Fifteen People Have Spoken: 2010′s Best Stuff – Part Two

Zebra family
Zebra family by Anders Wikström

Here begins part two of the 2010′s Best Stuff Round-Up Discussion. Unlike part one, most of these later entries deal with family. I hope you enjoy these responses as much as yo have of those in Part One. Here’s a small reminder of the topic:

Everyone is currently coming up with the “Best Of This Thing or That Thing. Personally, I would rather let you decide the Best of Whatever. Be it movies, music, books, websites, destinations, festivals, beaches, snow banks, pajamas or pets – the choices are yours. Please tell me what you have found to be the best thing(s) for YOU in 2010.

Tony Fernandes

Travelling Tonito’s Adventures in the Sahara

The best thing of 2010 for me was watching my country, South Africa, successfully host Africa’s first World Cup. A lot of people doubted our ability to do it. Even more people wanted us to fail so they could wag their finger at FIFA and say “I told you so!”. However South Africa gave the doubters the finger and hosted an excellent World Cup. When the final whistle blew in Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africans’ hearts burst with pride!

Might be corny as hell, but I don’t care as this was South Africa’s year!

Not only did we host an excellent World Cup (there might have been some minor issues) but the World Cup also united the country. At least for two months, we forgot our troubled past and showed the world that we could get things done. South Africans from all backgrounds came together to enjoy the spectacle. I’m always proudly South African, but for two months this year, it went beyond that. I was honoured to be able to say that I was South African!

Might be corny as hell, but I don’t care as this was South Africa’s year!

Railway Graveyard
Railway Graveyard by samsara2

Linda Martin

Indie Travel Podcast

For me, 2010 was a year spent with people, so its appropriate that my top travel experience of the year was one I spent with three of my best friends (and three random Bolivians, but that’s par for the course). Getting to Uyuni, Bolivia was a bit of a mission, but the salt flats tour that starts from there was amazing.

We set off in the early morning, stopped at the “train graveyard” and a small souvenir town on the way to the Salar. As we drove along the endless expanse of white, the driver explained how it was formed and how locals harvest the salt. We had lunch at an island in the middle of the white sea, and continued on to our destination for the night: a hotel made of salt bricks.

On the following days, we saw other natural wonders: hills striped with seven colours of clay, a natural rock formation shaped like a tree, flamingos. We saw a geyser erupting in the pre-dawn light and sat in hot pools as the snow slowly started to fall around us (which is another story: who knew snow fell in the desert?) Our driver dropped us at the Chilean border at midday on day three, and it was all over — but it remains my top travel experience of the year.

Erik Gauger

Notes from the Road

The best thing for me in 2010 was the story of the barefoot bandit. Let me explain. Every day, I get all this spam in my inbox from the travel industry. I get all these PR people wanting to promote their Travel Channel personality on my amateur travel blog or a guest blog with links back to their travel gadgets. This year, we watched the very sad story of a boy who went out on a terrible and harrowing journey across North America, stealing cars, planes and boats to move himself across the country and just out of reach of authorities. While the barefoot bandit’s crimes, personal history and two years on the run are nothing to admire, his story really captivated me. I couldn’t help to think that this boy saw and traveled and observed more about the nature of humanity in those two years than any Travel Channel personality could in ten. And his story kept reminding me over and over that travel begins once you set your foot out the door, and not when your cruise ship first gets into port. And that adventure is not something you go on, but something that we as regular travelers should responsibly hope to avoid. The barefoot bandit, more than anything, inspired me into embracing the immediacy of travel. Maybe when he gets out of jail, he’ll make a fine travel writer.

Jon Brandt

Travel Guy

It was the first vacation I’d taken with them since I was 18, and oh my how things have changed.

My Best of 2010 would be traveling through Patagonia with my parents. It was the first vacation I’d taken with them since I was 18, and oh my how things have changed. I guess this puts me in the category of taking a vacation as an adult with my parents, when I’m able to choose the wine at dinner and help out with the long drives. It was a totally different experience than I’m used to, but it was nice and I welcomed it. I’m used to traveling like a dirty backpacker, but we stayed in luxury estancias and traveled like older people with comfort in mind. I think just the bonding alone made it more important for me, and in many ways that was the most rewarding part of the trip. Though there were few trips in 2010, it was definitely the best.

Wade and Petra
Wade and Petra Courtesy of Wade Shepard

Wade Shepard

Vagabond Journey

Getting on that first international flight with my five month old daughter had to have been the highlight of 2010. Followed up by watching her roll over for the first time in the Dominican Republic, crawl for the first time in El Salvador, learn how to stand up in the jungle of Guatemala, take her first steps Mexico, and now listening as she tries out new words in Spanish and English. Never thought it could be so enjoyable traveling with a child, but watching Petra grow up on the road has not only been the main highlights of this past year but also of all my previous ten years of travel combined.

