. Best of travel 2011: My favorite travel moments of the year : Budget Travel Adventures

Best of travel 2011: My favorite travel moments of the year

Best of Travel 2011Do I get off the plane or do I stay?

That’s the question I had to ask myself as the flight attendant was making a head count and getting ready to close the doors.  All the planning and packing for this trip and now I have flight delays.  Somehow, nothing about this trip feels right.

Sometimes trips don’t go as planned.  However, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t have some great travel memories this year.  I rarely get to go to as many places as I would like.  With a job, family, and my travel blog and projects, I do the best I can to maintain a balanced life.

Everyone can look back on the past year and remember the good times, bad times, and lessons learned.  In looking back at my year in travel, it’s good to remember both the ups and downs because they taught me a lot about myself.

So let’s come together and and look back on 2011 as I kick off a series called “Best of Travel 2011″.  I encourage everyone to participate including bloggers, writers, passionate travelers, and those who travel just once a year.  Check out the “Best of Travel 2011″ rules and join in the fun on recapping a year in travel!

Best of travel 2011

As I share my travel moments for 2011, what are your favorite travel memories from this past year?

I want to hear from you so I am going to tag a few people to share their favorite 2011 travel memories.  Feel free to share yours in the comments, on Facebook, Google +, or on Twitter (hashtag #besttravel2011).

So go ahead – brag about your best travel memories for 2011.  Shed some tears again over your worst experiences.  And reflect on what travel has taught you in 2011.

Best travel destination 2011

Best travel destination 2011 AnnapolisThis is a difficult one to pick just one location.  I’ve had so many fantastic experiences as numerous doors were opened for me this year.  However, I will have to go with Annapolis, Maryland.

This isn’t a place many people put on their must see travel lists or best places for travel 2012 but there is something amazing about this place – the people and the community.  I will have a lot more to say about Annapolis in 2012 but you can understand why this place meant so much to me as Annapolis welcomes me home.

Best travel experience 2011

Best travel experience 2011 University of Washington College Football Travel TourWhile destinations can be fantastic, there are some experiences that really stand out.  For me, I will have to say it was the idea to start the College Football Travel Tour and my experiences at the University of Washington, University of South Carolina, the Naval Academy and the time I spent in Seattle, Columbia, and Annapolis.

The College Football Travel Tour is a series I put together where I visit college football games and campuses all over the country.  I share my experiences, stories, tailgating, and other features from the game.  However, I also feature the towns, campuses, things to do, places to eat, and places to stay.

Whether you like football, travel, or both, this series will have something for everyone as it combines my two favorite passions and gives people a taste of local culture and unique towns and cities all over the US.

See the entire series on my College Football Travel Tour.  It’s the most exciting, rewarding, and hardest thing I’ve done in travel.  Without a doubt, it’s my best experience and I can’t wait for 2012 (stay tuned for a lot more from my CFB travel stops in 2011).

Best international destination 2011

Best international destination 2011 VancouverI didn’t get to go overseas this year due to my travels with the College Football Travel Tour.  However, Canada does count as international and I was able to spend a few days in Vancouver as part of TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange – an annual travel writer/blogger/PR conference).

I got a chance to meet a lot of people there and learn a lot about travel writing.  I had a great time there and will actually focus on some of the people I met through travel this year next week.  However, I learned a little about myself from that week – I am not as young as I used to be and I always need a little time to myself when I travel.

The Vancouver Canucks also taught me about passion and sports when traveling – despite the Vancouver riots.  A number of people experienced tear gassing and the riots first hand including Kim Mance, Lorna MacMillan, and Gareth Leonard to name a few.

Worst travel experience 2011

For me, this is a trip I didn’t take.  However, that ended up being a good thing.  So my worst travel experience of 2011 goes to the trip I would have taken – but didn’t.

The destination was fine and I can’t wait until I get to go to Boulder, Colorado.  However, everything about this trip was wrong and I knew I wasn’t supposed to go.  Sometimes travel doesn’t go as planned and you have to make the tough choice to get off the plane.

