Recently, I've been going crazy at the daily announcement of yet another "hot places to travel in 2012" list. Everyone is doing them and I can't help but wonder, what purpose do they serve? Are they the work of lazy journalists who aren't quite ready to ramp up to serious work in a post-holiday coma? Or are tourism boards pleading with the powers that be to get their name front and center? It's probably a mix of things and unless you're concerned with being travel trendy, they do little to inspire your travel plans.
Not wanting to be left out of the list making phenomenon and wanting to take a jab at the list makers, I decided to join the fray. My approach, however, is a bit different. Instead of basing a list on trends, reports and press releases... I went old-school. My vintage globe, eyes closed, a spin of the wrist and a pointed finger. Did you ever play that game as a kid? I landed in the water quite a few times and on cities that don't exist anymore (hey, I said vintage globe,) but in the end came up with an eclectic list of far off places. So, I present to you my Travellious list of completely random destinations to make you think about where you might head in 2012 and beyond. Read more.
The Aleutian Islands are remote islands off the coast of mainland Alaska. You can get there by ferry or airplane, but it's pricey and a potentially long trip. Once there you'll find outstanding bird watching, fishing charters and views of nature at its finest. Start plotting your ferry ride on the Alaska Marine Highway System
or look at flight options from Peninsula Airways
. For more inspiration, check out Unalaska's Tourism Board
or Travel Alaska
. And if you happen to pass through Unalaska in the month of October, you might have a reality show encounter with a castmember of the Deadliest Catch.
Halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, Samoa and its neighbor, American Samoa offer typical sorts of island exploration. Beautiful beaches, tropical fruit and waterfalls abound. Get more ideas of what might draw you there from the Samoa Tourism Authority
, personally I'd love to wander the Apia Market
and feed my senses.
French Guiana or Guyane
is an overseas region of France (like Martinique in the Caribbean.) Sandwiched between Suriname and Brazil, it enjoys a climate much like the rest of the neighboring Caribbean. While there, you can explore the Amazon, attend carnival festivities in Cayenne or experience a rocket launch at Europe's Spaceport
, thanks to its ties to France. For more inspiration, check out the French Guiana Tourism Committee
Gotenburg , Sweden
The coastal Swedish city of Göteborg (as it's called by locals) is the second largest in Sweden. With a wealth of museums, arts and culture, as well as a burgeoning gastronomic scene, it's an urbanite's dream. For an insider's perspective, check out Sandra Juto's photos
of her time spent in Gothenberg or read more about the city on the Visit Sweden
Akita and its surrounding prefecture is situated on the northwest coast of Japan. Home to rice farming, stunning coastline and the Lake Tazawa, the deepest lake in Japan (pictured above.) Akita prefecture is also known for seasonal festivals, including Akita Kanto Festival
, noted by stunning displays of lanterns in the shape of rice. Discover Akita on the Japan Tourism
Most people are familiar with the classic movie Casablanca, but the modern day port city of Morocco is more than a movie set. I could vist to wander the streets alone looking at the architecture and ornament. (See this Casablanca Flickr set
to see what I mean.) And then there's the food. Tajines with lamb, couscous, and sweet and savory pastillas or Moroccan meat pies.
If Chrysler's beautifully filmed Super Bowl ad
/love letter to Detroit didn't make you want to visit the Motor City, then you are far less easily manipulated than I. There's plenty of culture in Detroit, including the Detroit Institute of the Arts
and the Henry Ford Museum
(where you can walk inside R. Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion House.) There's also hot dogs and Detroit-style pizza and from perusing a few websites, apparently flaming cheese is a menu staple at Greek restaurants throughout the city. Read more about the city at Visit Detroit
This island off the coast of Africa offers sun, beaches, and what one expects from an island. But, Madagascar is unique in its bio-diversity. This is the only place in the world where you'll find a number of plants, birds and primates. Did you know that lemurs are native to Madagascar alone? Look into planning a trip at the Madagascar National Tourism Board
We all know that Liverpool breeds great music, including the legendary Beatles. What I didn't realize is the rich culture that the city has bred. With the largest collection of museums outside of London, art collections, and live music venues, the coastal city offers a varied urban travel experience. And if you're in the UK, you're probably going to want to pop by a pub. The Ship & Mitre
looks particularly appealing, with its four beer festivals annually with over 80 beers to sample. Plot your trip to Liverpool over at Visit Liverpool
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama and may be an unlikely tourist spot. Its place in history remains as the place of demonstrations and riots during the Civil Rights era. Southern culture and more importantly, Southern food abound. Visit Irondale Cafe
, the inspiration for Fannie Flag's Fried Green Tomatoes
or try a Birmingham-style hot dog. The Great Birmingham Hot Dog Tour
blog can provide you with plenty of inspiration.
Will I make it to any of these destinations in 2012? Probably not, but this post alone has been an excellent exercise in travel dreaming. I hope some of my random hits inspire your 2012 travels and I highly recommend that you go grab yourself a globe and reawaken your inner grade-schooler for some travel inspiration.