1. Roadtrip across the country in a camper van
A camper van trip is the mother of all road-trips. This year, take that cross-country roadtrip you’ve been day-dreaming about. Imagine this: three weeks in a camper van that’s both home and your method of transportation, blasting 80’s music on loop, driving into the sunset, and waking up next to a new place every morning. Stop for beautiful hikes along the way, or jump in the lake whenever you want a refreshing rinse. Feel free to channel your inner Jack Kerouac throughout.
2. Take a trip to Cuba
As Cuba opens up more and more, you can bet a lot of tourists will flock to the Caribbean country. Your time to go is now, before all the influx of tourism changes the cityscape completely over the next decade. Start your trip in Havana, the beautiful capital of this exotic island country that looks like it was frozen in time.
3. Solo travel through Central Europe
Everyone needs to go on a solo trip at least once in their life. It will teach you a lot about yourself: how to spend time alone, how to entertain yourself, how to dine alone at a restaurant, and give you an excellent mental break. For me, the epic solo trip took place in Central Europe where I backpacked Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Austria. These places are the perfect destinations for solo travel: walkable cities, accessible by train, and plenty of cultural activities fit for a solo traveler.
4. Take the train across Japan
My favorite method of transportation is train travel. The shinkansen travel up to 200 miles per hour, taking you all over Japan in a matter of hours. Visit Japan in 2016 and hopscotch from one place to another from the comfortable of the shinkansen. Train travel allows you to fill in all the blanks from one Hiroshima to Kyoto, and give you another glimpse into Japanese daily life.
5. Canyon hop the 5 national parks in Utah
My favorite national parks in the United States are clustered in Utah and Arizona. 2016 marks the 100th year of the National Parks Service in the US, and there is no better way to celebrate than to embark on a 5-day 5-park adventure in Utah. The Utah Mighty 5, as it is so popularly dubbed, is a thrilling hiking adventure through the changing landscapes of Bryce Canyon, Zion Canyon, Arches National Park, Capitol Reef, and the Canyonlands. You will not regret this.
6. Plan a last minute weekend trip to Greece
For the bold and adventurous, I dare you to take an unplanned last minute weekend trip abroad. I went to Athens Greece for a weekend and it was one of my favorite trips. I loved being transported to another place on short notice, with no obligation and no set schedule, but an open heart and a curious mind to soak up everything about my destination.
7. Visit the last matriarch tribe in remote China
It’s always a pleasure to get swept away to another place, but there is something especially magical about going to a far, far-flung place. I’ve never felt more immersed in another culture than on my visit to the Musuo Tribe in the south of China. With each year, the tribe gets more visitors as the Chinese government replaces windy mountain dirt roads with paved highways. On my visit in 2011, the tribe told me that they had begun to accept and use real currency a few years prior, abandoning their long history of the barter system. In 2016, I challenge you to visit a far-flung place that remains largely undisturbed by tourism to experience a piece of history. Each year, more technology, infrastructure, and overall economic improvement bring increased tourism to truly remote places like the lakefront settlement of the Musuo tribe. Although I have no doubt that visitors help promote a destination, they also alter it - forever changing it.