Best ‘Rides’ of 2011—and an Awesome Itinerary for 2012!

It’s been another fantastic year over on the Chickybus–a wilder ride than back in 2010. Lots of great travel, some important goals accomplished and ongoing engagement with you, the ‘passengers’/readers. I thank you for joining me here on the bus–and truly appreciate your continued readership!

Before we look ahead at 2012, let’s look back at the best of 2011–the various ‘rides’ I took, as well as some milestones and accomplishments that I’m happy to share.

Highlights of 2011

Revisited Ecuador—a country that will always be special to me

In the summer, I went back to Ecuador for the first time in about 13 years and reconnected with its beauty and uniqueness. Not only did I see how much Quito changed since the 1990s, but I got to visit the small town I once lived in–Tumbaco–and I also checked out Cuenca and Vilcabamba, both lovely places. Being there reminded me of how special Ecuador was to me–and will always be–because it’s where I had my first ex-pat experience, learned Spanish, became a teacher and so much more.

Vilcabamba, Ecuador (Photo: (c) chickybus, 2011)

Discovered Panama—a country full of beauty and diversity

I had no idea what to expect when I visited Panama for the first time. I had a feeling I’d like it; what I didn’t know was that I’d love it. There are many reasons, including warm, friendly people (including a woman who gave me her bracelet) and how easy it is to get off the beaten path. One of the highlights of my trip was my experience/misadventure on one of the San Blas islands

Kuna woman (San Blas, Panama)

Celebrated the C Bus’s B’day

In August, this blog turned 1 (Leo, right?) and I celebrated its birthday/blogoversary. It’s no longer a baby blog! Now, I think it–at 18 months–is just about a toddler.

Finished writing my book!

While I was in Ecuador and Panama, I took a break from blogging…and I officially finished writing my book–the rough draft of my travel memoirs—Tales from the Chicky Bus (working title)! Meanwhile, I made significant progress on my other book. It’s about how a metaphysical journey to Ecuador, which I took after dreaming of a shamanic ceremony, led me to change my life. It is, in a sense, a prequel to the Chicky Bus Tales.

Introduced Two New Series

Random Travel Moments: posts in which I take you off the beaten path and into some unique travel moments–each one of which occurred randomly and authentically.

Me, after I got 'scarfed' in Sanliurfa, (Eastern) Turkey

Meet the Locals: short posts that introduce you to the real people of a locale, providing you with a glimpse into their real lives.

The Trippy Travel Photo Game, which I started last December, is still going strong. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s easy and fun. Just guess what/guess where and win a mention and a link! Also, learn important facts about various destinations around the world.


A very special article I wrote about the ethics of travel photography, my most popular post ever, was syndicated by Blogher and also used by a Jewish volunteer organization in its curriculum. I’m also proud to report that it was listed by several other travel bloggers as one of their “Best of” posts for the week or month.

Cool ‘Rides’ Ahead in 2012

A Trip to the Dominican Republic

There’s nothing more fun than starting off the new year with a trip, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. Tomorrow. On New Year’s Day itself. I’m heading to the Dominican Republic and will be gone for about 12 days.

Have I packed yet? Heck, no. See, I suffer from PPS (Packing Procrastination Syndrome.) Yes, I coined that term and, therefore, recommend the post. It’s quite funny and true!

Publish My Book…by April 1st!

It’s ambitious, I know, because there’s still some real editing to be done. There’s also cover design and proofreading, And oh yeah, there’s formatting. A lot of work! Still, I’m going to try my best to make it available on Kindle by April 1st. If not, then May 1st. Before summer–for sure!

A real 'chicky bus' in Western El Salvador (Photo: (c) chickybus, 2011)

Don’t miss the bus! If you’re interested in being on my e-mail list for giveaways and possibly a free chapter or two (once I figure out how to set that up), please sign up here. You can also get on board the bus over on Facebook and subscribe to posts via RSS feed.

A Long Summer Trip to…?

One thing I’d like to do this summer is travel more than my usual 6 or 7 weeks. I may want to be on the road for most of the summer–3 months. And I can since I teach at a 2-year college and have the time off. Why not, right?

So where would I like to go? Maybe Indonesia and/or a mini cross-country trip in the US (perhaps just ½ of it.) I also have my eye on Romania. I don’t know which of these it will be (or which combination), but I’m excited nevertheless!

Possibly starting an ESL/EFL website

I’ve wanted to do this for a while….why not share some of my teaching expertise with teachers, students and yes, travelers who’d like to teach. I have the domain name—ESL Buzz—but haven’t created the site yet. If I do this–and it’s only an ‘if’ right now–it will be a gradual process. As you can see, I’m already super busy.

Finding a Way to Strike a Balance

I must admit that I’m tired—and borderline burnt out. From a busy lifestyle and yes, blogging and social media. I wonder if I might need a time management class or something to figure out a way to better manage things. In any case, I can’t imagine the workload letting up (perhaps I’m crazy to even consider the ESL site). So I may have to simply work smarter. Any tips? ☺

How About You?

How was your 2011? Where did you go? Did anything special happen that you’d like to share?

What do you have planned for 2012—travel-wise and otherwise? Feel free to link to your annual blog round-up or a post re: the future if you’ve written one.

Thanks for joining me on the Bus–great to have you here–and happy New Year!

Special thanks and photo credit (two Indonesian girls) to John Yavuz Can whose photos can be seen over on Flickr.

