Where in the world? Somewhere in the central Spanish mountainside.
2013 was a pretty incredible year of travel for me. Since launching the blog a year ago yesterday, a whole world of travel and writing opportunities opened up. I ventured abroad to Mexico, Curacao, Costa Rica and the Bahamas. Within the U.S., I visited my typical “second home” destinations of Key West, New York and Atlanta. I also visited best friends in Nashville and Pittsburgh. And I discovered a little more of the state of Florida with trips to Tampa, Boca Raton and Sarasota. At that rate, I was traveling about twice a month. It’s been an exciting year and, yes, sometimes exhausting.
With a New Year on the horizon, I find myself looking ahead to future travel plans. This is by no means a list of places to visit in 2014 nor is it meant to be exhaustive. It’s more like a wish list of destinations I’ve never been to before at the front of my mind that I’d like to visit in this lifetime.
Top experiences I’d like to have:
1. Sailing the Greek Isles-Â I’m never happier than on a boat, so sailing through the Greek Isles is naturally at the top of my travel list. From pictures I’ve seen, stories I’ve read and friends who’ve taken similar trips, the experience sounds like heaven. I’d love to island hop, learn about the culture and indulge in the sea, the food and the party scene.
2. Discovering Australia-Â From surfing Bondi Beach to discovering the OutbackÂ to snorkeling (or getting dive certified at) the Great Barrier Reef, I’d love to have a totally outward bound trip through Australia. Additionally, I’d love to explore the cosmopolitan capitals of Sydney and Melbourne.
Top U.S. Cities to finally visit:
1. New Orleans-Â From the Garden District and its antebellum mansions to the party scene on Bourbon Street, I want to eat and drink my way through New Orleans, and Â listen to lots of live jazz music while doing it.Â I’m thinking oysters, po’ boys, beignets, crawfish Ă©touffĂ©e and jambalaya, and hurricanes, sazeracs and absinthe. Going during Jazz Fest sounds like fun or just visiting any old time.
2. Austin-Â I’ve heard good things about Austin’s music and nightlife scene, and that it’s supposed to be a cool and eclectic city with an appreciation for the arts. I’m in!
Top U.S. states to finally visit:
1. New Mexico-Â From its beautiful and unique scenery to its reputation as an artist’s community slightly removed from the fast pace of the rest of the country, I’d love to explore and learn more about what the state is all about. After reading a story in the January/February issue ofÂ Afar magazine about Santa Fe’s love for green chile in their Mexican cuisine, it’s just one more reason to go.
2. Alaska-Â People say the scenery in Alaska is unlike anything you’ll ever see. From snowy glaciers and breathtaking mountains rising from the sea, I’m sure it would be an amazing adventure. It looks like the Benowitz family has an Alaskan cruise through the Inside Passage on the brain in 2014, so I’ll keep you posted.
Places to see:
1. More of the Bahamas- I’ve really loved what I’ve seen of the Bahamas so far, namely the Abacos and Bimini. From the white sand beaches and crystal clear water to strong rum punches, conch fritters, fresh seafood, boating, snorkeling and life-loving locals, I like what the Bahamas stand for. I think the new resort The Cove on Eleuthera should be the next place I discover.
2. Bali-Â I picture bungalows on stilts over bright blue water, and that’s pretty much all I need.
3. Thailand-Â I’ve never been to the Far East and Thailand sounds like a good place to start. From its history, architecture and food, I’m sure there’s plenty to discover.
4. Africa-Â Discovering African wildlife on a safari has to be an exciting experience. It would be amazing to see lions, tigers, zebras, giraffes and rhinoceroses in the wild. I don’t know what country I’d start with, although I’d love to see Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, if not actually hike it.
5. GalĂˇpagos Islands-Â It seems like this is one of the last unspoiled reserves on the planet. From its endemic species to Darwin’s discoveries, I imagine GalĂˇpagos to be a feast for the eyes that I can’t even imagine.
More of Europe:
Discovering Europe has been one of my true joys of travel. There’s more I’d love to see and more time I’d like to spend there.
1. San Sebastian, Spain-Â San Sebastian on the coast of the Basque country in Spain holds a mystique to me as a town that’s at once luxurious and chic, and also a world class surf destination. I’ve made it as far as nearby Bilbao, and truly loved the people, the food and the culture.
2. Biarritz, France-Â Just across the French border from San Sebastian, Biarritz holds the same mystique for me. Plus, it’s history as a vacation destination for European royals and Coco Chanel makes it all the more fascinating. I’m a true francophile, so discovering more of France is always on my list.
3. Monaco-Â More of the same here as in San Sebastian and Biarritz, glitz, glamour, boats and the sea. Only, we’re in the South of France. Sign me up.
4. Berlin-Â I’ve never been to Germany and I’ve heard lots of raves over Berlin. It’s young, edgy, exciting and a true destination for the arts.
5. Ireland-Â I’ve made it as far as Scotland, but ever since reading Angela’s Ashes in high school, I’ve wanted to discover Ireland. I’ve made many Irish friends over the years, and they’re all fun-loving and they adore their homeland. I’m all for a pint at the pub, taking in the lush green countryside, discovering Dublin or Glasgow and seeing a castle or two.
6. Stockholm, Sweden-Â Between seeing The Girl With The Dragon TattooÂ (the American version with Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig) and falling slightly in love with the Swedish House Mafia as a collective whole, Sweden’s captured my imagination over the last year or so. I’ve never been to the Scandinavian Peninsula or quite that far north. I’d love to discover slick, snowy Stockholm, and get in at least one night of serious partying while there.
What’s at the top of your list for places to explore and travel experiences to discover? Have you been to any of the destinations on my list? Tell me about them.