We spent a long Christmas break in New York, staying in an amazing AirBnb apartment in the city’s West Village. Jamie had been there before, about 10 years ago, but it was my first visit. And predictably, it was love at first sight! Though the weather was refreshingly crisp (read: bitterly cold) the city had everything we wanted and more. We were truly spoiled for choice in the West Village when it came to choosing restaurants and bars to try. Museums, attractions and everything else we needed was just a short subway ride away. Among the highlights of our two weeks in New York were a performance of the youth orchestra at Carnegie Hall, cocktails at the awesome Little Branch, whiskey tastings at Highlands and a touristy-but-still-awesome horse and carriage ride through Central Park. It was such a fabulous, indulgent holiday, and I can’t wait to go back again soon!
In every way, 2011 was an amazing year. Jamie Talbot and I travelled the world, visited 15 countries, and met countless inspiring people. We spent time with our families and friends in Australia and England, and made new friends everywhere else. Eight months on the road was revitalising yet tiring, but we’ll never forget the opportunity we had to take the such a huge chunk of time off work, pack up our lives and travel, free of worry, debt and responsibility. The trip brought us even closer together, too – so we got married at the end of it! And now, we start 2012 with a new home in San Francisco – overjoyed at what 2011 brought us and excited to see what’s ahead in 2012. Here are my favourite memories from the year on the road.
We were almost over the red rocks by the time we made it to Bryce Canyon, but quickly realised this was a site quite different to the others. Thousands of red, orange and white needles of rock poke up from the canyon, giving a ripple effect as the sun passes over in the afternoon. And even better than standing at the top looking down, you can follow a few well worn paths into the canyon, and get lost at the bottom. I’d love to go back to see Bryce Canyon in winter, because the snow fall would really light the place up!
Monument Valley is the ultimate movie set – for John-Wayne-style westerns, at least. The famous red rock monuments all line up on the horizon and change colour and size throughout the day, depending on where you’re standing. We did a one day trip through the main valley and the one next to it, Mystery Valley. It was hot, red and dusty, as you would expect – but with some amazing sights along the way. As usual the best times for photos were morning and evening but with such a long day in the sun, I unfortunately I didn’t make either! But these pictures will have to do – enjoy!