I think anyone who has ever followed this blog in any capacity can agree with me when I say: I kinda suck at blogging. Some months I post a lot, others I barely post at all, and forget about social media… that’s all over the place, too. I promise a lot of posts – I’ll get to them, I swear! – and start a lot of series that I sometimes abandon.
Wait, are you still reading? I’m not selling myself very well, I’m aware.
ANYWAY… one thing I consistently write every single year is my list of dream trips, because it involves all my favourite things: making lists, talking about travel, and pretending I’ll magically have enough money and time to actually accomplish the majority of the trips.
I’m not really one for making resolutions – I’ve been saying I’ll write more, read more, exercise more, and eat healthier since the 90s – but I do enjoy writing down the places I’d love to see and then looking back at the end of the year and seeing if I followed through any of them.
Last year’s list, for example, was over-the-top to the max. I would have needed a private plane and an extra few months in 2018 just to fit it all in, but it’s always fun to dream. Of the trips I mentioned, I accomplished (almost) four of them: I went to Namibia, I travelled around Western Canada, I did a mini road trip in the states (between Arizona and Nevada) and a longer road trip around Mississippi, and I visited Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada in the Caribbean (although I snorkelled, not scuba dived). I also managed to travel quite extensively around my home province of Manitoba, visit London for a few weeks, visit Phoenix twice, and get to Texas for the very first time.
This year I’m going to keep it a bit simpler, or perhaps a little bit more manageable, because that’s what I’m focusing on right now in my life: slowing down, calming down, and remembering to enjoy as many moments as I can. If some of those moments happen to be while I’m on the road, great. If not, I’m settling in really nicely into my home in Canada, and I’m appreciating the quiet things in life a lot more these days: spending all day reading (*cough* watching RuPaul’s Drag Race *cough*), cooking, and going for long walks with Dottie.
And that’s another thing: I now have Dottie in my life, so I can’t just drop everything and travel whenever I feel like it. I’ll have to plan ahead a lot more, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
So without further ado, here’s where I’d love to travel in 2019.
Explore Even More of Manitoba
That’s right… I’d love to see even more of my home province in 2019. Since moving back to Winnipeg approximately a year ago, I’ve really grown to appreciate all that this prairie province has to offer; I’m rarely bored or feel restless about wanting something to do or see. Manitoba is chock-full of beautiful parks and beaches, not to mention all of the incredible festivals and events that happen throughout the year, so I want to experience it all.
This year I’ll be partaking in some of my favourite festivals again – Festival du Voyageur in February and Folk Fest in July – but I’d love to do even more. If I could finally make it to Churchill to see the polar bears… even better!
Road Trip Around Utah
I’ve had an obsession with taking a road trip around Utah ever since I saw Thelma and Louise, which was partially filmed around Moab, Utah. I would love to see Monument Valley; it might be an Instagram staple, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t see it for myself. There’s just something about those rocky landscapes that make me want to wear a pair of dusty cowboy boots and jump in a convertible. I could do without the ending of Thelma and Louise… and pretty much everything else that happens in that movie, but you get my drift.
Ever since my amazing trip to Mississippi last April, I’ve been dying to see more of the South. While I had a brief foray into Texas this year, the big city of Austin felt really cosmopolitan and not necessarily “Texan”, which is a dumb thing for someone who has never been to Texas to say, but that’s how I felt.
I’m a huge fan of the music of the South, especially classic country (think Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, et.) and I’d love to visit the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. I also love classic soul, rhythm and blues, and gospel – Sam Cooke is my favourite singer of all time – so I’d love to check out that scene in Tennessee; the famous Stax Records, a record company that shaped the sound of Southern Soul, was founded in Memphis, and pretty much every artist that signed to or recorded at Stax in the 1960s is on heavy rotation on my record player (Otis Redding, William Bell, Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett, etc). Last year I saw where Elvis was born (Tupelo, Mississippi), so I’d love to visit Graceland, too.
After visiting some of the stops on the Civil Rights Trail in Mississippi, most notably the incredibly moving Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, I would like to do the same in Tennessee, specifically the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis (which is built around the former Lorraine Motel, the motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated).
