Where I’m Going (I Think!) in 2015

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In the past, I’ve started the New Year with at least the first six months booked solid. For once, this isn’t the case — I’m excited at the novelty of the flexibility in my future. I’ve got nothing officially scheduled past March. This is great!

Even with the travel plans that I do have in my pipeline, they’re different from the past. My income became much more passive in 2014, and because of this, I now have greater freedom to travel in the way that I want to.

So many of my plans for this year came about from hanging out with blogger buds, throwing out ideas, and saying, “Are you serious? I’m serious. Are you serious?! I’m still serious!”

Kate at Sveti Naum

Travel Resolution #1: Get Off the Beaten Path More

My travel has become pretty mainstream. There’s nothing wrong with that — you, as readers, want to read about about popular destinations more than anywhere else. There’s a reason why my posts on London and New York always go crazy. Conversely, my posts about more obscure places rarely do well unless something exceptional happened there.

But I was putting together a list of my favorite off-the-beaten-path spots — like the Faroe Islands, Shetland, and Macedonia — and realized that it’s been a year and a half since I’ve been to anywhere remotely off the beaten path (excluding Brunei, where I had a great time but I don’t consider to be an inspiring travel destination).

This year? I’m going to go beyond, whether it means visiting seldom-visited-and-blogged-about destinations or visiting less-popular parts of popular destinations.

Kate Surfing in Punta de Mita

Travel Resolution #2: Recapture My Adventurous Spirit

I used to be game for anything and possibly a little too adventurous (jumping into a boxing ring in Thailand is still the worst thing I ever did), but things have really mellowed out in recent years. You guys are aware of that; you have commented on it from time to time. This is not who I want to be. But I know the reasons behind my mellowing, and this year they will not be factors.

I want to zip-line and volcano board and whitewater raft. I want to hike and push myself. I want to camp and hitchhike. I want to travel to weird places. I want to say yes to crazy things again. And I fully intend on doing so this year.

With that, here are my tentative plans for 2015:

View from Cerro Amigos, Costa Rica

Costa Rica

I fly into Costa Rica at the end of January and don’t plan on spending a ton of time there — maybe 10 days? — before heading to my next destination.

At this time, I think I’m going to visit Arenal for hot springs, Monteverde for the cloud forest, and Sámara for some beach time.

Nicaragua_Leon Catedral

Nicaragua

Nicaragua is the country I’ve wanted to visit the most in Central America, and I plan on spending nearly a month there (which seems like a long time, but not nearly enough for me!). I’ll be heading south to north: San Juan del Sur, Ometepe, Granada, a getaway to the Corn Islands, and finishing in Leon, before I jump on a long bus ride to my next destination…

El Salvador and Guatemala

Oh my God, I still can’t believe I’m running a tour! Leif from The Runaway Guide and I will be taking 10 people through El Salvador and Guatemala for two weeks! Find the details on the tour here.

At this point, we have two spots remaining — if you want to come with us, let us know ASAP!

Women in Travel Summit

I’m really excited for this event at the end of March — not least because it takes place in my hometown of Boston. I’ll be giving one of the keynotes.

If you’re interested in attending, check it out here!

Brood at Beth's Wedding

Image: Bill Marshall Photography

Massachusetts Wedding

I’ll be coming home for my third tour of bridesmaid duty — my friend Lisa’s wedding! (She’s on the left.) This will be in our hometown at the end of May. We maids will be rocking purple once again — this time, short dresses in concord grape.

Burning Man 2014

Burning Man

Burning Man? Me?! You bet. A bunch of my blogger buds and I are doing it this year!

I’ve always been intrigued by this weeklong artistic experience in the middle of the Nevada desert, but I’ve been far too intimidated to attempt it on my own. It requires a lot of work — creating art, putting together a self-sufficient camp, contributing to the experience. But having a group of friends in the same boat makes me feel like this is finally the time.

Realistic Possibilities for 2015

While nothing has been QUITE set in stone yet, it looks like I’ll be returning to Guatemala after a short visit home during the spring. I hope to visit Semuc Champey and Tikal.

After Guatemala, there are a few other places I’d like to hit up in Central America:

Caye Caulker, Belize

Belize

Send myself on a trip to Belize? Why, of course. Expensive and English-speaking, Belize may be the odd one out in Central America, but I’d love to check out both the beaches and the jungle.

