Best Dozen Posts of 2012

My friend Jennifer at JDomb’s Travels has nominated me to participate in the Best Dozen Posts of 2012, a round-up of posts from last year. Then I nominate five more people to participate so we can keep the fun going. Sort of like a game of tag, but with blogs. It sounded like a fun way to look back at what I wrote in 2012 and share with you one post for each of 12 categories. Enjoy!

1. Most Popular Post

By far my most popular post is How Much I Spent in Southeast Asia for Two Months. During my time in Southeast Asia, I did my best to keep track of what I spent, mostly to make sure I wasn’t spending too much, but also to share with all of you. Compared to some other travel bloggers, I spent a lot in this region, but I think my expenses show a realistic view for someone who isn’t so concerned with living on a bare bones budget. I also traveled a little faster than most and I often flew instead of traveling overland, both of which increase costs.

best of travel 2012

2. Most Helpful Travel Tip

Deciding to enroll in a study abroad program was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I got a glimpse of what it’s like to live in another country, I met some really wonderful people, and I greatly improved my Spanish. I also feel strongly that my time in Spain fueled my travel passion and in some way led me to where I am today. This is why I think it’s so important to study abroad or even sign up for a language program in another country as an adult. Therefore I’d say Why You Should Study Abroad was my most helpful travel tip.

best of travel 2012

3. A Post That Was Surprisingly Successful

I’m going to cheat a little here and use a post from my new site Travel Made Simple. Travel Slow and See More has nearly three times as much traffic as any other post on that site, which I didn’t expect. Slowing down to really sink into the culture is something I haven’t always thought about, but over the past few years I’ve realized the value of slow travel. I’ll write more about it later, but Andy and I are planning on having slow travel as a big theme in our trips in the future.

best of travel 2012

4. A Post I Thought Was Underrated

For some reason I didn’t get much traffic on my Women on the Road book review post. It’s a really great ebook that shows women how to travel. She really thought of everything you’d ever need to know, and things you never knew you needed to know. Don’t worry that it says “baby boomer” on it. I found nearly all of the info to be helpful for any age group. Seriously, if you’re a woman without much travel experience and you want some guidance, go read this post and buy Leyla’s book. It’s well worth it.

best of travel 2012

5. Most Controversial Post

Maybe the post itself wasn’t so controversial, but the city seems to be. Auckland is Not Typical New Zealand – And That’s OK is about how much I liked Auckland. It’s a city so many people told me was boring and not worth spending time in, but I really enjoyed being there. I guess if you come to New Zealand only expecting outdoor beauty, being in a city is a big contrast, so it’s one of those cities people seem to have strong opinions on.

best of travel 2012

6. Most Amusing Post

Andy and I were very excited to go to Brussels last summer. We wanted to try their world famous chocolate, fries, waffles and beer. We wanted to see the flower carpet that only happens for a few days every two years. But we also wanted to see the Brussels Peeing Statues. Most people know about the peeing boy, less know about the peeing girl, but did you know there’s also a peeing dog statue?

best of travel 2012

7. The Post I’m Most Proud Of

Living in Germany isn’t always easy. It’s been very odd adjusting to not having a job in the traditional sense. And letting go of the things that defined me in the past has been an interesting struggle as well. When I wrote Thoughts on One Year of Unemployment, I knew I was putting some personal stuff out there, but I had no idea how many people would connect with it and how much support and encouragement would come from it. Writing this post and putting it out there was very therapeutic.

best of travel 2012

8. Best Travel Story or Travel Perspective

This one was tough. I have tons of stories on my blog that I think are great, how do I pick just one? But I think What I Learned From My Round the World Trip shows pieces of many of my stories, while showing my perspective on long term travel. And lots of pictures!

best of travel 2012

9. Best Travel Adventure

The word “best” is debatable here, but The Time I Thought Our Plane Might Crash was certainly an adventure. Andy hates to fly, so when we had a rough flight in Turkey, I was trying to stay calm and calm him down at the same time. Touching down on the runway and then taking off again immediately is not something I’ve ever experienced, and hopefully never will again.

best of travel 2012

10. Best Cultural Perspective or Insights

People often only see the fun side of travel, but there’s a lot more to it. Part of exploring and learning about another country is looking at the tough things as well. Spending two months in Southeast Asia gave me a look at more suffering than I have ever seen at home. From children begging and selling things instead of going to school in Cambodia, to the very visible effects of years of US bombs being dropped on Laos, Difficult Travel Experiences in Southeast Asia shows a different perspective to the normal travel experiences.

best of travel 2012

11. Most Beautiful

Andy and I only got to spend a day in Lisbon, but we fell in love immediately. I thought it was a gorgeous city with such an incredible vibe, and we have such great memories of our night there. I’m excited to go back there someday, hopefully sooner rather than later. So I had to pick Lisbon – Love at First Sight for this one.

best of travel 2012

12. Best Photo or Photo Gallery

One of the most incredible places I’ve ever been to was Easter Island. The Moai statues were fascinating, the landscape was beautiful and rugged, and I loved almost always being within sight of the ocean. My post Driving Easter Island – Day 2 is packed with photos from just one day there, and just looking at it again makes me want to go back.

Easter Island Moai heads

I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. I had fun looking back on what I saw and wrote about last year. I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s in store for 2013, plus sharing with you some plans we already have in the works. Now for my nominations:

Andy from Grounded Traveler

Katie from KatieAune.com

Henry from Fotoeins Fotopress

Jaime from Breakaway Backpacker

Erik from On My Feet or In My Mind

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