19 Incredible Destinations I Visited in 2010

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.

A Buddha in the Ayutthaya Ruins of Thailand

A Buddha at the Ayutthaya Ruins outside of Bangkok, Thailand.

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.

The streets of Victory Monument in Bangkok

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.

Ryan Martin and Sean Ogle swimming in Thailand

Ryan and I living the glory life in Thailand earlier this year.

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.

Maya Bay, Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

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.

Skyline of Manila from the Malayan in Ortigas

Manila as seen from the Helipad of my apartment

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.

The Pier in Puerto Galera, Philippines

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.

Subic Bay Yacht Club

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.

Sean with Monkey in Ubud, Bali

Hanging out in the Monkey Forest of Ubud

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.

Fire dancer on kuta beach

Fire dancing on Kuta Beach in Bali

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.

scuba diving, ko tao, location 180, sean ogle

About to take the plunge

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…

Panorama Image of NYC from the Gansevoort Hotel

The view from the Gansevoort. What awful weather...

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

Boston, Massachusetts

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.

Poolside at the Hyatt Hotel in Austin

Poolside at the Hyatt Hotel in Austin

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.

Cloudy day in La Jolla Beach, San Diego, California

My third trip to San Diego, and I have yet to see a 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.

HDR Photo of the Seattle, Washington Skyline

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.

Panoramic Photo of Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii

Hanauma Bay

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.

HDR Photo of Siesta Key, Florida

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.

If you enjoyed this post, check out my free ecourse on location independence over in the side bar.  You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook!

Joel December 27, 2010 at 11:29 am

Crazy to think what happens in a year, huh?

p.s. I noticed Chicago was notably absent from your list this year. I hope that changes in ’11 🙂

Alan December 27, 2010 at 11:48 am

Boston made this list! Honored. Your HDR picks of Asia are incredible, man. You’ve really stepped up your photography skills over the last year. Looking forward to what’s in store for 2011.


Natalie Sisson December 27, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Ah reliving some memories there. Can’t believe you had a friendly moment with those monkeys in Ubud – I recall they attacked me and several other people.

Ubud is gorgeous though. Where are you off to in 2011?


MK December 27, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Thanks Sean for sharing your awesome travels with us throughout 2010. Looking forward to all 2011 has in store!

Dan December 27, 2010 at 3:57 pm


Priyank December 27, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Hi Sean, looks like you had a wonderful year! I’ve been a silent reader but here’s wishing you even better 2011. I look forward to your ebook on HDR.

Audrey December 27, 2010 at 10:05 pm

In looking back over the year, isn’t it sometimes incredible to think that ALL of that happened in one year? Can’t wait to see where 2011 takes you professionally and in terms of travel.

We may start our year in Krabi – really enjoy the feel of that part of Thailand and the food really can’t be beat.

David December 28, 2010 at 2:37 am

Hey Sean,
it’s incredible how much cool stuff happens once you go location independent.
Did you see the floating bars in PG and Subic?. They are awesome.

Thanks for the backlink =)

Matt December 28, 2010 at 10:56 am

Fun post. It’s cool to be able to look back and really see all the places you’ve been this past year. Looking forward to joining you on the road in 2011.

Nate December 29, 2010 at 8:49 am

Yeah dude! I love posts like this. And glad to see Boston made the list. Was sweet to meet up!

Mike December 29, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Wow! What an amazing year. Your pictures are amazing.

Maxim January 11, 2011 at 6:16 am

Krabi is indeed amazing. Spend about 10 days there in December 2010 and travelled to Phi Phi but only for one day. It’s certainly wirth to get back there!
Now back to snowy Moscow 🙂

Alex | WiseNinja.com January 15, 2011 at 8:55 am

Congrats Sean you covered a lot of ground! Afraid you may run out of earth if you keep this up for long. Great HDR shots too. Good luck in 2011

Aubrey Beck August 19, 2011 at 1:42 pm

That shot of Seattle is STUNNING. I vacationed there for the first time this year and we had the chance to take a seaplane up to Orcas Island. The city is gorgeous and your photo does it complete justice.

Sean August 21, 2011 at 11:55 am

Thanks Aubrey! That’s one of my favorite photos – the seaplane had to be an awesome experience!

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