Happy New Year! And "Bon Voyage" for the journeys of your year, whether they add stamps in your passport or smiles in your memories. A whole new year of travel awaits, like sails to unfurl and catch the winds.
Where do you want to go? Why? By this time next year, what portals and peaks will you have visited? Do you have a special birthday or anniversary this year that you want to celebrate with extraordinary experiences?
If you want to pull out a pad and create your "2015 Travel Check–off" list, one approach is The Powerful Ps: Place, Purpose, People, Plan. The following is excerpted from My Adventures: A Traveler's Journal, a portable museand journal for the creative and curious, available mid-January.
What beckons you? Alaska, Singapore, Easter Island, Dubai, Mongolia, Tahiti, Yosemite, Uruguay, Papua New Guinea, Norway, Morocco, Taiwan, the North Pole, the tip of South America, a cabin in the woods, or a ship at sea...?
Most epic journeys begin with a quest. What's yours? Do you want to go on safari or to help build a school? See the Pope or penguins? Climb the pyramids, library stacks, or Mt. Kilimanjaro? Descend into a cave to see wines or bioluminescent glowworms?
Maybe you would rather seek while sitting. Is your aim to taste the best pasta and gelato in Italy? Or to meditate with Buddhists in the Royal Kingdom of Happiness — Bhutan?
Do you want to trace your ancestors' roots on other continents? Or seek out the most futuristic places on the globe? Or explore the area within 50 kilometres of home as if it were new to you?
Who are the people you want to travel with? What kind of guides do you want on the scene? Who are you hoping to meet on the journey? Do you want to be invited in for tea in Ireland or in Japan? Do you want to meet people who are the best at what they do or who speak languages you've never heard? Or are you really hoping just to meet yourself in the reflections of foreign windows?
Ahh, planning is the lever that may move your ideas to realities. What are the next steps you need to take for each of the things on your "2015 Travel Check off list" to become deeds as well as dreams? Research? A plan to accumulate frequent flyer miles? A call to the cruise line or bicycle tour company you keep thinking about? There are Internet sites, people, and books to help with plotting and packing (My Adventures has pages of lists and resources — from electronics and currencies abroad to a map for tracking your adventures).
And for Pique readers, let's add the "P" of Passion. Are there ski slopes and golf courses you want to add to your life? Do you want to walk in the footsteps of a favourite author in Dublin or along the Inca trail in Peru? Take cooking classes overseas? Ride the rails of fabled routes?
Are you curious about Cuba? Want to see why people keep talking about Costa Rica or New Zealand? Would you like your own Downton Abbey experience in England at the Cliveden Estate and Goring Hotel, starting with a Queen Mary II crossing?
Are you already a cruise fan or foe? Port Metro Vancouver offers many lines and itineraries.
There are also smaller custom ships. The "barges" (charming wooden boats with dedicated chefs) of European Waterways can take you up canals to medieval towns in Europe. Aqua Expeditions offers intimate visits to the Amazon River of Ecuador and Quasar shares the Galapagos with the Grace yacht.
Have you cruised your own continent? "Uncruise," offers activity-filled trips and up-close nature viewing – from the Humpback whales and waterfalls of Alaska in the summer, to warmer winter snorkeling with sea lions in the legendary Sea of Cortez off Baja California.
Do you want to "find yourself" or "escape" in your 2015 travels? To run away to someplace warm, Windstar cruises in French Polynesia include time on a private motu (islet). Safaris in Africa immerse you in expansive landscapes and animal encounters.
Have you jotted ideas now and plotted the travel vignettes you want for 2015? What friends do you want more time with, and what journey can you share? Is this the year to renew wedding vows in an exotic place? Take up a new sport or language somewhere fun?
What happens if you pull out a map, close your eyes, and point?
Or maybe on the first day of your new year, you just want to keep sipping at your beverage of choice and enjoy some Cyber Travel in the comfort of your home. The Pique's travel section of all last year's stories can globe trot for you.
Whether your 2015 travels are in your mind or on the earth, may your journeys bring you wisdom and wonder. Happy New Year —and Happy Trails!