19 Responses to Best ‘Rides’ of 2011—and an Awesome Itinerary for 2012!
  1. Amanda
    December 31, 2011 | 12:32 am

    What a year! Good luck with publishing your book!

    And you know that I fully support a U.S. roadtrip in 2012! But, that being said, if you do decide to work Romania into your plans, I plan to be there for a bit myself in July!
    Amanda recently posted..The Year in Travel: 2011 in ReviewMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 31, 2011 | 10:38 am

      Hi, Amanda! Thanks for wishing me well with the book. So much work, but I’m getting there. Can’t wait to say, “It’s on Kindle!” :)

      You’re going to be in Romania? No way. Early or late July? As for the cross country trip, it’s definitely a possibility. One of the challenges is the vehicle. My car is too old and so, I’d need something else. If I could coordinate it with a new car purchase (which I’ll have to make anyway at some point), it could work. Or I go from Colorado (where I may be meeting some buddies in August) to S. California. A mini trip. Anything’s possible, right? :)

      Happy 2012!

      • Amanda
        January 1, 2012 | 11:57 pm

        Probably will be early-mid July that I’ll be in Romania. I’m planning to spend July traveling around Eastern Europe, starting in Bulgaria. Romania will be my second stop, probably around July 10 or 12, and I plan to spend at least a week there.
        Amanda recently posted..Photo of the Day: Grand Canyon Desert ViewMy Profile

        • CB Driver
          January 5, 2012 | 10:06 pm

          Very cool–and great to know! Not sure when I’ll be where–or if I’ll even make it there–but if so (and the timing works out), it would be nice to meet!

  2. Trvl8dintern
    December 31, 2011 | 10:07 am

    Good luck on your book! My plans are to continue studying, blogging and to plan a trip to India in the summer!
    Trvl8dintern recently posted..Walking in RomeMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 31, 2011 | 10:35 am

      Thanks so much. Sounds like you’ve got a great year planned, too. India will be amazing, I’m sure. Enjoy!

  3. Gray
    December 31, 2011 | 11:49 am

    Wow, you did accomplish a lot in 2011, Lisa! It was all I could do to keep up with blogging and traveling and my job, and here you blogged and traveled and did your job and wrote a couple of books besides! No wonder you’re tired. I can’t wait to hear what you think of the DR; that’s on my list (along with Panama), too.
    Gray recently posted..My Solo Travels of 2011: The Word is “Relax”My Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 31, 2011 | 1:00 pm

      Hi, Gray. I did do a lot, but I’ve paid the price–and I really need to work on striking a balance in 2012. I need to include more relaxation in my travels and my everyday life, you know? I look forward to sharing my experiences and photos from the DR…should be really cool there. Great that you want to check it out!

  4. Christy
    December 31, 2011 | 12:41 pm

    It looks like 2011 was a great year for you! I can completely relate to feeling overwhelmed with multiple projects, but I’ve come to the realization that not everything needs to get done right now. I’ve been making lists and giving certain things priority and it has helped a lot. Happy New Year and all the best in 2012!
    Christy recently posted..Paris in Black and WhiteMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 31, 2011 | 1:01 pm

      Hi, Christy. Thanks for stopping by! It was a great year, but yes, there’s a bit of fatigue that has set in. You’re so right that not everything is a priority (although at times, it can seem that way). I need to make a list and figure out what’s most important. Thanks for the idea and have an awesome 2012!

  5. Jodi
    January 1, 2012 | 4:48 pm

    A year well-spent, clearly! And congrats on the book writing – it takes a lot out of you and I’m sure you’re thrilled and excited to have finished it up. All the best for 2012 and here’s to meeting up again soon!
    Jodi recently posted..What Was Your Favourite Travel Memory of 2011?My Profile

    • CB Driver
      January 1, 2012 | 5:48 pm

      Hi, Jodi. Thanks for stopping by! It was a good year, and I’m very happy to be done with the book (the basic writing part–and now on to the editing, cover design, etc.) I look forward to 2012 and yes, here’s to meeting up again–that would be awesome. Hope Dearl can join us, too! :) lol xo

  6. Erik
    January 2, 2012 | 10:22 am

    I can’t wait to get the book! Best wishes in 2012, I hope it’s everything you dream it will be!
    Erik recently posted..Photo of the Day- The Flatiron Building, New York CityMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      January 5, 2012 | 10:05 pm

      Thank so much, Erik…I look forward to the day it’s available! You have an awesome 2012, too!

  7. Rease
    January 3, 2012 | 10:19 am

    Congratulations on an awesome year and starting out this one with a big trip!I hope you find an awesome destination for your summer trip and get your book out first!
    Rease recently posted..The Not So Magical Florida WildlifeMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      January 5, 2012 | 10:14 pm

      Thank you, Rease! Will be interesting to see where I end up traveling this summer and yes–I really want the book to come out first. Thanks for all and I wish you a great 2012, too!

  8. Adventure Tours India
    January 5, 2012 | 8:36 am

    It was nice to stumble on your blog and I have actually enjoyed following your travels and experiences. Good luck to publishing your book.

    • CB Driver
      January 5, 2012 | 10:12 pm

      Glad to hear it. Thank you!

  9. Erica
    January 7, 2012 | 6:00 pm

    Good lord that is seriously ambitious!

    I’m still out on Ecuador but I’m sure you hold it near and dear for several reasons. It is definitely a unique landscape for sure. The desert caught me off guard!
    Erica recently posted..Bring It On! 2012 and Over YonderlustMy Profile

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