Where We’re Going in 2016
GeoEx staffers are passionate about planning extraordinary adventures—for themselves as well as for their clients. So I decided to ask them where they’re excited about going in the new year. Here’s a sampling of their globe-girdling responses.
Alice Howell, Operations Specialist
Iceland. From the photos I’ve seen, Iceland seems to embody, in a most extreme—and enticing—way, all forces of creation: the sea, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, glaciers, steaming hot volcanoes, northern lights firing in the sky, mountains pushing through verdant slopes. There seems to be something to take your breath away at every turn. I’ll climb as many peaks, swim as many hot springs and lakes, and explore as many corners of the island as possible, camera in tow, of course.
Alysa Pakkidis, Marketing Specialist
First on my list to explore is Iceland. With its fantastically surreal landscapes, endless waterfalls, easy-to-access glaciers, enticing geothermal pools perfect for a relaxing swim, the Northern Lights, and a population of avid book readers, how could I not go! As I have dear friends from Colombia, who repeatedly tell me nothing but great things, I’ll be making a visit to experience the music, dance, food, and hospitality of the people. Time permitting, I’d also love to make it to South Africa to not only see the abundant wildlife, but also the burgeoning art scene!
Becca Glatz, Private Travel Specialist
I want to see the Northern Lights! That’s been on the top of my bucket list for a long, long time, and with an upcoming sabbatical, I intend to make it happen. I hear Norwegian Airlines has some good fares from Oakland. If my pocketbook can afford it, I want to stay in one of the igloo cabins at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in northern Finland. At night I’ll gaze up at the Northern Lights and during the day I’ll go dogsledding and cross-country skiing, and sip cocoa from inside a snow tank looking for Finnish wildlife. While I’m in the neighborhood, I’ll also pop down to Oslo and take in a bit of the coastal scenery of the fjiords, perhaps in Bergen. I’m an avid reader of Scandinavian mystery novels, so I’m hoping to walk the streets of Jo Nesbo’s Oslo and maybe find Harry Hole in a dingy bar somewhere.
Brady Binstadt, Destination Expert
I’m headed to Japan and China with my five-and-a-half-year-old son, Ollie. He’s excited to kick in the New Year at Chiiori, the 300-year-old preserved farmhouse-inn in Japan’s Iya Valley, and to go tobogganing down the Great Wall of China!
Glenn Ringer, Operations Specialist
I’m so excited to go to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in 2016! I can’t wait to explore the ancient Silk Road cities of Bukhara and Samarkand, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and meander through their bazaars, mosques, and caravanserais. I look forward to learning more about the culture and to seeing firsthand the lasting impact the Soviet Union has had on the country. I’m also eager to soak up the beauty of the Tien Shan mountain range in Kyrgyzstan, stand on the banks of Issyk Kul Lake, and learn about the local nomadic people and their way of life while staying in a yurt camp at Son Kul Lake.
Jean-Paul Tennant, CEO
Japan!!! I’m making a very special trip to Japan, where we will be experiencing the combination of peace, beauty, and civilization that only Japan can offer. We’ll be savoring some of the most refined and thoughtfully prepared cuisine in the world, contemplating some of the planet’s most exquisite art, and immersing ourselves in the company of Japan’s extraordinarily kind and polite people.
Jennine Cohen, Destination Expert
I’m hoping to create a little travel-university for myself that will include a week of salsa lessons in Colombia, surfing in Costa Rica or another tropical climate, and Spanish language school. I think continuing to learn and grow is so important!
Jenny Jackson, Marketing Specialist
I am a bit of a dreamer, but if we can pull it off, I am ambitiously hopeful that my husband and I can go to Patagonia next winter. It shouldn’t be too hard to travel with an eight-month-old, right?!
Jesse Knight, Operations Specialist
The crystal ball is telling me I should get to Cuba next year, so that’s my plan. I really want to get there soon, before the cruise ships come and all the major airlines fly there. I’m also hoping to get to Iceland in 2016. It looks like paradise for hiking, biking, waterfalls, and sipping cocktails in steamy thermal springs.
Kai Roath, Operations Specialist
Next year I’m very much looking forward to visiting Arthur C. Clarke’s home in Colombo, before visiting all the major ancient cities in Sri Lanka. With “ruins overtaken by jungle vines” on the brain, I will fly next to Cambodia to see the Khmer temples of Angkor before traveling to Thailand to see the majestic Siamese kingdom of Ayutthaya. I’m also looking forward to staying in the Gypsy Rock room at California’s Madonna Inn.
