Last year I started the year off with my dream travel list for the year. I only managed to do 3 of the items on my list, but they were pretty lofty goals if I do say so. Instead of the several international trips I had hoped for, we ended up spending much more time locally than abroad which was good in a way. I am enjoying continuing to explore all there is on offer in SoCal.
To keep the tradition alive, I will continue with my 2016 dream travel list, but with a bit more reality thrown in this year! 2016 is a leap year, which means I get an actual birthday. Woo hoo! I will be turning 10. Do the math and you know it’s a big birthday. It is also my sons last (half) year before he is officially in kindergarten which will really put a cramp in my opportunities for travel. I have plans for an epic year. We have 2-3 big international trips planned and I hope to fill up the weekends and summer with as many short getaways as I can manage. I know that regardless of what comes to pass, it will be a tremendous year full of so many new experiences near and far. I can’t wait.
Jump to a Heading Below
By the time you are reading this, we will be heading off on our first trip of the year. I have never been to the Pacific Northwest and have been dying to go. Perhaps not the ideal time of year to go, but I would rather get a jump on it so when we make a return visit for the national parks (which will happen as some point!) we will have already seen some of the city. We can’t wait to check out the Space Needle, see friends, and explore one of the West Coasts top cities. It looks to be an event filled 4 days jam packed with all that Seattle has to offer even in the cold.
I have not stepped foot on the continent of Africa in my 15+ yrs of travel and it’s killing me! I had distant dreams of spending my 10th birthday nestled in the mountains of Tibet with Buddhist monks guiding me into a new decade, but I had forgotten that with February comes cold snow, making Tibet not the wisest choice. Instead, I will step onto my 6th continent with a visit to South Africa. Our long extravagent trip has been greatly reduced due to school obligations, but we are still excited to get in several days of game drives out on safari before hitting up two of SA’s greatest cities, Cape Town and Johannesburg. I also look forward to reconnecting with friends we knew in India many moons ago.
I had this on last years list and we never made it. But it is a must do for this year. Our son hasn’t seen his cousins in years nor his grandparents. I have been to Ireland almost a dozen times in the last 12 years, but still haven’t managed to see as much of the country as I would like. With family obligations taking the majority of our time on the Green Isle, I still have a lot to check off my list. We will be in Dublin and Wexford for sure. Cian wants to do some Viking explorations and I want to make a jaunt up the coast to the Giants Causeway and to see Belfast. Still a few months to go before this trip, so lets see what I can come up with! If you have any must see/do off the beaten path places to visit, let me know.
With a visit to Ireland slated, I have finagled a way to also pop over the pond to London. We have a bajillion friends in London that we haven’t seen in years so we are looking forward to spending a decent amount of time there catching up and hopefully getting in some awesomely kid friendly sites in London. If you have any fun family friendly recommendations, pass them on.
Yellowstone & Grand Tetons
We are planning our 3rd annual national park summer trip with friends from Texas, but we aren’t sure if it’s going to happen or not. We had flirted with the idea of doing Denali in Alaska but I think a closer to home reality is Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. It will be packed this year with the 100th anniversary celebrations and greater advertising, but what a remarkable place to visit in their 100th year and for my 40th year.
Glacier National Park
This is a hopeful request. I doubt I will manage to get this one in during the summer once the snows have melted and the roads are open, but it’s worth dreaming about, right? I have heard from several people that one of the most memorable national park trips in their lives was Glacier. Having met with representatives from Glacier this fall, I am sold. Let’s see if we can make it a reality.
I know that by the end of summer my travel budget will be completely depleted, but if there is some miraculous chance of having money left over (or winning the super lotto!) I would love to take my son to Santa’s Village in Lapland, Finland. I really want to take him before he no longer believes in Santa, which from what I hear happens around age 7 these days, so this would be my last year to actually do it. What are the chances? Slim… but a girl can hope. While in Lapland I would love to go dog sledding and see the northern lights. They say this year is the last year of it’s 10 year cycle to really see the lights. If I can’t make it to Lapland, I might just have to to find a way to get to Canada or Alaska Foe a quick visit just to see those.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
See the theme.. We love national parks! I was recently invited to visit Shasta County in Northern California but couldn’t go. Ever since reading about the opportunities just 2 hours north of Sacramento, I have been dreaming of visiting Lassen. The volcanos, the glamping tent cabins like we had in Yosemite and the insanely gorgeous views are calling my name. Can we make it happen??
Salton Sea & Salvation Mountain
Cian was super inspired by visiting Watts Towers here in LA, so I know that he would love to visit the Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain. It’s a 3 hour drive from LA, but the problem aries in that there doesn’t seem to be many places to stay near there. Solution: Rent a camper van!! This would check off two things off my wish list for the year.
For the first time since 1998, I did not step foot in San Francisco last year. I lived there for 9 years and have visited it every year since I left. It is my favorite city on earth. As much as I wanted to sneak in a trip last year I just couldn’t ever make it happen. This year we are bound by a wedding and I can’t wait. I’m not sure I can fit in everything I want to do in a long weekend, but I sure will try! If we can, we are hoping to make a jaunt up to Muir Woods for some hiking and of course park ranger badges.
In my 40th year there are a few adventures I’d like to also tackle in addition to the destinations mentioned above. Some of these we know we will do, others we will have to just wait and see.
- African Safari
- Hot air balloon ride
- Take a camper van/RV trip
- A 2 or 3 day thru hike on the PCT (at my 5 yr olds request)
- Add 6 more countries to my country count to start my 40s with 40 countries
- A weekend spa getaway with only friends
Here’s to a wonderful, travel filled 2016! What’s on your travel agenda for the year?
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