I usually seem to fall into the typical New Year’s Resolution trap, otherwise known as making all sorts of lofty plans for the coming year and then never (or sort of half-assedly) fulfilling them. With every passing year it is becoming clearer how easily time and well-intentioned plans can get away from me, so this year it’s time to get serious; time to get down to business, if you will. I have some important goals, and thanks to this article written by my old college buddy Alex, I think I’m going to focus on three-month goals, which I’ll be much more likely to attain.
Even though I’m keeping my goals realistic, detailed and to the point this year, I’m still going to allow myself to indulge in a little harmless daydreaming. Because 2015 is the year I’ll probably be slaving away to make a dent in my mountain of student loan debt, rendering me unable to take a ton of trips, but I can still dream about all the places I’d like to go. Amanda, also a former expat in Korea, wrote about all the places she would like to go in 2015 on her awesome blog. I’m going to copy her idea and give you my own list.
And because the extent of my travel within these 50 states is just pitiful, I give you my 2015 Stateside Travel Wish List (alternate title: Stereotypes of Places I Want to Visit):
New Orleans (and surrounding areas)
The southern half of the U.S. has its own culture that seems pretty far removed from that of Southern California, and New Orleans in particular is a cultural melting pot. I'm dying to explore it! I’ve heard great things about New Orleans, a city replete with fabulous food and music. My older sister once raved about alligator cheesecake she tried at a restaurant that is famous for the dish. And while I was appalled by the words ‘alligator’ and ‘cheesecake’ being used together in the same sentence, and even more appalled that she ate it, the fervor with which she defended the meal has made me curious enough to go there and try it for myself. I would also love to explore the surrounding areas and do a tour of the bayous. The beautiful, haunting landscape on True Detective definitely piqued by interest.
Aside from the immense amount of history and world-class museums, this city strikes me as a place that is beautiful and classy. Like the kind of place where people are constantly walking around outfitted in white coats and Prada bags; where red wine, popcorn and two hours of sleep are all you really need to make it through a chaotic day fraught with political upheaval; where covert meetings discussing life or death matters are held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, surrounded by tourists. Ok, so I’ve been binge-watching Scandal. So what? Washington D.C. is really like this, right? At the very least, the cherry blossoms in the spring seem wonderful.
The Florida Keys
This looks like the best tropical vacay you can get without straying far from mainland USA. I mean, it's practically the Bahamas. My little sister can fly down from Tallahassee and we can spend all our time snorkeling, lying on white, powdery sand in the sun, and drinking froo-froo cocktails from coconuts, which sounds like just about the best thing ever.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Austin already, because in my own mind I think of it as the distant, definitely cooler cousin of Tucson, Arizona (where I went to college). Both are liberal oases in Republican deserts, both have their fair share of hipsters, and both appreciate good music. Except Austin seems about ten times better because it has killer barbecue and SXSW. I think I could get down with a visit to Austin for SXSW.
New York City
I’ll preface by saying I have never been anywhere on the East Coast, and I’ve been wanting to check out NYC for years. After seeing the Big Apple portrayed in so many movies and reading so much about it, I’m not ashamed to say I see it as the end-all, be-all of cities in the U.S. I probably have a more grandiose, inflated view of NYC than some 12-year-old kid living in a yurt in Mongolia. I am fully prepared for my expectations to be crushed when I visit someday. I just can’t help thinking that everything is so supremely cool in New York City (even grocery stores full of cats!) I have no idea what this city is actually like, but again, I’m dying to find out.
Strolling the oak-lined streets of the oldest city in Georgia or sipping a cold glass of sweet tea on an aged front porch seems like a fine way to spend a lazy spring or summer afternoon. This city is supposed to be stunning and full of history and Southern charm. Just looking at the photos has already won me over.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Milky turquoise lakes framed by bulking glaciers? Craggy peaks? Moose? Yes, yes, and yes. A friend or two have gone on hiking trips to Glacier National Park, and their photos look unreal. I would love to have a trekking adventure here and wrap the whole thing up by relaxing at a natural hot springs resort.
Maybe in the fall? This is another city steeped in history and tradition with architecture that looks gorgeous. I’m also intrigued by the seedy underbelly of Boston portrayed in nearly all of Dennis Lehane’s novels. If I ever go, I fully expect to freeze my ass off and have a run-in with the Irish mafia.
I may not be able to hit up all of these places in 2015, but I definitely want to take a trip for my 30th birthday to somewhere special. Which place gets your vote?