Sea Turtle

Honduras

I’ve never had a strong desire to go to Honduras, but I think it’s time that I finally get my PADI diving certification, and Utila is the best place in the western hemisphere to do so. Several of my friends have done it here and loved it, saying that it’s easy to get stuck in Utila for weeks or months.

After Central America, I have absolutely no idea what’s next. Here are some of the possibilities:

sakura

Japan

I absolutely loved Japan when I visited in August 2013 and have been dying to go back ever since. This time, I’d like to see more of the country — get a rail pass and just zoom all over the place, from Kyushu to Hokkaido. I’d also like to get out to more rural areas and see more World Heritage Sites (I’ve only been to Kyoto so far!).

Super Moon and Taipei 101

Taiwan

If I go to Japan, I’ll have to stop in Taiwan! It’s often just as cheap to fly to Japan via Taiwan as it is by other routes. Taiwan is one of those destinations like Iceland, Jordan, and New Zealand that everyone just seems to love. I’d love to drop into Taipei and visit my friends Tom and Matt.

IMGP4151

Balkans

The Balkans are my favorite region in the world. I’ve spent part of the summer in the Balkans for the last three years (Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro in 2012; Macedonia and Kosovo in 2013; Croatia and Slovenia in 2014) and declared last year that I must return every summer.

This year, the destination I’d most like to visit is Albania, which could not be more up-and-coming. (Yes, that image above is from Albania. You see why I want to visit?)

Taormina-Sicilia-Italy - Creative Commons by gnuckx

Latvia-Scotland-Sicily

Odd combination of destinations, am I right? Well, my mom is a genealogist and she and I have talked about doing a trip to visit the places where our relatives come from. It would be great on a curiosity level as well as the opportunity to do on-the-ground research.

Places include Riga, Latvia; the Isle of Skye, Scotland; and a village outside Messina, Sicily.

reflection...

Thailand

There’s a TBEX conference taking place in Bangkok in October — a nice opportunity to return to one of my favorite countries.

Tea plantations near Kandy Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

I may have an opportunity to return to Sri Lanka next fall. If I do, I definitely plan on spending time in places I missed the first time around, like the Central Highlands.

Maldives (Constance Halaveli Resort & Spa)

Maldives

I was supposed to go last year; it fell apart at the last minute. But that’s okay — if I get on things earlier this time around, I’ll be able to make the Maldives happen.

Lumahai Rocks

Hawaii

My blogger friends and I have been throwing around the idea of renting a house in Hawaii and having a retreat for a week or two to relax, work, and collaborate. Well, that sounds just fabulous! I hope we do it in Kauai; that’s the island I want to visit the most!

Less Realistic Possibilities for 2015

These places are long shots at best. Getting to these places will require a great deal more work and preparation, but they can absolutely happen if I make the effort.

milford sound

New Zealand

The country that I want to visit the most! I’d go in a heartbeat, but I want to stay for at least two months and most of the optimal times for me to visit are already filled. I don’t want to go when it’s too cold or the highest of high season, but those seem to be the only free times I have. Perhaps it’s a 2016 trip.

Trans Siberian

Trans-Siberian Railway

Beijing to Moscow via Mongolia. Or the reverse. An enormous adventure, a lengthy adventure (I’d want to add on stops in Yekaterinburg and Irkutsk as well as 10+ days of exploration in Mongolia), and one ideally done during the summer, when I have the most free time this year, but it’s certainly no small undertaking.

Penguins in a row

Antarctica

The final frontier. It would have to be in December if at all during 2015; this could be a possibility for early 2016 as well. All I know is that if I go to Antarctica, I must camp in Antarctica. I’m from a camping family and took my first steps in a tent; I can’t miss out on camping there! Only a few companies offer that as an option.

Keep in mind that any of this could change.

If there’s anything I know for sure, it’s that everything here could be thrown out the window. We’ll see what happens!

And one more goal for the year.

I’ve been feeling a bit bored with myself lately. I know it sounds crazy with all the traveling I do, but believe me, what you see here is only a tiny sliver of my life. I’ve gotten into a lot of habits and I’m ready to shake things up.