Tour South Africa, eSwatini, and Mozambique
If you’ve been reading my blog long enough, you know that I went to South Africa to celebrate my 30th birthday (including Botswana and Zambia). You may also recall that I had a really bad time in Cape Town, although it was totally my own fault – I drank too much, got caught up with a weird crowd of backpackers, and didn’t do what I wanted to do, sightseeing-wise. I have always vowed to go back to South Africa, because it’s a favourite country of many people I know.
I’ve been lucky enough to have seen 10 of the 54 countries in Africa, and I would love to see even more. I have wanted to go to Mozambique for years – Tofo sounds like my perfect beach paradise – and I am a huge fan of wildlife trips, especially safaris. Kruger National Park in South Africa has been a goal of mine for a long time, and I’d love to see the culture of eSwatini up close.
Luckily, my dear friend Helen of Rock My Adventures is hosting this exact trip in October and November! I went on her tour to Namibia in August 2018 and it was one of the best trips of my life. If I can swing this one, I will definitely be joining her again in 2019.
Travel Around the Balkans
You didn’t think I’d forget, did you?? I have put this exact travel dream on every single list I’ve made for the past four years, and yet it somehow keeps eluding me. I had the entire plan in 2018 – I was going to fly back to London, spend a few weeks there, and then travel solo around Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Albania for a month or so. But then, as I wrote in a post last March… I just couldn’t do it. Anxiety and a deep desire to slow down won, and I’m so glad that they did.
Something I’d like to address more on the blog in the new year is mental health, because I have sometimes lied or downplayed how I’m really feeling both in person and online. I try to keep it real as often as I can, but when I start falling into those bouts of depression, I can’t write about anything, let alone how I’m feeling. There’s also a bit of ego involved; of course I don’t want everyone (i.e. ex-boyfriends, hi boys) knowing when I feel like shit, when I feel lonely, when I’m worried about finances, when I’m bummed about a recent romance. I remember getting an email from someone when I lived in London that said, “I wish I had your life,” and there I was, lying in bed at 2pm, unable to think of one reason to get up.
2017 was a pretty awful year for me, travelling excepted. I felt like I was in this really dark, lonely place, and I couldn’t claw my way out. Thankfully, 2018 was much better – although I really struggled for a few weeks in November – and I realized it was better because I was listening to what I truly needed. When I went back to London last February I thought I’d be fully healed from the year before, and I was totally wrong. Being in London again brought back all of the emotions I hadn’t fully worked through, and there was no way I could make it on a solo adventure of the Balkans at that point.
That being said, I am indeed feeling much better about life at the moment, so who knows? Perhaps 2019 will finally be my year to explore that part of the world. I know that that was a weirdly raw moment sandwiched into a fun list of travel destinations, but the point is, even if someone’s life looks beautiful and glossy online, we have no idea what’s really going on. I am so thankful for what I have, and I recognize my privilege and my good fortune, but no matter what, we’re all human, and we’re all going to feel shitty sometimes. I’m also prepared to write about the shitty times even more, because let’s face it, nobody needs another goddamn “where to eat in Paris” guide or some naval-gazing blogger’s list of dream trips.
I mean… yay! Serbia! *cough*
Return to Italy
You also didn’t think I’d forget about Italy, did you? Italy is my favourite country in Europe, and I miss it constantly. While living in London, I’d often take advantage of affordable hostels and incredibly cheap airplane tickets (I once booked a flight to Genova for $15) and just go explore a new-to-me city for a long weekend. Although I would choose the life I have now over the life I had in London in nearly every regard, man oh man do I miss those cheap and easy trips around Europe.
If I were to return to Italy this year, I would love to visit either the Puglia region or the Amalfi Coast, both of which have been in my sights for years. Here’s hoping I can make it happen in 2019.
Return to New York City and See San Francisco for the First Time
I’m lumping these two cities together because it’s my list, damn it. I keep saying I’ll return to New York – I haven’t been since I was a teenager, visiting a few months before 9/11 – and now that I’m older and actually have friends there, I’d love to see it again. I’m most excited about the museums, the food, and the theatre.
