2011 - The Lessons I Learned Through Travel

It is that time of year again. As we bid farewell to 2011 and welcome 2012, it seems natural to take a moment to reflect on the year that was, and the things we may have learned along the way. I realize that I'm a couple weeks early here, but considering I'm presently in Vegas, it is probably best I look back on the lessons of 2011 before, as opposed to after my visit to Sin City. That, and the blogosphere is sure to be littered with these posts in the days leading up to 2012, so for once I'm attempting to be a trendsetter. So without further adieu, here's a look at some of my travels this year, and what I learned along the way.

I opened the year with a visit to the new Amway Center in Orlando, and learned that the real attraction was the stadium itself, not the game.

After avoiding the temptation for over a year, we finally paid a visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. It lived up to the hype....

Wait for my turn with the Sorting Hat...
In February I put together a plan to spectate Disney's Princess Half Marathon, where my wife was joining thousands of other crazies for an early morning run. Turned out my plan was nearly just as crazy.

We spent Spring Break eating our way around Walt Disney World. The best meal of the week was compliments of Citricos at the Grand Floridian Resort. Thanks to the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival, I was able to see Japanese Cherry Blossoms in bloom for the first time.
Epcot's beautiful Japanese Cherry Blossoms
Our summer adventures started in Austin, where we visited the theme park that is the original Whole Foods Market. I also learned in Austin that Barcelona is one heck of a football team.

The Summer of Deej continued in Atlanta, where I discovered that I actually am cool enough to stay at a W Hotel. We also made our traditional visit to an Atlanta institution...The Varsity.

Next we traveled to Washington D.C., mainly to watch my beloved Manchester United take on Barcelona in a rematch of the previously mentioned Champions League Final. Here I learned Samantha Brown has great taste in hotels, and also enjoys making her fans blush.
Sam Brown wrote me on Twitter. Best...Day...Ever.


The final stop on our summer tour was Disney's Vero Beach Resort, where we got in plenty of games of gin rummy, and enjoyed my favorite thing at the beach....rain! 

As we moved into the fall, we made our traditional visits to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, and also took part in the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. I retired from competitive running shortly thereafter...

In early November I visited the Carpet Capital of the World, and came to understand why so many people use their vacation time to observe leaves on trees.
Beautiful setting for a great day of golf.
Finally, our final adventure of the year was to a gem of old Florida, the Mission Inn Resort. My wife learned she enjoys golf, and I discovered I'm lousy at shuffleboard.

Without a doubt, 2011 was a great year, and 2012 promises to be just as exciting. I learned plenty along the way, and I'm sure Vegas is teaching me a few more hard lessons as we speak.

What did you learn while traveling in 2011? 

~Insert Dude-like Closing Here~

Deej