Happy New Year!! I hope your 2018 is off to an exciting start. For the 4th year in a row I am laying out my travel dreams in writing. At this point I have only 1 flight booked, but I have grand dreams for the year ahead!
Last year I was able to do quite a bit from my 2017 Travel Dreams list. Iceland, Alaska, Costa Rica and several new national parks. And finally, after 16 years of traveling I have finally achieved my goal of visiting as many countries as my age! Woo Hoo! I’ve been chasing that goal since I was 24 years old.
It’s always difficult for me to narrow down where to go since basically every destination in the world is on my list in one way or another! However, I have found that if I don’t try to come up with a list of what is achievable or what my dreams are, then I get stuck going almost nowhere because of my indecision!
This year I am focusing much of my travels on destinations that Southwest Airlines flies. Why? Because I was a lucky California resident who was able to take advantage of a SW offer giving California residents a companion pass for all of 2018 just by getting and using their Chase associated credit card. Can’t beat that. So, I feel like I must take advantage of this. My goal is to use the card once a month if I can. Lets see how I end up at the end of the year.
I went to college in Austin, but haven’t been back even for a visit since 2000. That is 18 years ago! I cannot believe that one, I am old enough to not have been somewhere for 18 years and that it has been so long. The city still burns so vivid in my mind, but I know it will look so different to what I remember. This is the only trip that I have already booked. Cian and I will be heading to Austin for a long weekend in January to visit friends. I can’t wait to show Cian where I went to college and lived. Queso, BBQ and breakfast burritos are on the agenda. This is a quick, direct flight on Southwest Airlines too! We are ready to get weird!
I have been dying to go to Borneo for years, but for some reason I have gotten in my mind that this is the year to go. Most of Asia is off limits in my mind during the summer due to the high humidity, high temperatures and lots of rain. These should not be reasons to curb travel, but I am a monster when I’m too hot. But, Borneo and some parts of SouthEast Asia are great during the summer, which is how Borneo caught my attention. It’s been years since I visited Asia and Cian has never been anywhere in Asia other than his country of birth. So I here’s to hoping we can find our way to Borneo to check out the orangutans and do a village homestay with a side trip to Singapore to visit friends.
New Orleans, Louisana
I warned you, it’s all about destinations that Southwest Airlines services! I’ve only been to New Orleans once for New Years during college. It was insane and all I really remember is someone throwing up on my boots as I walked along the French Quarter. So, needless to say, it’s time I get back and experience it with Cian in a whole new fashion. I look forward to checking out some jazz, eating lots of yummy food and doing a swamp tour. There is even a New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park to pick up another junior ranger badge too!
Another destination I have been to, but for some reason it’s been on my radar lately. The last time I was there was in 2002 as part my 3rd solo trip which included Guatemala and Honduras as well. During that trip I met two friends who I still keep in contact with today. It was such a remarkable trip in so many ways, filling me with a sense of true wanderlust for developing countries. I had traveled to Europe and to China, but this was my first trip to a developing country on my own. It was amazing. And I’d love to share this beautiful, off the beaten path destination with my son and husband. So for now, it’s on the agenda for my yearly birthday trip. And bonus, it’s also a Southwest destination!
Are you feeling the Southwest love yet? Yep, Sayulita (well really Puerto Vallarta) is another SW Airlines destination that I have been dying to check out. Even though I was raised in Texas and have spent most of my adult life in California, I have only been to Mexico once. Yep. Once. This year I would like to get back to the Cancun area if possible, but I also really want to check out the west coast since it’s so close to LA. Through my research it seems that the cute town of Sayulita, just north of Puerto Vallarta is the place to go. It looks to be a cute town, with access to the beach and amazing food for cheap prices. Been there? Share your tips with me!
This shouldn’t really be on the dreams list, since we go almost every year, but my dream is to get some time apart from the scheduled family events to explore more of this beautiful country. In September we will visit for my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary! We will be returning to our family favorite, Kelly’s Resort in Wexford. It’s where we have all of our family get togethers and is so perfectly family friendly. Besides being set right on the beach, there is a mini-golf field, playground with pirates ship, kids club, kids activities and an indoor swimming pool. The cousins have a blast. But I will need to do something else as well. I am thinking instead of heading back to the Wild Atlantic Way, I will explore the Ancient East route instead. For such a small island, there really is so much to do and see!
Macy’s Day Parade – New York
It’s an American tradition to watch the Thanksgiving Macy’s Day Parade while preparing your meal for the day. I’ve been a good parent by passing this down to my son. Cian anxiously waits for the day to arrive so he can sit in front of the TV for hours watching characters of stories and shows he hasn’t ever even seen come floating past. He has a dream to visit New York to witness the parade in person (and to go to the top of the Statue of Liberty!). I’ve also heard from so many how magical New York is after Thanksgiving when all the Christmas decorations go up. We haven’t booked anything, so lots could change, but I would love to keep this on our family agenda for the year.
Yellowstone National Park
Every year Cian comes up with his own goals for the year. This year he has set a goal of 10 national parks, but specified Yellowstone as one of those. I’m not sure if we can get to 10 parks, but we will try and at the very least, we will aim for the big daddy of Yellowstone. If we can do the trip the way I hope, I’d love to either fly to Salt Lake City and drive from there or take an epic journey driving all the way from LA catching a few national parks in the process as we make our way through Utah.
So there you go, our 2018 travel dreams. I love setting out my goals and intentions for the year in regards to travel. Otherwise it is so difficult to narrow destinations down. It looks like this year could be a mix of urban explorations here in the US with visits some countries I have already been to. My only hope is to get at least 1 new country in to stay in line with my age!
What’s on your 2018 dream list?
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