Inspired by Adventurous Kate’s recent run-down of the best blogs of 2011, I’ve decided to put together a list of the ten blogs that I most enjoyed reading in 2011. Apologies to Kate in advance for stealing her very good idea.

It’s been a shade over a year since I started this little project of mine and it’s hard to believe how far it’s come and how many great friends I’ve made as a result of it. Whether it’s been Korean BBQ with Bitten by the Travel Bug, inappropriate conversations with The Mellyboo Project, or entirely too many beers at Travel Massive with the likes of Brooke vs the World and It’s Good Overseas – I count myself very lucky to have met so many fascinating people over the past twelve months.

Dedicated to The Mellyboo Project, who left Australia yesterday and made it less cool

And then there’s the friends I’ve made that I’ve yet to meet. My bald brother Anthony from Man vs Clock; my back-up spouse from Reclaiming My Future; fellow Koreaphile Nomadic Samuel; and the always amusing Raymond from Man on the Lam are all people I’m looking forward to sharing a beer with when our travels bring us into the same country.

The list below is just a taste of some of the blogs that I enjoyed reading in 2011. There are dozens of others that I love, and you’ll find them in my regular Recommended Reads columns. But for now, in no particular order, here are the ten blogs that rocked in 2011.

 

Drumroll Please…

 

#10 – Man vs Clock

It’s not just because I have mad respect for a fellow bald man, I swear. What gets me about Anthony’s blog is the honesty of it.

You’re not just getting dry recounts of recent experiences or glossy guidebook versions of events, you’re seeing things through the man’s eyes and reading about his development as life on the road shapes him. It’s a blog not only for travel junkies, but also for people who want to grow emotionally whether they’re out on the road or reading from the safety of their couch.

What I really like about Anthony’s blog, and I can see Kate highlighted this as well, is that the man constantly strives to challenge himself. Whether he’s volunteering in soup kitchens or making the insane (but commendable) decision to quit drinking for six months, Anthony’s blog is full of personal triumphs. It makes for inspiring reading.

My favorite post? His recently published It’s Okay Not to be Okay.

You can follow @manvsclock on Twitter or Like Man vs Clock on Facebook.

 

#9 – Idelish

There aren’t many blogs out there that look quite as good as Jeremy and Shirlene’s fantastic blog. From their easy to read layout to the stunning photos that adorn their posts, you won’t find a better feast for your eyes than this one.

Idelish isn’t just a pretty face either. Their entries, whether about surfing goofy foot in Hawaii or giving excellent photography tips, their entries are well written and packed with helpful tips. I particularly love the little summary box that caps off each post.

My favorite post? Their recent picture laden post about scuba diving in Cozumel.

You can follow @idelish on Twitter or Like Idelish on Facebook.

 

#8 – Man on the Lam

No blog (except maybe Hyperbole & a Half, but it’s not a travel blog) makes me laugh as often or as consistently as Raymond’s Man on the Lam project.

If all the blog did was make me laugh, that would probably be enough to get it on the list, but Man on the Lam isn’t just amusing anecdotes about kissing lady boys – he’s contemplating mortality in Vietnam or discussing annoyances both innocuous and outright offensive that he’s encountered during his travels.

Man on the Lam treads that line between entertainment and enlightenment, and I love it for that.

My favorite post? His recent piece about chasing your dreams rather than settling for a h0-hum existence – Out of the Closet and Into the Peat.

You can follow @manonthelam1 on Twitter or Like Man on the Lam on Facebook.

 

#7 – Bitten by the Travel Bug

I look at Nicole as a bit of a kindred spirit, even if she does have an unhealthy obsession with the city she inexplicably calls RADelaide. We’re both Aussie, we’re both ridiculously good looking, and we’re both relatively new bloggers gradually making our way in the crowded travel blogging scene.

Nicole’s got a real passion for travel and it comes across in every post she puts together. Her boundless enthusiasm extends to everything from attending international rules games to having Korean BBQ with roguishly handsome Aussie bloggers. She’s a font of wisdom when it comes to pursuing a career in US camp counselling and is one of the most active Tweeters I’ve ever seen.

But what makes Nicole stand out is that she’s a genuinely lovely person. She’s always happy to provide some feedback or some help on a new project. This is a girl who loves travel blogging almost as much as she loves travel.

My favorite post? Her fight to protect Vegemite from oppressive camp counsellors.

You can follow @nicoletravelbug on Twitter or Like Bitten by the Travel Bug on Facebook.

