I’m not a big fan of travel bucket lists, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t places I don’t want to visit before all others. I think we all have those places in mind; dream destinations that may or may not ever become a reality. I know that everyone has a best of list for 2015, and so rather than just add to the fodder of not all that useful travel information I thought I’d share some places I would really like to see in 2015. Some of these are realistic and some are not, some will happen and others will not, but they all combine to create my favorite part of travel – the anticipation. Where would we be if we didn’t stare at a calendar and dream of a tropical beach or pine after visiting some cultural masterpiece in Europe? This list is a combination of places I have never been to and others that I’d really like to revisit and explore some more. If anything, this list provides a little more insight into my admittedly at times strange personality, so I hope you enjoy this glimpse into my ultimate travel goals. I’d love to hear yours too, so please be sure to list them in the comments section below.
These are in NO particular order, really I mean that. Except for number 1 – that’s always my top pick.
1. South Pacific/French Polynesia
My first real travel obsession and one that I STILL haven’t been able to check off the list yet, despite its prominence on similar lists year after year. When I was a kid I read Michener’s epic tome Hawaii, which set off a furious bout of wanderlust not just for Hawaii, but the entire South Pacific. Even though I am not normally a beach kind of guy, there is just something about the perfect waters of French Polynesia that gets my heart beating a little bit faster. Will 2015 be the year I finally make it to the beautiful islands of the South Pacific? Who knows, but I’m hopeful.
My only experience with China is visiting Hong Kong – I’ve never been to the mainland and I am frankly intrigued. It’s obviously a massive country and requires many visits to see properly, but I would like to at least visit to start the process of education and to see for myself Beijing, pandas and of course that large wall for which they are so famous. I have to be honest though, the food and language barrier both intimidate me.
I’ve been to South America a few times, but only briefly and it’s a continent that I don’t feel like I know at all. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t interested me, it has and near the top of that interest list is Brazil. From the massive cities to rainforests and jungles and of course beautiful coastlines, Brazil seems to offer visitors a little bit of everything. But crime, high prices and difficulties in intra-country travel have put off many would-be travelers. I’m curious to visit and see for myself whether or not these are real concerns, or fake media-hyped problems.
4. Anywhere to see the Northern Lights
Almost, I almost got to see the beautiful Aurora Borealis, but cloudy weather in Iceland foiled my efforts. Canada, Alaska, Iceland, Norway – these are all great locations from which to catch a glimpse of the eerie and colorful lights that seem to be en vogue at the moment. I don’t want to see them just because they’re currently popular, I want to witness first hand what honestly must be one of the most beautiful sights on the planet.
5. The FSRs
The Former Soviet Republics, these are a diverse group of countries that include everything from modern urban areas to plains that look like something out of a Game of Thrones book. No matter what though it’s hard to deny how intriguing they are. They can be difficult to visit though, both in terms of transportation and language barriers, which is probably why I haven’t been yet, but I hope I can see at least one of them this year.
Australia is one of those countries I could visit a thousand times and never get tired of the experience. It’s a special place but Tasmania in particular currently has piqued my interest. Slightly remote, amazingly beautiful and somewhat different from the mainland, Tasmania is an intriguing place. Of all of these destinations, I really do hope that I can make this one happen in 2015.
7. More of Africa
Before my first visit, everyone always told me that Africa latches on to your soul and never lets go but I didn’t believe them until I experienced it for myself. There is something indefinable about this massive continent that just begs for travelers to return again and again and try to suss out what makes it so very special. I’m always happy to return to South Africa, one of my favorite countries, but I’d also love to see more of Africa, from Kenya to Namibia and who knows where else.
8. The Arctic
I love expedition style trips; my experience in Antarctica was one of the best I’ve ever had. It’s with this in mind that I’d love to plan a trip to the other side of the planet and see some of the Arctic regions for myself. Leaving from Svalbard I’d really enjoy seeing polar bears in the wild and the icy waters on top of the planet.
Closed off to foreigners for years, Myanmar suddenly finds itself as one of the hottest new travel destinations in the world. It’s not its trendiness that appeals to me though; it’s the photos I’ve seen my friends take. The people, the temples and the countryside all look like something out of a movie – it’s just that beautiful. While traveling there definitely comes with some headaches, I’d be happy to take those on to experience the country before the rest of the world changes it too much.
10. Thailand and Bhutan
Thailand is one of my favorite destinations and it’s been a few years since my last visit so obviously it’s time for a return. This time though I’d like to also include a trip to not-so-far-away Bhutan. One of the most mysterious countries in the world I think, everyone I know who has visited has left the country changed in some way or the other. It’s intrigued me for a long time and while epic hikes don’t sound all that great, this nation in the clouds is one I’d definitely like to experience for myself.
I’ve been to almost every state in the Union, but the 49th state has eluded me. I’m not exactly sure why either, but I just haven’t managed a visit to this massive and beautiful place. Chatting with family members though, it looks like a cruise up there may be in the works and so finally I’ll be able to experience the glaciers and quirky communities that make this last frontier of America so very appealing.
There’s just something about Scandinavia that appeals to me on a very base level. I’m not sure if it’s the people, the sense of style or the societal organization, but whatever it is I just feel like I belong there. Sadly though I’ve only skimmed the surface and have lots more to see and do. Norway is near the top of my list, but so is Stockholm in Sweden. I’ve been to West Sweden before but never the capital city, and it’s a place that I think will be one of my favorites once I finally do manage to visit.
13. American West by car
Although I’ve technically visited almost every state, I don’t feel like I’ve really SEEN my own country. Its impressive size means that lifetimes could be spent exploring America and still things would be missed. What I haven’t done yet and would love to try this year is an epic road trip through some of the Western states, including stops at a few of our amazing National Parks. More than a century ago the US began the conservation movement and our National Park system was the first in the world to recognize the inherent societal value these pristine wildlands possess. So they’re important. Add in quirky roadside stops and I really think this adventure will be a personal favorite.
14. New Zealand
I visited New Zealand several years ago but it was a brief visit, just a week, and an intensely busy one. I would like to once again see the Land of the Long White Cloud and hopefully bring my partner along with me this time. There’s something just so very special about New Zealand that makes it an extraordinary place to visit. I’m not sure if it’s the natural beauty or the quirky people, but it makes an impression and I have yet to meet someone who didn’t leave having fallen in love.
15. India (Maybe)
India is one of those places that evokes a visceral reaction from people who have visited – they either love it or hate it, there is no middle ground. I honestly don’t know if I would like it or not and up until now I haven’t felt prepared enough to visit. But I think I’m ready mentally to see what the subcontinent is really like. I would want to travel there though in very specific ways and see very specific things and it’s owing to this level of particularity that I’m not sure it’ll happen and frankly, I’m not completely convinced that I want it to. But we’ll see!
What are some dream destinations you’d love to visit in 2015?