A while back Lonely Planet introduced its Best in Travel 2017 lists – the top countries, cities, and regions to visit next year. I don’t put too much stock in these lists. I mean, how do they decide? And really, it’s not like I need ideas about where to go. I may have travelled a lot but the world is HUGE and I have plenty to see before I get stuck for options. And even if I can’t decide between my top two or three choices, Lonely Planet sticking it on some list is not going to be the deciding factor.
However, I was interested to see that in this year’s lists I am quite ahead of the game! Of the top 10 countries to visit, my home country of Canada is number one, (although I don’t know if they’re meant to be ranked in any particular order, but Canada is number one in every way, right?), I’m living in Oman, two more are two of my absolute favourites EVER (Mongolia and Myanmar), and another one is high on my list of countries to visit in the next two years. (Ethiopia!)
And then to top it all off, the best in Asia list included my beloved Jeonju, South Korea, where I lived and taught for two and a half years.
So from all of this came an idea (from a reader and friend, actually) – that I should make my own Best in Travel list. At the time he mentioned it, I was actually in the process of seriously thinking about my holidays for the next year or so, so it was timely and appropriate! Of course by just now when I’m getting around to publishing it, it’s the holiday season and everyone is shopping and making Christmas wish lists. I have one too, it’s just not stuff.
So here goes: Jenny Far Away’s Travel Wish List 2017 (ok, and the end of 2016).
Before I begin, I should say that I know already that I will not make it to all these destinations next year. I’m working, holidays are limited, and sometimes I only have a week to spend, which even limits me to a small part of just one country. But I’ll do what I can. They’re in no particular order, although I’m starting with the three that are definite.
Well, ok, I live here now, so obviously I’ll be visiting Oman. But for a small country it’s actually quite big and there’s a lot to see, so I’ll be doing weekend and day trips out of Sohar, and taking advantage of any long weekends that come around. I’d like to get up into the mountains and I’ve already made it to the sand dunes, but the top prizes would be a trip to Musandam and down to Salalah.
Christmas in India! Not quite in 2017 but my flight is booked and I leave in, well, just a few hours now! I’m actually meeting a friend from Korea there, and I’m super excited to see her! We’re flying into Delhi, then heading off to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and then taking an overnight train to Varanasi for a couple of days.
It’s just a quick hop across the border, and in the nearly four months I’ve been here in Oman I haven’t been yet! It’s only a matter of time until I get there.
I don’t know why Iran wasn’t on the list because it seems to be one of the ‘it’ places to go right now (who am I kidding, it was probably on last year’s list). And it’s just a short hop skip and jump across the water from here, so obviously this is the time for me to go! The people are said to be incredibly friendly and welcoming, and the pictures I’ve seen are stunning.
I’ve heard nothing but good about Ethiopia. I know I’ll probably end up there with only a week to spend and I will ache for more.
For some reason I have wanted to go to Romania for a long, long time. Just about as long as I can remember, in fact. I have no idea why! I think for a long time it was the fact that nobody really went there, and I’m always kind of drawn to such places. Maybe it was the Dracula legend (not that I’m really into vampire stuff, but this is REAL), maybe because I used to be (and still occasionally am) a sappy romantic and the name sort of invokes such thoughts, but I think now is finally the time.
Bulgaria has also been on the list for a while, and again I don’t exactly know why. Perhaps it’s an Eastern Europe thing and I loved the other parts of Eastern Europe I went to. Perhaps because it’s relatively cheap to travel in, or even just because it’s next to Romania. I’ve seen pictures of Sofia and it looks gorgeous. And now I want to go even more because I work with two Bulgarian ladies who are a couple of the loveliest people I’ve ever met!
Ever since I watched a Lonely Planet episode where Ian Wright went to Georgia, I’ve wanted to go. Ian had a habit of doing that to me. I don’t even remember what he did there or why I wanted to go, but it’s not so far away from here so why not?
Why? Because it’s next to Georgia and not so far from here. Not many people go there. These are good enough reasons for me.
On a whim, when Lonely Planet was having a sale, I randomly looked at the Madagascar book and noticed it was updated quite recently. The sale was good. I bought the book. I haven’t looked at it yet, but I’m already thinking this might be (part of?) my epic upcoming mega-birthday trip.
You’ve probably never heard of Socotra, but it’s a little island off the coast of Yemen. It looks SPECTACULAR and I really really want to go have a look. The problem? It belongs to Yemen, which is kind of a war zone right now. Socotra is far enough removed that it’s well out of the line of fire, but as to whether it’s actually possible to go right now, well, I’ve heard of plans being made and flights then cancelled. Do I want to risk a week of holiday on somewhere that’s amazing but might get completely cancelled? I don’t know.
Home (Vancouver, B.C.)
Because it’s home, because my family is there, and because my little brother is getting married! If I can work it out with work, I’ll be going.
This list is by no means exhaustive. After exploring Asia for so long (which I do miss dearly, I should say) in a way a whole new world has now opened up to me. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I mean, Europe isn’t far away and there’s HEAPS more to see there (Albania springs to mind, and Southern Italy, and Greece and Macedonia and Montenegro and….and….). Africa is right there and it’s obviously enormous and I haven’t touched it yet (aside from Egypt, but I tend to think of that as the Middle East). There are cheap flights to India from here and that could take a lifetime, and then there’s Nepal and Bhutan! And don’t get me started on Central Asia.
So I guess the question is, how am I going to find time for all this?
What’s on your travel wish list for 2017? Let me know in the comments!
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