I am all about writing lists. I love making lists of things to do, places to go, books to read, blog posts to write. Whether or not I actually accomplish everything on those lists is another matter all together, but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right? Actually, don’t answer that.
Anyway, last year I wrote a list of my 2016 travel goals. I knew, when writing it, that there was no way I would actually be able to visit every single place on that list, because, as I said then, I’m not a millionaire, and I’m also not a full-time traveller. Although I have spent quite a bit of time on the road, even spending a couple of years travelling continuously, at the moment I am happily based in London and I travel abroad once or twice a month.
I did actually accomplish some of the travel goals I had from last year, namely visiting Cinque Terre (in fact, I went twice, in April and in June), returning to Amsterdam (which I did just last weekend, including the new-to-me city of Utrecht), travelling to more small towns in Spain (I spent time in Mallorca, and got to explore a few of the small towns on the island), returning to Turkey (although I didn’t go to Cappadocia, and the sailing trip I wanted to do in Greece actually happened near Dalaman), and in terms of exploring the UK, I did an amazing road trip through the Lake District with my friend Helen. I also visited Jerusalem and the Dead Sea of Israel, did a road trip around Northern Ireland, spent my birthday in Bologna, Italy, travelled to Stockholm for a travel blogging conference, returned to Prague on a Surprise Trip, went to Paris for a music festival, and flew back to my hometown of Winnipeg, Canada to see my family. Coming up next week, I’m working with Rail Europe to visit Paris and Barcelona in order to take a bunch of trains and drink a bunch of wine. Then, in mid-December, I once again fly to Winnipeg to spend the holidays with my family.
But oh, these itchy feet will never be satisfied. And so, although I have made exactly zero official plans for my travelling schedule, here’s where I’d really love to go in 2017. Please note I tried to keep this at least slightly realistic, because as much as I’d like to spend the entire year sailing around the South Pacific, travelling across Central Asia, exploring Eastern Africa, and lazing away the days on every Caribbean island I can find, I see myself sticking relatively close to home unless an incredible opportunity arises (which, of course, I’m always open to). That, or I win the lottery and never have to work again. Anyway…
Visit New York City. I can’t believe that I’ve never been to NYC as an adult, only as a teenager. There are so many things I’d like to do there, so many good restaurants I’d like to try, and so many neighbourhoods I’d like to explore… and it helps that I already have friends there, like Oneika, Kate, and Christine. And yeah, if anyone can score me Hamilton tickets, that would be much appreciated.
Return to Belgium. I had this on last year’s list, too, and in 2017 I really want to make it happen. As mentioned previously, my grandfather was born in Belgium, and I’d like to see his hometown as well as explore some smaller cities I haven’t seen before. And did you hear that Belgian beer was just added to the UNESCO cultural heritage list?! I randomly met a Belgian guy in my local pub a couple of months ago who invited me to stay with him in Ghent, so I may just take him up on it. Pieterjan, if you’re reading this… uh, see you soon.
Finally see Jordan. Jordan has been on my “must see” list for so many years, and I can’t believe I haven’t made it a priority yet. Hopefully 2017 will be the year.
Go to Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a place that really intrigues me, and it helps that it’s full of beautiful beaches and historic towns. My mum’s boyfriend currently lives there, so it seems like the perfect year to go!
Return to Budapest. I had a few major European cities that I really wanted to revisit since moving to London: Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Berlin. Budapest is on that list, too, and I’d love to see the city again soon.
See San Francisco for the first time. San Francisco is the foremost major American city that I am absolutely dying to see for myself. While I’ve been to Southern California a few times, I have a feeling I would really connect with San Fran. Ideally, I would head there in the summer to attend the travel writing conference Book Passage, then do a little road trip down through the state and across Nevada into Arizona, where my family has a house.
Take a road trip around Northern Italy. It’s no secret I’m slightly obsessed with Italy, and I’d like to upgrade from short holidays to a longer, more in-depth journey around the country. I would love to spend some time driving around the Dolomites, perhaps ending with another visit to Venice. I’m thinking spring would be best for this, perhaps getting to glimpse some lingering snow on the mountains.
Travel around the Balkans. Another one that has always been on these kinds of lists, including last years’. I’m so intrigued by the countries of Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania… whether I see them separately on short holidays or travel around the region on a longer trip, I really want to see at least one of the countries of the Balkans in 2017, even if it’s revisiting one I’ve already been to.
Go back to Iceland. I feel like Iceland is really booming with tourists these days, and I can see why: it’s beautiful, safe, and has enough to keep you busy for weeks. I was there in 2007, so it makes sense to make a return a decade later, especially if I can see more of the country this time – the Ring Road is calling my name. Plus I really like hot dogs, which Iceland does very well (I’m dead serious on both counts).
Visit the Greek Islands. I wrote about sailing around Greece in last year’s list, and that would still be amazing, but there are a few islands I really have my eye on in particular. I’ve been to Greece a few times, and one of my favourite trips was ten years ago, when I walked around whitewashed villages and ate too much feta and drank my weight in Greek wine (I also was arm-in-arm with a cute American, so perhaps that has swayed my memories). I think it’s time to go back (cute American optional… I won’t say no).
Spend my birthday in Southern Italy. Yes, Italy twice. I visited Italy three times this year, and I have every intention of visiting my favourite country in Europe as much as possible next year, too. I haven’t spent that much time in the south of the country (other than Basilicata and a few days in Rome), and I had such a fun birthday in Bologna this year that it seems like a good fit. I’m thinking the Amalfi Coast and surrounding area, because it just looks so beautiful. Since I also seem to have a thing for Italian men (both in Italy and in London… this was a recent development but I’m not going to put a stop to it – have you heard that accent?!), I think a red wine and pasta fuelled date might be the perfect way to turn 33.
Go on another safari in Africa. I was last in Africa in 2014, when I went solo to South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia for my 30th birthday. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life – seeing African elephants in the wild – and I’d love to have another week or two of that magic. I’m quite open to where I’d like to go (a lot depends on the time of year/weather/migration patterns), but at the top of the list are Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Malawi.
Visit Madeira, Moldova, Georgia, Lapland, and all of the other places I wrote about on last year’s list. Yeah, it’s going to be a busy year, apparently.
Cinque Terre, Italy
And finally… Take a holiday to Genoa and the surrounding area. Oh yes. Italy is getting three mentions on this list. I had to cancel my trip to Genoa in October this year, but I’d like to get back in 2017 so that I can see the surrounding villages and towns on the Ligurian Coast, especially Camogli, Recco, and Portofino. I told you, I’m kind of obsessed right now. But I wasn’t kidding about those accents.
So, where would you love to go in 2017? Have you been to any of the places on this list?