As I sit down to reflect on 2011, I realize what a ride it’s been. The first adventurous thing was actually staying put in New York for nearly three winter months in a row – a self-imposed travel embargo that gave me insight into what it’s like to lead a “normal” life. I quite enjoyed it, despite the fact it was one of the coldest winters in New York in a while.
I started traveling again in late February, with a short visit to the Caribbean island of Curaçao. The end of winter brought more trips, including one to Hong Kong and Hainan Island in China, followed by a spring trip to Norway and Finland. Soon after, in May, I was off to Kenya – among the travel highlights of my year – and then Croatia in early summer.
Back in New York in July, I buckled down and prepared for a project that would take me back to Europe for two months in the fall. This was only interrupted by a short trip to the Catskills for an article but otherwise I stuck to the five boroughs.
The fall trip kicked off with ten days in Portugal for a couple of assignments. Immediately after, I spent six weeks traveling around the region I once called home, the six former republics of Yugoslavia, now independent countries. That journey was the year’s most important, in more ways than I can explain in this post. I’m still mulling it over. More to come.
Work-wise, the above trips and sojourns led to various assignments. I had work published in The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Concierge.com, ShermansTravel, Lonely Planet, Washington Flyer, Fodor’s, Conde Nast Traveler, Hotelier International and New York Resident. These projects ranged from travel articles and hotel reviews to book sections. I also taught three travel writing classes for Mediabistro (online, since I can’t imagine staying in New York long enough to teach one entire eight-week class).
I’m also happy to report that I got a professional journalism award by the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association, for a story I wrote about truffles in Croatia (published last year in The Washington Post).
This year also brought me a new challenge which I’ve been enjoying thoroughly – writing in my native language! Back in the summer, I was offered a travel column in a new Croatian weekly. Except emails and an occasional postcard, I hadn’t written in Croatian for a decade, if not longer. It’s been a joy to write in my mother tongue for this new publication, which is receiving rave reviews.
Looking at the above, I can say it’s been a busy, productive and enlightening year. 2012 promises to be quite exciting, too, with the world ending and all. But before that happens:
In just a few days, I’m heading to Chile till mid-March for a project that will take me to the country’s northern regions. This adventure should be particularly fun since my husband is coming along. We’ll start in Santiago next week, where we are renting a car and then making our way up north all the way to Arica on the Peruvian border, and back down over six weeks. Then we’re staying in Santiago for a couple of weeks, before returning to New York.
More trips are planned for early spring, including a retreat at my ancestral home in Croatia. But – step by step, road by road…
Till my next posting, likely from Chile, I wish you…. see greeting card above.