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2012 in Travel Awesomeness

JR Patagonia hiking

This year has gone by unbelievably quickly. In my mind, it’s a blur from Israel to Australia—and nearly everywhere in between.

The thing that lures me to pack my suitcase again and again in pursuit of adventure is that sense of wonder in learning new things about the world. My family and friends who know me best will attest that internally, I am five years old. I have a hard time containing my enthusiasm for new experiences. I find that I usually have to dial it down to keep from looking like a complete dork.

This year, I’ve nearly run out of air, gawking underwater at the nighttime ballet of manta rays feeding off the coast of Hawaii. I collected my share of bruises from snowboarding in Aspen and mountain biking in Utah. The landscapes of Chile’s Patagonia region had me so in awe that a friend constantly made fun of my limited vocabulary every time I looked around (“Wow… pretty.”). I’ve helped nesting sea turtles, gone swimming with a monstrously huge crocodile and watched flocks of flamingos come in for a landing at sunset. I’ve hiked in Wales, kayaked in an icy lake in Chile, gone canyoneering in Utah and surfing in Mexico. I’ve visited Yosemite, Israel, Mexico, Santa Maria, Aspen, Kauai, Los Angeles, Wales, Puerto Rico, Dominica, Las Vegas, a variety of places in Utah, British Columbia, Chile, Napa, Australia, Hawaii’s Big Island, Scottsdale and New Orleans.

Each year, I usually list my favorite travel moments, but the list from 2012 is so rich that I can’t imagine attempting that task. I’ve had the good fortune to travel with family, great friends, and also spend enough time alone to remember what it’s like to strike out on my own. Each time I reflect on a trip, that sense of wonder comes back and makes it all new again.

Next year’s travel plans are starting to come into focus, and I can only wish that I have as many unforgettable experiences as I did this year. It’ll be a hard act to follow, but I’m going to try.