As cliche as a best of 2011 post may be, this gives me a good opportunity to point out some things you may have missed. The opinions here are my own, but I would be interested where you think I am wrong or spot on.
It would be difficult to name simply the best of the 50 or so episodes of Amateur Traveler and 20 or so This Week in Travel episodes but these are some that stood out for me. We talked about unusual destinations like Albania, Honduras and Nigeria and popular destinations like Rome, Normandy, Quebec, Ireland and Japan. We talked about simple trips like Los Angeles, Aspen, Brooklyn and Tampa and about adventures like biking the Camino Santiago, volunteering with a hospital ship in West Africa, running with the bulls in Pamplona, kayaking in Botswana and visiting Northern Iraq. Some episodes stand out for me.
Best Podcast Guest – Robert Reid – Don’t get me wrong, I love all my guests. Without them the Amateur Traveler would have lots of long awkward pauses. But Robert stands out for his contribution to Travel to Oklahoma – Episode 295. Robert offered me Bulgaria as a destination but I figured anyone could make Bulgaria sound interesting. Robert has the distinction, I think, for adding the most literary references in a single episode.
Most Obscure Destination – Lesotho – The one time this year that I can recall having to look up a place on a map that someone pitched me was when Kim Mance said she had just returned from a Pony Trek in this southern African country. Travel to Lesotho – Episode 292
Best Video – I did not put out many videos this year but even if I had the video Travel to the Escalade – Geneva, Switzerland – Video Episode 66 would probably still be my favorite. I loved watching the Swiss party like it was 1602.
Most Fun Podcast – On This Week in Travel we did two live shows this year: This Week in Travel #100 – “The Anniversary Show” and This Week in Travel #86 – “A Cast of Tens”. There is nothing quite like the energy of a live show with lots of guests. The first of the two was at the TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) Expo in Vancouver, Canada and the second was at BlogWorld in Los Angeles. Of the two the second is my favorite. We took over an Italian restaurant and talked to lots of travel bloggers. For the record, much alcohol went into the production of this episode although I was drinking Diet Coke.
Most Popular – The most popular blog post all year is easy to identify. A post that talked about traveling with my wife I Married My Best Travel Companion really struck a cord. I wrote this after our 30th wedding anniversary.
Three more of my favorites are:
- Riding the Night Train in China
- Travel Technology – How Has It Changed Travel?
- 8 Ways to Travel Like Captain James T. Kirk
I posted a photo (almost) every day this year. I don’t know if I could pick a favorite of mine, but here are two I liked:
and a rare picture of me on vacation:
By the Numbers
The year is not over yet but this year the Amateur Traveler received over 1.2 millions downloads for the Amateur Traveler audio show. Add in 95, 000 downloads for This Week in Travel, 219,000 downloads for the Amateur Traveler video edition for over 1.5 million podcast downloads.
The Amateur Traveler web site received more than 640,000 page views (up 54%).
So thanks for all the attention. It has been a great year. I wish you a happy new year in 2012 and great travels!
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