I have a 2021 solo travel wish list.
Yes, I have chosen to live optimistically with the belief that I will be able to travel next year.
It's not that I have no concerns about the Coronavirus. I do. It is why I'm not traveling right now. But I'm hopeful that a vaccine will be created and that people will take the proper precautions to protect each other in the meantime.
A vaccine can change everything. However, while I have the travel wish list below, how I act on it and whether I get to these destinations or substitute others saving these ones for later, may be affected by infection and vaccine rates. I would rather go to a country that has contained the virus relatively well and where a high percentage of the population has welcomed and received the vaccine, than go to a wish list country that hasn't.
So, what to do?
I will prioritize my wish list countries and be ready to be flexible if they don't make sense.
The World Is Opening But Which Countries Are Open to You?
It has been a wild ride these past few months as the world has learned about COVID-19 and then about how to manage it. No two countries are following the exact same formula. It's not easy to be a traveler and know just what our options are going forward.
Exodus Travels, a long-time supporter of Solo Traveler offering tours that fit the needs of readers, has stepped in to help. They have a service that lets you create your travel wish list and then emails you when your desired countries announce that they're open for travel and your country says it's okay to go.
Now, let's get on to where I hope to go in 2021.
The Grandeur of Norway
I have a penchant for traveling to northern destinations. I've been to the Yukon and Nunavut in Canada. I've done a road trip in Iceland and an expedition cruise that ended in Greenland. But I've never been to Northern Europe. I've chosen Norway as my first country to visit.
The Scandinavian countries tend to be more expensive than most destinations so I will plan and budget very carefully for this trip. I hope to spend a few days in Oslo to recover from jetlag and then head out on a train and cruise journey of at least a week. There will be overnights in smaller cities and hikes to beautiful vistas. I love stretching my eyes to an endless horizon.
The Charm of Newfoundland
It's been far too long since I've been to Newfoundland. I believe it was 1993. It is time to return.
For a small province, Newfoundland is very diverse. Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of the island will capture your breath just as the Rockies in western Canada does. Across the center of the province are dwarfed trees growing on a rather barren landscape. On the east coast are fishing villages with their colorful houses, icebergs drifting by (at the right time, of course) and whales for watching.
I would want to see all of that again plus I'd like to go north to the L'Anse aux Meadow Historic site where Norse expeditions sailing from Greenland arrived and established a small site over 1,000 years ago.
It's important to note that Newfoundland isn't even open to most Canadians at this point, never mind to those from other countries. It's on our list of Best Budget Destinations for Solo Travelers: the 2020 Shortlist, but we haven't been able to get there yet.
The Desert Drama of Northern Chile
I have been to southern Chile. Santiago and Patagonia were destinations early in my travel blogging career. But I've always wanted to go to the North and not yet made it.
Now is the time to make it a priority.
Perhaps I have a thing for barren landscapes. Norway and Newfoundland both offer me some, but the Atacama takes barren to a new level. It's been called otherworldly. It's been called “Mars on Earth” and has been used by NASA to test equipment for Mars expeditions. And yet, the region also offers lagoons, volcanos, and geysers. I've tried to get there before on a trip that had to be cancelled due to a family emergency. It's time to resurrect those plans.
Stretching Boundaries in Vietnam
To be truthful, the reason I have Vietnam on this list is because I have somehow missed southeast Asia in my travels. I've been to Myanmar and Indonesia, but that's it. It's time to stretch my boundaries and I've chosen Vietnam.
So I'll go for the food and the beaches, the villages and the cities. And, if I can go to both Norway and Vietnam in 2021, perhaps the low cost of one will cancel out the high cost of the other.
Life/Work Balance in New Zealand
While most people think of New Zealand for its spectacular scenery made famous through films like Lord of the Rings, I am most impressed that it is a country with a prime minister who had a baby while in office and then took maternity leave.
This is a country that sees the importance of living a personal life in addition to work. I'd like to see what that feels like.
Actually, I'd like to see the country for both reasons. I want to drive through its spectacular landscape and explore its cities. I should also mention that there is a New Zealand company that rents campers for one.
Every two years, I travel to Australia with my husband to visit his daughter and family. This was to be one of those years and, naturally, it was cancelled. We hope to make it 2021 and, if we do, I'll be taking this trip to New Zealand.
What destinations are on your 2021 solo travel wish list?