Looking Back on 2010 and Gearing Up for 2011

Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 7 Comments

Venice Canal at night
Venice at Night

For those of you who had trouble catching up with me in 2010, I understand. Sometimes even I wasn’t sure where I was going to be from week to week, even more so than previous years.

Here’s the list of places I visited:

Seattle, WA
Bainbridge Island, WA
Santa Fe, NM
Austin, TX
Park City, UT
Los Angeles, CA
Chicago, IL
St. Louis, MO
Washington D.C., DC
Phoenix, AZ
Singapore (Singapore)
Australia (Sydney, Melbourne)
England (London)
Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto)
France (Paris, Vichy)
Italy (Venice)
Austria (Vienna)
Netherlands (Haarlem, Amsterdam)
Thailand (Bangkok, Cape Promthep)

That’s 24 cities in 10 countries on 4 continents. It’s hard to believe, in all my travels, I still haven’t made it to South America. That will change this year!

I learned a lot about getting Elite Status, traveling on miles awards, and hotel loyalty programs. This knowledge paid off as I went triple platinum (American Airlines, Starwood Preferred Guest and Hyatt). I can safely say getting upgraded to a $280 suite on the 21st floor with two bathrooms and a stunning view when you only paid $120 is as fun as it sounds. Although using points to stay 5 nights for free at the Sheraton Miyako in Tokyo is pretty fantastic also.

View from my Room
View from My Room in Pasadena

Downtown LA 2
LA Nightscape

After studying photography in Santa Fe, NM and Tokyo, Japan and video journalism, in DC, I’ve been putting those skills to use all over the world.

Caught in the Act

Notre Dame Gargoyle
Gargoyle Standing Watch at Notre Dame

I finally tasted the elusive mangosteen in Thailand at the famous Floating Market and ate at Fergus Henderson’s legendary St. John restaurant in Smithfield, London. Yes, I had the bone marrow. It lived up to it’s billing (Thanks, Anthony Bourdain!).

St. John (Smithfield, London)
Bone Marrow at St. John

I chased Windmills in Holland.

Adriaan Windmill (Haarlem, Netherlands)
Windmill in Haarlem, Netherlands

Windmill Adriaan
Up Close

After not having been to Paris in over twenty years (and not really planning to go), I went 3 times in 2010 and I got it. It is the world’s most visited destination for good reason. The city itself is gorgeous, the food is sublime and the citizens manage to look effortlessly stylish.

Paris Skyline
Paris Skyline

The Tuileries Gardens in Paris
Strolling through the Tuileries Gardens in Paris

Lookin' Like a Tourist
Lookin’ Like a Tourist at L’Arc de Triomphe

Parisian Cafe
The Usual in Paris – Cappuccino for me, Chocolat Chaud for my daughter

Heck I even saw a double rainbow in LA!!! In Silver Lake. How appropriate.

Sunset Junction
Sunset Junction

Instead of traveling alone, I took a lot of trips with friends and even got to take my daughter to Europe, in First Class, on a miles award no less! I made lots of new friends and reconnected with old ones all over the world. Overall, it was an amazing year!

2011 looks to be even more promising. I will be in the south of Japan (a part of Japan I still haven’t seen even though I’ve been 6 times) on a Motorcycling Adventure. I will go to South America for the first time in my life and charm the locals with my amazing Spanish skills (I’ve yet to decide which countries). I will go to Hong Kong, a place that’s been on my must-experience list for some time, in the hopes of eating the most unimaginable things and experiencing the legendary shopping. I will get to visit friends in Singapore again and feed my fresh mango addiction. Somewhere I will squeeze in a trip to visit family in Australia (Melbourne to be exact), pet some wallabies and do some surfing. I feel the call of the homeland, Lithuania. I want to be somewhere I can speak Lithuanian and eat Lithuanian food daily. I’ve wanted to go for years, yet somehow, it has eluded me. I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t been since the fall of the Iron Curtain. A return to Thailand for some more extensive Muay Thai training is also a possibility. Finally, I hope to take a few more trips to Europe in the fall.

