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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.