So, to start, I bought a red bikini. Because it’s fun and I never wear red, especially fiery orange-red. If you’ve read Little Children, you know that a red bikini can be transformative! Consider it a small but significant step in doing things a bit differently this year.

Where are you planning to travel in 2015?

Images: Dennis TangJavier LosaGwen SchroederSamantha BeddoesScubabenきうこEther HuangArtur Malinowskignuckxmuha…Malcolm BrowneMac QinAlex Schwab, paul bicaBoccaccio1Vassil Tzvetanov

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162 thoughts on “Where I’m Going (I Think!) in 2015”

  1. These destnations all sound great! If you’re heading to Nicaragua, you should definitely try volcano boarding like you mentioned. I did it last year and it’s one of the craziest and most fun activities I’ve ever tried. Have fun in Central America!

  2. For me burning man and trans-siberian railway. Mongolia looks most appealing. Have you watched the film transsiberian? I’ll probably add it to my list of films to review.

  3. Wow those are some incredible plans. I always bang on about how fantastic Taiwan is. You’ll love the gorge in Hualien. In so excited for 2015. I’ve got my big first big trip planned. 4 months around Asia before moving to Austalia. Eppp !

  4. I am super bummed that tickets from Louisville to Boston are $400+ the weekend of the Women in Travel Summit 🙁 REALLY wanted to go, but not sure I can swing the cost for a weekend in the US…

    That being said, I have Sicily on my radar for this summer (also to visit my ancestral homeland) and am fairly certain I’ll be at TBEX in Bangkok this fall.

    Oh, and I was totally keen on doing the Trans-Siberian Railway this summer but wasn’t going to be able to get all the visas sorted while I’m still in the US so I had to cut it for 2015. I hope you make it so I can live vicariously through you 🙂

  5. 10 days for all that in Costa Rica is short! Swap Samara for Montezuma and add on an extra week and that’s 95% of the trip I did 3 yrs ago. Definitely make sure to spend an entire day at the hot springs! I went to Baldi just for the latter half of a day, and wished we had just spent the entire day there instead.

      1. Well I’m sure Samara is lovely too! I actually had no input on why I was in Montezuma vs a different beach town, and thus no knowledge of other beaches in that area: the boyfriend took care of all the planning (and part of the reason for Montezuma may have been as simple as limited lodging in the more popular beach locations just after New Years!)

  6. My three planned out of the US countries are three of your maybe’s – Belize, Honduras and Japan. They are already booked for me – plus a trip to the National Parks of Utah is also. So I am booked through May which is unusual for me as I usually am booked through the end of the year and am already thinking of the next year. Hope your year is all that you want it to be whether travelling or wearing a red bikini!

  7. Everyone says Belize is expensive but we did it last year for our family of 3 and it wasn’t that bad. We stayed in hostals and with locals and had a blast. We learned about how to make chocolate in the jungle and explored lots of Mayan ruins.

  8. Sounds amazing Kate – looks like the adventure is back! Love the way you start off saying you have no plans then all of a sudden a year has gone. That’s exactly what I do. So many places to go and see, and so many things to do. It’s going to be a good one. Hopefully I’ll see you somewhere for some of it 🙂

  9. I’m really looking forward to your posts on Central American Kate, especially Nicaragua and Guatemala. I know they’re increasingly popular but besides on The Globetrotter Girls I haven’t really seen many good blogs on CA.

    Looking forward to seeing what craziness you get up to in 2015! I’m sure it’ll be your best year yet 🙂

  10. Rough plans are the best plans right!
    What forms of income are passive for yourself (if you don’t mind me asking?)
    Looking forward to doing the Siberian this year too, Mongolia for at least a week for sure 🙂

    1. I started earning much more through affiliate marketing — I recommend products and if people click through and buy them, I earn a small commission (at no extra cost to them). That made a big difference! It takes a lot of work to set up in the beginning, but once you’ve got it established, it’s truly “set it and forget it.”

  11. That sounds like an amazing year. I like your resolutions! I would love to read about the Tran Siberian train ride, that sounds crazy and awesome. Also I’ve had my eye on Japan lately too, hopefully your year brings some awesome adventures

  12. I love your resolutions, Kate. Especially to get back more to your adventurous self; sounds like you’ll be doing just that. I definitely look forward to reading about all of these trips and more. I have in my plans some of the same destinations around Europe (summer in the Balkans sounds perfect!), so great minds think alike! 🙂

  13. The Trans-Siberian train would be so awesome! I’m also thinking about Latvia or Albania this year, so I look forward to any tips you could give.

