Last week I won a $100 travel voucher with Expedition Trips. That isn’t a lot of money considering the cost of some of ET’s trips – they are fantastic locales that are not easily accessible, so they tend to be a little more expensive – but I feel inspired to use it and explore some far off and exotic location. I just can’t decide which one. I’ve narrowed it down to a handful of destinations, but I need your vote to decide which one I should do; a comment would also be most welcome if a destination you think I should go to and write about is not listed in the poll. So please cast your vote, leave a comment, and let me know what you think. In the end, it’s you who will decide where I go – not me.
Here are the finalists I chose, in alphabetical order, and a few thoughts about each…
When I’m asked about my favorite destination, I immediately answer Antarctica. I traveled there over a decade ago with Expedition Trips and had an experience unlike any other in my life. Its beauty is almost incomparable, the wildlife watching opportunities are the best I’ve experienced, and the idea of going to such a remote location is unparalleled. It’s truly a place unlike any other on the planet. And so, while I have been there, I have a strong urge to return and experience the Ice again. I have no doubt it will be another amazing experience – although I will not try to duplicate that of my previous adventure – and one that will not disappoint in any way. But that is a concern, the expectations of returning to such a special place, and a deterrent for my decision.
The idea I have of the Galapagos is like that of a warmer Antarctica. The beauty will be stunning, the wildlife viewing will be amazing, and it will be an experience unlike any I’ve ever had on any other trip. Traveling to the islands will also give me a chance to see a new country in Ecuador, since I’ll be spending at least two nights, if not three, in one of the country’s main cities before setting sail on any one of the number of Expedition Trips cruises. And there are a great many of them, which makes the decision to go so much more difficult than choosing some place like Antarctica – do I want a cruise with few people (16 passengers), a middle number (40 passengers), or is it best to be on a larger ship (100 passengers) for the chance to mingle with more people and thus meet someone around my age? I go back and forth and thus have difficulty on settling on this location due to the overwhelming number of choices.
I have absolutely fallen in love with Hawaii. I would have never guessed it, either, since my first experience – while fun since I was visiting a friend – was not as impressive as I had anticipated. I think I had expected it to be so much more. And it is. Just not on the surface. So now that I have had a chance to dig a little deeper, what I’ve found on the Hawaiian Islands currently attracts me more than any other destination. The tropical beauty of the islands, the variety of opportunities while there, and, most importantly, the people – the great and amazing people – make me want to return again and again. So an opportunity to take a cruise to Hawaii and see several of the islands, one of which will be new for me, is a big draw. My only concern is that it will be superficial, since it is a cruise and not a trip where I can truly immerse myself on one island for any length of time like my previous trips.
Never had I considered this destination until I searched through Expedition Trips’ site to see where I might want to go. And seeing that it is dubbed “The Galapagos of the South” makes it quite appealing, especially because of the opportunities for wildlife viewing. And it is a location where I know of no one who has traveled there before, which makes the opportunity largely unique for me. But there are two big drawbacks that make me hesitate; One, based on my preliminary calculations it will be the most expensive of the trips when everything is factored in, largely due to the airfare to fly from the U.S. to Hobart, Australia. Two, I don’t like the layout of the ship and that the bathrooms are not en suite. I do not like the idea of public restrooms and showers, even though I would be sharing a room with a complete stranger anyway – as I likely would on any of the other cruises I mention.
I imagine traveling to Svalbard would be much like Antarctica, although without such dramatic beauty. I think the island, which sits in the Arctic Circle far north of Europe, will be stunning, but I can’t believe it will be anything like its cousin in the south. Regardless, it will still have a great many amazing opportunities that I desire, most namely the opportunity to see polar bears in person. I love wildlife watching and am enthused over the opportunity to see so much in Svalbard, particularly the polar bears, walruses, and maybe even whales. And the added bonus of going into the Arctic Circle is a draw unlike any of the other possible destinations.