Every year I decide to take a look at the places I’ve been and the places I want to go and take stock. Part of it is a bucket list, if I had one, and part of it is a look at where I plan to go in the next year. Travel is what I do, it’s my profession now and I’ve worked hard to make that a reality. Where I visit and what I see and do is to ultimately provide you all, and future readers, with great content. So if you think there’s a place on here that seems ‘off’ please let me know. Also if there’s a place you think I should go, tell me that too. Sure, my travels are based are my own interests, but I also want to always provide great information to you all in the process.
What I ticked off my bucket list in 2013
This was the culmination of a long held dream. Not just to visit my 7th continent, but to witness firsthand the beauty of this icy continent. The trip matched every expectation I had and exceeded most of them. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience and it’s something I think about often. Trips like these are important, they’re transformational. They change the way we think about and perceive the world and bring to life the adventurous spirit that makes travel so much fun. Of course now I want to go to the South Pole proper, but that will have to wait for another year.
Even though I went on safari in Namibia and Zimbabwe in 2012, in 2013 I finally managed to visit Kruger National Park in South Africa. I’d wanted to visit this famous park for many years, since I first heard of it probably. It’s one of the few national parks around the world that many people actually know. My time there was short, just a couple of days, but it was everything I thought it would be and more. I love wildlife and there is nothing, nothing more incredible than standing just a few feet away from a white rhino, zebra, elephant or lion. It’s a moment when you realize just how beautiful the world is and how lucky we are to be on this gorgeous planet. I hope to head back to South Africa in 2014, but I’m not sure if a safari is in the cards.
I’ve wanted to visit Scandinavia for a long time and I finally got my chance last April when my partner and I spent a few days in West Sweden. We started out in Gothenburg and drove along the coast down to Malmo, exploring as we went. Was it everything I thought it would be? Yes, yes it was. We had a wonderful time and the trip will go down as one of our favorites. I knew that I would click with Sweden and sure enough, I did. The culture, food and beautiful landscapes all just appeal to me and I hope to continue my Scandinavian adventures in 2014.
What I DIDN’T see
I don’t have a bucket list, not really. I want to go anywhere I haven’t been, so I never have seen the use of having a bucket list. That being said, there are certain places I’d like to visit sooner rather than later. A couple that I wanted to see in 2013 but didn’t have the chance were:
I’m on the fence with this one. It has been my experience that people don’t equivocate when it comes to India: they either love it or they hate it. It’s an intense place and while I’m not sure I’m completely ready to experience it, I think I want to try. Maybe it’s because of this perceived difficulty that I want to visit so badly, but more likely it’s the unique and totally unusual experiences that I know I’ll have there. Regardless of the reason, India was on my list for 2013 and now it’s on there for 2014. Hopefully I’ll get there this year.
I had included this last year, but I’m not so sure I want to include it on my 2014 bucket list. Yes, I would love to visit and see for myself cities like Beijing and Shanghai, walk along the Great Walk and bask in the culture. Having spoken with several very well traveled people though, I’m not so sure I want to visit next year. They paint a very different image of China, one that is smog ridden and over crowded, where food is of dubious sources and quality and an overall difficult place to explore. With so much of the world left to see, I’m not so sure China should make the top of my wish list for 2014. As always though, I am happy to be convinced otherwise.
Where I will PROBABLY go in 2014
I didn’t get to spend as much time in Europe this year as I would have liked and I mean to rectify that in 2014. Europe is probably my favorite part of the world and there’s still so much more of it that I need to see. Top of this list is Germany. It’s massive and rich in culture and history and yet I’ve only been to two cities: Munich (ten years ago) and Frankfurt. I must fix this oversight. I know for sure that I’m going to Berlin and Leipzig. I also hope to explore some of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the country and I think the southwest part of the country is calling my name.
A few weeks ago I won a trip for two to London, so I know my partner and I will at least be going to London in 2014. I hope to use that as a jumping off point though to see either Wales or Scotland. I’ve never been to Wales and it looks beautiful and while I’ve been to Scotland, it was 15 years ago and a return visit is in order.
France! La belle pays. I love France but haven’t seen a lot of it, just Paris and then some towns and cities along the southwest coast. What I would love to do in 2014 is to tour the many WWI and WWII sites in both France and Belgium. We’re heading into an anniversary year for WWI and there are many special observances, making it a great time to visit.
A few other European countries I hope to visit in 2014 include: Austria, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Ireland, Estonia, Poland, Italy, Malta and Croatia. Some are return visits and others will be my first time. Fingers crossed that in 2014 I make up for a lack of European travel in 2013.
This one is definite actually. I’m heading to Western Australia in January and then my partner is meeting me for a weeklong exploration of South Australia in February. I’ve only been to Australia once, two years ago and didn’t visit these states so everything will be new and hopefully adventurous. After exploring the exciting outdoorsy side of Western Australia, we’re taking train from Perth to Adelaide where we’ll explore the city before spending a couple of days on beautiful Kangaroo Island. It should be a great time but I can’t believe I will have visited Australia twice without including a visit to the Great Barrier Reef. Maybe my eventual third trip will cover that.
More of the U.S.
I’m guilty of seeing more of the world than my own country and I want to continue fixing that situation in 2014. I’ve done a lot of local trips lately, and those will definitely continue into the new year. I also want to take a great western road trip, hopefully visiting some of the many National Parks in California, Utah and Nevada. This is still in the conceptual stages right now, but I think a simple road trip is a definite possibility in 2014.
I have always enjoyed my time spent in Asia, Thailand, Japan, Laos, Singapore and Taiwan. I would love to see more of it though and I think Hong Kong might be in the cards for 2014. If I do manage to get to Hong Kong, I think I’d like to use that as a jumping off point to see other parts of Asia as well. Where? I’m not sure yet, but I can’t wait to figure that out.
South America – again
I put this on the list last year and only managed to see a tiny part of Chile. South America is huge and infinitely fascinating and I’m dying to explore more of it. What is hopefully likely is a trip to Brazil in advance of the World Cup and Olympic Games. The country has undergone a lot of changes recently and I think now is a great time to visit. I’d of course also like to go to Peru and see Machu Picchu, fulfilling another lifelong dream.
My dream bucket list destinations
And then there are some places where I would LOVE to go, but may or may not get a chance to visit in 2014.
The South Pacific
This is at the top of my list every year and will stay there until I get a chance to visit. I’ve wanted to see the islands of French Polynesia ever since I read Michener’s books as a young kid. I’ve researched them, learned about them, stared at photos of them for hours on end and I really want to see them in person. I personally think the best way would be via cruise ship, but if I get a chance to visit even one island I’d be a happy camper.
I love nature and being out in the elements, face to face with beautiful landscapes is the best feeling in the world. I think it’d be a lot of fun to join a trip up north to see the Northern Lights, vast expanses of ice and a polar bear or two. The chances of taking amazing photos alone gets my heart pounding with excitement.
More of Africa
What limited time I’ve spent in Africa I’ve really enjoyed. South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe have all impressed me in very different ways. I know that travel isn’t always easy in Africa, but I feel that it’s an important continent and the stories to be shared there seem amazing and dare I say life changing. I just want the chance to get back out there and see even more of this vast and beautiful place.
So there you have it. Where I’ve been, where I’m going and where I’d like to go. What do you think?