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I have been traveling every week as a business consultant for a little over four years now. I average around 4 nights per month in my Chicago apartment but I am OK with that. At the beginning of 2012 I made the (mighty difficult) decision that I value my personal relationships and community over a life on the road. That being said, the extreme flexibility I have now is an opportunity I did not want to let go to waste so I set out to make 2012 my ‘all-in’ travel year.
I set a personal record with 124 flight segments and 145,086 butt-in-seat miles visiting 28 different airports. Surprisingly, only 2 flights were out of my home city Chicago’s international airport, O’hare.
Pushing my miles to their limits in 2012 ensured there was never a dull month. Here are my highlights month by month.
January in Denver for the Broncos Playoff Upset
Hotels and Airlines: Southwest
Highlight: Witnessing Tim Tebow win an NFL playoff game is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
February in Fort Lauderdale at the W for a Super Bowl Watch Party
Hotels and Airlines: W Fort Lauderdale, Southwest
March in Japan (Part I)
Highlight: I learned that Kyoto is my favorite city on Earth.
April in Boston for my birthday
Hotels and Airlines: Southwest, W Boston, Hyatt Regency Cambridge
Highlight: “Destination Birthdays” are a great way to test if your friends think you are worth traveling for……kidding.
May in Peru, Chile and Easter Island
Highlight: Machu Picchu and the Moai of Easter Island deserve their titles as Wonders of the World.
June/July in Norway visiting the top of the world
Highlight: Longyearbyen, the northernmost city in the world, is a feast for the eyes. The pictures don’t do it justice. Back on the mainland, Norway is more expensive than any city I have ever seen. I am already planning a return trip but next time I will stick to eating only dried meats.
August/September in Australia to SCUBA dive the Great Barrier Reef
Highlight: I argue the Park Hyatt Sydney is the best Hyatt property of all. The Great Barrier Reef most certainly earns its ‘Great’ designation. Go now before its too late!
October in Denver for the Great America Beer Fest
Hotels and Airlines: Southwest
Highlight: The Great American Beer Fest is probably the best thing ever. If you like beer in the slightest, mark your calendars and book your tickets to Denver right now for 2013. The PMM Team did some serious damage with the unlimited samples this year.
November in Bermuda
Hotels and Airlines: American Airlines, Fairmont Southampton
Highlight: An exotic island with great weather whose primary economic driver is not Tourism makes for an truly unique island. I am perplexed how the Bermudans afford living there. Bermuda is stunningly gorgeous but a little too overbuilt in my opinion.
December in Germany and Japan(part II)
Highlight: I couldn’t even wait one full year to return to Japan. This trip confirmed that Japan is one of my favorite places on Earth and the country I most recommend new travelers experience. The best place to take in the immensity that is the Tokyo metropolis is with a good martini and good company at the New York Bar atop the Park Hyatt Tokyo.