love and Other Lessons Learned From a Cape Malay Cooking Experience
- Five Must-Try Meals on Maui
- It’s a McDonald’s World – Why They Matter When You Travel
- Discovering True Hospitality at a Fishing Hut in Costa Brava, Spain
- Around Luang Prabang in Five Courses – Learning About Lao Cuisine
Best Travel Lesson
Travel isn’t just about seeing pretty things and eating nice food. Hopefully we learn something about ourselves when we travel, we change and get better as human beings. It isn’t always pretty but it is this enriching aspect of the travel experience that is arguably the most important.
- Better Angels of Our Nature
- The Other Side: Biking Through a Township in Cape Town
- Power of Travel: How Spain Changed Everything
- Bad Tourists and the Great Alms Controversy in Luang Prabang, Laos
These are some of the travel experiences that made 2012 memorable for me – what are yours?
11 thoughts on “My Picks For Best and Worst Travel Experiences of 2012”
Happy Holidays, hope 2013 is your best year yet! What great posts you had in 2012!!!
But everybody’s doing it, aren’t they? Wrapping up the year that was, setting goals for the new year? I know if I was prepared and had the posts pre-written, I would be on that bandwagon too.
And to be honest, I had to look up what “saccharine” meant.
Nice wrap-up of your year in posts. Happy Holidays Matt.
LOL, and I’ll have some more next week, I just personally get annoyed at myself whenever I’m too ‘fluffy’ :)
It’s funny, some of my greatest misadventures this year also involved volcanoes, tour guides (having them, though), and Bangkok.
So cool how much you’ve been able to travel this year. I wish you a great 2013!
I guess this travel thing is working out for you then :)
I can’t believe you went to so many places. That’s quite a year. Congrats on the transition to full time travel and best wishes for 2013!
Thanks Jeremy, not a full time traveler but I am a full time travel blogger :)
You really did have a banner year, a great collection of experiences and I enjoyed reading along and look forward to more reading in 2013!
Thanks so much Andi for being such a great supporter!
I am glad that you ended with that note about travel not being just about going to pretty places and eating great food. The world needs all of us (I’m not referring just to bloggers, I mean everyone) to step up and help out, and all the luxury that can go along with travel often looks unnecessary. Not that I don’t love beautiful places and fantastic food & wine too… :)
To quote the Facts of Life: You take the good, you take the bad….
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