San Francisco (and most of the American west coast, including Washington and Oregon) is one of my personal travel oversights; I have always felt that I’d really like San Francisco, and if I could figure out a way to visit for a few days this year, I’d be overjoyed.
Visit Suriname and Guyana
For some reason, these two countries have really been on my mind lately. Actually, no. I can tell you exactly why they’ve been on my mind; they are two of the four countries I haven’t been to in South America (Paraguay and Venezuela are the others) and I recently read M Train by Patti Smith (one of my heroes) and she talks about visiting Suriname in the 1970s. Granted, she makes everything sound fucking perfect, even when it’s the opposite, but it sparked an interest in seeing if I could visit these two neighbouring countries. If anyone has been, I’d love to hear about it!
Finally Travel to Antarctica
OK, OK, I promised that this list was going to be somewhat reasonable, and this one ain’t, at least not in 2019. Visiting Antarctica has been on my dream list for my entire life, and I’m 100% positive I’ll get there one day… I just have no idea when. Let’s just put this on 2019’s list as a tribute to thinking positively, shall we?
I’m not going to lie… I could keep going. I’ll always have my list of “one day”s… Jordan, Georgia, travelling overland through the “stans” of Central Asia, Madagascar, sailing around the South Pacific, Sierra Leone, The Maldives, Iran, Papua New Guinea… oh, and Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail. I really want to do that one day.
Where would you love to travel in 2019?
Check out my 2018 Travel Goals here.
Check out my 2017 Travel Goals here.
Check out my 2016 Travel Goals here.
I loved this post, Brenna. I think it’s great that you don’t post regularly to be honest- it seems like you post when you have something to say, whereas many bloggers end up with lots of watered down content due to continuous posting. So keep writing when you feel inspired and that will be more than good enough! Also looking forward to hearing more about the mental health side as you said, because as magical as traveling is, it isn’t always easy. I love when people can write about the difficulties when traveling as well. Cheers!
Aw, thank you so much, Molly… this was an awesome comment to receive. I think you’re right… I’d rather not post something mediocre or if I’m not fully committed/passionate about it, hence the lack of posting sometimes. I really appreciate all of your support of me and of the blog – it really inspires me a lot, so thanks again 🙂
What awesome plans! I second the Balkans especially. However, I shouldn’t have clicked on the link to the post about Dottie, I read the whole thing and the nagging feeling of getting a dog is back! 😀 Story of my life. Anyway, enjoy your 2019 travels and say hi to Dottie for me ?
Ha ha… I will definitely say hi! I had that feeling of getting a dog for YEARS… and I don’t regret it one bit 😉 Thanks for the comment, Veronika!
Suck at blogging or not, you keep me coming back to your blog from time to time – to check out new posts or reread old ones. 🙂 And I’m glad you share your dreams as well as your lows. I think I’m just not brave enough to make a dream list for 2019. I already have plans (meaning that at least the air ticket is bought already): Rome (however unbelievable, I haven’t been yet 😀 ), Berlin, a road trip in Ireland. And I’m very enthusiastic about them. But I’m better at organizing than dreaming. Dreaming too much somehow puts a pressure on me that I had to achieve all this otherwise I failed. Even though it’s not like that. And I also know I’ll get to Antarctica at some point in my life, even if it’s not realistic this year or the next.
I wish you all the best for this year, lots of cheerful moments – on the road or at home!
Thank you so much, Bea, for your continued support! It means so much to me 🙂 Your trips sound amazing… I honestly had the best meal of my life in Rome at some little hole in the wall I’m still convinced was just someone’s house/kitchen. I wish you all the best for this year, too!
haha all my lists are always so out of this world and I usually only do like one or two things I set out at the beginning of the year, but one has got to dream to achieve things! These are marvellous plan and I wish you it all, even if it’s across many years!
