I went a few places this past year that you may not know about. Like the 2,045 mile road trip from Salem, Oregon, to southern California and back.
I discovered my favorite mission so far: Mission Nuestra Senora de Soledad. Tiny and inconspicuous, it was off the beaten path among farmland outside the community of Soledad.
I stopped in San Luis Obispo for three nights, and promptly fell in love with the area. I visited Cambria, Morro Bay, and drove past those famous, happy California cows grazing the hillsides below Hearst Castle.
A walk on the beach. Some decent Indian food. And the admiring of a lot of tile in the city courthouse. Make sure you climb to the top of the bell tower for a fantastic panoramic view.
A few months later I found myself on a boat cruising around the Hawaiian islands with my parents. It was my first time to any of the islands, and a great way to get an overview of where I might want to return to.
In July, I was introduced to the Basque culture that surrounds Boise during Jaialdi.
In September, my sister met me in Hermosa Beach for a weekend of tart frozen yogurt, letterpress art, and bicycling along the beach.
There were also half a dozen road trips to eastern Idaho, two weekends in Salt Lake City, and a return visit to Portland after eight months away. A visit during which I never took a single picture. Hard to believe.
It's been a year of tremendous change for me personally and professionally. And I'm looking forward to what 2011 will bring!