My 2017 Travel Goals

by Brenna Holeman


Mallorca, Spain

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.


Utrecht, Netherlands

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.


Pisa, Italy

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.


Stockholm, Sweden

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).


Prague, Czechia

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 listYeah, 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?

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Ornella December 1, 2016 - 2:02 am

Meet you in San Fran!? xx

Brenna Holeman December 1, 2016 - 2:07 am


Stef December 1, 2016 - 2:07 am

Sounds like a great plan to me. I have thought a lot about where to go next year. I didn’t travel as much as I planned on doing as life got in the way and I am currently in the process of getting a residence visa for Mexico. Once I have that, I want to go traveling more often again.
I’d like to go to New York and/or San Francisco next year. I’m 27 and never been to the US and now that I live so close, I guess that’s a sign. I’d also love to visit one country here in Central or South America, at the moment I’m thinking of Nicaragua or Panama. I want to visit some Mexican cities I haven’t been yet (Guadalajara and Oaxaca). And then visiting home (Germany) again and one trip to a country in Europe, Asia (Sri Lanka?) or Africa (South Africa?). So much I want to see, we’ll see how much my ideas will change within the next months ;).

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:29 pm

Wow, how cool that you live in Mexico! I’d love to spend more time in Mexico… I haven’t been in years. I hope you get to travel a lot in 2017!

Leah December 1, 2016 - 2:24 am

Damn girl, you went to a lot of places this year! I guess I did, too–far more than I thought I would, anyway. So far, 2017 is shaping up exactly the same way. I really hope our paths cross again at some point!

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:26 pm

I agree, would be so nice to see each other again!

LC December 1, 2016 - 2:43 am

Great and varied list. Jordan’s been top of mine for awhile too and I always cherish a return trip to Iceland. And, uh… I hope you make it to Italy? 😛

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:27 pm

I hope so, too! 😀 And I hope you have an amazing year of adventure ahead…

Neni December 1, 2016 - 11:07 am

Wow so many amazing destinations! You have a great year ahead of you.
My plans are Singapore, Malaysia, India, Denmark and Hungary so far.

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:28 pm

Sounds amazing!

Katie December 1, 2016 - 2:01 pm

Sigh. I have GOT to move to Europe. This list looks like a dream! You will adore San Francisco — it’s my favorite large U.S. city, with Chicago as a close second. It’s especially great if you know someone who lives there and can take you to the best dives. If you can, try to go see the redwoods and explore other small towns in northern California. It just has the best vibe. I love SoCal too, but for completely different reasons. I’ve only been to Italy once (Campania and Tuscany) and feel the same way — I could go again and again. The Amalfi Coast is one of the top 3 most beautiful places I’ve been (along with Formentera and this one specific overlook on Kauai), but I haven’t traveled nearly as much as you!

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:46 pm

Seriously, living in Europe makes things SO easy! I really love Chicago, too, and I hope to see so much more of America in the coming years. And I’m dying to get to the Amalfi Coast, I’m already looking into booking it (which I NEVER do six months in advance).

Holly December 1, 2016 - 2:17 pm

I’m with you on Budapest, Iceland and Jordan!! I find it said that Jordan’s tourism is suffering, but at the same time the thought of seeing Petra almost isolated is very attractive!
I road-tripped the West Coast of the US last summer and San Francisco was by far my favourite. It is an AMAZING city! It has a very European feel to it and I keep itching to go back.
I’m going to Poland in January, and also hope to hit up Vietnam, the U.S, Thailand, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Cuba…I can dream at least!

Holly December 1, 2016 - 2:18 pm


Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:39 pm

Wow, I would love to do a road trip of the West Coast! You have such an exciting year ahead…

Jill December 1, 2016 - 3:49 pm

I have only 2 trips planned so far. Amsterdam in March and Madrid in April. My sister and I are taking her kids to a beach on the east coast (US) but I can’t decide which one! lol. You will LOVE San Francisco. I haven’t been to NYC since 2007 either and want to go back. Such a short flight I might do it in the fall. You have 2 cities on your list that are on mine as well…..Prague and Budapest. One day.. One day… lol

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:44 pm

I hope you get to have lots of fun adventures next year! 😀

Christine December 1, 2016 - 4:17 pm

My list is endless for next year as well but you know..I have a full time job so we will see how it goes!