    I went to Costa Rica last spring. We really enjoyed the night tours in Monteverde and getting our own wheels in La Fortuna so we could go to the free local hot springs. I definitely recommend it!

    Looking forward to reading about your adventures!

  14. Such exciting plans! I’d love to visit Japan and the Balkans this year as well. I went to Samara last month and loved it! It’s really chilled and the beach is lovely.

  15. Ahhh awesome you are coming to Taiwan! I’ve been living here for a year. And yep, it’s a must-not miss. Definitely a hidden gem in Asia.

  16. Sounds like an amazing year! I’m hanging out in Central America all year. Right now I’m in the Orosi Valley of Costa Rica then I’ll be heading to the Caribbean coast then probably to Arenal or Monteverde and one of the Pacific beaches before heading up to Nicaragua. I actually think we might be in the same place at the same time at some point.

  17. Such an exciting (potential) itinerary for you this year! For my part, I’ll be headed to a couple of places for the first time, including Puerto Rico and Abu Dhabi. I can’t wait to experience the delicious food in PR and check out El Yunque and Old San Juan. I was really excited to scoop up those cheap tickets from the ‘mistake fares’ on Etihad (yeah right!) for Abu Dhabi, and I’ve been reading up on things to do while there. We also plan on heading back to Mexico for our anniversary trip, as we got married there last year. So far, that’s it for me, but I’m hoping to visit a few new places stateside like New England.

    1. I started earning much more through affiliate marketing — I recommend products and if people click through and buy them, I earn a small commission (at no extra cost to them). That made a big difference! It takes a lot of work to set up in the beginning, but once you’ve got it established, it’s truly “set it and forget it.”

  18. Belize is one of the best countries I’ve been to! I would highly, highly recommend getting scuba certified before going there. In my opinion it’s even better diving than the Great Barrier Reef. I haven’t been diving in Utila but I’ve heard it’s not quite as good as Belize.

  19. Hey Kate

    I’m always following your travels. I’ve been to Guatemala and Belize – both are worth a visit! In Belize, it is worth to go to Caye Cauker and visit the Cockscomb wildlife sanctuary! In Guatemala, spend some days at the lake Atitlan and explore the city Antigua – it is my favourite city so far..
    I’m going to South Africa and Seychelles this year & hoping to see Lapland and Faroe islands – my big dream! I’ve seen you’ve been to Faroe islands..lucky u!! :=)

    enjoy your travels in 2015!

  20. It’s always great to read about how the travels you decide to take are transformative as you change throughout life. I’m excited you’re going to Central America, and a former colleague of mine is from Honduras and showed me how beautiful and exciting it can be. Also, do you have any specific advice visiting Bosnia and Croatia? I really want to visit Bosnia because of Vlasic mountain (my last name)!

  21. I have been following your postings since summer. I cant wait to read about your 2015 adventures, especially Burning Man, also on my bucket list. I just got me a red bikini, Maui here I come. Safe travels Kate.

  22. Look me up if you get to Moscow! 😉 Or if you just want tips!
    If you’re in Riga I could not recommend a 2-day trip to nearby Tallinn more strongly. It is one of the most whimsical places I have ever visited and it will delight you with architecture and food alike. And the countryside is simply stunning!

    1. I wanted to do a day trip to Tallinn when I was in Helsinki this summer, but I was tired and decided to stay put. Would love to see it! I love how much they’re investing in tech.

  23. Hi Kate! Love your blog. I’m taking a lot of solo trips this year even though I’m not stranger to traveling alone. My first solo trip was about 7 yrs ago to Belize (Ambrigis Caye) for 13 days to go diving! Met some wonderful people. If you do make it down to Belize and visit the island, if you’re interested in any water or discovery activities please reach out to my friend Nef (Neftali Lemus). He works for Xsite Belize and can take care of any day trips/water activities you might need. He’s awesome and tell him Michelle Smith sent you! He and I are very good friends.
    This weekend I’m headed to Buenos Aires and what really caught me about your blog was when I was planning my trip that was the first place you visited when you started your journey. I’ve taken your advice from your article on Couch surfing w/o couch surfing….I’ve created a profile to meet up while I stay in hotel. Keep up the great writing and living your life to the fullest. A true inspiration to all us women!

