It wasn’t as bad as 2020; I’ll give 2021 that. While it began slowly, my March vaccination opened the world a bit, and I was able to take some wonderful trips, especially over the second half of the year.

2021 also was a big year here at The Royal Tour. We added some new guest writers (a HUGE thanks to all of you wonderful people contributing amazing content), explored some cool aspects of my home in Los Angeles, and increased our web hits by more than 20%! Given the relative lack of travel for most people this year, I would call that a huge win.

So let’s delve a bit deeper into what 2021 brought us, both on a personal level for me as well as a meta level here at TRT.

For the first time in more than a year, I was able to spend a night away from home, beginning with an awesome weekend in Temecula, featuring wine tasting and hot air ballooning.

I undertook two great driving trips, one to northern Arizona, and another to California’s northern coast. Among the highlights: kayaking from Lake Powell into Antelope Canyon, visiting Horseshoe Bend, standing beneath 300 foot tall redwoods, and getting to see the incredible Carson Mansion of Eureka.

Me at the Grand Canyon

Two of my aunts also played major roles in my travels this year. One accompanied me to Chicago for a long weekend, while I visited another in Dallas. Family pairs well with travel!

In the latter half of summer, I was fortunate enough to be the guest of two different California counties in Gold Country: Madera, just outside the southern entrance of Yosemite, and Calaveras, home of Mark Twain’s jumping frogs. It was great to be able to create quality content for two awesome destinations, to meet some great people, and to explore more of my home state.

Hugging a giant sequoia in Calaveras County

Finally, in October I was able to leave the country for the first time since March 2020, spending three incredible weeks on the island of Curacao. I can’t recommend this destination highly enough. It is beautiful, fascinating, and full of good food and great people. Make plans to visit!

In Willemstad, Curacao

Overall, in terms of counting stats, it was still a slow travel year. I was in two countries (the US and Curacao) and seven states. I visited eight units of the National Park Service. I took nine flights for a total of 13,374 miles (to give you an idea of a “normal” year, 2019 was 36 flights and more than 50,000 miles), and drove several thousand miles more.

Not a great year of flights

As for the website, The Royal Tour surpassed 50,000 hits this year, a more than 20% increase on 2020, which had been my best year to this point. Shockingly, the most read article was 2020’s How to Experience Dates in Palm Springs. My personal favorite article was about the Dutch slave trade. It just goes to show that there are different flavors for different people, and date is a popular flavor. Overall, we published 111 articles in 2021. How many did you read?

2021 was a rough year, to be sure. But The Royal Tour survived it – sometimes I had my doubts – and so did the world. Travel has started up again, albeit slower than before, and I feel much more optimistic about life than I did last year. Here is hoping for an even better 2022!

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