2011 has been like 2008. The realisation of some dreams for me. My big thing of 2008 was the launch of my book. In it's real, printed pages format.
This year has been more personal accomplishments, by way of work, love and travel. In 2011, England felt more like home to me than a cold, little muddy island that's obsessed with football and tea. Like:
1) My boyfriend and I bought a flat and moved in together.
2) I started to think about the future. And a future that doesn't just have me in it.
3) I took a lot of aeroplanes (about 22 flights) and trains this year. I squeezed all I could out of business and personal travel.
4) I won an award at work.
Countries visited this year: 15 (not incl. UK)
Of these, totally new countries: 7*
Total countries visited in my life: 42
Total number of countries in the world: 196 (I have an infinitely fucklong way to go don't I.)
This post is my year in travel.** I've deliberately chosen one favourite picture from each country in my e-albums, which invoked tons of emotion. (I should add, I'm also pre-menstrual.)
So, what do I spend most of my pocket money on? This:
Khao San Road, Bangkok, Thailand, February. I love this picture, as it sums up the chaos and choice that is Thailand's busiest city.
Hoi An, Vietnam, February. It was hard to choose for Vietnam. We saw the country from top to bottom, so it's fair to say we saw a fuckload more than silk lanterns hanging from a window on a quiet street, while waiting for a bus.
Meribel, Haute-Savoie, France, March. Skiing in the Alps is, like, totes hedonistic. Beyond having five massages in a row. We were lucky to stay with friends who own a chalet there.
Lagos, Algarve, Portugal, April. It was
Hamburg, Germany, June. I went to the city for work, and had a thoroughly raucous time. I blame a bottle of Riesling and a willing German colleague.
Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark, June. I loved loved loved Denmark. Granted I went in mid-summer when the sun only set at 11:30pm. But if there's a city that can be described as near as perfect as fuck, Copenhagen it is.
San Marco, Venice, Italy, July. The Brit took me to Venice for a dirty weekend. Hot, romantic, always a feast for the eyes, stomach and nasal cavities. (The canals smell a bit rank in the hot months.) I loved this picture because with all the crazy architecture around, no one observes the lamps. I love the lamps.
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, United States, October. My annual work trip to the lovely city. Picture = no brainer. I rode over this bad boy on a bike. And thought I'd die. (I always think I'm going to die.)
Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego, United States, October. I'm cheating as I promised only one picture per country. Well shoot me and call me Marilyn. I dined at this hotel, where said name (of the family Monroe) shot Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.
Krakow, Poland, October. A nun walking down the street where Pope John Paul lived. Apt much?
Plášťovce, Slovakia, October. Possibly the most extreme mustard-coloured Skoda I've ever seen in an old Communist country. In the history of mustard-cloured Skoda's.
Budapest, Hungary, October. I loved Budapest. I thought it was more vast and just as beautiful as Prague. If not a titch more interesting.
Horky, Czech Republic, October. I liked this [random] picture, as it sums up what my mother and I did for 10 days in the red Skoda. We would take a left, into an arb little village, like this one. Whenever we felt like it.
Dublin, Ireland, November. That's me. Dressed up like Pat Benatar threw up Maggie Thatcher's head, while clutching an inflatable crocodile. Best party of the year. Hands down.
Kairouan, Tunisia, December. The world's fourth holiest city. Debauchery of above picture would've got me jailed here.
Amsterdam, Holland, December. Future picture. Apparently fireworks go off everywhere, so here's hoping nothing explodes near the face.
Here's to another 15 next year. Starting with South Africa in February. It's weird to think I now count SA as a country I visit away from home...
* We are going to Holland for New Year's. So at the time of writing this post, strictly speaking, it was 14.
** These are pictures outside of the UK. England will come later this week. Old Blighty deserves its own time in the sun. Partly because it never gets any.