Kate Doty, Private Travel Specialist
I’m going helicopter touring in Tigray, Ethiopia, to explore remote rock-hewn churches—that should be amazing! I’ll also be visiting the Danakil Depression to see the nomadic people, the fascinating geology, and the ancient and still active trade route. Then I’ll be traveling to the Chyulu Hills, made famous in Hemingway’s “Green Hills of Africa,” to visit the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust and northern Kenya’s new Arijiju House. Sometime later in 2016 I am hoping to get out to the Chinko Project in the Central African Republic to further my understanding of African parks conservation issues, conflicts, and solutions.
Natalie Crow, Destination Expert
Here is my list:
Iceland: Inspired by its people and the magical landscape, I want to go hiking and discover the beautiful scenery that has inspired folklore!
Conservacion Patagonica/Patagonia National Park, in Chile: I will be volunteering at the park-in-the-making for three weeks this March, working in the organic garden that will feed the visitors at the lodge. Supporting the Tompkins’ projects by offering my work and my time is something I have wanted to do since first visiting the area three years ago. This resolution has taken on a special poignancy with the recent passing of Doug Tompkins.
Thailand or Bali: I have only been to Asia once (to Burma with GeoEx in 2010) and I really want to go back and explore more!
Sara Barbieri, Destination Expert
India. I want to go to Lahore and also visit the Indus Valley so I can see the remains of the Harappa and Mohenjo-daro civilizations. Plus, I want to go to Faisalabad, Pakistan, where my grandfather was born (or so I am told). And finally, I’m also hoping to do the Kangshung trek to Mount Everest.
Scott Montgomery, COO
I have a couple of trips planned for 2016: In early March I will head to Colombia. I have been wanting to visit since GeoEx first started offering Colombia as a destination for our guests! I have only a week, so will limit myself to Bogotá and Cartagena. I think I am most excited for two things: visiting the renowned Museo del Oro (Gold Museum) in Bogotá, and wandering the streets of the famously beautiful walled Old Town of Cartagena. I plan on getting lost and exploring.
In late May, with friends, we head for Botswana and Seychelles. I haven’t been to Botswana in over 20 years, and am eager to visit some of the incredible new camps that have opened. In Botswana, I am most excited for our visit to Zarafa Camp. My colleagues have raved about it, and I am very excited for the game viewing (both on water and from vehicles). After the safari experience in Botswana, we have five nights of relaxation at Maia Resort in Seychelles. I have been fortunate enough to visit Seychelles a couple of times in the past, and they are the most beautiful islands I have ever seen. I can’t wait for a return visit!
Starla Estrada, Destination Expert
I’m excited to go to Ethiopia in January! I’m also hoping to go to Chad, and later in the year, I’m planning to go to British Columbia.
Story Kirshman, Marketing Specialist
I’m looking forward to celebrating the new year in Cuba! I can’t wait to learn about the history, experience the colorful art, and revel in Cuban music. Ever since the music from the film “Buena Vista Social Club” came out in 1997, it’s been on my bucket list and I’m so excited to begin 2016 fulfilling a long-time dream!
Tina Liadis, Destination Expert
I’ll be returning to Greece, possibly combined with a stop in Istanbul. And I’m hoping to go to India via Abu Dhabi.
Urs Hofmann, Destination Expert
I’m off to Ethiopia for almost a month in January. I’m most excited about seeing the otherworldly, arid landscapes of the Danakil region, hiking in the Simien Mountains, visiting the tribal regions in the south (Omo) plus seeing infamous Harar. Of course there are also the famous rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and the stelae of Axum. On top of all of that, we will be in Ethiopia for the Timkat festival, which promises to be a real treat.
In May/June, I’m off to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. I’m very much interested in anything that has to do with the Silk Road, especially the Central Asian portion of it. I look forward to admiring stunning Persian architecture in places like Samarkand and the desert cities of Khiva and Bukhara, staying overnight in the middle of the desert in a yurt, visiting the bazaar in Osh, driving through Chichkan Gorge, and visiting Son Kul and Issyk Kul. A future destination I hope to visit is the Sudan. Give me desert, dunes, tribal societies, history, and culture and I’m happy!
Vassi Koutsaftis, Destination Expert
I’m going back to Snow Lake in the Karakoram, Pakistan, one of the hardest, most dramatic, and most rewarding treks I have ever led. The last time we offered this one was in 2000. I’ve been there five times and every time I say, “Never again!”
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To learn more about GeoEx’s remarkable destinations across the globe and the options for exploring them, give our experts a call at 888-570-7108.