What speaks most to a traveler? The answer is as individual as the wanderer. The variety of scenes found among the best reader travel photos of last year emphasizes that point.

Clearly, everyone who ventures beyond home seeks fresh vistas. What we come to understand, while encountering Indian girls carrying goats or the unfathomable majesty of Mount Everest, is that the most enriching new perspectives lie within. When we travel, whether near or far, we bump up against the world in surprising and sometimes discomfiting ways, and those experiences often lead us to a deeper sense of ourselves.

The images we bring home help remind us of those discoveries and let us marvel again at the world's beauty and diversity. Many Star Tribune readers share their travel photos with us, so we can all marvel as well. Enjoy the best of 2011.