Sunday, May 03, 2009

Don't Know Where, Don't Know When

Don't Know Where, Don't Know When: Last year about this time I came up with a set of travel possibilities, ending with, "If I knock off two of these (three including NYC), I'll declare victory." Well, I guess I can declare victory, just barely. I got to Newfoundland and I got to the Spa and, of course, NYC. I also got to New Mexico, which you could consider a stand in for the California road trip I described.

It's time again to reassess possible travel plans. Things are a bit tricky this year because I sort of have tentative plans for some things already (kind of...maybe...possibly) that I won't bother discussing unless they come to fruition. But let's make a list anyway and see what gives. Start with some holdovers:

• Pacific Northwest. Or possibly Alaska proper. I have a temptation to road trip from Vancouver to Anchorage which would be awesome but very long. Not only that, I would also want to see the coast line including Juneau and Sitka. I could do a one-way rental car up and then take the ferries back down, but we are looking at two weeks easy for that, if not more, and that would put a serious crimp in any other plans I wanted to make. Let's just leave it at the Pacific Northwest. Vancouver then a train to Banff would be good enough.

• Southeast Asia. The triumvirate of Hong Kong/Singapore/Bangkok is still waiting for me, though Bangkok seems to be having a bit of strife. (I doubt it is anything for a tourist to fret over, and it makes things dirt cheap.) And there is the travel time involved still. It's sad that I can't find it in myself to take long stretches of time in one place. The sacrifice of a single 14/20-day trip being my only serious vacation of the year just seems costly to me.

• Mexico. The travel advisories suggest it's too dangerous. Probably nonsense. I'm betting in the high summer off-seaons, with drug wars and swine flu beating them down, things get really cheap -- possibly even free. This may be the year for Playa Del Carmen to be my first taste of Mexico.

• Unusual Caribbean. Last year I mentioned Saba, Montserrat, Dominica, and Grenada as possibilities. Everything I read about suggest Dominica might be the place. Lots of outdoorsy stuff.

• Hawaii is still a fallback if I get into September and need to do something serious with minimal planning. Big Island, mostly, maybe add in north shore Kauai.

New for this year:

• The Azores. Theoretically an up and coming destination. You can get direct flights from Boston. Not too distant. Thought to be exceptional in the spring. However, flights are pricey. Very pricey, since there is only really the one airline to get there. Keeping my eye out for low fares.

• London and Paris. I admit to being strange in that I feel little attraction to bopping about in Europe. But a dash to London with a cross channel expedition to Paris might actually fit the bill. I can get there reasonably easily. I can wheel and deal with travel planning to not spend an arm and a leg. I can get plenty of photos, that's for sure. Should a person not see these cities at least once in his life?

• Croatia. The Adriatic coast has been up for a bit of discussion. Supposedly this is the new Riviera. Friends speak highly of it. Looks very appealing for island hopping.

• Moab. I never get tired of going out west. Moab has Canyonlands and Arches National Parks right next door, and Mesa Verde in Colorado is within a doable drive. Could try some mountain biking in addition to hiking.

The fact is, I will probably end up defaulting to my stand-bys: Florida and Out West mostly. At some point I am going to have to break down and take an extended journey, but for this year, if I knock off one of the above or something else significant, hit my stand-bys a couple of times, and Vegas at Thanksgiving of course, I'll declare victory again.