Happy New Year, everyone! It might sound silly, but I truly feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders with 2020 officially in the rearview mirror.
Who knows if 2021 will be a better year. However, I am determined to remain optimistic about what this year may have in store. In addition to writing out my new year's resolutions, I also decided to create a travel bucket list for Now Boarding. 2020 has certainly kicked my inner travel bug into overdrive, especially after my travel-packed 2019. And although it will certainly be a while until I feel comfortable hopping on a plane again due to the pandemic, a girl can dream, right?
Without further ado, here is my list of ALL of the destinations I plan to start tackling as soon as this pandemic comes to a close.
I've been wanting to go to Morocco for years, whether it's Marrakesh, Casablanca or Fez (Fes). My friends who have visited the country say it's a must-visit for its food, art and architecture. I tried to make it to Morocco when I studied abroad in London (because it was only a 3-4 hour flight), but unfortunately, I could not make it work with my schedule. My next dream vacation would be a long layover in London (I'm talking like a week haha) and then another week exploring Morocco. One day, I hope!
2. Denver, Colorado
DENVER! I've heard so many good things. In fact, one of my besties recently moved to Denver and she loves it so far. Denver offers a myriad of activities for its visitors, from its art scene to its craft beer community to a number of stunning parks to explore. Plus, you can even take a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park! Who could pass that up?
3. New Orleans, Louisiana
As a huge jazz fan, New Orleans has been on my bucket list for years. After all, it's known as the birthplace of jazz. I can't wait to be able to visit the city to take a stroll through the French Quarter (hello, Bourbon Street!), munch on beignets from Cafe Du Monde and visit Louis Armstrong's Birthplace. Who's with me?
4. Austin, Texas
I've visited Austin once before many moons ago for a family wedding, but I unfortunately did not get the opportunity to fully explore what Austin had to offer. Still, it remains one of my favorite cities I've ever visited. With "Keep Austin Weird" as its official slogan, Austin was definitely up my alley; I particularly enjoyed sampling some of their many food trucks and seeing a number of live music shows featuring an array of very talented musicians. Did I mention the fantastic Tex-Mex and ample cowboy/cowgirl boot stores? I hope I can make my way back to Austin sometime soon when it's finally safe to travel again.
Japan has also been at the top of my list for a number of years. Specifically, I would love to visit Tokyo. There, I would hope to make my way to the Yayoi Kusama Museum (perhaps known most notably for her "Infinity Mirror Room" series), Sensoji (a popular temple), Shibuya Crossing, Yoyogi Park and Golden Gai, a network of alleyways filled with fun dive bars. According to Condé Nast Traveler, Golden Gai recalls the "post-war debauchery (before the neighborhood became a stomping ground for shiny skyscrapers and trendy nightclubs)." If time permits, I'd also like to make my way to Kyoto, which is considered the cultural capital of Japan.
6. Cape Town, South Africa
I first started learning about Cape Town from one of my favorite YouTubers, Ben Brown. From hiking Table Mountain to improving my surfing skills in a number of its sprawling beaches, I hope to finally visit Cape Town within the next few years. Most importantly, I would be remiss if I didn't learn more about Cape Town's history. While there, I'd also like to visit Robben Island, which hosts a museum on the island that commemorates the struggle that political figures such as Nelson Mandela had to endure on the island during the Apartheid years.
7. Asheville, North Carolina
I didn't know much about Asheville until I worked at two North Carolina-based outlets over the past year. Many of my colleagues told me it was one of their favorite cities in the state. Some of my to-do's in this hipster haven of a city includes going brewery hopping, visiting some of its highly-rated music venues such as The Orange Peel (which was rated by Rolling Stone as as one of the top five rock clubs in America!) and tapping into its arts scene by taking a glass-blowing lesson or private pottery class.
8. Istanbul, Turkey
I visited Turkey on a Mediterranean Cruise when I was in middle school and I've been wanting to go back ever since. I made it to Ephesus, which is an ancient city in Turkey’s Central Aegean region. I remember marveling at the ruins and immersing myself in a world that dated back to classical Greece and the Roman Empire. Now, I hope to make it back to Turkey to visit Istanbul, to visit sites such as the Hagia Sofia Museum (which I learned a lot about in my art history studies) and explore some of the city's sprawling street markets.
That concludes my travel bucket list. I hope you enjoyed indulging in a little bit of wanderlust with me. I'd love to hear where you all are dreaming of traveling to next, too. Let me know in the comments below :).