Another year is over. Editors Ian MacKenzie and Christine Garvin roundup their most memorable articles from the last 12 months.

Photo: A Tibetan Mandala / Photo: wonderlane

Here at BNT, we’re sometimes criticized because we don’t always stick to the topic of travel. But the way we’ve always looked at it: it depends on how you define “travel.”

For many, travel is the experience when you leave home for a short or extended period. It’s a time when you are “away” from your normal life; from routines, common places, and familiar faces.

But this “unfamiliarity” also causes the traveler to become more aware – their brain needs to pay attention. It is no longer so easy to filter out the mundane details of everyday existence.

What changes from regular life? Is it simply the location…or is it an opening of the traveler’s mind?

We think it’s the latter. Because when you define travel as a mindset of openness and awareness, it is no longer necessary to relocate your physical body in order to “travel.” It simply requires turning inward, and the will to challenge your beliefs about yourself and the world.

With that in mind, it’s been an enlightening year for BNT. Christine and I are grateful to our readers and talented contributors that help make this place unique everyday. Here’s a brief roundup of our notable articles from the last 12 months:

Ed. Christine Garvin / Photo: Bhaskar Banerji

Christine’s Picks

1. This one sparked up a bit of controversy, which is always a good thing.
What Makes A Great Woman Traveler?

2. Ugh. It’s like a car crash. You just can’t look away.
Has Travel Channel Sunk To A New Low With Bridget’s Sexiest Beaches?

3. I can drink and be enlightened? Sweet.
Buddha Booze: The Practice Of Mindful Drinking

4. This piece was powerful, informative, scary and not that surprising.
Confessions Of An (Almost) Religious Hitman

5. I first heard about Dambisa Moyo’s strategies for igniting Africa on NPR, and admired the fact that she was calling for a new approach.
Is Foreign Aid Killing Africa?

6. Being a foodie and environmentalist, this one was close to my heart.
1,500 Indian Farmers Commit Suicide: Are GM Crops To Blame?

7. Another one close to my heart, as I’ve seen many others struggle with weight issues, and have had my own body issues for many years. Plus, it got BNT on the Colbert Report!
Overweight Charged For Second Seat On Airplanes: Is “Fatism” To Blame?

8. Love getting a sneak peek into the dirty side of an intense spiritual practice.
Sex, Smokes, And Rock And Roll: 10 Zen Center Do’s And Don’ts

9. I really appreciated Shelley Seale’s breakdown about what really makes us happy, not what we think makes us happy.
Live Long And Prosper: Deconstructing The Happy Planet Index

10. Gorgeous, lush, full, immune-building, yummy. Bring it on.
Photo Essay: The Fascinating Kingdom Of Mushrooms

Editor Ian MacKenzie

Ian’s Picks

1. Celebrating the special role of airports in everyone’s journey.
Why The Airport Is A Metaphor For Life

2. Juliane Huang’s brilliant article comparing Fight Club’s wisdom to the traveler’s ethos.
What Tyler Durden’s Philosophy Teaches Us About Travel

3. Tim Patterson allows you to dive into the consciousness’ of your fellow backpackers… Freud would be proud.
Analyzing the Traveler’s Mind Through 3 Persistent Myths

4. Dani Redd digests the ‘heart of the earth’, and learns the mysterious secrets contained within.
Peyote Perception: Searching For Truth In The Mexican Desert

5. Although I compiled this piece, I certainly didn’t write the stories. Their wisdom is entirely relevant today.
The 10 Very Best Zen Stories For Travelers

6. Christine Garvin outlines how to create your own sacred space for your journey.
How To Start A Travel Shrine

7. A thoughtful essay from Mike Jones on how to make peace with danger on the road.
Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good Travelers

8. Another classic from Christine Garvin that offers sound advice on a controversial topic.
The First Timer’s Guide To Seeing A Psychic

9. Carlo Alcos shares some fresh insight on this well-trodden territory.
5 Key Ingredients In The Search For Happiness

10. F. Daniel Harbecke manages to hit the holy grail of travel essays – exploring Joseph Campbell’s philosophy in a 3 part series for travelers.
Heroic Travel: Joseph Campbell and The Powerful Mythic Journey

Of course, there are many, many articles we wanted to also add to the list. If you want more reading, check out the full archives.

Thanks again to all our reader’s and contributors over the year. We hope to make 2010 even more exciting!