2011 was another great year for travel for a gal like me. After taking on the role of President of Reach To Teach Recruiting earlier this year, I expected that my travel time would go down, but my new position ended up bringing me a lot more travel opportunities than I was anticipating. Here’s a list of the incredible places that I traveled to in 2011.
Revisted! Shanghai is one of those cities that never fails to intrigue me. This is a city that I’ve visited for business and for pleasure in the last 18 months. No matter what I’m doing while in Shanghai, whether it’s business or pleasure, this gorgeous Asian city never fails to delight me.
Kota Kinabalu, Borneo
John and I kicked off the Chinese New Year with a trip to Kota Kinabalu. We got caught in a heavy rainstorm while driving to the Tip of Borneo and almost got swept away by a flash flood, we visited Mt Kinabau and Poring Hot Springs, met an orangoutang named Jackie, and visited the islands in and around Kota Kinabalu proper.
Seoul, South Korea
I went to Korea twice this year. Once in February and once in August. Both trips were work-related, but I couldn’t have asked for more different trips. My February trip was a solo trip, so I had the rare pleasure of exploring the city on my own. That opportunity doesn’t come along very often in my marriage, so I made the most of it by checking out the changing of the guards at Gyeongbokgung Palace, wandering through Insa-dong, being drawn into a live broadcast for Doko cookies, and walking straight into a massive parade in downtown Seoul.
On the other hand, my August trip to South Korea was both work- and family-related. John’s mother and son joined us in Taipei this summer and we flew to South Korea with them and enjoyed a three-day weekend with them before getting down to business. Caleb seemed to enjoy Korea, although he doesn’t look very happy in this photo. He’s like his Dad. He doesn’t like having his picture taken.
Although I live in Taiwan, Hualien is one city that we’ve never spent much time in. John and I planned an impromptu long weekend trip in Hualien with another couple that we spend time with here in Taiwan. We rented bicycles for the weekend and explored this laid-back East Coast city in full. We found a great barbecue restaurant and stumbled upon a quiet little beach behind an army base on the outskirts of town. Taiwan is full of hidden treasures and this weekend proved to be surprise after surprise.
John and I got a great deal on a flight to Hong Kong and took his mother and son in July. We spent four days wandering around the city. We shopped and ate and shopped some more. We spent most evenings on the pier watching both the people and the neon lights lighting up the sky at regular intervals. I enjoyed our tram ride to Victoria Peak, but my favorite part of the trip was stumbling upon a local beer festival.
My first trip to Europe – Can you believe it! – has been in the making since 2006. This was a really special trip for me because I got to spend it with my two best friends, Claire Breen and Andrew Morgan. Claire and I have traveled together many times before, but this was my first big trip with Drew and his first big trip out of North America. We made sure we hit all the hot spots in London upon our arrival.
I’ve always wanted to visit Brighton after watching Fat Boy Slim play live on Brighton Beach on TV. As luck would have it, Claire moved there in early 2011, so her home in Brighton was our home base for our European vacation. Brighton Pier is one of my favorite places in Brighton, but I also really enjoyed visiting Devil’s Dyke. The view of the surrounding countryside is second to none!
Another highlight of our European vacation was Ben and Gemma Hughes’ wedding on October 1, 2011 in Sandbanks, a small piece of land that projects out into the English Channel at Poole in Dorset, England. Dubbed as Britain’s “Palm Beach”, this beautiful piece of land is ranked fourth in the world for having the highest land value. The area has some of the most exclusive homesteads in England, while its waters are widely used for water sports, yachting and sailing.
Our trip to Paris started off with a very special visit to Maison Guerlain, where we got a private tour of the original apartments and learned first-hand about the history of this famous Parisienne perfumer. We rented a charming little apartment in Le Montparnasse and spent our evenings picnicking under the Eiffel Tower in the warm September weather. I wasn’t expecting to like Paris as much as I did, but I would gladly take six months off to rent a little apartment here to get to know the city better.
The freedom of life in Amsterdam was an unforgettable experience and I am already anxious to go back and explore more of this fascinating country.
Copenhagen is destination that I have been itching to go to, but never dreamed that it would happen this year. Last summer while I was home in Canada, I met Aleks, a young Danish man from Copenhagen that accompanied us to Beach Club in Montreal to see Tiesto. We became friends and he ended up inviting Drew, Claire and I to Copenhagen. I don’t think he expected us to take him up on his offer, but we ended up descending on his home and stayed with him for five days. Aleks was an incredibly gracious host and he spent his time showing us around his hometown. There are too many highlights to mention in just this post, but our trip to Christiana and our bicycle adventures around the city stand out in my mind as being the perfect way to end our trip.