If you go to Belgium, you must visit Bruges! It’s a beautiful place!

And Procida in Italy if you are in Naples 🙂

I really want to go to Iceland as well. Hope next year will be the year I go 😉

Happy travels!


Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:39 pm

I love Bruges, I went ten years ago and need to go back! And I’ve heard great things about Procida. Hope you have lots of adventures ahead! 🙂

Rachel Taylor December 1, 2016 - 5:06 pm

I am just starting to look at my travel plans for 2017 but am already lucky enough to be returning to Myanmar for the start of the year! Hopefully a trip to Sweden to see the Northern lights will be on the cards and it would be amazing to explore the Balkans, central Asia or overland through Africa. But who knows what will happen!

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:40 pm

Very cool! I would love to go back to Myanmar. 😀

Liangela December 1, 2016 - 5:38 pm

As a New Yorker and Puerto Rican I say yes on both. In fact you can do them in one trip as it’s a cheap easy flight from NYC. Just did the Balkans this summer/fall. Albania is AMAZING! I can’t wait to go back. It’s so lovely and the people were very, very nice. The beaches are like Greece for 1/3 of the price. Go!

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:41 pm

Wow, amazing, thanks! Yes, Albania is definitely top of the list 😀

Denali December 1, 2016 - 5:54 pm

Great List! I have a trip planned to Puerto Rico in January! Can’t Wait. Fill me in on any must sees/dos that you may have learned from your moms boyfriend. I will definitely do the same after I return. Happy travels!

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:38 pm

Sounds amazing – have fun!

Ella December 1, 2016 - 6:32 pm

Sounds very exciting!! I would love to do NYC, San Fransisco & a Northern Italy road trip in particular, although they all sound very good. I currently don’t have any concrete travel plans in 2017 but I have many ideas that I’d love to make at least one work. The list includes; a quick return trip to Kenya, a longer return trip to Andalucia, Spain, a couple of weeks in east coast Canada, a quick winter getaway to a Europen city to see a friend (no idea\don’t care where though) & a multi week, multi country train journey with my sister in Europe. I’d like to accomplish at least one of those but we’ll have to see if I’m able to. Fingers crossed to both of us that we succeed with our travel goals for 2017! 🙂

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:43 pm

Wow, so many cool things lined up for you in 2017 – I hope that you’re able to have lots of adventures 😀

Stephanie December 1, 2016 - 7:41 pm

I love the variety on your list! I am desperate to go to Italy and your enthusiasm only makes it worse! I currently live in Chicago so a few more States, Cuba and Bermuda plus some more remote Canadian towns. I would love to make it to South America this year also, Chile ???????? or Argentina ????????
I would love to know how you fit all your explorations in, do you go for long weekends or block a few weeks and hit up a couple of places?

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:37 pm

I really hope you get to Italy, it is indeed amazing! And wow, South America… such a fascinating continent.

As for your question, it depends, especially on work… usually, from London, I take long weekends away, but I always have a few chunks of longer holidays throughout the year (usually I’ve been heading back to Canada in that time, although last year I went to Asia).

Cindy December 2, 2016 - 9:55 pm

This list is wonderful and inspiring. As a Kenyan myself, I’m routing for Kenya on your 2017 travel list. Masai Mara for the Safari and Lamu on the coast to explore ancient Kenyan history and some delicious Swahili foods while enjoying the Indian Ocean. 🙂

Cindy December 2, 2016 - 10:13 pm

P.S. My apologies, I totally wrote this comment before reading your blog post on overused words. So excuse my descriptions, they don’t do justice to my country.

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:34 pm

I would absolutely love to go to Kenya! I’ve heard it is such an incredible country.

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:35 pm

Oh and p.s., I think it’s often very difficult to give a country so beautiful justice 😉

Paige December 4, 2016 - 3:41 am

Love this list! So far I have a mostly-solo two and a half week long summer Eurotrip planned/booked for Iceland, the U.K. (London then a Cornwall road trip with my English bestie), and then over to Copenhagen. 🙂 I also want to do at least one NYC weekend (easy connection from Boston and despite being from New York State I’ve only been to “the city” a few times in my life and barely “know” it). Besides knowing I’ll want to hop around New England to see family and friends, I’m trying to weigh sneaking in another “big” trip or saving pennies/vacation days for 2018 adventures.

