In the wake of toasting four years of travel stories on Perceptive Travel, my first PT anniversary has quietly arrived too.

After I heard PT was looking for a new travel blogger last year, I threw my hat in the ring with this modest little post about a decidedly unmodest stroke of luck I’d just experienced. Apparently it was decent enough to get my foot in the door, and my first “official” feature was published about 6 weeks later.

Since then I’ve contributed 48 posts to this, the perenially underrated Perceptive Travel Blog. It’s been a great year—a learning year—and a wonderful experience working with Tim and the rest of the PT crew.

In case you missed ‘em the first time around, here’s a look back at just a few of my features from the past year, in order of publish date.

Thai Galaxy Street Basketball

+ Red Shirts or Not, Bangkok’s Songkran Celebration Will Go On (An Ode to Tawandang): All hell broke loose in Bangkok shortly after this was published. We watched in horror from the airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, as BBC aired footage of the city burning and reports of civilians and soliders dying in the melee. Thais are not a violent people; I was shocked to see it come to that. Elections are on the horizon, and for now the worst seems to be behind Thailand. Political turmoil remains, however.

+ Shopping Amusement! at Japan’s Don Quijote: I really, really wish I bought one of those butt pillows.

+ On Travel Contexts and a Conflicting Apartheid Education in South Africa: I’ve seen a lot of moving art and visited amazing museums all over the world, but none have had as much of a lasting impact as Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum has had. In comparison, the watered-down, shamelessly tourist-friendly Robben Island experience was a waste of time.

+ The Photo Shoot: The more I travel, the more I think the majority of Russian tourists are totally fucking nuts.

+ A Body in Motion in the Indian Ocean: Two things immediately come to mind when I think about the lazy days we spent on Goyambokka Beach on the southern coast of Sri Lanka: proposing to my girlfriend under an impossibly star-filled sky, and the crazy French dude an alarmed group of fisherman and I thought was drowning a mile or so from shore. Turns out he wasn’t actually drowning–it just looked that way. What a crazy sonofabitch. (She said yes.)

+ The Thai Galaxy Street Basketball Challenge: Shortly after I moved back to Bangkok a little while ago I found out that the Big C Supermarket on Ratchadamri remodeled their fourth-floor arcade and, unfortunately, removed both of their Thai Galaxy Street Basketball machines. Huge bummer! I was looking forward to seeing “the old gang”; need to email Dook to see if and where the competition has been relocated.

+ Scenes from a Marathon Tour of South African Winelands: Over 120 wines from 25 different vineyards were sampled during a three-day tour of one of the most beautiful regions I’ve ever seen. Total indulgence.

+ The 10:55 Express from Galle: We traveled by train twice during our 2 weeks in Sri Lanka, once from Colombo to Kandy (stunning!) and again up the southwestern coast from Galle back to Colombo, which I’ve written about here.

+ Revolt in the Hotel Lobby Bar! Revolt!: In which I detail the first and so far only time I’ve ever helped myself to the beer tap in a hotel lobby bar. Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands.

+ Iced Over in the Vineyards of Ontario Wine Country: I’d never tried icewine and didn’t know much about it–or about the Canadian wine industry, for that matter–until this whirlwind weekend in Ontario. My time here included tastings at the award-winning Inniskillin Winery, a swanky evening at Niagara’s Red Hot and Ice Gala (the signature event of the annual Icewine Festival), dinner/tastings at Jackson-Triggs Winery, and witnessing an obscure Guiness World Record be set.

+ A View of Paradise Squandered in Phuket: My most recent feature detailing my most recent travels outside of Bangkok. Tip: if you’re going to Phuket, consider avoiding Patong Beach. Yuck.

The following two tabs change content below.

Brian Spencer

Brian Spencer is a Singapore-based freelance writer. He has written for BBC Travel, CNN Travel, DestinAsian, Fodor's Travel, Lonely Planet, and Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, among other publications.