Places We Love: Top Destinations for 2017

Travelers picnic on an Alaskan hilltop with snowcapped peaks in the distance and their helicopter nearby | Alaska Adventure Travel with GeoEx

We at GeoEx are passionate about exploring the world and introducing others to the wonders we find. Every year the company sends virtually all of its staff to far-flung destinations around the globe with a two-fold mission: to field-test the places and activities we currently offer, and to discover amazing new places and activities for our trips. To kick off the year on an inspiring note, we asked 10 of our destination specialists to share the places to which they are especially excited about sending our travelers in 2017. Here are their picks. Japan "There has been an enthusiastic spike in travel to Japan, some people exploring the country for the first time and others...

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Epic Adventures in Alaska

Bears fishing for salmon along the river in Alaska with GeoEx.

It started with an e-mail to the GeoEx staff: "Tell me where to go on my own vacation." My request specified that I was seeking solace in deep wilderness and feeling the need to lighten up and to laugh a lot. When I closed my eyes, all I saw was a white mountain. Recommendations from coworkers quickly poured in. Most of them involved visiting exotic, far-flung destinations around the globe. But when the opportunity arose to fly in super cub planes around the wilds of Alaska for several weeks, I discovered that the perfect destination didn't require traveling halfway across the planet. It was right here in the US and was much easier to reach than I would have suspected. Recognizing that I needed a mentor to help me rediscover immense joy, I managed to convince my colleague Alice Howell to join me. I've always joked that Alice could teach a master class in creative life enjoyment. Alice was the perfect accomplice to practice squeezing the absolute most out of...

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When the Cherry Blossoms Bloom

Editor's note: Every spring Japan blossoms into evanescent pink splendor–and the Japanese bloom too. The dispatch below describes that transcendent ritual and renewal two springs ago. I have just returned from five weeks exploring Old Japan in Kyoto and on the island of Shikoku on two glorious GeoEx trips, and one of the lessons that resonated most deeply with me was the extraordinary attachment to cherry blossoms that the Japanese maintain even today. During the evanescent two-week period when the cherry trees exploded into pink splendor, Kyoto blossomed too–the streets festive with petal-worshipping locals and tourists alike, and especially, florescent women in pink and blue kimonos, taking selfies. I was transported back to my first spring in

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For The Memories

View of a Texas Prarie with GeoEx.

Editor’s note: You don’t always need to travel halfway around the globe to find exotic places, and to discover unplumbed truths. The bittersweet story below poignantly captures some transcendent travel lessons learned close to home, and seems an appropriate tale for the end of the year, a time of reflection, renewal, and resolve.  We offer this with our warmest wishes for a new year of exploration and illumination. – Don George I cried twice while in Texas, one of them out of sheer terror. My dear boyfriend, Sean, was helping me load our gun when a 45-caliber pistol went off next to us, the violent blast so instantaneous that there was no time for my life to flash before my eyes. That wasn’t part of the plan. The plan was for Sean’s cousin Jeremy to show me how to shoot a shotgun on the prairie. When I’d first met Jeremy, he had sauntered through the door of a rural barn an hour south of Dallas, sporting...

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Cruising Through Myanmar

View of temples in Bagan Myanmar with GeoEx.

Traveling by boat in Myanmar can be an illuminating alternative to the bus or train, connecting some major destinations and allowing travelers to get a real taste of life on the river, take in sunsets over stupa-lined riverbanks, and mix with locals. The most popular routes follow the mighty Irrawaddy River (the backbone of Myanmar that flows north-south through the country) and various waterways in the Irrawaddy Delta near Yangon. I was fortunate to travel from Bagan to Mandalay (a four-day, three-night journey) aboard the luxurious, all-suite, all-balcony Ananda. A riverboat with 21 suites, it blends Burmese design with contemporary amenities and outstanding cuisine. It was the perfect combination of Myanmar culture and luxury.  We cruised during the day, sailing past villages set against a backdrop of soft browns, rich tamarind trees, and golden pagodas. The movement of the...

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Don George, Editor

Don George is Editor in Chief of Wanderlust: Literary Journeys for the Discerning Traveler. He has been Travel Editor for Salon.com and the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle, as well as Global Travel Editor for Lonely Planet Publications. Don is the author of "The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George" and of "Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Writing." He has also edited eleven anthologies, including A Moveable Feast, The Kindness of Strangers, and An Innocent Abroad. E-mail him at [email protected].

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