Exactly… it’s just fun to dream about them! I hope you have a great year full of travels, Camila 🙂
I hope this doesn’t sound creepy, but PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU COME TO MEMPHIS!! I would love to play tour guide or at least meet you and grab a drink. Stax and the NCRM are two of my favorite places, and I know Graceland like the back of my hand [35ish visits and counting]. And I know all the delicious places to eat. And I have a google doc that I share with people coming to Memphis for the first time that I can send you to help you plan your visit. I am already excited about this! xx
I will definitely get in touch, Veena! I have NO idea if it is actually happening, but it’s definitely up there in terms of trips I’d love to take. Thank you so much for offering to be my tour guide! 😀
Happy New Year Brenna! I love your list. I also appreciate the realness in the Balkans post–I find this time of year in particular really hard for my own mental health/mood/energy levels/writing goals etc. I’ve got a trip to Zurich, Vienna, Prague, and Nuremberg for the spring booked and feel like I’m most likely going to make a triumphant return to Australia in the late fall of 2019 even though I was just there this past November, because I loved it so much I want to explore more, haha? Also, definitely going to be continuing to do more NYC trips myself, as my sister is there now and I’ve realized just how crazy happy live theater makes me. I’ll also add Japan and Patagonia to my list in the spirit of “If only the time and money…” 🙂
That sounds like an incredible list, Paige! I totally agree that this time of the year sucks for mental health/energy… the holidays are over, weather is brutal, etc. I’m just trying to focus on staying healthy and relaxed! Your spring trip sounds awesome, and I hope you get back to Australia, too 🙂
MY list is as always very long … Definitely won’t be able to get everywhere ? Having said that, I’m trying to go to Albania and drive around. Hopefully the Azores later this year. Heading to Culebra, Puerto Rico next month so this one is a definite.
Sounds like an amazing assortment of destinations, Aga! Here’s to a happy year full of travelling 😀
What a cool list! You should defenitly go to Suriname. I lived there for 4 months and absolutely fell in love with the country. You have to climb the Voltzberg (voltz mountain) it was one of the most memorable things I ever did.
That’s so awesome, thank you for the tip, Marleen! I really hope I get there…
1 – Tofo Beach is AMAZING! One of best times I’ve ever had in my life. You can snorkel with a whale sharks (the idea of proper diving freaks me out so this was perfect), the beach bars are great and the whole place is just so laid back!
2 – I totally agree with wanting to recreate the vibe and aesthetic of a Thelma and Louise girls road trip without the horrible plot points.
I’m turning 30 this year and Madagascar is my ultimate “some day” trip that I’m determined to make happen (at the expense of basically all other international travel) this year!
Ahhhh I’d love to go to Madagascar! And that’s awesome to hear that you loved Tofo so much… I really hope I make it there this year. I really hope that you get your 30th birthday wish, Tash! 🙂
Girls gotta dream, my 2019 travel goals are a mix of definite, hopefully and if I win the lotto pretty much. I was in Memphis a month ago a loved it – the National Civil Rights Museum was mind-blowing – absolutely one of the best museums I have ever been to. I hope you make it to the southern Utah – it’s an amazing part of the US and you should definitely go to Colorado if you make it there too. Revisiting New York is on my list too – I’m hoping to get back there in spring. Looking forward to see where you end up traveling to this year.
Thank you so much for the tips, Katie! I really hope I make it to at least a few on this list. I hope you have an amazing year of travels ahead… and thanks (as always!) for the comment! 🙂
Utah is even more amazing than you think it will be! I went through on a road trip a few years ago and could have stayed for weeks. The Balkans were also fantastic, and I love the idea of re-doing a South Africa trip that wasn’t quite what it was meant to be the first time around. But best of all is recognizing that these are just goals and it’s okay to change your plans when they no longer work for you.
I’m hoping to make it to SE Asia for the first time this year – it’s a big region that I’m missing! I’ll also revisit NYC and New Orleans, and visit my boyfriend’s sister in the Bahamas for a glorious and unlike- me beach vacay! Happy 2019!
