Tuesday, January 5, 2016

6 Trips I Want to Take in 2016 (and why you should, too)

(Eugene, OR - pic via TripAdvisor)

I'm expecting 2016 to be quite the whirlwind, and a (more or less) balanced mix of planned and spontaneous excursions in the name of self-discovery. Below are the cities I hope to visit in the coming year, and reasons I think (if you're even a teensy-bit travel minded and like food, fiesta, architecture and new cultures) you should also visit. 

Where: Eugene, OR; Portland, OR; and Seattle, WA
Why I'm going: I live on the West Coast. I like coffee and cold weather, outdoor activities and rain. I'm considering buying a USA RAIL PASS ( $459 for 15 days- 8 segments) on Amtrak instead of a plane ticket. Although it's a little more pricey to visit via train, I'd be able to work en route and take in views I might not otherwise get to experience in the air. The other option is flying into Portland and renting a car so I can go drive down to Eugene and up to Seattle, and stay a couple days in each place. 
Why you should go: Plane tickets (from the West Coast) are cheap. You also like coffee, cold weather and rain. 

(Cinque Terre - pic via National Geographic)

Where: Spain and Italy
Why I want to go: When I was on the plane back from Berlin to the U.S. this summer I met a lady who had been on a 6-week backpacking trip with her daughter. She said her absolute fave stop was Cinque Terre, a string of colorful, hilly, seaside villages in Italy, and that she had the most incredible seafood there. My mom's grandparents were from Spain -- Madrid and the Canary Islands. I'd also like to go to Sevilla, Barcelona, and more specifically San Sebastián, a coastal city my dad says my (Colombian) grandfather loved very much. 
Why you should go: Fish. Wine. Happiness. 

(Sonoma, CA - pic via Conde Nast Traveler)

Where: Sonoma, California
Why I want to go: Because I live in Los Angeles, and a Vegas bachelorette seems so passé. My best friend is getting married and I am the lucky maid of honor. Which means I get to plan her bachelorette party. Which means no to Vegas; yes to fermented grape juice, meals made of locally-sourced ingredients, and amazing scenery. 
Why you should go: Sonoma seems a bit more laid back, a tad cheaper and a little less "appointment only" than Napa, if that makes any sense at all. 

(Cartagena - pic C/O my BFF Ashley Sueiras)

WhereCartagena, Colombia
Why I'm going: My best friend is getting married there in October. Also, my dad is Colombian (from Cali) and I haven't yet been to South America (yes, it's crazy, I know).
Why you should go: The Colombian peso is low right now, so you'll get a good bang for your buck. And then there's the fresh fruit, rich history and vibrant culture. 

(Havana, Cuba - pic via Michael Petit Instagram.com/low843)

Where: Cuba (all of it!)
Why I want to go: My mother is Cuban. I was born in Miami. I want to see it before it changes, and never having been there, I identify very much with the culture, I think. 
Why you should go: Commercial flights are now operating from the U.S. to Cuba and travel to the island is easier than ever. (Americans are still technically banned from traveling to Cuba as tourists, but you can make it there if the purpose of your trip loosely falls into one of these categories: visiting family, official government business, journalistic activity, professional research, educational or religious activities, research for educational institutions, humanitarian projects, export, importation/exportation/transmission of information or informational materials, support for the Cuban people; public performances, clinics, workshops, exhibitions and athletic competitions.)

(Memphis, TN - pic via TripAdvisor)

Where: Memphis, TN; Nashville, TN; Clarksdale, MS
Why I want to go: I grew up around music. All kinds of music. And I like the South. A lot. 
Why you should go: So much American history in these cities. Nashville is home to the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Memphis has Graceland (and the National Civil Rights Museum, located in the Former Lorraine Motel -- and other buildings -- where MLK was assassinated). Clarksdale is the birthplace of the blues.

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