I really like planning ahead. And lists. 🙂 Hope our paths cross in 2017!

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:33 pm

Wow, sounds great, and like you have a lot of fun stuff planned! I hope our paths cross as well, would be nice to meet 😀

Lizzie December 4, 2016 - 9:22 pm

I highly recommend Jordan, visited in October and it was amazing, tourist numbers are down so the sites are not too crowded and the people are very welcoming. Flights booked to San Francisco and Montenegro for 2017

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:31 pm

Wow, very cool! And yes, fingers crossed I get to Jordan in 2017…

Karina December 5, 2016 - 12:13 am

San Fran is one of my favourite cities in the US! I go there once a year to visit my sister. So much to see, do and eat! Definitely recommend wandering around the Mission area 🙂

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:31 pm

Awesome, thank you! I hope I get there 😀

Lucy December 5, 2016 - 2:53 pm

Dude you HAVE to visit Jordan next year!

It’s my absolute fave country and it’s my firm belief we should all receive a complimentary holiday to Jordan from the government as medicine 😉

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:29 pm

I’m really, really hoping I get there! 😀

Frank December 5, 2016 - 3:47 pm

Exciting plans!
We’re fellow Canadians and have been full-time travellers the last 3 years. You mentioned the Balkans – we’ve spent a lot of time there the last few years and love the region, so much so that we’re planning on setting up a permanent base in Split, Croatia. But once you’ve visited Croatia (don’t go in the summer months!) you’ll find there are some really interesting off-the-beaten-path places that are worth exploring. We were in Macedonia in August (which was interesting – and cheap) and have also spent time in Mostar and Montenegro (love Kotor). People are friendly and there’s lots of great geography. I really hope you end up visiting the region in 2017.

Frank (bbqboy)

Brenna Holeman December 5, 2016 - 11:30 pm

I’ve been to Croatia, but I definitely need to spend more time there! Sounds like there’s so many cool things to do in the Balkans; I really hope I get to spend more time there in 2017. I hope you have an exciting year ahead, too!

Nina Lee: World into Words December 9, 2016 - 1:07 pm

Great list! If you visit NYC I’d be happy to give you some recs, though as a Brooklyn native, most of them will be Brooklyn based, haha. I haven’t come up with a list just yet, but I want to visit a lot of small villages around Spain, travel to the Cies islands off of Galicia, explore Asturias, visit a friend in Amsterdam and explore the Netherlands and ideally head back to Portugal. If there were more time and money, I’d probably be a bit more ambitious but I’m actually content to have a shorter list with new and exciting places. Hope you get to check off a bunch of your list next year!

Get Jaunty December 18, 2016 - 11:21 pm

Great list! What you’ve said about New York I can 100% relate to. It’s been on my wish list for years now but I just haven’t made it over there yet. I imagine incredible meals in-between all the attractions and it just a buzzing, energetic city to explore.

Get Jaunty December 18, 2016 - 11:22 pm

Great list! What you’ve said about New York I can 100% relate to. It’s been on my wish list for years now but I just haven’t made it over there yet. I imagine incredible meals in-between all the attractions and it just being a buzzing, energetic city to explore.

Aleksis December 22, 2016 - 11:24 pm

What an incredible list!! Your posts about Italy have inspired me to give it a second chance and actually see at least a portion of it this new year 🙂 I’m going to Poland in January and I’ll be based in Barcelona but really hoping to make India happen this year and some more Asian countries. Also, Italian accents <3

Zalie January 9, 2017 - 4:46 am

I love your 2017 travel goals! I would absolutely love see the Balkans with you, or maybe you can show me around Italy? You would really like Jordan, and I hope you can make it there this year 🙂

Susan Knight March 20, 2017 - 3:07 am

Hello: I just found your blog today 3/18/17. I found it looking for ways to dress in Russia, since I am headed there this summer. I live in San Francisco with my husband (and my son’s dog occasionally!). We could host you in San Francisco for a short visit if you come in June or August. We would enjoy hearing your stories in person! Susan

Brenna Holeman March 20, 2017 - 9:19 pm

OK, thank you Susan! All the best 🙂


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