Thank you so much, Mary, and glad to know that I’ve made a few good travel plans. It sounds like you have an amazing year ahead… I hope you get to SE Asia! 🙂
Hope you’ll make it to the Balkans this year and in a much better headspace! That area of Europe is so awesome (altho it’s not exactly as off-the-beaten path as it used to be). Hmmm I think this year I’d like to either go live in Berlin or Portugal, or hop around in the Middle East and Central Asia, or go back to South America (and the States, Mexico and Central America for the first time). I can’t believe I haven’t even considered Suriname and Guyana!! Going to google them right away, I don’t think i know anyone who’s travelled there
Wow, sounds like an amazing year ahead for you, Elina! And yes, I really hope I get to the Balkans, too 🙂
I spent almost 2 months in the Balkans this fall and it’s definitely my favorite region of Europe. Definitely go to Mostar (stay at hostel Majdas and do their day tour) and Trebinje in Bosnia. DEFINITELY budget enough time for Albania: Shkoder (Wanderers hostel), Theth, Tirana, Berat, Himare, Gjipe beach, and Gjirokaster. I was in Albania for 2 weeks but could’ve easily spent longer if I didn’t have a flight out of Greece!
Just noticed I said “definitely” three times, I guess I just really love the Balkans!
Thank you so much for all of the tips! I should definitely *cough* try to go there this year. 😉 It sounds like an amazing part of the world!
I loved this post Brenna. I am a loyal fan of yours and have been for a long time! Thank you for being honest and talking about mental health. It’s always reassuring and refreshing to know that the travel bloggers I idolize and follow are real people too. Although I am my own person, I can’t help but mirror myself to the travel bloggers on my social media (you wrote about this once) and it was comforting for me to know that you had made a personal choice to slow down and be present and adopt Dottie! I love to travel and have reached 54 countries this year. I choose to live in Moscow but every time I visit home, I feel very emotional about my choice to live abroad because it makes me sad to leave the people I love and I ask myself “why do I do this?” The transition is never easy but I tend to be happy in the moment. I am a person who feels deeply (I am a true pisces) and I am very giving with my love. I cherish the relationships I have with my family and friends. I’d love to start my own blog. I think I’ll start with journaling. Thank you for sharing your adventures. Love. Béa
Whoaaaa 54 countries, that’s incredible! And thank you so much for all of your support over the years, I know I say this often but it really does mean the world. It makes me want to write about the personal stuff even more! I hope you have a wonderful year, Béa 🙂
Let me know if you make it to San Francisco this year, I’d love to show you around the local hotspots! 🙂
I would love that! I’ll definitely let you know 😀
Tennessee has a Whiskey Trail…
Yes!!! All the more reason to go 😀
LOVE this list sister! I can’t wait to see where 2019 takes you! xoxo
Thank you so much sister. I can’t wait to see what 2019 holds for you, too! xoxo
New York!! woohoo!
Unrelated: but are you planning on releasing that book you were working on?
Hopefully New York! 🙂 And I have no idea… I wrote it but I feel it needs a huge rewrite. Something to tackle this year for sure! I have talked to agents about it but I’m not quite ready to release it into the world… thank you for asking, though!
Italy! I want to go back to the Amalfi Coast sooo bad but I keep waiting for my sister’s next visit because she really wants to see it. I want to explore southern Italy as well, but every time I research I get carried away. (Ferries to Croatia, Greece, or Albania, anyone?) I’m heading to Morocco at the end of the month for my first trip to Africa, and I’ve also got a trip to London (for the first time) in June. I can’t wait!
Oh God. If I lived in Italy I would be so overwhelmed with choice, ha ha! You will love Morocco, and it’s so cool that you’re visiting London! Wish I was still there so we could finally hang out 🙂
What a great post, Brenna. As always, I love your honesty. You know some of my “hopeful” dreams/plans for 2019…and you also know I’d love to join you on one of your journeys!! Looking forward to keeping the dialogue open. xoxo
Yes!! I really can’t wait to see where we travel together in 2019. xoxo
Great blog! Thanks for sharing!
Hey Brenna – best wishes for 2019 🙂
This is a fantastic list – I hope you’ll get to tick off as many of your goals as possible this year.
