Where We're Going in 2018
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.
Kim Keating, Destination Expert
I have a trip to Egypt planned in March 2018 and I’m really excited. Since the Arab Spring, business in Egypt has been almost non-existent, but the last two years it’s come back. It's a great time to go, since the number of tourists is still low. Large historical sites that were overcrowded 10 years ago are much emptier now and easier to enjoy. It’s a destination that has always held so much allure for me. There is something romantic and mysterious about Egypt and its long history in the Middle East.
Corinne Edwards, Operations Specialist
Pakistan is high on my list. I’m intrigued by the culture and history, as well as the spectacular mountains. Trekking to the base camp of K2 would be an absolute dream come true! I also have great interest in visiting China, as the vastness of this ever-changing country offers so much variety. Lastly, I would love to explore the interesting and beautiful country of Papua New Guinea, with its unique traditions and landscapes.
Amanda McKee, Marketing Specialist
I've been fascinated by India for some time and look forward to exploring its enormous diversity and bright colors. I'd love to trek amid Himalayan peaks in Ladakh; look for Royal Bengal tigers in Ranthambore; cruise Kerala's backwaters by houseboat; wander through verdant tea plantations in Tamil Nadu; discover ancient desert forts, ornate temples, and fabled pink buildings in Rajasthan; mingle with hunter-gatherer tribes in Odisha; and of course spend time on the Ganges with pilgrims in Varanasi and catch the sunrise at the Taj Mahal. Sounds like I need a long trip!
I also just learned about an incredible adventure ger camp in Mongolia. It's set by a river in the remote Orkhon Valley, also known as the Valley of Kings, on the sprawling steppe, under endless sky. In addition to experiencing the nomadic lifestyle and culture, and learning about the ancient world empires that have sprung from this region, you can get out into the exquisite landscapes in a range of ways: riding Mongolian horses, going for hikes, taking polo and archery lessons, kayaking, swimming, doing yoga, even rock climbing and mountain biking. Supported overnight expeditions by horse, bike, foot, or four-by-four can be arranged to see more of the region. And though staying in yurts may sound like roughing it, the camp looks pretty luxurious to me—each ger has a comfy bed with lots of blankets and a fire to keep you warm at night, massage treatments and hot tubs are available for relaxation, delicious meals are served in an inviting dining ger, and traditional music is performed during the evenings. I can't wait to get out there and soak it all in.
Alysa Pakkidis, Marketing Specialist
I'm looking forward to my 2018 travels including Sri Lanka to experience its lush nature, abundant wildlife -- would love to catch a glimpse of a purple-faced langur or the elusive sloth bear -- and, of course, to learn about the high-quality tea and variety of spices!
Papua New Guinea is also in my sights to see the fascinating culture and people! And an important destination for me next year will be to visit my family in Rhodes, Greece. I want to explore the surrounding islands as well, to learn more about my heritage, taking a cooking class or two, and swim in the healing waters of the Mediterranean.
Glenn Ringer, Operations Specialist
I’m finally realizing my number-one dream travel destination in early 2018: Antarctica! For the last 30-plus years, Antarctica has been at the very top of my “must-visit” list, but for one reason or another, I haven’t been able to make it happen—until now. The otherworldly landscapes, breathtaking light, and bountiful wildlife await! With climate change impacting Antarctica at a rapid pace, there is no time like the present to experience this magnificent continent.
Jennine Cohen, Destination Specialist
I want to go to South Africa because Starla Estrada has the inside scoop on Johannesburg’s incredible emerging art scene. As a salsa and samba dancer, I also want to get into the Kizomba scene, which is big in South Africa. It’s a slower dance that started in Angola (with roots in Portugal) and has now spread all over Africa. And, I want to go on safari in Namibia to soak up the dramatic empty desert landscapes and spot phenomenal wildlife.
Natalie Crow, Destination Expert
Having visited Mexico City last year, I am dying to go back to Mexico! It’s close to the US, rich in culture, and amazingly diverse—the people and food are the highlights for me. I’m lucky enough to have a destination wedding to attend, which is in the Yucatan in March. The far-flung destination on my radar is New Zealand, which I hear has friendly locals, amazing scenery and hiking, and wonderful wineries—all of my favorite things! I’m also planning to do a California backpacking trip in the summer, taking advantage of the amazing natural wonders we have in our own backyard.
Alice Howell, Marketing Specialist
Kuari Pass Trek in India! Although India is best known for the cultural touring (and for good reason), the treks that are possible in northern India rival those available in many other countries in the world. I’m excited to get remote, disconnect, and experience incredible views. This trek is particularly accessible being lower elevation and is famous for having fantastic views throughout the whole adventure.
Kristina Tuohey, Destination Expert
If I’m lucky, I’ll take my newborn to our family lake house in Finland. Otherwise I’ll be exploring child-friendly Bay Area haunts that I never knew existed.
Scott Montgomery, COO
From the moment we introduced our Mystical West Africa trip, I have been wanting to visit Ghana, Benin, and Togo. I have traveled in other parts of West Africa, but have not yet made it to these three countries, and 2018 is the year I will finally make it happen. I am so intrigued to explore a region that our returning guests have been raving about. I can’t wait.
Jessica Silber, Destination Expert
I’m crossing my fingers for a getaway to Costa Rica! A country with such extraordinary biodiversity has a lot of appeal. I’m so impressed by the Costa Rican tourism industry’s commitment to sustainability, and want to see these principles in action. I’m totally inspired by how local communities preserve their landscapes and set an example for the rest of the world. I also just want to lie in a hammock and see a toucan. Doesn’t have to be at the same time.
Melanie Regino, Operations Specialist
Vibrant cultures, breathtaking views, and interesting food draw me to travel. My ultimate dream is to step foot on every continent by the end of my lifetime to discover my favorites of these. But until then, my top destination goals are Morocco, Thailand, Iran, and Patagonia. As you can see, it’s impossible for me to narrow it down!
Edwin d’Haens, Destination Expert
The plan is Iceland! Having heard so many great stories from colleagues and friends who have been recently, it is time to not put it off any longer!
Errin Mixon, Destination Expert
I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Asia several times over the last few years, but this year I’m hoping to visit Panama (because of the hats) and Colombia (I would like to dance in Cartagena like Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone).
Starla Estrada, Destination Expert
Danielle Garland, Production Specialist
I lived in Central America a few years back, so I’m planning to revisit some of my favorite places in Costa Rica (beaches and waterfalls galore!), and check out some new-to-me parts of Nicaragua in February. Also, I have a friend who recently moved to Taiwan and she’s been raving about it, so that’s on my list for next year, as well. Patagonia is also on the radar for later in 2018… There are never enough days in the year to see everything I want to see!
# # # # #
For more travel inspiration, browse the globetrotting tales and insights on GeoEx's blog, Wanderlust.