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Belle Photo Essays

2012: An Emotional Year of Travel in Photos

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Personally and professionally 2012 has been an extremely challenging year for me.

There I said it.

On one hand I’m pretty good at hiding behind rosy words and photographs. But over time, eventually something has to give. Without meaning to sound either cryptic or mysterious, in 2013 The Travel Belles is changing. I am changing. If we are lucky, we will all always keep changing. I’m not sure what “change” means just yet here on the site, but in any case, I invite you along for the ride.

Years, even the best of them, which they really all are, will always be a jumble of good, bad and in between. But on the travel front, as I will share in the following photographs, 2012 has been remarkable. Here I challenged myself to pick only one photo from each trip, and only cheated once with Alaska. I didn’t set out to choose the “best” or the postcard view of any destination. I selected them on my own purely emotional level. I’ve been reminded more than once lately, that this is the way I operate best.


The Calm after the Storm
March, 2012, Kentucky for Travel South Showcase in Louisville

When my friend, Andy, and I arrived at Shaker Village in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, storm sirens were going off.  March 2, 2012 was not a good weather day in central Kentucky. The sky looking towards the west was mottled, bruised and wickedly angry. After a morning spent visiting Mammoth Caves and then a windy drive across central Kentucky, we ignored the skittish woman at the reception desk who said to take cover. Surely we had enough time to get to our rooms located in the above buildings? Turned out, barely. Fortunately for us, two hours later the storms had passed through and we were treated to the above sunset.


Zebras in the Mist
May 2012, Georgia Travel Media Marketplace, Post Fam trip to Southern Georgia agritourism trail.

On a quail hunting plantation in Georgia, it’s not gorillas in the mist, but as I sipped my coffee on the porch at Shadow Oak Plantation, there was that magical moment when I realized I wasn’t looking at horses.


Flemish Bikes Posing
July 2012, Flanders is a Festival bloggers’ campaign

Bikes in Belgium are ubiquitous. By the time I arrived in the beautiful medieval city of Gent where the above photo was taken, I had probably already seen thousands. It took a lot to catch my eye, but the bikes resting against the red wall were unmissable in spite of being on one of Gent’s busiest shopping streets.


Crazy Beautiful
Alaska, August 2012, Hilton Garden Inn Anchorage’s Adventure trip for bloggers

The intense mid-August color at Denali National Park was an unexpected surprise and literally took our breath away. Denali’s Facebook page is one of my favorites and I follow it somewhat obsessively ever since, awed by the park’s fleeting  beauty.


August 2012, Kenai Fjords National Park with Kenai Fjords Tours

Majestic glaciers and wildlife, including humpback whales just starting to breech in preparation for their migration to warmer waters, and jarringly pristine waters, made this my most unforgettable experience of the year.


Childhood Christmas Magic
November 2012, Thanksgiving break at The Jefferson Hotel, Richmond, Virginia

I grew up in Richmond and have fond memories of the Jefferson Hotel, especially at Christmas. The hotel’s breathtaking tree, which these days stands at 28 feet tall, would become the standard by which all future hotel Christmas trees would be measured. Frankly I haven’t seen any that can touch the scale and old world grandeur of it since. This year my husband and I stayed at the Jefferson over Thanksgiving (which also was over our anniversary) and had the pleasure of watching it being put up and decorated.


Fountain of Youth, Széchenyi Fürdő, Budapest
December 2012, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia with Eurail Travel

What? Put my well-fed yet thin blooded South Carolinian self in a bathing suit in the freezing cold air and then have to get out of the warm water? In public? I wasn’t looking forward to soaking in Budapest’s famous waters and planned on only taking photos of them. However my limbs were crying out for it after a few aggressive touring days in the snowy weather. I felt years younger afterwards  – for a few hours, anyway.

There you go! Now onward into a new year. I look forward to seeing you around!  Now I want to know: Where would you like to visit in 2013? Any of the above places?

Thank you to all the wonderful people  I was fortunate enough to meet and work with this year during my travels and here on The Travel Belles. I am truly grateful for every moment, person and opportunity.

About the author

Margo Millure lives in Richmond, Virginia. She is a portrait photographer, writer and founder of Travel Belles. Learn more about her at

This article has 8 comments

  1. judith works

    Lovely photos Margo
    We have all had an “interesting” year.
    I eagerly await your announcement regarding my favorite travel magazine site.

    Happy New Year!!

  2. Margo Millure

    Thanks, Judith! Your support means so much to me! Happy New Year to you as well 🙂

  3. Katy

    Margo, this is beautiful. You really have been to some amazing places this year – that photo of the glacier in Alaska is breathtaking! I have loved following your trips and I’m sorry I have been so absent from the travel belles, but I can only echo your words that 2012 has been an extremely challenging year! I really hope that the New Year brings with it all the wonderful things you deserve – above all health and happiness for you and your family, and of course, many more adventures. I can’t wait to follow in your footsteps and go to Budapest in February, I look forward to a dip in the famous waters! Much love xo

  4. Krista

    I love this dear, wonderful, honest post, Margo. 🙂 XOXO Wishing you so much peace and happiness in the coming year, clarity of focus and knowing what makes your heart sing. So honored to be your friend. I LOVE your chosen pictures as well – they have such a wonderful feel about them, intimate and personal and quiet.

  5. Bess

    There are some gorgeous photos in here, and the little captions explaining why you chose them make them so much more personal. The first and last are my favorites.

  6. Kathryn Schipper

    Gorgeous photos! Looking forward to what Travel Belles will bring in 2013

  7. Daniel McBane

    I really like the colorful photo from Alaska and the one of the glacier. They’re all great shots, but those two were my favorites.

  8. Ayelet - All Colores

    Congrats on the new design – it looks gorgeous! And so do these pictures. Looks like an incredible travel year. I hope your 2013 is just as good in travel, and that the personal and professional parts of it will be better this year. Personally, I intend on exploring more of Israel this year, though I would LOVE to make it to Alaska. Hopefully later in the decade I will.

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