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A Look Ahead – My 2024 Travel Ideas

Any goal in life can be accomplished regardless of extravagant it may seem. Any goal can be broken down into a series of smaller steps with each step being small enough to be worked on within your normal routine. Once enough of these individual steps are accomplished, the end goal will be met. I am firm believer in this mantra and have seen it play it frequently within my own life. A recent goal of mine several years ago was to do a 15-mile one day hike within the Grand Canyon. At the time, I was not actively in the gym so a hike like this was outside of realistic ability. As a result, one of the daily steps I set for myself to prepare for this hike was to begin a daily cardio route. Each day, I did not focus on being able to hike 15 miles; my focus was simply on getting to the gym on that specific day. After repeating this for several months, I was in the condition I needed to be in and was able to complete this hike with relative ease and it remains one of my most rewarding hiking experiencing, with 15 miles of awe-inspiring views. In terms of travel, one of the first steps along this journey is identifying where you want to journey too. With that spirit in mind, I would like to share some of the hopes I have for my travels for this year. While I may not be able to accomplish all these within 2024, I know that by taking daily steps consistently; I will eventually be able to cross each of these off my list in the not-so-distant future.

Cusco, Peru – Machu Picchu

I would like to start off this list with an entry that I have already booked and will be embarking on shortly after this blog is loaded: the Ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu located near the town of Cusco in Peru. This fabled and iconic landmark is on many traveler’s bucket lists as the pictures of the lost city in the clouds surrounded by lush green mountains have been a travel staple since shortly after it was first discovered. This will be my first journey into South America and one I am extremely excited for. During this trip, I would be thrilled for the opportunity to not only see Machu Picchu itself but be able to immerse myself in the culture and history of this region. From sampling their local cuisine to wandering through the streets; I can’t wait for my first taste of South America. In addition to Machu Picchu, there are several other inspiring vistas to see in the area including the Sacred Valley and Rainbow Mountains; both of which I also look forward to seeing on this journey. Rainbow Mountain is a range of mountains that are an assortment of colors such as green, blue, and bright red due to the underlying geology of the range and provides visitors many opportunities for lasting memories.

Kathmandu, Nepal – The Annapurna Trek and Mt. Everest

Nepal has long been a bucket list item for me with the Annapurna Trek specifically being at the very top of my bucket list. This is a 10–14-day hiking trail (depending on the route taken) that takes visitors through a valley in the heart of the Himalayan Mountains, with panoramic vistas and mountains towering into the sky rising all around during a large portion of the trail. Along the trail, there are stops at many small villages that offer a bed for the night as well as tea houses to explore; all within the shadow of the Himalayas. This trip would also be my first experience within Asia and like Cusco, Peru; I am excited to immerse myself in the culture of the region. Whether it’s savoring some of their local curry or visiting the ancient monasteries along the trek’s route; this is an aspect of the experience that I look forward to as much as the mountains themselves. Nepal also offers a second hike that I had wanted to do but likely will not be able to on one trip due to time constraints, the multi-day trail to the Everest Base Camp. Luckily, the city of Kathmandu does offer helicopter flights that will take visitors to this base camp for a few hours and afford them the opportunity to gaze up at the planet’s tallest mountain right in front of them.

Italy – Puez-Odle Altopiano Trail

Within the last 12 months, I have been able to visit Italy twice. Once to explore the Alps in the country’s northern reaches and once to explore the city of Rome and nearby Amalfi coast. Both experiences were incredible, and Italy has cemented itself among my favorite traveling destinations. On my next trip, I plan on exploring the southern section of the country and the Dolomite Mountain range located there. I am hoping the wildflower and mountains views within here leave as awe-struck as the Alps had previously and I have no doubt this will be the case. In addition to the mountain views, I look forward to tasting some of the incredible food I had tasted in my previous trips to Italy. Whether it’s the Pizza, pastries, or gelato; every meal I had in Italy so far has been a fantastic experience. Enjoying a cappuccino at a small café overlooking the Dolomites is a memory I look forward to creating.

Exploring the Christmas Markets of Europe

While landscapes and nature have been my favorite sites to explore on my travels, I also enjoy immersing myself in the local festivals and traditions of a region. Within the last year, I have been able to do that with Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Oktoberfest in Munich. I hope to continue this in the future by exploring even more of the renowned festivals that occur throughout the world. One of these that I would like to explore more of are the Christmas markets of Europe. These markets combine the quaint regional architecture of the area with stalls offering a variety of holiday themed goods and delicacies all while surrounded in a mesmerizing display of festive holiday lights. While I was fortunate enough to see one such market in Athens last year, I look forward to exploring some of the continent’s largest and most renowned examples of these events. Taking a multi-day train trip through Europe while I hop from market to market and country to country sounds like an ideal way to spend the holiday season and exploring the culture and looking for the unique qualities of each region and market. While there are many markets to explore; a few countries that have caught my attention for this adventure so far have been Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Sweden.

“Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?” A great quote from Robert Browning and an inspiration quote to live by. Everyone’s vision should extend out beyond what seems possible at the time to provide them with hope and dreams for tomorrow. I look forward to sharing the result of me continuing to chase my travel dreams in the hopes of its inspiring others to chase their own dreams as well. But that is a story for another day…

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