2015 was an epic year of travel. I was able to cross Japan, Dominican Republic, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Peru off my list. Now that 2016 is upon us, I am pondering where to next.
Last year I was reminded about the importance of giving the gift of travel to those whom we love the most. I ran into one of my travel buddies in Abu Dhabi who had two of her nieces traveling with her. We chatted for a bit and I told her I thought it was really special she brought her nieces along. She commented “each one teach one”. So often I selfishly book trips for myself and when I arrive to my destination, I think oh I wish my sister could experience this, or I wish my mother was here. We all know wishing for something to happen is not enough. As result, I made a conscious vow to do a better job of sharing my love of travel with others.
Over casual conversation one day, I asked my mother where she has always wanted to go and she mentioned the New England states of Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont and she also mentioned France and Switzerland. I was really surprised by her saying France and Switzerland because she had never mentioned having a desire to visit Western Europe. I asked my father the same question and he expressed a desire on going on an Alaskan Cruise and visiting Israel. As my father and I discussed his desire to go to Israel more in depth, we determined 2016 would be the year to make it happen. I couldn’t leave my mother out so I decided to tack on Switzerland and France as well. We will also be visiting Liechtenstein, the 6th smallest country in the world, due to its proximity to Zurich. She knew of the plans to visit Israel but she had no knowledge she too would be going somewhere she always wanted to go. On Christmas day, I surprised her with what I hope will be a trip she will always remember. This Friday my parents and I head out on a 10 day journey to Israel, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and France. This will be my first time taking a trip of this sort with my parents so I’m a bit nervous but I believe we’ll have an amazing time.
So often we say oh I’ll do it tomorrow or I have to wait until I have more money, etc. I knew planning this trip with my parents would be more expensive than most trips I plan because my parents and I have different preferences when it comes to accommodations, tours, etc. However, I realize I’m in a place in life where I may not always have as much disposable income as I do now and I also don’t know how long I will be blessed to have my parents here in good health. I can make more money but I won’t always have my parents which is why I threw caution to the wind. I only hope this trip will be something they can always look back on fondly. I have one set of parents and I must say they’re pretty amazing. Everything I am is because of them so every dollar I’ve spent on this upcoming trip is a drop in the bucket in comparison with all the sacrifices they have made for my siblings and I. Tomorrow is not promised so be sure to make the most of everyday. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do for someone, don’t wait until it’s too late.
This year my travel goal is to reach 30 countries. After this next trip, I will be at 28 so visiting two additional countries is definitely doable. This year I plan to return to Georgia(the country) to visit my host family, where I served in the Peace Corps from 2011-2013. I also plan to visit Brazil and potentially Chile. Australia and New Zealand have long been on my bucket list and I hope 2016 will be the year where I finally get to cross them off. After a trip to Australia, I’ll only have Antarctica left as the final continent to visit. I used to not have any desire to visit Antarctica but after seeing some incredible pictures, it is definitely on my bucket list.
2016 Travel Calendar (tentative)
What’s on your 2016 travel calendar?
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