Where To Go in 2016

20 Mar

Travelust

In college, there was this girl on my floor who got to go to Paris for spring break. She returned with a scowl, complaining how “disgusting” Paris had been.

“It’s nothing like you see in the movies,” she described. “It’s filthy and gray and touristy. There are thieving gypsies, it smells like urine everywhere, and the men are creeps.”

At the time I wondered if it was just her. She seemed like one of those dull, entitled people who never had to explore the world because it was handed to her. She was constantly disappointed, except when she was drunk and dancing.

On the other hand, I was one of those people who imagined that the reason things weren’t going more perfectly in my life was because I wasn’t in Paris. Movies like Sabrina and Amelie enchanted me. They made me believe I would find love, and myself, in Paris. I took French throughout high school and college and imagined how different life could be when you started your morning at Café de Flore (Hemingway’s Parisian hangout) with a café and pain au chocolat. Paris was going to change my life in lovely ways.

And then I met Mr. Poison who said Paris was terrible. But he loved America so that’s where we traveled. To his credit, he enlightened me to the merits of our own vast and diverse country, taking me to places like Austin, where we danced to live music all night long and ate the spiciest food I’ve ever had. Once, we drove to the Badlands of South Dakota, where we listened to Radiohead as we drove into a thunderstorm. We went to Chicago, where we walked from Wrigley Field to Grant Park, eating and drinking our way five miles south to Lake Michigan.

Finally, when we were planning our wedding, we talked about going international, and he set his sights on Tokyo. I wanted to go there, but not for our Honeymoon. I wanted to go somewhere more relaxing and romantic, like Tahiti.

Without his influence, I am now realizing the total freedom I have to travel anywhere in the world that I want. I just need the money to get there. A year of saving and I think I can do it.

Instinctively, I return to my dreams of Paris. But then I think about how much I’ve changed and wonder if my first international experience should be to the place on which I’d hung all my dreams.

While Paris is arguably one of the world’s great cities – so I’ve heard – I can’t help but acknowledge how much the movies make us see things much better than they are in real life. I’ve built up that city so much in my mind that there is no way it will be as fabulous as I’ve imagined it. The last thing I want to do is set my expectations so high that I guarantee myself disappointment. Besides, I’m a new woman now. My dreams should reflect that.

Today it’s cold in Denver, having snowed all day yesterday. I’m curled up under a blanket, and I’ve decided that today is the day I will plan my first international trip.

Here’s what I’m reading and watching right now for inspiration. Feel free to join and leave me some comments on where you think I should go.

“52 Places to Go in 2016”

Every year, the New York Times publishes its list of 52 places to go. Engaging ambient video and grand photography entices you to dive right in and buy a ticket. I can’t say I’m inspired by every locale on this list – the Democratic Republic of Congo is an odd suggestion – but there are many that have captured my interest. Should I go to Coral Bay, St. John? Mozambique? Vinales, Cuba? Guadaloupe? Road of the Seven Lakes, Argentina? Uruguay? Tamil Nadu, India? St. Helena? Barcelona? Mosel wine country? Pyeongchang, South Korea? Kansia, Japan? The possibilities are seemingly endless.

Check out the list here.

Chef’s Table

Netflix created this TV-documentary series that follows one world-renowned chef per 45-minute episode. Each episode tells the origin story of a chef who has perfected his or her craft, by way of a cinematic escape into some of the most remote and beautiful places in the world. Wouldn’t that be a fun way to travel – chasing down the world’s best chefs? Should I go to Sweden, Australia, Italy, or Patagonia?

Check out the show here.

-Jennifer

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4 Responses to “Where To Go in 2016”

  1. Amber 03/20/2016 at 7:48 AM #

    Why not plan a multiple destination trip that has France in the itinerary? If you are disappointed, there’s more adventure coming your way. If you love it, change up your plans!

  2. totallycaroline 03/20/2016 at 8:16 AM #

    I have been to Paris many many times, and I must say I adore it. The romance is so thick in the air you can cut it with a knife. It’s foodie paradise. I’d go just for the bread.
    The first time I visited however, I was disappointed. Sometimes it does smell of pee. Sometimes the French are terribly rude. But what we get out of it is more a reflection of ourselves than if the city. We see and feel only what we choose to see. I say GOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Life is short and Paris is dreamy😍

  3. smellingmint 03/21/2016 at 5:47 AM #

    Hello ! I live in london so Paris is not a great stretch for me. I have been many times. Mostly it has been a disappointment… The metro scares me, it’s dirty, service is rude and arrogant… But but ! Catch it at the right time and in the right places and it does have all the romance you expect it too. A lovely spring or Autumn day, sitting outside under heaters at the place du tertre or crossing the river at pont neuf. Exploring the bouquiniste on the left bank and St Germain des pres… Blossom helps…
    I prefer Rome which shouts at you with its ancient buildings round every corner and great views and gardens. Amsterdam is such an easy and pretty city to explore where they speak great English too. Have lots of fun!! X

  4. Lunar 03/21/2016 at 2:38 PM #

    I’ve been to Paris, but only briefly. And while I liked it, I didn’t fall in love with it. My suggestion: if you do decide to go, spend at least two days at Versailles. That castle NEVER disappoints, even if you don’t fall in love with the city.

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