Coming Up: My Plans for 2014
2014 is going to be a year of major milestones and changes. No, Mario and I aren’t getting married this year — we’ll be in hardcore wedding saving mode instead — but there’s a lot more in store. Here’s what’s coming up in 2014:
Visiting my 50th Country
I’d be nearly there if I counted the “technical” visits to Oman (a drive across the desert; it’s the quickest way from Dubai to Hatta), China (an overnight in a hotel outside Pudong Airport in Shanghai), and the Philippines (we were sleep-deprived on a long layover and left the airport to snooze for a few hours).
I’m not quite sure how I should classify Hong Kong and Macau, but if I take the route of bucketing them into China, I’ll be at 49 by the time we get back to the States.
Visiting 50 countries is something of which I’m very proud. I don’t live to count countries, but I do recognize that it adds another level of credibility in terms of my career in travel.
Once I hit 50, I think it would be a nice idea to do a series of retrospective posts on my travels — my favorite countries, cities, adventure experiences, etc — so keep an eye out for that this summer or so.
I’ll be turning 30 this August. I think you’ll find me in better spirits than Joey Tribbiani.
Am I sad? In denial? In crisis? Not at all. I’ve lived my twenties very fully and I’m happy to be entering my 30s with a bit of hard-wrought wisdom.
So where will I actually turn 30? Somewhere special but not too crazy. Maybe just a quickie trip to Paris. I want to eat at that restaurant where you get a steak frites and as soon as you finish they serve you another steak frites…
Settling Down in London
It’s time. And I couldn’t be happier about it. After nearly four years of full-time travel, I’m ready to have more long-term stability in my life. Mario and I have begun the process of looking for a flat starting at the end of May.
And, to be completely honest, I’ve begun freaking the f*ck out. I haven’t paid “real” rent in nearly four years. Now I’m going to have a huge financial commitment every single month, paying more than I paid for my pricey apartment in downtown Boston. Oh my God…
Is this the end of my travels? Of course not. I’ll just be spending most of my time in London, which happens to be the best place in the world for a frequent traveler to be based. You can fly everywhere from London!
January-Feb 14: Asia
Koh Lanta/Ao Nang. We leave Koh Lanta on January 9 and will spend four days in my old hangout of Ao Nang in Krabi. I plan on taking Mario to Railay one day, because there’s no way you can be that close and not see that glorious beach.
Brunei. We arrive in Brunei on February 13. I know next to nothing about Brunei, but Mario’s friend has been living there for years and she plans to show us the ropes.
Philippines. Two weeks in the Philippines — not as much time as I originally envisioned, but it should be enough to see the Ifugao rice terraces in north Luzon, check out the nearby hanging coffins of Sagada, and get some beach time in Boracay. And definitely a meetup or two — I’ve always had tons of readers from the Philippines, and I’d love to finally meet them.
Hong Kong. Our four months in Asia will conclude with ten days in Hong Kong, a city that both Mario and I are really excited to finally experience. Macau will be visited as well.
Feb 14-mid-April: USA
California. We start with a week in San Francisco, a $1 bus ride down to Los Angeles (seriously! Book the Megabus early and you can get $1 fares!), and a few days in LA before heading out.
The South. We are in the midst of planning a Southern USA road trip that will take us from New Orleans (during Mardi Gras!) to Washington, DC — or at least Charleston. One of my biggest US travel dreams has been to road trip the Gulf Coast and explore the South in depth, and I am so excited about this upcoming trip.
The Northeast. DC, Philadelphia (Mario really wants to run up the art museum steps like Rocky), New York, Boston.
Mid-April-late May: Europe
Germany. We’re heading back to Europe earlier than we originally planned because Mario and I both have an opportunity in Germany. It’s a new city for us both, and you’ll find out more soon.
Malta. Mario and I have been kicking around the idea of just heading back to Malta and chilling out for a month after we finish in Germany. After ten months of constant travel, that sounds perfect.
Late May: Move to London
I’m incredibly excited to make a home in London, yet incredibly nervous about settling down after being untethered for so long.
Also on schedule is getting me a visa. We need to do a lot of research into that.
Summer 2014: London/Europe
This summer I’ll be doing several short trips around Europe as part of a fun Europe-based campaign currently in development. You’ll hear much more closer to the launch date.
Fall and Winter 2014: Some Home Visits
I’ll definitely be back in the Boston area in October for my best friend Beth’s wedding, and I plan to spend Christmas at home this year too.
I’ve had an eye on the possibilities for traveling in Europe this summer. Here are a few places that I could potentially visit:
Greek Islands. I’ve wanted to visit the Greek Islands for years if not decades, and I’d love to finally make it there this summer.
More Balkans. The Balkans are one of my favorite regions, and it would be great I could get to one or more of the remaining Balkan countries I haven’t yet visited: Serbia, Slovenia, and Albania.
More Central/Eastern Europe. I’d like to head back somewhere new in Central or Eastern Europe for my two-week undercover trip for 2014. (Undercover trip is traveling like I did pre-blog: solo, super-cheap, nobody knowing I’m a blogger, no crazy work schedule, no freebies, no special treatment.) Could be Poland; could be the Baltic countries.
But this year’s undercover trip might have a twist — I could pick three or four options and have YOU vote for where I ultimately go!
The Long Shots
Because you need to have a few dreams, here are a few places that probably won’t happen this year, but if the stars aligned, I’d be off in a flash.
Nepal. The Himalayas have been on my mind a lot lately — it would be amazing to make it there.
Antarctica. This winter, I’d love to finally make the journey to the wild seventh continent.
Georgia and Armenia. I’m not sure what it is about these countries, but they’ve intrigued me for a long time.
New Zealand. I can’t wait to drool over this country’s amazing scenery in real life.