  24. Oh-oh, it seems I’m a very “lightweight” traveler – it would take me a lifetime to visit all these places and to “digest” the impressions afterwards. Enjoy your travels in 2015!

  25. I love to follow your adventures. Like many of us, I would really enjoy to do have your kind of life.
    At the moment, I don’t but I take every single opportunity I have to travel.
    I like off the beaten track destinations and this is why I’m planning to go to Bhutan soon.
    Since a few years, I also develop a passion to see animals when I travel. After the polar bears in Canada and the orang-utans in Borneo, I’m thinking about going to China to see pandas and maybe a safari in South Africa too.
    I would love to cross your path once! Who knows?

  26. Definitely try to make it to Belize! It can be super affordable too. I stayed in Caye Caulker at Yuma’s house and it was great! Very chilled out and mellow vibe, but lots of fun bars/local spots to eat.

  27. Originally the plan was Asia/Australia but I had to return home to MA for an unexpected funeral which made me reevaluate my plans. I’m thinking Europe for a few months (England, Wales, France, Belgium, Amsterdam, Norway), then probably back to the US for a summer job as I’m sure Europe will kill my bank account, then possibly either back to Europe for the rest of the year or continue with the original plan to Australia for a year on a working holiday visa. Lots up in the air and I kinda like it! Your plans sound amazing and I can’t wait to read all about it!

  28. If you decide to spend time in Honduras off of Utila (where I also did my PADI), consider checking out the Cayos Cochinos, Trujillo, Gracias (and a hike up Celaque), and La Esperanza. I lived there for two years (07-09) so feel free to contact me for info, though I’m sure much has changed! I was based on the North Coast so don’t know as much about the south/west regions.

  29. The trans-Siberian railway sounds amazing, and your really selling Albania to me (that pic…*sigh*). I’ve just finished planning my own trips for the next couple of months. I’m looking forward to Israel, Malta, Poland, Croatia, Iceland, and a much-anticipated return trip to Turkey. Can’t wait to read about these travels! 🙂

  30. waw, these are AMAZING plans! You will have a blast in 2015 and I am jealous a bit 😉 A tip or two – if you are heading back to Guatemala, I would recommend stopping and visiting Livingston – a remote place on Caribbean coast. It is sooooo different from the rest of Guatemala and you will think you are in Jamaica! Not to mention the only way to reach Livingston is by boat on the Rio Dulce.
    Also, loved Albania – another beautiful overlooked country, with some paradise beaches and good for your wallet too 🙂

  31. Wow! I was so inspired by your idea of saying “yes” more – that is totally my “New Years Resolution” and, like you, I’ve got rid of some of the factors that have stopped me from doing this recently.
    I am so intrigued for you to go to NZ because it is my home country and, even though I don’t live there anymore, I love it to bits and have travelled through NZ extensively so it’s always fun to see a blogger I love visiting and reading their take on it! My months in NZ are February/March (it’s hot but all the Kiwis are back at work and school so it’s less busy at the beaches) and October/November (Spring – coming into summer – there are some stunning days!).
    I’m sure you get travel tips all the time and I’m also sure that you know loads of Kiwis (we seem to be everywhere!) but if you do end up heading there and you’re looking for authentic, off-the-beaten-track NZ experiences that aren’t blogged about enough (IMO) then I’d love to suggest some of my faves!

  32. Those travel plans sound amazing. I love New Zealand and went in their winter which meant the weather was variable but was never terrible. I really want to visit Central America at some point but I think it will be some time in the future yet.

    If you wanted any ideas for Japan I am currently part way through blogging about my time over there in November on my site http://www.mytravelbugbite.wordpress.com

    Looking forward to reading about your adventures.

  33. All of it sounds so exciting!
    Japan especially is a destination I’m determined to get to by the end of this year, hopefully in July!

    I love the idea of Albania!

  34. I love the off-the-beaten path trips! You should check out Moldova sometime. I was in Peace Corps there and it has a lot of hidden gems. And not to mention some of the best wine in Europe!

    Best of luck this year!

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