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Newsletter Roundup, travel

Top 5 Travel Experiences from 2012

Top 5 Travel Experiences from 2012

2012 was a travel bonanza!  I never would have guessed, ringing in the New Year in Prague, that I would see and experience so much throughout 2012.

Travel in 2012 ran the gamut of experiences from luxurious hotel stays in the Mayan Riviera at the Fairmont Mayakoba Resort and Spa to basic accommodations in the back of cathedrals in Viana and ancient pilgrim hostels (Ermita de San Nicolas) with no electricity on the Camino de Santiago.  Each were special in their own right.

Most of my time was spent in Spain with 2 very different trips – 2 weeks cycling in Mallorca in the spring and 6 weeks walking across the Camino Frances across the north.

With so much to choose from, it was really hard to narrow it down to my favourite 5 experiences!

1.  January 2012 – It was in Prague that I was first introduced to the concept of Love Locks.  I adored the symbolism behind locking your lock and throwing away the key…a pledge to the enduring love of the couple behind the lock.  I have created a mini-mission for myself to find love locks around the world.  While they can be controversial (see: Love Locks Rome: Do we have to say good-bye), lovers around the world are embracing the notion and the love locks are continuing to pop up everywhere!  I found a fledgling love lock wall in Dubrovnik and hope to hear stories of more stunning locations.  I hope to lock my own love lock in 2013.

declarations of love

2.  July 2012 – The New England Colour Run.  One thing I love about blogging is learning about great activities out there that I may never have heard of otherwise!  While not a runner, I was reading a post about a few different runs out there and the colour run caught my eye!  How could it not with a tag line of the happiest 5K on the planet!

Boston, New England

after the Color Run

3.  August 2012 – Decompressing in Croatia.  August was a huge month as it marked the beginning of my transition zone.  I went from working full time to full time nomad and 2 weeks in Croatia marked the beginning.  I remember sitting on the pier by the Adriatic Sea and becoming so relaxed that an entire hour passed without me thinking about anything.  I just looked out at the water, sparkling like crystal in the sunlight, and knew that I had made the right choice.  I had been running so hard up to this point that I had forgotten how to relax.  Croatia was the perfect place to relax and decompress before heading out to walk the Camino de Santiago, which was, of course, the main objective of my 3 months in Europe.

4.  September-October 2012 – Walking the Camino de Santiago.  It had been a dream of mine for a number of years.  The Camino proved to be the most difficult and the most rewarding experience at the same time.  My body suffered immense hardships which was hard on my ego.  I thought myself relatively fit as a cyclist who thought nothing of cycling the mountains of Mallorca (Sa Calobra, Serra de Tramuntana to name a few!), yet I found myself crippled by blisters early on the walk.  My ankle, hip and knee protested over the tough terrain.  With unplanned stops, it meant that my 40 day plan spread to 43.  Along the way, I met some amazing people whose kindness was incredible and whose friendships got me through the tough times.  I was inspired by their stories of why they chose to walk the Camino and thrilled to share the highs and lows along the trail.  The beauty of the region was beyond my expectations…my favourite being Galicia.  It was soothing for the soul to walk through the eucalyptus forests and look out over the valleys.  I cherished all of the 43 days, even when I thought I couldn’t take another step.  The wave of emotions that came over me as I arrived at the Cathedral in Santiago defies words (walking to Santiago).  The life lessons learned along the way were incredible and I hope to do it again in 10 years.  I wonder how different the experience will be knowing more of what I would be in for!

on the road to Santiago

5.  November 2012 – Such a contrast to the hardships of the Camino, in November I had the chance to join a friend and a wonderful group of women on a week in Barbados.  The highlight of the week – a day spent on a catamaran, swimming with the sea turtles.  It was a magical day that will be hard to repeat.  Really, the entire week was so special….while I didn’t know most of the girls before the trip, I made some great friends and hope to travel with them again.  We had a gorgeous villa rather than hotel rooms, and kicked back on the porch daily, chased monkeys in the forest and laughed til we cried!  Needless to say, girls week in the Caribbean rocks!

things to do in Barbados

I have to admit – narrowing it down to 5 was nearly impossible.  I can’t help but add 2 honourable mentions:

  1. March/April 2012 – Introducing friends to Mallorca.  This year I returned to Mallorca with a group of friends.  While I have been traveling and cycling here for years, it was amazing to relive the excitement and amazement of the first time I traveled to the island.  We were a group of 10 and 8 of the group had never been here before.  It was great to share what I knew and experience it all over again with fresh eyes.  We stayed in villas and cooked most nights after riding every corner of Mallorca.  The riding was nothing short of spectacular, and sharing it with friends made it even better!
  2. October 2012 – a night in the kitchen with San Sebastian Foods.  What a night.  I love to cook and try new foods and what better than a night learning about Basque cuisine in the heart of Basque country!  The group de-inked squid and learned tricks and tips from professional chefs.  When it was all said and done, we sat down to an amazing dinner and lived it up!  The experience was top notch and I would gladly go do it again!  Even better – I came home and wowed the home crowd with my new recipes!

Travel Destination Bucket List got a couple notable mentions on the web:

  • East Coast Car Rentals listed Travel Destination Bucket List as one of the 5 Travel Blogs to watch in 2013.
  • 101 Holidays Blog listed Turtle Cruise with Silver Moon as one of the bets travel blog posts in December.

2012 has been an exceptional year.  I look forward to whatever 2013 brings to me…hope you have enjoyed the ride!

Anita Mac

About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


41 thoughts on “Top 5 Travel Experiences from 2012

  1. Sounds like you’ve had a great travelling year! Have been really interested in reading about your Camino experiences, and those sea turtle photos are amazing. Look forward to seeing what 2013 has in store!

