Clean slates, fresh starts. The first of every January is the day equivalent of fresh ink falling on a crisp white sheet of paper.
I know, I know – we all harbour the scars of yesteryear. But the new year is an opportunity to begin anew and to forge new paths in life. It is as clean a slate and fresh a start as most of us will ever get.
In me, the new year always rekindles the flames of my wanderlust. After hitting “publish” on my look back at 2014, my wistful nostalgia was immediately replaced with a wide-eyed sense of wonder. There I was, sitting on a tiny speck of dust, right in the centre of the unimaginable vastness of the universe. Fine, maybe I wasn’t right in the centre – but who isn’t the centre of the universe in their own head?
There is so much out there that I would like to explore and 2015 is the first year when I will be truly free to do so. I should finish my university degree this summer and after that… who knows? I certainly don’t, which is beginning me to worry me a little. That is why I have decided to compile a list ten places to travel to in 2015, as well as a list of reasons why they are on my list. Curious? Here we go!
10. Scotland, UK
I live in Britain and one of my best friends hails from Scotland – so why have I not visited yet? Good question and one in a series of many I am unable to answer. My go-to theory is that it’s too close. I know what you’re thinking – that’s silly. Yes, yes it is. Unbelievably silly. But it makes some sense.
You see, if a place is too close, we sometimes lack the motivation to visit because we know it will always be there and feel like we could visit anytime. That’s the reason why I’ve never been to Slovakia, Hungary or Poland either. They’re all too close to where I grew up, so I never felt the need to just get up and go. Hopefully that will change this year! I want to frolic on the lush green hills of the Scottish countryside, say hello to the Loch Ness monster and maybe even try haggis… Maybe.
9. Lapland, Finland
It has been a long-standing dream of mine to see the northern lights and if all goes to plan I will be able to tick this off in a few day’s time. You see, I am flying to the Lappish city of Levi later this week and I could not be more excited! They say winter is the best time to catch a glimpse of this majestic laser show and I promise I will share it all with you.
But these pesky dancing lights are notoriously difficult to predict, so I have put together a killer itinerary with the help of the incredible team at the Levi Tourist Office. I will snuggle with baby huskies, feel the icy wind in my hair on a snow mobile safari, sleep in an ice hotel and do many other incredible things I do not want to share with you just yet – I like to keep you on your toes…
One of my old high school friends was from Cuba, but I never felt the urge to visit… until now. With President Obama moving toward lifting the long-standing ban on travel to Cuba, it seems now would be a good time to visit Cuba before its streets are lit up by McDonald’s golden arches.
I want to experience its old school charm, hear the music in the echo of my footsteps and understand life in this politically unique island nation. I want to step inside a 1947 Hudson and be transported into an era bygone. Technically McDonald’s was founded in 1940 so it shouldn’t interfere with that vision, but still – I’d rather not take my chances.
7. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is the ultimate luxury retreat and while that sounds extremely enticing, it is not the main reason why I would like to visit. For me, it’s all about the rice fields and jungle trekking… Although I’d be lying if I said the possibility of wasting my days cruising up and down the white sand or being pampered at a glorious spa did not entice me.
Whatever the reason behind it, whenever I see a photo of the island’s lush greenery it just screams my name – loudly. Perhaps it’s time I heeded its call!
6. Lake Bled, Slovenia
Ever since seeing a post about the Garden Village near lake Bled, I have been unable to get the place off my mind. Sure, I could find lodges like it in the Costa Rican rainforest… But unlike the Costa Rican rainforest, Slovenia is just a short drive from my parents’ place in Vienna.
I have often passed through Slovenia on my way somewhere else, but that does not constitute a proper visit and I think the time has come for me to change that. I am ready to be charmed!
5. Las Vegas, USA
Look, it’s about time. I just don’t see how I could let another year go by without visiting the USA, properly. And if I do, how could I not visit its capital of hedonism and debauchery? Frankly, it doesn’t matter that much where in the States I go – I just wanna go there. But Vegas would be fun and
How could I not? It’s literally the only country in the world where I don’t get asked a dozen questions about my accent whenever I open my mouth. It’s just… liberating.
Iceland seems to be a prominent entry on everyone’s bucket list lately, but for once I don’t mind going with the flow. Not when the country in question is a magical land whose inhabitants believe elves to be real and who would probably ride dragons into battle, if it ever came to it.
But there’s more. Being a “Game of Thrones” fanatic, I would also love to explore its filming locations. Being a bikini fiend, I’d love to visit the Blue Lagoon. Being… curious, I’d also love to visit the penis museum in Reykjavik. That’s enough, I think. I probably should have stopped after the second reason.
I know, I know – I just visited Morocco last year. But at five days, my trip was painfully short and left me with more questions than answers. Sure, I’ve seen the souks of Marrakech and stayed with the Berbers near Imintanoute, but that’s just the beginning!
I long to gaze at an intricate carpet of stars with my feet dipped in the cool desert sand, I want to wander through the streets of the all-blue city of Chefchaouen and to surf the waves of Agadir. I want to learn more about the way of life in Berber villages. Take me there, take me now.
2. New Zealand
This entry on the list is a completely unexpected one for me, especially considering it’s in second place. New Zealand, I don’t know how you’ve managed this, but you have turned from a faint whisper in the back of my mind into a roar in my ears.
I have always been a fan of fantasy literature, so seeing the “Lord of The Rings” filming location always seemed interesting to me, but I never bothered learning much about the rest of the country. Well, that was stupid. New Zealand seems like an adventurer’s paradise and I would love to explore it!
1. Cape Town, South Africa
Where do I even begin? It has been a dream of mine to visit Cape Town for as long as I can recall. You can read more about my adoration for the city in my love letter to the cities I have visited (although I’ve never been to Cape Town) and my post about why I’m terrified of visiting my dream destinations.
I don’t even know what to add here. Cape Town is so beautiful that looking at photos of it breaks my heart a little. How could a place so magnificent even exist? If I do get to visit this year, I bet I’ll be crying the second I step onto the tarmac. A sea of happy tears.
I didn’t expect there would be, but there seems to be a common thread connecting the destinations I have picked as the top 10 places to travel to in 2015. Have you noticed it too? The abundance of wild nature, luscious greenery and the rawness of a place unexplored. Perhaps this city girl has had enough of polluted city life after all?
Also, I am dubbing 2015 my “Asia year” but there is only one Asian destination on the list. Why?! I’m treating my theoretical trip to Asia as a huge journey of exploration and it is very hard for me to decide which places I should to visit while there… there are too many potential favourites. For the sake of retaining my sanity, I’ve decided to leave those difficult choices for longer – just know that this list could easily have only consisted of countries from that continent.
Which places would you add to the list? Which would you keep? What are your must-visit places for 2015? Let me know – I love hearing about your plans and being inspired by them!