In terms of the U.S., I will be in Seattle at least twice and hopefully the east coast (never been to NY) and Northern Cal, San Francisco and Mountain View (I need to visit Catalyst Athletics again), will make the list.

I’m curious, what are you planning?

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  1. Mostly trying to get to Hawaii ; )
    Great post!!! Loved all of the pictures – I even stole the Silver Lake one for my blog : )
    What kind of camera do you use Algis?

    1. Hawaii is a great choice.
      Glad you like the pics. Absolutely, feel free to steal the ones you dig!
      Regarding cameras, I have both a Nikon D60 and a Canon Powershot G11. However, I have used the G11 exclusively since buying it last June. The D60 is a nice DSLR and I’ve taken lots of photos with it, but I absolutely love the combination of features the G11 has. The G11 is small enough that I can easily carry it around almost all the time, yet it is still bigger than your pocket point and shoot and is rugged enough to function even after a few drops. Two friends of mine who are pro and semi-pro photographers recommended the G11 as a good camera to go with if you want lots of features but don’t want to deal with a big DSLR. I certainly haven’t been disappointed. Basically it comes down to what you want out of a camera I guess.
      What are you shooting with?

  2. Hey Algis! I’m loving your blog. I’m in Mumbai now. We never made it to Thailand. I’ll be here for who knows how long and who knows where next. But, Boston will be my first stop once back in the states. Shoot me a message if you are ever near there and I’ll let you know when I’m back in LA. Keep up the great blogging. 🙂

    1. Luther,

      Thanks man. Great hearing from you. Sounds like you are on quite an adventure. I want to hear all about Mumbai. I am fascinated by India. I was supposed to go 3 years ago but my plans changed and I’ve yet to go. Already got a lot of things in place this year so hopefully I can make it to India next year. Looking forward to catching up!

  3. Road trip from Indianapolis to LA the long northern route. Looking to go through Minneapolis across to Seattle with stops at Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Glacier National parks. Then take the coast from Seattle to LA. I love your pictures, I wish I could travel as much as you do!! You keep me inspired to get to the places I want to see and my list is constantly expanding!!!!

    1. Wow, that’s a lot of ground to cover. The national parks should be tremendous. Lots of cool spots in Seattle and Portland. Pike Place is fun if you’ve never been. Actually, I’ve been lots of times and I still enjoy it every time. Also, Portland has a great donut shop called Voodoo Doghnut (I recommend the maple bacon bar or the ol’ dirty bastard), Powell’s books is fantastic and lots of good coffee places (Stumptown, Random Order). Too many things to list here. I lived in Portland for 2 years so hit me up if you want any more ideas.
      I’m sure you’ll make it to the spots you want to get to and I’m glad to hear your enjoying the blog!

  4. This is such a great blog! Working my way through it today (slow day at work). I’m pretty mad about traveling, but you’re a downright lunatic. We do our own fair share of travels, but you make us look like boring old homebodies!

    Paris is great, it’s my favorite place in the world – so far – but I’ve only been twice. Last year I went to China for two weeks, and this year we went to Hawaii for a week, Santa Barbara for a week in July (that counts, right?), in August we go to St. Petersburg for one week and Munich for a couple days, and we’re probably doing NYC for Christmas (long weekend?).

    My second favorite place in the world is Dubrovnik, but ask me tomorrow and it might be Suzhou. Or maybe San Francisco. Never been to South America, Africa, or Australia, maybe we can do Morocco, Melbourne, and Argentina (places I actually want to go) in the next few years so I can say I’ve been all over the place.

    Look at that, it’s lunch time. Time to stop pretending to work and go walk the puppy.

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Hi, I’m Algis


I have an insatiable wanderlust which takes me to some crazy places where I try strange foods, pretend I'm a local and talk with elephants. Keep reading...

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