    Posted by Lucy Dodsworth | December 28, 2012, 10:20 am
    • It was really beyond my wildest imagination! The Camino was certainly a major achievement – I still can’t believe I walked the entire route! It was humbling to see people of all ages, including an 80 year old man, out there walking. Looking forward to 2013 – only time will tell what will evolve!

      Posted by Anita Mac | December 28, 2012, 10:39 pm
  2. Beautiful Adventures – Beautiful Captures – love the sea turtles – you have been busy!!! Happy Friday – Here’s to 2013 Adventures:)

    Posted by cravesadventure | December 28, 2012, 12:11 pm
  3. Anita,
    You are indeed blessed to have traveled and enjoyed such wonderous places. Thank you for sharing these locals and experiences with so many who may (or may not) visit them. I love your adventuresome spirit.
    Happy New Year!

    Posted by Michael Doran | December 28, 2012, 4:11 pm
  4. Great post! Sounds like you’ve had a great year full of discovery and awesome experiences!

    Posted by valcitygal | December 28, 2012, 10:28 pm
  5. Sounds like an great year with some amazing experiences! I’ve wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago for awhile too. It sounds like it would be such a challenge–congrats on making it all the way to the end! I did the Color Run a few weeks ago; it really was so much fun! Can’t wait to hear about more of your adventures in 2013!

    Posted by Jenna Kvidt | December 29, 2012, 12:58 pm
  6. You quit your full time job? so brave 🙂 Are you still a nomad? or have you joined the rest of us? 😦

    Posted by Bashar A. | December 29, 2012, 3:32 pm
    • It was a huge decision. At the moment, I am in limbo…I am not nomadic, rather taking some time over the holidays with family and friends..but have not yet jointed the rest of you in a regular or traditional position! Guess you can say, I am still weighing my options!
      Happy New Years!

      Posted by Anita Mac | December 29, 2012, 11:10 pm
  7. What a wonderful post Anita. I loved reading about your Top 5 Travel Experiences of 2012… especially enjoyed reading about the Camino de Santiago and your journey there.

    Happy New Year!! May 2013 bless you with many more adventures. xo

    Posted by Suzanne McRae | December 30, 2012, 12:30 am
  8. I am so happy that the past year has been so good to your travel bucket list, thanks for taking us all along for the wonderful ride. Happy New Year Anita.

    Posted by PC PHOTO | December 30, 2012, 6:59 pm
  9. What a wonderful year full of travels and adventures you had! Great job on making it through the Camino de Santiago. Those sea turtle pictures are incredible! I can’t imagine what an amazing experience that must have been. Wishing you more travels and adventures in 2013!

    Posted by Mary {The World Is A Book} | December 30, 2012, 10:41 pm
  10. I envy your adventures. What a fantastic year!

    Posted by aaronwest | December 31, 2012, 11:16 am
  11. How on earth do you do all this? Can you offer a self-help tutorial for wanna be travellers? And a night learning about Basque cuisine? Really? What a dream.

    Posted by Robin Lewis | December 31, 2012, 3:56 pm
    • I get the how on earth do you do this question a lot. I think it really boils down to the fact that travel is my passion, I have a huge case of wanderlust and no kids! I wish I could cram more travel into a year, but sadly – I have to work to fund my adventures! 2012 has been exceptional – but surprisingly, my nearly 3 months of travel cost less than staying home! It is amazing how much money is wasted on the day to day.
      As for the Basque cooking experience – it was totally a dream! Spending the night in the professional kitchen, then eating the fruit of our labour – priceless! They even gave us a recipe book of traditional Basque cuisine to bring home. While I won’t be able to get the amazing fresh ingredients that they were able to use, it was fun to recreate some of the dishes at home! Hope to make cooking classes a part of more of my travels in the future!

      Posted by Anita Mac | December 31, 2012, 4:37 pm
  12. I did the Color Run in my home city of Columbus, and I looked just like you after it 🙂 Fun photo!

    Posted by Stephanie - The Travel Chica | January 1, 2013, 8:50 am
  13. Thanks for taking us along on your adventures! I’ve had a blast following along! Happy New Year Anita!!!

    Posted by Jodi | January 1, 2013, 10:45 am
  14. Can’t write comment…too sick and green with jealousy 🙂 What an AMAZING year! Cheers to another great one!

    Posted by Toni | January 2, 2013, 10:26 am
  15. I definitely want to do the color run sometime. That looks like a lot of fun.

    Posted by Margaret | January 5, 2013, 12:57 pm
  16. The colour run looks awesome! Before I left for South America, I was really into running. I’m always looking for interesting races to take part in. I drew the line at the Machu Picchu marathon though! 🙂

    Posted by Arianwen | January 5, 2013, 3:02 pm
    • It was a blast! Had such a great time – hoping to get a group together for 2013. The team in the swimming pool were just too funny! They had such a party raging at the end of it too…the more the merrier!

      Posted by Anita Mac | January 5, 2013, 3:29 pm
  17. What a fantastic year! That colour run looks really interesting….wishing you many more wonderful adventures in 2013 =)

    Posted by John and Andrea (@InspirngTrvlrs) | January 8, 2013, 2:55 am
  18. Awesome article, I never knew about the love locks… great photograph!

    Posted by John Barbiaux | February 22, 2013, 9:21 pm
  19. Congratulations on your amazing travels of 2012! Thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by Travel Oops — Cheers, Steph

    Posted by stephglaser | March 11, 2013, 5:13 pm
  20. Wonderful places and activities! All the best from Santiago, Chile…

    Posted by Andrew Graeme Gould | April 2, 2013, 3:21 pm

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