Most embarrassing travel moment 2011

Most embarrassing travel experience 2011 Men of TBEX VancouverAs much as I plan and try to avoid making a fool of myself (which I do pretty well – I stay out of trouble), my most embarrassing moment has to be the Men of TBEX calendar photo shoot.  Leslie Koch of Downtown Traveler even said I won the award for “slickest” travel blogger because of my photo shoot.  That’s not a good sign.

Sure, I did the nude beach thing in Portugal a few years back but this was different.  First of all, the camera really does add 10 pounds.  Secondly, I did this in front of well over 200 people that I actually knew.  Third, I used baby oil.  And fourth, I really had no business taking my shirt off since I was the month of January.

Best local destination 2011

Best local destination 2011 Markleeville CaliforniaI’m a firm believer that you don’t have to travel far to travel well.  For a long time, I believed you had to travel far to create great travel memories.  I was wrong.

Ever year, I make my annual visit to Apple Hill as it is one of my favorite places to go here in northern California.  This year, I also got to hike in the Redwoods on a hike that lasted much longer than I expected.

However, my favorite trip in northern California is one I take every year to look at the Fall colors.  I discovered a town I had never visited before – Markleeville.  The town was so beautiful and peaceful, I even had a little fun looking at homes and contemplating a summer home I could never afford.

While I will feature more on this place next year, here is a look at Fall Colors in Markleeville.

Best travel lesson from 2011

Best travel lesson 2011 Meeting people Kirsten Alana Charyn PfeufferMy best travel experiences are due to the people that I met and not the places that I visited.

Share your best travel moments and memories from 2011!  Where did you go?  What was your favorite moment?  Do you have a funny story to tell?

I want to find out what some other travelers think about the “Best of Travel” for 2011.  So here are a few more people that I am asking to share their 2011 travel memories (remember to use the hash tag #besttravel2011).

Happy travels in 2012!  And share your thoughts on the “Best of Travel 2011″!

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Filed Under: Best of TravelTraveling Thoughts


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  1. I can’t wait to see how you are going to top your Most Embarassing Travel Moment for 2012 :)

  2. Kirsten says:

    Hey! That’s me in one of those photographs :)

    Also, one of my favorite memories from 2011 is here: http://www.aviatorsandacamera.com/personal/robbed-in-buenos-aires/ Not because it was FUN to get robbed but because it was the biggest lesson I learned this year. Two-fold: 1) care less about STUFF and, 2) don’t let the bad things define you or your experiences.

  3. Andrea says:

    I agree – people always beat places! =)

  4. Anna says:

    “The most embarrassing moment” – photo – rocks!! But it is for sure that you will never forget this one!:)

  5. I never would have put Annapolis on the list – curious to read more. Thanks for including me. I’ll have mine up next week.

    • I never would have thought of Annapolis either. However, I really loved the place. For me, it was all about the people and the community. That was what made the destination so fantastic. Stay tuned for more information on Annapolis in 2012. Mine “Annapolis welcomes me” post was really about my experiences and what a surprising experience it was.

  6. Wftristan says:

    Loving the Most Embarrassing Photo ! Definitely one to show the grandchildren


  7. robin says:

    That’s rather a fetching photo Jeremy. First time I’ve seen it.

  8. If I make it to the next TBEX, I will run in the opposite direction as soon as someone starts talking about a calendar photo shoot.

    • Most people really loved the photo shoot. People had a blast. For many, it is one of the best events of TBEX. So don’t let the photos scare you away. It was just embarrassing for me (in retrospect). Believe it or not, I didn’t have a single drink all night long for this thing! :)

  9. I am going to have to stop reading this blog at work if you are going to post those types of pictures on it :)

  10. Gray says:

    Baby oil??? Really?? LOL. Your kids and grandkids are going to be pulling that photo out and teasing you about it for years to come. You are a brave man for posting it. :-)

    • See, that is what is embarrassing about it. I don’t want the kids or grandkids to see it. Once the photos came out, that’s when I knew it was a big mistake. I thought about it long and hard before I posted that photo. I figured enough people were there that already saw it anyways. However, I may still regret posting it! :)

  11. Wow. I’ve been living in the Bay Area my whole life and haven’t heard of Apple Hill. Glad you had a great 2011 aside from the TBEX incident. hehe

    • I love Apple Hill!! It’s on the way to Tahoe just past Placerville on Hwy 50 in Camino. Expect some traffic if you head up that way. However, thsoe tips will help you avoid some of the traffic at Apple Hill as well.

