Ahh a new year, a fresh slate of unmolested vacation time. Was that a weird way to phrase it? Sure, I could’ve substituted “unused” for “unmolested” but it’s a goal of mine to attempt new ways of expressing things. For example, in last week’s post I wanted to use “corpulent” to describe an egg yolk BUT I felt it was too vulgar.
Anyways, the new year always inspires travel bloggers to write blog posts listing the top spots they want to explore that year but I’m adding a little twist to the theme. While I love immersing myself in different cultures in pockets all over the globe, what inspires me to venture out are specific experiences that I want to collect. I’ll start planning a trip by choosing an experience – like sleeping under the stars in the Saharan Desert – as a central pillar then I build the rest of the trip around that.
Here are my Top 7 Wish List Destinations (and Experiences) for 2018:
Bordering Israel and Jordan, at 423 metres below sea level The Dead Sea is the lowest point on land and contains zero life within the salty body of water because the salinity is too harsh for animals to flourish (hence the name). However, the site that was frequented by King David (Biblical namedrop) is one of the world’s first health resorts as the unusually high salt concentration is great to relieve skin ailments. It also provides natural buoyancy meaning I can enjoy a good book while casually floating in the water.
Remember when I attended The Camelback Pursuit Series x The Outbound Collective – an outdoor adventure camp for adults? This year there are three opportunities to try all manners of daredevil activities (maybe I just consider it daring because I’m accident prone), camp outdoors, and take advantage of the open bar. I’m aiming for the session in Catskill’s Hunter Mountains based outside of New York as it’s conveniently timed to happen over the Canada Day long weekend.
Rich in culture? Check. Spicy Latin flavour? Check. Tacos, paletas, and churros? Check. Check. CHECK! Not going to lie, after watching Pixar’s new movie “Coco” and listening to the theme song by Miguel (on repeat) I decided going to Mexico City for Dia de los Muertos was a must-experience. Marvel at the intricately painted sugar skulls and observe the culturally-rich, religious festivities of the Day of the Dead in between gulping down as many chocolate-dipped churros as possible, mezcal tastings, and meandering through the revolutionary, brightly coloured Luis Barragan’s houses.
Time permitting, while in Israel I may be able to venture to southern Jordan to camp in Wadi Rum amid dramatic sandstone mountains and prehistorically inscribed rocky caverns and chasms. It’s the perfect place to learn about Bedouin life and the rich history dating back several millennia, walk the same path as the infamous Lawrence of Arabia, while indulging my need for adrenaline by boarding down golden sand dunes as the sky turns dusky shades of pink.
Imagine waking up to 360 degrees of clear, blue waters of Greece from the deck of a charming sailboat, captained by a local who knows the waters with as well as I know where to get a great meal in Toronto. This year, I’m looking forward to a Greek sailing trip – taking refreshing dips in the ocean as soon as the sun rises, exploring hidden islands during the day, and devouring freshly caught seafood in quaint white and blue towns as the sun dips below the horizon.
My internal compass that directs where I travel is heavily influenced by food as much as cultural activities. Since beignets and I are having a moment, New Orleans is the obvious pick. If I’m already planning a trip to Cafe du Monde for the delightful pastry and enjoying the lively jazz scene, it might as well be during the infamous Mardi Gras festivities. I want to be there when the city is fizzing wither mischievous energy, people frolicking on the streets in masks and costumes against a backdrop of historic Creole-style architecture.
Bali is catnip to travel bloggers with the mystical rice fields, abundance of fresh açai bowls and avocado toast, and idyllic sandy beaches but it was Le Pirate Beach Club’s tropical white and turquoise décor colour scheme that caught my designer eyes. The collection of straw-thatched roof bungalows huddle under swaying palm trees on Gili Trawagan Island and have hammocks conveniently hanging outside every door. Away from the bustle of the Main Street in Labuan Bajo, you can also while away the day and night on a “boatel” – where boat meets hotel – with waterfront cabins with a private deck and swim ladder.