A Review of 2011: 42 Countries, 60 Lounges, 87 Hotels and One Iranian Island

What a wonderful year of travel this has been. 42 counties, hundreds of cities, and an amazing array of sights, sounds, and smells.

One year ago, I stated:

I plan to fully explore Europe and hopefully the Middle East as well. I’ve been to nearly 50 countries around the world the last five years, but most of Eastern Europe remains unexplored. I intend to change that this year.

And that is exactly what I did--with the exception of the Balkans, I can now say I have visited nearly every country in Europe. Here's my list of my personal favorite worldwide destinations I visited this year:

  1. Beijing, PRC
  2. Mendoza, Argentina
  3. Petra, Jordan
  4. Berlin, Germany
  5. Kish Island, Iran
  6. Paris, France
  7. Tokyo, Japan
  8. Kiev, Ukraine
  9. Dubai, UAE
  10. Tallinn, Estonia

And my top-10 list should not detract from the other wonderful countries and cities I visited this year, highlighted below (I have a separate European map so you can actually see the cities I visited in Europe):



I already shared about the joy I had living in Germany and working for Star Alliance and I want to again emphasize how much I valued the opportunity to work and live in Europe. I have already adjusted back to life at home, but a return to Germany in the future is something I am definitely open to.

Here's a few highlights from Live and Let's Fly this year--

January – Hour-long full-body massage in the Thai First lounge to start the year before visiting Mainland China for the first time.

February – Wonderful trip to Budapest, Hungary with a group of colleagues from Star Alliance.

March – Remarkable weekend in Italy with my brother, including a stay at the Park Hyatt Milan.

April – Travel to Romania and Bulgaria.

May – Travel to Hawaii, Guam, Japan, and South Korea followed by a mileage run that included a trip from Seattle to Newark--via San Francisco, Lihue, Los Angeles, Washington, Sao Paulo, and Chicago. Great stays at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo, Park Hyatt in Seoul, and Westin Chosun in Seoul.

June – Business trip to Beijing + Dubai (including Park Hyatt Dubai), Muscat, and Trapped in Iran!

July –  Weekend in Kiev, Ukraine (and another wonderful Hyatt).

August – South America--including a pleasant journey on TAM, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile (and yet again, another great stay at the Park Hyatt Mendoza).

SeptemberMaster's of Food and Wine event, sponsored by the Park Hyatt Zürich (a full report and review of the property will be published soon).

October –  Family time in Paris and London + a visit to Iraq.

November – Interesting weekend in Cyprus and Lebanon + Four Seasons Beirut.

December –  Saying goodbyes in Frankfurt and a trip to the Christmas Market in Nuremberg.

* * *

My award consulting business grew nicely this year--with special thanks to Gary for referring more than a few clients--and I focused on the area of the law I wanted to focus on while discovering a new field, sourcing, that I loved.

All things considered, I just logged my best year ever. I appreciate all of your support this year and look forward to bringing you more in-depth reviews and unique content in the coming year. I will have a few thoughts on 2012 tomorrow.


TJ January 4, 2012 at 07:24 am

I hope that massage was one with a happy ending!


@TJ: Nah, the Thai Airways girls run a legit massage parlor!

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