Well its the start of a new year and while in my old life I would be working on business cases, priorities, and strategies for the coming year, that’s certainly not what I’m up to this year. On the flip side, this year I’m planning my next travel destinations around the world.
2013 will be a big and busy year for me as I plan to continue my journey through South America and then move onto the Middle East and then to South East Asia.
With so much in the works, I’d like to take a minute to clue you in on my travel goals for 2013 so you can get a preview of what’s coming up for this year. Also, feel free to tell me if I’m missing the mark anywhere. Are there any off the beaten path locals I should make sure and stop by? Any adventures I just shouldn’t miss out on? Or anywhere you’ve always wanted to go that I could give you a sneak preview of?
I look forward to your comments!
1. Ride the Death Rode – Check! I Did the Death Road on Jan. 6th….more to come!
Christened as the World’s Most Dangerous Road, this narrow stretch of road climbs from the outskirts of the Amazonian jungles of Bolivia towards the mountain top capital of La Paz. It earned its reputation as the Death Rode as it is estimated that around 400 travelers a year perish on its treacherous bends. In 2006, a new road was finally opened that diverted the majority of automotive traffic away from the Death Road. Today it’s one of Bolivia’s top attractions with adventure seekers and mountain bikers taking the opportunity to ride downhill on this death defying road, so how can I resist?
2. Salar de Uyuni
Bolivia is a beautiful country with dramatic landscapes but apparently none more fantastic than the salt flats in the southern half of the country. Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat and is a major breeding ground for several types of pink flamingos. During the dry season the salt flat is an extensive dry surface but in the wet season, the flats are covered by water but it is still drive-able. The water creates a mirror like effect that I can’t wait to see for myself.
3. Iguassu Falls
I haven’t been to Niagara Falls but I’m told that it’s only a drop in the bucket compared to Iguassu Falls. Dividing the countries of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil this monstrous series of falls is a site to behold as tons of water spills over and crashes thunderously into the rocks below. It creates a misty jungle scene that should be spectacular. I’m hoping to take a boat right up to the falls and see how wet I can get!
4. The Galapagos Islands
Since Charles Darwin walked its shores, Galapagos has become known as the premier destination in the world to experience true species diversity. It will certainly be one of my splurge destinations as it’s a pricey place to visit but since I began diving last year there’s no way I can skip such a spectacular underwater world. I’m excited to see the diverse wildlife both above and below the water.
This is one of my more daunting travel goals for this year. Even though things have started to relax between Cuba and the United States, it’s still not a country that’s easy for Americans to visit. It will certainly take some planning, creativity, and much better Spanish to get there. It’s work I’m willing to do though as I’d love to see this nation frozen in time from the Cold War before the borders open further and the country begins to change.
6. A Trip Home
After a whole bunch of travel, I’m actually excited to make a trip home. I have three cats that I miss dearly, not to mention my friends and family so spending a bit of time off the road will be a priority as well this year.
7. The Great Pyramids
I have wanted to see the Pyramids in Egypt for as long as I can remember. If you had asked me a few years ago what my most desired travel destination was I certainly would have answered Egypt. It took a bit of effort not to head straight for the sand when I kicked off my trip but I know it will be worth the wait to experience the grandeur of these great ancient structures.
8. Petra, Jordan
Any Indiana Jones fans out there? I’m willing to bet anyone who has a passion for history and especially archaeology was a bit obsessed with these movies, just like I was. Well Petra was used in the 3rd movie as the location where the Holy Grail was finally located. A visit to Jordan may not be as easy in the coming year as it has been in the past but this is one site I just can’t miss.
9. Diving the Red Sea
I’m told that the Red Sea has some of the best diving in the world. When I first heard this it was a bit of a surprise, I mean it’s not the Caribbean or the South Pacific, but, as I understand it, there is extremely warm water, little waves, and great visibility. All the things you need to set up some great dives, not to mention the unique species only found in the Red Sea in its reef system. Can you tell I’m a bit giddy over this one?
10. Floating the Dead Sea
As you know I’m a bit of a beach, ocean, and sun connoisseur so when I saw images of people floating in the Dead Sea like they were sitting in invisible chairs it really piqued my interest. There’s nothing more relaxing than floating in the water and to be able to do it without the risk of gulping down a gallon would be fantastic.
11. The Taj Mahal
This majestic palace outside of Dehli in India was built by Mughal Emporer Shah Jahan as a tribute to his wife. Made of white marble and with a concentration on symmetry, the Taj Mahal is one of the greatest relics in the Middle East. Unfortunately the Taj’s creator was overthrown by his own son and imprisoned for many years until his death. He never got to set foot in the Taj Mahal until he was laid to rest in its tomb along side his wife.
12. Angkor Watt
Not widely know to many people, Angkor Watt is the largest Hindi Temple complex in the world. I originally heard about this immense site from a friend of mine who was living and traveling in South East Asia and to this day whenever I hear people comment on visiting Angkor Watt I can feel the awe in their voices.
13. Thailand New Year
I loved a good water fight when I was a kid. Well in Thailand everyone gets to be a kid again each year on April 13 for their New Year’s celebration. The entire country celebrates the turning of the calendar with probably the largest water fight in the world. From super soaker water guns to buckets of water everyone joins in the fun and everyone gets wet. It’s a good time of year for a water fight as April is one of the hottest months in Thailand. Yes, I’ll be buying the biggest water gun I can find for this party!