Kris Kalav

The Beerman Chronicles

The best thing for me in 2010 has to be the same as the last 20 years, my marriage. Rather, make that the woman I married. We celebrated our 20th anniversary this year, which traditionally is the “china” anniversary (got enough plates and bowls, thank you) but in more modern times has become the “platinum” anniversary (this is good – can’t have enough platinum – please send all your platinum to me in small boxes). It is because of this woman that we made our only travels of 2010 – four nights in New York City hobnobbing with bloggers and three nights in far western Minnesota meeting family I’ve never met and she hasn’t seen in thirty-some years. And they even let me drive their jet-ski, a first for me. Sure, once you go full throttle, you can’t hear them shouting at you from shore to slow down – I thought they were just waving……

Gretchen Wilson-Kalav

Our Two Cents Worth…

I honestly don’t know where to begin because so many unique things have happened to me this past year. Though I’m not a big fan of lists (but I hear they work), here goes: ;)

1) Twenty years of marriage to the man I devoutly love and admire. (Damn, we’re a gushy couple. LOL!)

2) Being offered this position as Editor of TravelBlogs. (A “never in my wildest dreams” moment. Hope I’ve kept all of you happy so far.)

3) Reconnecting with family I’ve not seen since 1979. (Ohhh, playing on the jet-ski too.)

4) Visiting New York City for the first time during TBEX. Plus, seeing the Statue of Liberty “up close and sorta personal”. (Made me cry.)

5) A new snow blower. (Seriously, that’s a highlight as I hate shoveling snow. And, it’s red!)

beach pink
Sunset by Gretchen Wilson-Kalav

Cooper Schraudenbach

True Nomads

Best Things about being an Expat 2010:

1) You can eat fresh shrimp and not worry about how much BP product you are ingesting.

2) You can fly around the world – and only rarely will you have to transit a TSA staffed airport – and by the sound of it, that is a very good thing.

3) You can enjoy the holiday season minus the ice storms, blizzards and below zero wind chills – although I do miss a white Christmas now and then.

4) You can follow the Sarah Palin revolution from a disinterested distance if you would rather not hear about it on a daily basis.

5) No new taxes!

6) Inflation is less noticeable in the non-first world economy – your morning coffee and paper is still only a buck.

7) No two-week vacation limit!

When you are really tired and fed-up… you can sit on the white sand with your coconut drink…

8) When you are really tired and fed-up with the relentless headlines and news, of how rough a place the world is these days, you can sit on the white sand with your coconut drink, and watch the sky blaze pink red and orange as the sun settles into the cobalt sea, marking the end of another fine day. As you breath in the fresh sea air, you realize that all is still well with the world – you just were distracted for a while.

Happy 2011!!! From True Nomads and keep traveling!


Editor’s Note: I personally want to thank everyone for their input on this Round-Up! Your replies have been truly inspirational and I hope our readers will agree. Cheers to what 2011 will bring as we usher it in. I do, with much gratitude, appreciate your support this past year. Thank you, again.

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Discussion »

  • #1Liudmila

    It’s a great idea to think aboout what was the best in this year. Normally, I hear about the problems persons had and “I wish the next year will finally bring something good”.

    As for me, I had a really great year: I visited places I like, like Swiss, Alps, Venice. I partecipated on 2 ritrits. And I learned many interesting bloggers we are friends now.

  • #2Chad Colvaniels

    Great blog post! I have to definitely agree with the opening part about the World Cup in South Africa that was such an awesome spectacle to see. It would have been better to be there in person though. I’ve been trying to make it over to South Africa for awhile now the scenery is so beautiful there. I saw that movie “White Wedding” recently from South Africa and I couldn’t believe how amazing some of the landscapes looked.

  • #3Gail Gillespie

    I had many best moments in my own country New Zealand, as I travelled with my husband to many parts of the country either campervanning or staying in hotels.Kayaking in the Hokianga, biking in Hawkes Bay, Zealandia in Wellington, driving right to the end of Coromandel Peninsula, revisiting Nelson…..and many wineries around the country! But our trip to Borneo, Brunei and Singapore was the every best of all.Seeing the wildlife in Borneo from a river boat, stunning caves, rainforest, amazing snorkelling…and of course the beautiful orangutans. Brunei was interesting and a worthwhile stopover, while revisiting Singapore was great. The best being going up newly opened Marina Bay Sands with amazing city views.

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