Let me know if you ever get back to Cape Town – I’d love to be able to show you the sights that you might’ve missed on your first trip!
Thank you so much, Sasha! I would love to return to Cape Town as I really don’t feel I saw it properly the first time around. I hope you have an amazing 2019 and hopefully our paths will cross again soon… best tentmate ever! 😉
This is an AMAZING list Brenna, and an inspiration to me as I begin my own 2019 travel plans! When you get to Utah and San Francisco, I hope you will be able to make a detour to my neck of the woods, Oregon and Washington. There is SO MUCH to do and see here, you will fall in love, I promise you!! And San Francisco will leave you breathless!
And I do hope you make it to Antarctica. It is on my bucket list as well, and I look forward to your blog post on it some day.
I would love to go to Oregon and Washington one day, though I think I will save that for a separate road trip! Hopefully we both get to Antarctica soon 🙂 Thanks for your comment, Susan!
I love the little raw moments sandwiched between happy bits. That’s life, isn’t it? The fact that you’re so willing to share your struggles honestly is what makes you one of the few travel bloggers I can stomach reading anymore. I understand your weird feelings about knowing other people are out there envying you while you struggle to even get out of bed–they can be quite jarring, to say the least! And clawing yourself out of dark places is never fun, I know. But I can’t wait to read what you write on mental health! Happy new year and I hope you’re able to make many of your travel dreams come true!
Aw, thank you so much, Alisa! That means so much to me, knowing I have your support. And YES… that is indeed life. I hope you have an incredible year ahead 😀
I will go to San Francisco with you!!! Summer roadtrip??
Also Denver is close to Utah 😉
Ha ha you’re determined to get me to Denver… I have to admit it’s not high on my list of travel priorities as I spent so much time there in the past. 😉 But yes! San Fran for sure!!
This is the great list of goals that you have set. I was in italy once so I loved that place. it’s amazing. I hope you will achieve all your goals that you set for 2019. I loved the content and the quality of post. Now I am planning for a visit to south africa in next or next to next month, If you are there, we can hangout.
Thank you very much, Jim! I hope you have a wonderful year of travels 😀
You will love Utah! Don’t miss to visit Salt Lake City!
Thanks a lot! I hope to make it there, too.
How exciting! Regardles of how many trips you’ve got planned, it’s always awesome to have something to look forward to. I’m hoping to go to India in July\August although i’m a bit nervous going solo. Maybe I can find a travel buddy?
I agree, always nice to have something to look forward to! And I found there were lots of solo travellers in India… if anything, you can probably find a travel buddy there 🙂
I really want to visit more of British Columbia. It’s not far from our home in Portland, and it’s gorgeous!
I love BC! It’s such a beautiful province 🙂
We would love to meet up with you and Helen on one of her tours! We love following her too and it was cool to see the 2 of you in our now home country of Namibia last year 🙂
If you are in SA in October/ November we may be free to meet you! We trained as safari guides in Kruger National Park and lived in Nelspruit by the park for 3 years. So Kruger feels like home to us and it would be so cool to show you all our favourite places! And the blyde canyon, and hluhluwe imfolozi and saint lucia… there is so much we love in South Africa. I hope you get to go back to Cape Town too because it really is an incredible city! Every time we stay in airbnbs and have an incredible time. I just feel so good when I am there. So I hope you get to have that experience too!
Only recently discovered your blog, but am enjoying working my way through the various posts.
Just want to comment on Antarctica, it is quite simply amazing. Yes it’s expensive, go on a ice-breaker rather than a cruise ship, but do it soon or a lot of the ice will have disappeared.
Standing on the bow doing a Titanic pose under a vivid blue cloudless sky as you crunch through ice that stretches to the horizon. One of the beautiful moments of my life, the memory of which still has me grinning like a Cheshire Cat some fifteen years later.
That’s not to mention the whales, penguins and the ice… Getting off the boat three times a day to explore different aspects of the seventh continent and of course going for a swim
It’s a truly stunning adventure