I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas – I know I did – as evidenced by my lack of posts over the last week.
That said, I’ve been hard at work finishing my first ebook for Daily HDR: Make Your Photos Not Suck: 50 Tips to Improve Your HDR Photography. There will be much more information on that early in the new year, but as I’ve been putting the book together, I’ve come to one very big realization: I’ve been to a lot of cool places this year.
When the year started I knew I’d be going to Thailand, but I had no idea how many other cool spots that I’d end up seeing as a result of leaving my job last year. To me, one of the coolest things about all this travel was that I rarely took a day off. I was able to get work done the whole time, which actually made my trips much less stressful because I was never worried about the things I had to get done – I’d just do them.
Sure this kind of travel isn’t for everyone, but it’s worked really well for me.
2011 should definitely see some travel as well – especially after I get a few projects launched earlier in the year. However before 2010 fades away too far into the past, I wanted to take just a minute to recap some of the places I’ve had the privilege to visit this past year.
So without further ado, here are 19 incredible places that I’ve visited in 2010 (in somewhat chronological order).
Ayutthaya Ruins, Thailand. My very first day in Thailand I had the pleasure of meeting up with Cody Mckibben and exploring the Ayutthaya Ruins. The place was a photographers paradise, and it was a pretty memorable day considering it was the first time I really got to spend a day exploring in Asia.
Bangkok, Thailand. Bangkok was my home base for the majority of the year, and it will always hold a place in my heart. The city has so much to offer, and despite the ugliness of the Red Shirt Protests earlier this year, the people are some of the friendliest I’ve ever met – not to mention the food is incredible.
Krabi, Thailand. Of all of the places I’ve been this year, Krabi ranks right near the top of the list as a favorite. Sometime soon I hope to go spend more time in Ao Nang and Railay and really brush up on my rock climbing skills. If you want a place where you can live an active and healthy lifestyle with a ridiculously low cost of living, I can’t think of a better place than Krabi.
Koh Phi Phi, Thailand. I’ve written extensively about the woes of Koh Phi Phi, but the fact remains its one of the most fun party islands in the world, and I’ll always have fond memories of the place – every time I look down at my foot.
Manila, Philippines. I took off for the Philippines on less than 4 hours notice after the protests got so bad that they declared a curfew in Bangkok, and I had less than 48 hours to renew my visa anyhow. If you asked me to sum up Manila in a sentence it would be “a dirtier version of California“. Don’t get me wrong, I had a fantastic time in the city, but it was the most Americanized international city I’ve ever visited.
Puerto Galera Philippines. With buckets of six San Miguel Lights running for about $3.00, Puerto Galera was an awesome place to hang out for a few days. Dan and David have spent much more time there, and if all goes well I may be visiting them there again sometime in 2011. It gave me some of my favorite HDR photography shots I’ve taken, and the crew at Bad Ladz was awesome.
Subic Bay, Philippines. Talk about a weekend I’ll never forget. The weekend at Subic Bay, dubbed the Tropical MBA World Summit consisted of a million dollar yacht and a Shelby GT500. If that’s not a good time, then I don’t know what is.
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. A few weeks after returning from the Philippines, Tate came out and we spent a week in the island paradise that is Bali. Ubud is a central mountain town, that featured amazing, inexpensive food, and world class scenery.
Kuta, Bali, Indonesia. Kuta is pretty much the antithesis of Ubud. While the food and drinks were still cheap, it was party central here. We had plenty of time to do lots of shopping, have some incredible mojitos, and visit Uluwatu Temple during sunset.
Ko Tao, Thailand. The last week of my time abroad was spent working and lounging in Ko Tao with some of my closest friends. Ko Tao is one of the best diving communities around, and it was also the jumping off point for my first (and only) scuba dive experience.
New York, New York. I’ve been trying to take a trip to NYC for years – and when Jet Blue offered their All You Can Jet pass – I jumped at the chance to see the city. It was unlike any place I’d ever been, and I can’t wait to go back and explore the city more thoroughly. JFK proved to be a second home this year, as I payed it a visit two more times before the year was over. I did have a pretty awesome time creating my own pub crawl though…
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With David Walsh back in his native city, there was no way I couldn’t take the two hour trip north to see him for a few days. Whether it was hanging out at posh speakeasy’s or getting a private concert from G. Love – the city was definitely a fun place to be. Oh, and I also had a chance to meet Miss Ashley Ambirge, it’s just too bad she doesn’t even know her way around her own city, otherwise we may have been able to spend a little more time together.
Boston, Massachusetts. Another weekend of blogger meetups that totally exceeded expectations. I had the pleasure of spending time with Alan Perlman, Elisa Doucette, and Nate Damm for a few days while Alan gave us a tour of the city
Sisters, Oregon. Each year I take a golf trip with a few of my good friends to central Oregon over Memorial Day weekend. Well while I couldn’t make the trip over Memorial day, that didn’t stop us from taking it a bit later in the year. One day I’ll actually remember how to hit my driver.
Austin, Texas. I’d been to Austin once a few years ago for a tennis tournament and it was one of the most fun weeks I’ve had. Now one of my best friends is living there, and I figured it’d be cool to get a lay of the land before SXSW next year.
San Diego, California. The last stop on my All You Can Jet trip culminated with 4 days in San Diego working with @anythingian. The trip was awesome, but I’ve decided that the whole “sunshine” aspect of San Diego is a bunch of propaganda. In 3 total trips spanning a total of 14 days, I have yet to see a truly sunny day.
Seattle, Washington. This was a quick trip, but I couldn’t turn down the offer when one of my best friends Nick offered to take me up to a Seattle Seahawks game. I’d never been to an NFL game before, and not only did they win, but I captured some pretty awesome photos in the process.
Oahu, Hawaii. With friends getting married in Hawaii, how can you resist a chance to spend a few days in bright sunshine (especially when the weather is starting to turn in Oregon). We had a great time exploring Diamond Head and Hanauma Bay, and I also did something I vowed never to do: be a wedding photographer.
Siesta Key, Florida. The final trip of the year was also the most unexpected. When you receive a call from entrepreneur Markus Urban telling you to get on a plane stat, you do as you’re told! The weekend was spent with some of the smartest people I’ve had the pleasure to be around, and I’m looking forward to catching up with them all again soon.
As you can tell, I definitely made the rounds this year. Next year I hope to visit at least five new countries, and become much better about my frequent flyer miles. I took a few dozen flights this year, spread over 10 airlines. That doesn’t really do much for you when you’re trying to rack up the miles! Stay tuned for a more in depth look at my year in review as well as plans for 2011.
Merry (late) Christmas to EVERYONE, and think about where you’d like to go in the new year – because if you don’t set a goal, you’re never going to get there.