travel and life with lee mylne

A travel wish list for 2017

Street art, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia.

Travel trends and resolutions are all the go right now, as we start the new year. Where to go? What to do? Where to eat? So many places, so little time…

I’m not much in favour of resolutions, but I do have a wish list of places that I’ve got on my radar for this year so I might as well put it out there and see what the universe delivers. I’ve always been a mostly reactive – rather than proactive – travel writer, going where the assignments that come up take me, rather than planning ahead or seeking out specific destinations.

This approach has served me well, taking me to places I might never have thought of without a work assignment attached to it. Last year was a perfect example, with Pitcairn Island (and the bonus of a stop in the Gambier Islands in French Polynesia – which I’d never heard of) and Finland among my highlights. With friends in Finland, it has certainly always been on my wish-list, but I had not been aware of lovely smaller cities like Turku and Porvoo until planning this trip.

This year, I’ve got a few destinations in mind to aspire to, including some countries that I’ve never been to before.

Top of my list is Japan. Last year a number of friends holidayed there and seeing their photos on Facebook really caught my imagination. More recently, I’ve been watching the British TV series Joanna Lumley’s Japan and that’s cemented my desire to go there. But what time of year? The winter scenes in the north of Japan looked entrancing, but then there’s Spring for the cherry blossoms (although it did look very crowded, which put me off a bit).

The other “new” country on my list is Morocco. Again, friends have been talking about their trip a few years ago – with one about to make a return visit – and it’s piqued a latent interest I’ve always had in getting there.

Then there are the remote Galapagos Islands, with so much wildlife…still a dream destination for me…and closer to home, Myanmar (Burma), now much more open to tourists and less politically charged than it was some years ago.

For years, there have been two events that every year I’ve said “I must go next year!” – and never have. One is the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, held in Indonesia in late October. This year’s will be the 14th for the festival, which was conceived by Janet DeNeefe, co-founder of the not-for-profit foundation Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati, as a healing project after the Bali bombing of 2002.

Unfortunately, the Ubud festival dates are likely to clash with another event that’s always on my “must-do-that-next-year” list – Sydney’s annual Sculpture by the Sea in October, which claims to be the world’s largest annual free-to-the-public outdoor sculpture exhibition. The works are exhibited along the Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk. So I might have a choice to make!

With walking in mind, I’ve also long held an ambition to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in my native New Zealand’s central volcanic plateau of the North Island. Often rated the best day walk in New Zealand, it is 19.4km but quite a challenge and takes around eight hours (in the less steep direction). And for all but highly experienced winter hikers, only something to do in summer…so I’ve got plenty of time to train for it!

That’s probably enough wishing and dreaming for now…I know that one of the joys of life is that things don’t always go to plan, and that it’s possible that some (or all) of these destinations will have to wait for another year. But I’m ever the optimist, so I know that whatever the year brings in travel (and in life) it will be interesting, challenging and exciting.

What’s on your travel wish-list for 2017? I’d love to hear…it might give me even more ideas! Meanwhile, in a couple of weeks I’ll be packing my bag for the tropics, with my first trip of the year to Lizard Island, on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Happy travelling!

28 Responses to “A travel wish list for 2017”

  1. The Global Goddess

    Japan, Morocco, Galapagos and Burma are all in my list too!

    Add to Iran, Mexico and Peru and a bit of old Eastern Europe. Plus Vanuatu and the Cook Islands.

    We both have the same philosophical approach, so let’s see where the wind blows us this year!

    • A Glass Half Full

      Wow! That’s pretty amazing. I’ve been to Peru, so it’s not on my list (but I wouldn’t say no…there’s lots of it I haven’t seen). Eastern Europe, yes…but maybe not this year as I’ve got a big project I want to do there. Vanuatu and the Cooks – you will love them both when you get there. I love the Pacific. I wrote this in part so I can remember what I was thinking in January and look back in December and see what happened.

  2. Jenn Jay

    I love your list and your philosophical outlook to see what comes up Lee. I have Scotland on my wish list radar(it’s been almost 30 years since the last visit) but I want to live there for a while? So i can adventure around slowly and take more in! Not sure I can do that with kids still at school – but we shall see. Japan is being ticked off my list in a week – taking two of my kids there to ski and do a little touring. I’m quite excited to be visiting for the first time!

    Galapagos Islands is a wish list as well for the reasons you listed.

  3. A Glass Half Full

    Oh, yes…Scotland is kind of permanently on my wish-list too, but I’ve been there a few times before so it’s not a top priority. But if the chance comes up, I’d grab it like a shot. I spent a couple of great weeks about 10 years ago, driving around the Highlands tracing the places my ancestors lived and meeting some distant relatives. It was wonderful. I don’t blame you for wanting to live there for a while! Enjoy Japan and I’ll look forward to hearing more!

  4. Chez @ Chez Moi

    Happy new year Lee! I like the idea of a Wishlist instead of resolutions – much less pressure. Best of luck with knocking off a few of these amazing destinations. Myanmar would be my pick. I’ve wanted to go there ever since I missed out a few years ago…one day!

    • A Glass Half Full

      Thanks Chez! Happy New Year to you too! I’m sure we’ll both make it to Myanmar one day…that’s the beauty of the wish list, having it in the future to look forward to. Anticipation is sweet.

    • A Glass Half Full

      Wow – that’s a blast from the past! I did see that movie when it first came out…many years ago. And now that you mention it, I am going to Sydney in February, so stay tuned :-)

    • A Glass Half Full

      I enjoyed reading your post – somewhere I’d never heard of in Japan. I’ll bear it in mind as I plan my trip later in the year. It’s high on my list!

  5. Browsing the Atlas

    Your wish list is making me drool. Japan! Morocco! Myanmar! They all sound good to me. Like you, I sometimes have to follow where events or work take me, but aside from those, South America is top of my list. My daughter and I planned to go last year but didn’t. This year for sure!

    • A Glass Half Full

      I’ll be watching with interest. South America may sneak into my plans this year, too, I think. I’ve been to Peru and Patagonia in the past, but there’s so much more to see…if I can!

  6. Blossom Bite

    Japan is at the top of my list too! Hopefully we can both make it this year haha :)

  7. therie2017

    Japan is on top of my travel list too. I am torn between seeing Tokyo or Kyoto first. Good luck with your 2017 travel plans Lee! Cheers!

  8. Therie

    Japan is on top of my travel list too. I am torn between seeing Tokyo or Kyoto first. Good luck with your 2017 travel plans Lee! Cheers!

  9. candidkay

    I love your adventuresome, can-do spirit! You just make it happen:). I could take a page out of your book. Would love to hit Fiji and Peru but may have to settle for something small and inexpensive stateside. Can still be an adventure though!

    • A Glass Half Full

      Absolutely agree…it does not need to be far away to be an adventure! Some of the best are closer than we expect. I’m having one now, just four hours drive from my home, but somewhere I have never been before! Just get out there and do it!

  10. Ralph Kiko

    Japan is always a great choice but I was definitely torn between spring and winter season. Both have its perks. I recommend doing winter February in Sapporo, the winter festival there is just awesome. On the second week of the month, an entire street is dedicated to real time ice sculpting. Spring is best in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, with their bullet train (Shinkansen), you will have all your cherry blossom (sakura) viewing you want!

    I look forward to your Japanese adventures!

  11. Ralph Kiko

    Japan is a definite must place to visit. You can never go wrong with an Osaka and Kyoto itinerary. There is just something for everybody.


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