2011, a year to remember

As I write this post, I'm sitting in my room at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, reflecting on my many memories of 2011. From my trips to Hawaii, to making friends with people from all around the world, 2011 will be a year that I remember for a very long time. I was fortunate to visit eight new countries, which was something that I had not planned on, but I'm certainly not regretting.

Some of my most memorable trips include:

  • Charleston, S.C.
  • Hong Kong
  • Kauai
  • Paris
  • Sao Paulo
  • Seoul
  • Shanghai

From the map below, it is apparent that I covered a lot of ground in 2011. From experiencing some of the best Hyatt's in the world, to flying on the best that Star Alliance has to offer, I know that I'll always be able to look back on this year as the year that help to further my love of traveling.

 Screen shot 2012-01-01 at 1.21.46 PM

2011 was also a year that allowed me to see what life was like outside of United. Flying Air Canada, US Airways, and Thai for the first time, I was given an interesting perspective on the way each airlines operates. Air Canada, for example, is not the greatest during extended delays. Less than a week ago, I flew them from Toronto to Tokyo, but we were delayed departing by three hours. (check out my upcoming round-the-world post for details). In the end, I got to where I was going, but it was stressful, to say the least.


And then there was USeless, err, US Airways. Flying them left me with the desire to never fly them again, as well as a longing for Economy Plus.


My last flight of the year, an award ticket from Seoul to Hong Kong on Thai was one of the best flights I've ever been on. Starting with a trip to the Asiana Lounge at ICN, which blows the socks off of every Red Carpet Club, to the amazing service that I received on this three hour flight. I never once saw the flight attendants reading People magazine in the galley (United, I'm looking at you), or showing photos of their iPads to their colleagues (sound fAAmiliar?). Instead, they were constantly going up and down the aisles, offering extra desserts, drinks, or a smile. And this was all done on a 777 with 30 seats up-front. Imagine what this kind of service would be like on a United A319!


I could keep going, but Hong Kong is calling my name. I'm off to take the Star Ferry to Kowloon, and roam around one of my favorite cities in the world. Within the next day or two, you'll start to see photos and a trip report from my round-the-world. I hope you enjoy it!

Happy Travels,



JoAnn Stephenson January 2, 2012 at 10:18 am

Hi Daniel,

I'm enjoying your blog! I have been to many of the same places and enjoy "re-living" our vacations. We stayed in Kowloon and took the Star Ferry to Hong Kong Island when we were there. Also, went to the point and took some great photos! I'll keep reading.

Safe travels JoAnn

JoAnn Stephenson January 2, 2012 at 10:24 am

Sorry I meant The Peak! I remember taking a trolly ride to the top and it being an interesting and very steep climb! The view of Hong Kong was amazing!

Glad you're enjoying the blog, JoAnn! :)

I'm planning on visiting the Peak later today, so I'll make sure to post some photos when I release the Hong Kong section of my trip report.