Where I Want to Go in 2015

Kamchatka peninsula
Kamchatka. Photo courtesy of Elnar Fredriksen via Flickr.

By now, you have probably read a dozen or more different posts about the best places to travel to in 2015. I always find those lists interesting, more for the places they leave out than the places they include. Indeed, I’m not sure I spotted any of my target destinations on any of those lists. But then again, I tend to stray pretty far from the beaten path.

I have a growing list of places I want to get to in 2015, but I already know I likely will not even get to half of them – one of the downsides of working full-time! That said, I do get a good amount of vacation time compared to most Americans and I plan to make the most of it. Here are the places I’m dreaming of:
 

Kalamazoo, Michigan

 
Ok, so this probably isn’t high on most travel lists and to be honest, I never really thought much of going there until a few weeks ago. Then I read my friend Sally’s “Mitten List” of things to do in Michigan, which included wine tasting at a haunted castle in Kalamazoo and suddenly I was telling her I just had to visit. And then I discovered that I can get to Kalamazoo from Chicago in just over two hours by Amtrak (which really means three hours), so there’s really no reason not to make this happen.
 

San Francisco

 
I considered a job offer there two years ago, but I have never really spent time in San Francisco. I am determined to remedy that this year! My only previous visit was a long layover on my way to Australia in 2005; I managed to meet up with a friend for dinner and that was it. What I would love to do is take the train all the way from Chicago to San Francisco and then spend a couple days exploring. This might be in the cards for over Memorial Day weekend.

San Francisco
San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Jason Jenkins via Flickr.

 

Milwaukee

 
I have lived in Chicago for 14 years and have never been to Milwaukee. Shameful. I meant to go last summer but never did, so I swear, this summer I am really going to make it happen. Really.
 

Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia

 
Kamchatka has been on my radar ever since my career break trip took me to Russia for three months. At that time, I didn’t have the time or money to venture to this very remote peninsula in far eastern Russia and the time of year wasn’t right either. But with the ruble falling, I think this summer could be the perfect time to finally make this trip, although flights will likely still be crazy expensive and the process for getting a visa here in the U.S. has gotten more expensive since my last trip. Nonetheless, I’m targeting the first week of July, when the midnight sun will mean daylight almost 24 hours a day, for what would be an unforgettable trip, climbing volcanoes, floating down rapids and maybe even taking a helicopter to the famous Valley of the Geysers.
 

More of the Balkans

 
I started with Bulgaria last September and I want to continue my exploration of the Balkans in 2015. Bosnia & Hercegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania are all options. Where I end up will likely depend on airfares!
 

Nagorno-Karabkh

 
While I went to Armenia (twice) during my career break trip, I did not make it to the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The main draw for me there is the Janapar Trail, which I learned about just before I left Armenia the second time. It’s a marked hiking trail stretching across Nagorno-Karabakh and while I wouldn’t have time to hike the whole thing, I could at least do a six day hike from Hadrut to Shushi, staying each night in villages along the way.

Lalibela
Lalibela, Ethiopia. Photo courtesy of A.Davey via Flickr.

 

Ethiopia

 
I never really thought about going to Ethiopia until I started reconsidering my plans to visit West Africa last fall. Because I was flying Ethiopian Airlines through Addis Ababa both ways, I decided that if I couldn’t end up traveling to Mali (because of Ebola) and Burkina Faso (because of a military coup), I would just switch my flight to stay in Ethiopia. And once I picked up a guidebook to the country and read more about it, I put it on my must-visit list for the future. I want to see the rock churches in Lalibela, visit ancient sites in Gonder and go trekking in the Simien Mountains.
 

Have you been to any of these places? Where do you want to go in 2015?

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18 thoughts on “Where I Want to Go in 2015”

  1. I definitely recommend San Francisco, it’s a great city! Make sure you have enough time to not only see the sights but just take the time to walk around, soak in the atmosphere and enjoy a good coffee in North Beach.
    You must visit Alcatraz, make a reservation in advance. And prepare to freeze, even in June!
    About weather, SF has this weird micro-climate, make sure you always have a sweater. Weather changes on each street corner!

    1. Thanks for the tips! It now looks like I may end up out there at the end of February – not ideal as I won’t have as much time, but a little is better than nothing!

  2. I am planning a trip to Uzbekistan,Kazakstan then train to Moscow from Tashkent. A stay in Moscow to organize a Belarus visa, allowing train travel from Russia to Belarus or even hiring a car.I intend to leave Australia on 10th August so that I can catch a tour on 16th August from Tashkent.
    Probably 5 weeks.

    Victor

  3. I spent a few weeks in Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro in the summer of 2014 and it’s the most friendly part of Europe. The nature is breathtaking as well with huge mountains, Wild West like plains and slow trains taking you through that landscape. Adventurous!

  4. We finally got to Milwaukee the other year and LOVED it. It’s really come back to life in fascinating ways and is an easy long-weekend trip for you! I was in Montenegro years and years ago and it was lovely and not at all focused on tourists – I suspect that it is a lot more touristy now, but still an interesting place to see. (They are VERY proud of their history!) I’d love to get to Ethiopia, but it won’t be anytime soon.

  5. Albania is definitely worth a go! I was there a few months ago and was blown away by its beauty and uniqueness. Ethiopia has been on my radar too. Hope you get to travel to as many of these places as possible!

  6. Kamchatka has been on our radar for so long! and with dollar / usd exchange rate so favorable, we would love to make it happen. also, we went to Albania last year, and we LOVED it!

  7. I spent 11 days in San Francisco last Fall and it was great! There are some good day trips nearby as well. One piece of advice – book accommodations ASAP! Places to stay are very pricey and I found out that I would be going 2 months in advance, and struggled to find anything even remotely reasonably priced. And I went at the end of September. But if you don’t go for as long, the prices may not be as big of a deal anyway!

  8. I spent a couple of weeks in the Balkans last summer, Macedonia and Montenegro are stunning but Albania was my favourite, such an interesting history and a distinctive culture, not quite like anywhere else I’ve been in Europe – I recommend a visit!

  9. I live in San Francisco and I’m completely in love with the city so I’d say you have to come and explore. I can give you lots of tips on yummy places to eat gluten-free here too!

    My in-laws just came here by train all the way from Iowa. They did the 2-day trip both out and back and had a great time! 🙂

    1. I now have a trip planned to San Francisco for the last weekend in February! Would love some gluten free recommendations!

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