13 Months of Life-Changing Travel in 30 Photos


After 13-months, 26 countries, 19 flights, and 82,000 km around the world, I collected over 14,200 precious photos to remember my trip by.

My year of travel in 2011 will always be a special chapter in my life, and posting a collection of my favourite photos to celebrate the adventure seems long overdue, especially since I’ve returned home to over a year ago. Putting up these photos symbolically completes this particular journey, and opens up mental room for new life adventures.

I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them :)

Trip Details

Trip length: 393 days (56 weeks, 13 months)
Departed Toronto, Canada on November 23, 2010, returned December 20, 2011.

Cost: about $25,200, including $4,520 for flights.


Month 1 – India
Month 2 to 5 – Southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore)
Month 6 – Turkey
Month 7 to 11 – Europe (Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Slovenia, Serbia)
Month 12 – Middle East (Egypt, Jordan)
Month 13 – Thailand

India – 1 month

Taj Mahal, Agra – built by emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife who gave him 14 children
Also see: 26 Highlights from 26 Days in Incredible India

Southeast Asia – 5 months total

Chiang Mai, Thailand – a charming town in northern Thailand, and great WiFi

Angkor Wat, Cambodia – built in 1125, the largest religious monument in the world, sometimes known as “8th Wonder of the World”
More Cambodia photos: 2 weeks in Cambodia (Facebook album)

Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat, Cambodia – temples with trees growing, and one of the Tomb Raider film locations

Koh Nang Yuan Island, Thailand – a set of three islands connected by a beautiful tri-sand bar
More photos: Koh Tao Island, Thailand

Tea plantations in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
More photos: 3 Day Vacation from Travel in Kuala Lumpur

Turkey – 1 month

More Turkey photos: 25 Days in Turkey (Facebook album)

Hagia Sophia “Aya Sofya”, Istanbul – from 537, formerly a basilica and later a mosque

Fairy chimneys, Cappadocia

Tea with locals, Ayvalik – no English, but they did speak German :)

Kayaking at Kekova

Library of Celsus at Ephesus

Europe – 5 months

Traveling Europe by rail (Eurail Global Passes)
More train travel photos: Best of 1st Class Eurail Train Travel

Rasnov Fort, Romania

Budapest, Hungary

Grand Canal, Venice

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City – the stunning view from the top of St. Peter’s Basilica

Monaco – famous for expensive yachts

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Copenhagen, Denmark – a country that gets about 30% of energy from wind power

Egypt – 4 weeks

The Great Pyramid
More photos: Best of Ancient Egypt Pyramids

Camping in the White Desert, Egypt
More photos: Camping in Egypt’s White Desert

Bahariya Oasis – a lush oasis in the Western Desert of Egypt, lined with date trees

Red Sea, Blue Hole near Dahab

Jordan – 10 days

More blog posts: Jordan

Roman amphitheatre downtown, Amman

Kempinski Hotel Ishtar, Dead Sea (www.kempinski.com)

Dead Sea – at 420m below sea level, the lowest and saltiest spot on earth

Treasury at Petra, Jordan – a World Wonder, the entire structure is carved in sandstone, and where Indiana Jones found the Holy Grail

Camel ride in Wadi Rum, Jordan

If you were taking a round-the-world trip, what are the top 5 countries you would include on your itinerary?
Connect with me on facebook.com/exploreforayear or twitter.com/lilyleung.

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  • Jade Dsa

    Beautiful photos! I can’t pick my favourite!
    Could you tell me where you manage to store your 1400+ photos?

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  • WOW! This is amazing! Your photos are absolutely beautiful, so sharp with such vivid colors. Definitely looked like you enjoyed yourself. Now only if I had that much money to go travel, but no need because it felt like I just went on a journey with you.

  • ying

    These photos are unreal! Thank you for sharing them with us. I only hope to experience these trips for myself some day in the future :)

    • Thanks for the kind words! I’m glad you enjoyed them :)

      – Lily

  • Chetali

    Wow you are so cool!
    I discovered your blog web page on Google and check a number of of your early posts.very pretty all images with content continue to keep it up the pretty fantastic operate.
    Definitely I will come back on your blog as soon as possible.

  • Chelsea

    Never seen more amazing pictures. I’m inspired~

  • Mathew Duong

    Awesome pictures. Thanks for sharing with us and love to hear more…

  • Jenny Truong

    Beautiful photos!

    • Thanks Jenny, glad you enjoyed them :)

  • Wow, I was trying to think of something funny to say about this post, but the photos have rendered me speechless, but not typeless or I would not have been able to post this comment.

    • Your comments just get better and better with time. Thank you for following along on these travel journeys!

  • Jeannie

    Incredible photos Lily! Thanks for sharing!

    • No problem at all, thanks for stopping by Jeannie!

  • Les Petits Pas de Juls

    superb set of pictures! some countries I haven’t been to during my own world-trip (16 countries in 10 months: http://lespetitspasdejuls.wordpress.com/about/) and which definitely are on my next-trip list! Thanks for sharing those beautiful moments!

    wish you the best for what’s coming!
    Happy trails!

  • Seyi
  • Fantastic set of photos. Must have been tough for you to narrow it down to just 30!

    • Thanks Adelina, it was pretty tough :) One thing that perhaps made it easier was that there so many photographs and at one point you just need to make a decision or I’d have been mulling over them forever. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Lauren Rains (Outdoor Minded)

    I am just blown away. I haven’t left the country in a few years since I lived in China. I’m not sure why, because not a day has gone by since I’ve wanted to leave again. But my lease is ending on October 1st, and I’m going to take off again. It’s photos like this that remind me of where I’m headed, and it sets in that travel will soon be a reality in my life again. Absolutely beautiful shots Lily! Thanks for sharing!
    – Lauren :)

  • fotoeins

    It’s a difficult task to provide a succinct summary of a big journey in just 30 snapshots, but there are grand sweeping shots of places from your beautiful world-trip. :)

  • Chaa Creek

    Thanks for sharing these photos with us Lily. They are very nice.