 

#6 – A Dangerous Business

I first stumbled across Amanda’s wonderful blog late in 2010 when I was new to the blogging thing and planning a trip to New Zealand. There are few bloggers out there I trust when it comes to the topic of NZ more than Amanda.

It doesn’t stop at New Zealand though. Amanda’s recent travels through the US have been every bit as interesting as her adventures in the Shaky Isles. Her layout is easy to read and her photos are amongst the best you’ll find. Her regular Travel Smackdown and Thursday Traveler posts are great features.

My favorite post? Her thought-provoking post on so called ‘dark travel’.

You can follow @dangerousbiz on Twitter or Like A Dangerous Business on Facebook.

 

#5 – Never-Ending Footsteps

Lauren’s adventures never cease to amuse and amaze me. For a pretty and pint-sized girl  she seems to get into more trouble and up to more crazy adventures than anybody else I know.

Lauren’s out living life as if there’s no tomorrow and sharing her weird and wonderful tales with us. Whether she’s touring ghostly Pripyat or living the dream in a restaurant full of girls in nurse outfits, Lauren’s stories are always well written and likely to put a smile on your dial.

Although I am disappointed that her slippery fingered massage never made it to the blog…

My favorite post? Her recent superhero turn in Shanghai.

You can follow @NEfootsteps on Twitter or Like Never-Ending Footsteps on Facebook.

 

#4 – Don’t Ever Look Back

Amy and Kieron are an awesome couple of Aussies out living the dream and seeing as much as they can while they’re at it. There’s over 30 pages of content on their site and these two crazy kids are showing no signs of stopping. They’re also super helpful as well – with Kieron playing tech support to me a few times in the past couple of weeks.

I still owe you that beer, mate.

They’ve hung out with Beluga whales, climbed on Icelandic glaciers, and hit up the MTV Music Awards, and plenty more to boot.

My favorite post? This compilation of useful tips for RTW travel collected from fellow travelers.

You can follow @amzkiz on Twitter or Like Don’t Ever Look Back on Facebook.

 

#3 – Seattle’s Travels

Rest assured, I haven’t let my well documented bias towards pretty red-heads influence my decision here. When it comes to capturing the beauty of a place, nobody does it quite like Seattle.

Here photos are amongst the best I’ve seen in the travel blogging community, and her penchant for traveling off of the regular tourist track means she’s got no shortage of interesting shots to share.

She’s boated the Bosphorus and flown over Niagara Falls in a chopper, but my second favorite post? Her exploration of the Icelandic coast.

My favorite post? Her amusing list of 40 signs that you’re a true traveler.

You can follow @seattlestravels on Twitter or Like Seattle’s Travels on Facebook.

 

#2 – yTravel Blog

Caz and Craig are travel blogging celebrities here in Australia. When I first started Aussie on the Road, I’d look on at their wonderful site with envy.

Hell, I still do.

Despite the success of their site, this dynamic duo couldn’t be more helpful. From the very start, even when my blog was generating a pathetic 40-50 hits a day, they were there with words of encouragement. Thanks guys!

But that’s not a reason to go read their blog.

It’s a cliche to say it, but there really is something for everybody over at yTravel Blog. From teaching tips to budgeting advice to travel tales to frank discussion of the travel blogging business – there’s so much content on here that you could spend days poring over it and still wouldn’t have done it all justice. There’s also plenty of thought-provoking and inspiring posts in the mix as well.

Not to mention their very cool podcast.

My favorite post? Their tips to all new travel bloggers. It helped me a lot.

You can follow @ytravelblog on Twitter or Like yTravel Blog on Facebook.

 

#1 – The Runaway Guide

This guy is an inspiration to all would be travelers. Leif has been out on the road since he ran away from home at age 16. He’s been out traveling as long as I’ve been legal able to have sex.

Not that I took advantage of that immediately…

Leif’s blog isn’t just full of interesting stories – he’s packed it with great guidebooks and tips about everything from sex in hostels to the ever important hangover cure.

He lives life to the full. He’s been at the heart of the civil unrest in Cairo and lived to tell the tale. He’s been detained by UK immigration as a potential terrorist. You know, the usual travel stuff.

My favorite post? This great set of tips for people planning to follow in his runaway footsteps.

You can follow @therunawayguide on Twitter or Like The Runaway Guide on Facebook.

 

Whaddya Think?

So, there are my favorites from 2011 – but who would make yours? Are there any criminal omissions on my part? I’d love to hear your thoughts.