As 2011 comes to an end, I thought it would be cool to talk about my top 5 travel experiences of the year. My year was split roughly 6 months in Australia, 3 months in Southern Asia, and 3 in the US. It’s hard to pick just 5, but here are my favorite travel memories from 2011, in no particular order.
In late July 2011 I visited the Philippines with several friends from back home. We bounced around between the islands as the cyclones permitted, ending on the island of Siargao where we have a friend building a resort. Siargao was awesome, 2 of our 5 days on the island made this list, and the others were really fun as well. On our last day in Siargao, our friend and his business partner (an amazing chef) invited us over to their resort-in-progress on a private beach opposite side of the island. We spent the day, with perfect weather, relaxing and snorkeling off his private beach. Then as the sun started going down dinner came out. They cooked us lechon (slow roasted pig suckling), and his partner made all sorts of sushi, some of the best I’ve ever had. They’ve got an amazing setup, with a custom made table sitting right on the edge of the sand. We ate, drank, and sampled all the different kinds of meat from the pig as the sun went down ending the perfect day with good friends.
If you read this blog at all, you’ve probably noticed how many posts have been made on Everest over the past 3 months. Although the 12 day trek to and from Everest Base Camp was not necessarily the most fun I’ve ever had, looking back on it, it was an amazing experience. I’m sure some of that can be attributed to my gratitude to still be alive after the earthquake, flooding, avalanches, and sketchiest flights in the world (literally), but a large chunk of that also stems from the fact that the Himalayas are an extraordinary place.
Sydney is one of my favorite cities in the world. Generally my favorite travel places tend to be a bit more foreign, but I can’t deny that Sydney is an amazing city, even if it’s not all that different from home. Sydney is one of those iconic places for New Years, and last year I found out why. Although technically this experience happened mostly in 2010, it carried on into 2011, so I’m counting it. I spent several months in Sydney with a combination of old and new friends. One of them had been living in Sydney since the previous New Year, and knew of a park across the bridge where we could setup camp and drink all day long. It was a perfect location, with great views of the bridge for the fireworks. There was a big group of us, the weather was spot on (too hot and sunny if anything), and we partied the day and night away, topping off with the most amazing firework show I’ve ever seen.
I try to come home and visit in mid to late June each year as it allows me to catch a couple of my best friends birthdays, 4th of July, my mom’s birthday, plus the weather is great. We’ve been going to Las Vegas for my friends birthday in late June for the last 6 years or so, and this year it fell on the same weekend as Electric Daisy Carnival’s first ever Las Vegas event. We decided we’d double up and go to EDC. Turns out EDC is really fun, and the larger Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the ideal location for it, allowing for hundreds of thousands of people. The music was awesome, with acts like Empire of the Sun, Sweedish House Mafia, David Guetta, ATB, Dash Berlin, Ferry Corsten + a lot more, and the firework show was second only to Sydney Harbor Bridges’. I had an amazing time, much better than I even anticipated, and I think that was the general consensus.
I wrote an entire article about Swimming With Jellyfish in the Philippines, which goes down as one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. It kind of came out of nowhere, we were taking a boat from the island of Siargao over to some water caves in Bucas Grande. When we got there they asked if we wanted to see the jellyfish too, none of us even knew they existed except my friend who had been living on Siargao, although he didn’t know it was that season. We transferred to some smaller boats and headed through some small passages in the rocks to a hidden lagoon. The further in we went, the more Jellyfish appeared. By the time we were all the way in, they were literally everywhere, it was unbelievable. There were 2 kinds, and neither one stung, so we were able to jump off the boat and swim amongst them. Truly one of the coolest things I’ve ever done / seen, not just in 2011. To read about this in detail and see the photos and videos click here.
I hope you were able to do some travelling in 2011, and that you had some similar experiences. Here’s to all of us making more of these types of memories in 2012!
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