Friday, January 6, 2012

2011 in 12 Pictures - My Year in Travel

2011 was a busy year, to say the least.  I traveled to 4 continents (2 of them for the first time), was a bridesmaid in my sister's wedding, had my first photograph appear in a gallery, nearly lost a limb to a wicked staph infection (long story...), started writing for a great new photography magazine, attended my first travel conference, met many great bloggers everywhere from Winnipeg to Kyoto, and continued writing and researching for  Phew!

So here's my 2011 summarized with one photo per month:

January: New Year's Eve on the Beach, Phuket

The boyfriend and I rang in New Year's Eve 2011 at beautiful Kamala Beach, Phuket, with his sister and her family. In Thailand any holiday is an excuse to light huge paper lanterns and set them afloat into the sky - they're more beautiful than any fireworks but I can't help wonder what happens when they burn out?

February: Chinese New Year in Singapore

2011 was the first year that we didn't travel outside of Singapore during the multi-day Chinese New Year Holiday - the biggest event of the year here. While the city is incredibly  busy in the weeks leading up to the holiday (don't even think about going to one of the major supermarkets like Carrefour on the weekend!) Chinese New Year itself was surprisingly quiet since the holiday is traditionally spent at home with your family. Most Chinese-owned businesses close, but all the Indian and Malay restaurants stay open! :D

March: Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu
 In March I spent 10 days traveling around the small Himalayan nation of Nepal.  Kathmandu, its capital city, is one of the most photogenic cities I've ever visited, particularly this Tibetan Buddhist temple on the outskirts of the city.  You can see more of my photos of Boudhanath temple here.

April: St. John's Island, Singapore

It's a little known fact that Singapore actually consists of 63 islands, but only one is for residential use. In my quest to visit as many as possible for my Travelfish blog series "The Other 62" I took the ferry to St John's Island - formerly a quarantine center and political prison but now a serene spot for a swim or picnic!

May: Traditional Korean Wedding, Daejon
In May 2011 I had the pleasure of being invited to a wedding in Daejon, Korea. Despite the fact that the groom was Canadian, it was a traditional Korean ceremony held at a beautiful temple in the hillside complete with fan dancers and tossing a chicken into the audience! Apparently these traditional ceremonies are becoming quite rare with most modern Korean gals wanting the white dress, so I feel all the more special that I got to attend!

May: Hunting for Geishas in Gion, Kyoto 
Yes, May again!  I took two awesome trips that month and can't resist sharing one from Japan, too!  After 2 nights in Kyoto and still no sightings, my boyfriend and I started to joke we were on a "geisha safari". Knowing they were inside the private teahouses that line the streets of Gion, the traditional geisha district, made them all the more mysterious. When I finally saw one there was no time for a photo as she slipped from a screened doorway into the backseat of a waiting taxi.

June: Salvador Dali Exhibit at ArtScience Museum, Singapore

When I read that an exhibit by Salvador Dali, the famous surrealist and one of my favorite artists, was coming to Singapore's new ArtScience museum I knew it was finally time to shell out the ridiculous $30 SGD admission fee!  Oddly, the exhibit contained zero of his painting, but was still quite enjoyable. The exhibit titled "Mind of a Genius" has moved on, but you can read my full review of it here.

July: Little Shack on the Prairie, Winnipegosis, Canada

After living in high-density Asia for five years I have a new appreciation for tiny Canadian towns like Winnipegosis, Manitoba (population: 630), which is my dad's hometown. One of my favorite things to do when we visit is to photograph its abandoned buildings -- there's no shortage of them and my relatives always have suggestions which ones ( farmhouses, barns, one-room school houses, general stores) I should seek out next!

August: Gettin' my Scrabble on, Winnipeg

July 30/31 was the wedding weekend and I left Canada on August 3, but I managed to find time for one final game with J., my long-time partner in Scrabble. I think I took a photo of this game because I won ;-)  If you know all your 2-letter words, q-without-u's, etc. feel free to challenge me to a game! I play on the Internet Scrabble Club as tprocyshyn.

September: My first Kangaroo, Cervantes, Western Australia
"Where's a good place to see animals?", the Canadian girl asked naively .
"Uhh, the road?" replied the staff at the Cervantes Pinnacles Caravan Park.

October: A pool to myself, Kamala, Phuket

This is why I love visiting Phuket before the peak season strikes - for 3 days I had the pool at Kamala Print Resort all to myself! As if it could get any better, the guy manning the pool-bar made a mean margarita! This is the 3rd year in a row we've returned to this hotel for a weekend get-away of swimming and stuffing our faces on Isaan food at nearby Duck Spicy Restaurant.

November: Potter Wasp with Caterpillar, my Balcony, Singapore

 I've seen wild leopards and rhinoceros, but the most amazing feat of nature I've ever witnessed happened right on my balcony here in Singapore. A potter wasp chose a lampshade as the site for its new nest and made many visits to our apartment's balcony over the next 6 weeks. One day I was lucky enough to be home when she arrived wresting a caterpillar - which she paralyzes with venom, stuffs into her nest, then lays her eggs on - before sealing it inside so her larvae will have fresh meat when they hatch! Potter wasps are solitary creatures so lack the sting-to-protect-the-hive behaviour.... meaning I was able to get in really, really close with my macro lens! 

December: Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Luxor
I've barely had a chance to go through my 1,000-odd photos from Egypt, but this is one of my favorites - thanks in part to my fab new Sony A77 camera and Zeiss 16-80mm lens. My feelings about Egypt are equal parts love and hate, so expect plenty of posts about this country in the coming weeks


  1. What awesome travels. I hope I can keep traveling even when we head back to California. I really want to go to Nepal!

  2. I hope you do, too! An Amazon safari and Galapagos are high on my travel to-do list, but seem best saved for once I'm back in North America.

  3. All of this, great. You should be a travel writer or something;)
    Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. Awesome pictures Tanya! I am a proud auntie!

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