  12. great post! i ought to do my own best of 2011 before the year ends… that is, if my busy schedule allows me to blog more. LOL

    • Oh Gladys, I know how you feel! I’ve got about 5 different travel projects going on, work full time, have 2 kids ages 3 1/2 and 2, and do well just to keep me head on straight. I am sleep deprived many days but enjoy doing this. The good news is that you have until January 16 to join in the project. Now you know why I have to try so hard to maintain a balanced life! :)

      Good luck on a year end post and hope you have fun with it!

  13. Leah says:

    I’m not sure how I missed your Colorado post! That’s such a bad situation with the plane and the weather. There’s always 2012, and hopefully CU will be better. :-)

  14. Glad you had the great idea for something you enjoy so much – going to all the football games around the country – not for me but can see how if you enjoy that – make it special

    • The great thing about the football games and the College Football travel Tour is that it is so much more than just the football. Only 25% or less of my time is actually spent on the football aspect of these tours!

  15. Oscar says:

    I just lol a lot with mr. june face

  16. Hehe– I voted you “slickest” travel blogger at TBEX as a token of my affection :) So great meeting you in person this year. That was one of my highlights of 2011!

  17. Lauren says:

    Hi Jeremy, please don’t mind, but I can’t stop laughing while I read your most embarrassing travel moment 2011. Getting nude in front of 200 people that know you and using baby oil makes me laugh a lot.

  18. haha..loved the most embarrassing moment feature..you really do have guts. I salute you. Great to know that you’re combining two of your passions together – football and travel. Not may people get to do that. anyway hoping for an even better 2012!

    • Thanks Amer! I was hesitant to share it but indeed it is embarrassing! The travel and football thing are indeed my passions and I have really enjoyed doing them this year. So far, I have done the University of Washington, University of South Carolina, and Naval Academy. I will feature more on these places next year as well as new destinations for games, campuses, and towns in 2012.

      Any suggestions for me? :)

  19. Mark Wiens says:

    I think your college football touring idea is fantastic Jeremy – I can vividly tell it’s what you are passionate about. We love to travel, but taking it to the next step and traveling and focusing in on our passions along the way is something that I really think is the way to get the most of our travels.

    Keep it up and I wish you all the best for 2012!

    • Thanks Mark! I do love travel and exploring international destinations. However, growing up with football, this is a great series for me and gives me a chance to explore so many areas of the US!

      Look forward to more of your travels and food in 2012! :)

  20. I’ve been to Annapolis, you’re right, it is really nice!

    • What was your favorite thing about Annapolis? What time of year did you go? It is a great place but I am sure your experience was much different than mine as you probably went when it was a little warmer! :)

  21. Great blog sir. And kudos to you with your emabrrasing photo too! Made me laugh out loud actually

  22. Andrew says:

    Great list. I love the pic of you, Kirsten and Cheryl. Especially because I remember that exact moment and it was really likely that either Ali or I took that picture of you guys. :)

    • Honestly, not sure which one of you took the pic. If my faded memory serves me correctly, I think it was you! Also, easy to confuse but her name is Charyn – close to Cheryl though! :)

  23. Takes a brave man to post the most embarrassing moment of the year. From the photo, I feel sure that you pulled no punches. (BTW, I love Annapolis, too. A truly underappreciated place.)

  24. Jenna says:

    Glad you had such a great year pf travel despite the busy-ness of working and raising your boys. Vancouver and Annapolis are so nice– they are 2 places I would have loved to visit this year!

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