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As the year comes to a close, I would love to highlight some travel blogs that I thought did truly exceptional work in 2011.
I just want to mention that putting together a list like this is difficult — because so many bloggers are close friends of mine! I know that some people will be upset not to be included on this list, and I’m sorry I’m not including every single blog that I enjoy.
On the same note, I’ve tried to resist the temptation to fill this list with the blogs written by my closest friends, or blogs that have highlighted me in the past, or blogs that have “scratched my back” the most, so to speak, this year, and have concentrated on the ones that I thought should be singled out for this year.
These blogs do have something in common: they are all very personal. I run a very personal blog, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, and personal travel blogs are the kinds of travel blogs I enjoy reading the most.
Here are some great blogs, and I hope you subscribe to them all.
Man vs. Clock
If there’s any blog that is the male equivalent of Adventurous Kate, it’s Man vs. Clock. Anthony, whom I met this year at TBU in Innsbruck and hung out with in Edinburgh as well, has since become a great friend of mine. The night we met, I couldn’t understand a word of his Geordie accent and just stared blankly and nodded for a good 30 minutes or so. He was very good-natured about it.
Anthony’s blog is about challenging himself as he travels the world, although I think his latest challenge is a bit crazy — six months without alcohol in Southeast Asia. The land of buckets and $2 huge beers and TUBING!!
We’ll see how he does. Until then, I’ll be laughing at his posts on surviving a motorbike ride in Southeast Asia and though it’s not that related to travel, his Eat, Pray, Love review is pretty hilarious.
Stop Having a Boring Life
Fun fact: when I first met Rob of Stop Having a Boring Life (yes, like the Shamwow guy) in Chiang Mai last year, I thought he had drunk a gallon or two of Red Bull. Later, I learned that was just his personality — hyper, wild, and full of adventure. And that’s how he travels. He’s honest, frank, and so infectiously enthusiastic that you can’t help but get excited when you read his posts.
I particularly loved Rob’s hop through the Balkans this summer, including Kosovo, and he’s introduced me to new destinations like Varna, Bulgaria and Kalkan, Turkey. But what blew me away the most this year was his post of photos from Taormina, Sicily, which immediately skyrocketed Taormina to the top of my dream list.
Don’t Ever Look Back
What impresses me the most about Aussies Kieron and Amy is how well they manage working with companies. And they’re doing this with a relatively new blog, only a few months into their RTW trip! Because of this, nearly every post is about a wild adventure, from swimming with sharks in Hawaii to glacier walking in Iceland. And I love their sense of humor — they went to a Jerry Springer taping in the States just for kicks!
I got to meet Kieron and Amy in London at WTM this year, and every time I see a new post pop up from them, I’m excited to see which crazy activity they did next. It’s definitely worth getting Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” stuck in my head each time.
If you like my blog, I’m sure you’ll love this blog — because I think this girl is hilarious! Lauren’s blog Never-Ending Footsteps is one of the newer additions to my Google Reader, and I love her beautiful photos and funny posts as a solo female traveler. She doesn’t shy away from adventure — she even visited Chernobyl (and just in time — tours have since been suspended).
Our Travel Lifestyle
I’ve found that many family travel bloggers talk constantly about how amazing their trip is, how perfectly behaved their children are, how flawless homeschooling or unschooling is, how constant travel has transformed their lives into nothing but sunshine and rainbows.
Enter Tracy and Colin of Our Travel Lifestyle, whom I met in Bangkok about a year ago. They travel the world with their young kids, Noah and Hayley, and while they love the joys of their travel-filled life, they don’t shy away from talking about tough times, failures and less-than-perfect moments. And that does a service for parents planning a long-term trip.
Perhaps the best post Tracy wrote on this subject was Have We Been on the Road Too Long? — though guides on how to keep kids well-behaved on long-haul flights and how to have “business time” when you’re traveling with kids were great as well! But what I love most is how every post is sprinkled with funny things the kids say — those two really are hilarious.
The Road Forks
Akila and Patrick of The Road Forks consistently provide some of the best wanderlust-inspiring posts I read each week. “Lush” is probably the best word to describe this food-oriented blog, from Akila’s writing to Patrick’s photography. I dare you to read “the taste of two years” without drooling!
This year they are doing something truly different — traveling Europe with their dogs, Chewy and Abby. As a fellow American, I know how difficult it is to spend extended time in Europe — but dogs makes it even more difficult. Just reading the preparation for this trip alone is mind-boggling! They’ve been spending time in the English countryside and I love it when people realize there’s more to the UK than just London!
As much as I hate the phrase “cute couple,” Erica and Shaun of Over Yonderlust must be the cutest couple in the travel blogosphere. They’re tattooed! They have romantic matching tattoos! THEY NEVER STOP SMILING!
They started their travels in Mexico this spring and have been working their way through Latin America, not being afraid to party a little bit along the way. Erica recently discovered her calling to be a pirate while sailing from Panama to Colombia. My favorite post from the past year? When they talked about how their good friends “Eric” and “Shauna” went to Cuba. Wink.
Travels of Adam
Adam was the first travel blogger I ever met, back in spring 2010, just before he left on his trip. Since then, Adam and I have hung out in Koh Chang and Bangkok during Songkran — and I have watched him and his blog, Travels of Adam, evolve remarkably. Adam always had great posts about Morocco, Israel, India and Thailand…
…and then he found Berlin and figured things out. Adam quickly jumped into the hipster expat life in Berlin, from immersing himself in art to dancing in an impromptu club in a subway station. And seeing how much joy he gets from finally finding his place makes his blog an absolute pleasure to read.
Who are your picks for great travel bloggers in 2011?