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Posted by Jessica on Dec 6, 2010
Travel in 2011

While in South Africa, Tim and I had a problem we've never encountered before. (And by problem, I mean "something of absolutely no consequence whatsoever.") When people we met asked where in the world we would be traveling to next, we didn't have an answer for them. Given we're usually a bit guilty of thinking three or four trips in advance, it was remarkably refreshing to have a blank slate for a while.

Aside from the usual holiday trips to see family, we don't have any travel plans for the rest of this year. (That's mostly because we used up all our remaining vacation days on our South Africa trip!) But as far as 2011 is concerned, well, it's just ready and waiting for us to explore.

Of course we have no way of knowing how the year will actually shape up. But, assuming the coming year is a pretty normal one (knock on wood), we'd expect to leave the US for international destinations somewhere around 3-6 times next year. And our personal goal is that among those 3-6 trips, at least one place should be a new country to us.

(This past year, we hit three new countries: Nicaragua, Germany, and South Africa. And we left the country five times: Montreal, Canada in February; Bay of Fundy, Canada in April; Nicaragua in May; Quebec, Canada in August; and Germany and South Africa in October through November. Though, as I mention in the Bay of Fundy story, I'm still not sure Canada counts!)

So where in the world shall we go in 2011?

Even though we don't know where our very next trip will be yet, we do know one place where we'd like to go at the end of next year: New Zealand. We've been eager to explore that gorgeous country for quite some time now, but we've been waiting until our best friend returned home so we could explore it with him. A kiwi himself, he's been living in the States now for 10 or so years, but come January he and his lovely girlfriend will be heading back to the land of hobbits. And we, graciously wonderful people we are, are going to take full advantage of them living there as a way to explore the country and, ahem, score free accommodation. We'll be excited to see them too, of course! (See "graciously wonderful" description earlier.) And it'll be incredibly special to see such a beautiful country with two of our most favorite people in the world.

Now, New Zealand will be later in the year, giving time to our friends to get settled (and giving us time to save for the astronomically-priced plane tickets). But what about earlier in 2011?

One idea that came to mind during our recent layover in Frankfurt (specifically at 8am with beers in hand touring Frankfurt's streets with our good friends Klaus and Secret Agent X) was a two-week long road trip through Europe. We'd leave Dusseldorf in Klaus's convertible and easily be able to hit several (new, to us) countries while enjoying time with wonderful friends and seeing some fabulous sights. Plus, we could wear sunglasses. What more could we want out of life?

Then there are always those last minute traveling opportunities that pop up throughout the year. (Like when we took a long weekend in 2009 to join Klaus in Bogota, Colombia.) They're sometimes my most favorite parts of traveling because you have no idea when you'll be hopping on a plane for somewhere else in the world next week. Maybe we'll pop down to somewhere new in Central America for a few days. Or maybe we'll finally return to England to visit some more dear friends. Or maybe we'll head back to Buenos Aires to catch a tango show one Friday night.

As for other possible larger trips next year, I'll confess that Africa is already calling to us strongly. We've only been home from South Africa for a few weeks, but we both desperately want to return. A trip from Cape Town and up through Namibia has crossed our minds quite a bit. And for the past few months we've started thinking a lot about West Africa. And don't even get us started on returning to places from our past – like India, where we have so much more to see (I'm especially drawn to the Golden Temple in the state of Punjab), or the ele park, which we haven't had a chance to return to since adopting Belly.

Given earlier this year we had no way of knowing we'd be traveling to South Africa (and Germany) for three weeks, 2011 is definitely still wide open. The days are just waiting to be filled with new places to visit and old places to reconnect, new friendships to create and dear friendships to treasure. I can't wait to see what the next year will bring and where in the world the road will take us. For me, not knowing where we'll be going is a wonderful "problem" to have.

(And you? Where in the world will you be headed in 2011?)

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December 6, 2010 at 11:55am
Yes it will be very exciting…and maybe Timmy can run around the Shire..
December 6, 2010 at 12:05pm
LOL! It'll be the perfect use of his very hobbity-looking feet. Look at Timmay running! ;)
December 6, 2010 at 5:56pm
be sure to take a toothbrush to add to the NZ Toothbrush Fence! …seriously, google it if you don't know ;)
December 6, 2010 at 9:59pm
Oh my gosh! I love it! Yes, the toothbrush fence has become a "must see" for New Zealand. :)
December 7, 2010 at 3:21am
I'd opt to visit the Old Forest, myself!

Ever think about the far north in Europe? Excellent beer I hear.

December 7, 2010 at 7:01am
Perhaps Tim and I should take a Beers of the World tour! I used to do those in college – you know, those "Around the World" parties where there'd be a different drink at each spot (located a mere few feet apart). Hmmm, those nights often didn't turn out so well… :)
December 7, 2010 at 8:32am
Don't you love having good problems? I think it is awesome you guys have made travel a priority in your lives. We've got 4 months left on our trip, and while I will be glad to return home, I'm thinking about ways to keep traveling from time to time.

On a different note, we're thinking about heading to the Elephant Nature Park while we are Chiang Mai. Probably won't be there for as long as you, but you can never say never I suppose!

December 7, 2010 at 3:05pm
Absolutely! It's an excellent problem to have. And I think that's great that you guys are trying to figure out how to still incorporate travel in your lives once you get home. For us, that was the cure of our very pitiful post-travel sadness that we had after our RTW. My fingers are crossed that you can just skip the sad part, and hop right to the fun traveling again part!

Oh my gosh! That'd be *wonderful* if you guys headed to the Park! Yay! If you do, please give lots and lots of love to all the doggies for us. And the eles! And the people! Some of our most favorite people in the world are there.

Speaking of which, one of our most favorite favorite people and a dear friend that's there is Karl, a mahout at the Park. He has a blog you might enjoy reading before going to the Park called ElephantDreaming.com! Here it is:


December 7, 2010 at 3:33pm
urgent: go to madison square garden, nyc on december 11 :D
December 8, 2010 at 9:37am
LOL! I just checked out the schedule and told Tim. Now he's having flashbacks to industrial music nights at the clubs in Philadelphia. :)
December 13, 2010 at 1:21am
Sometimes it's fun not to have any countries on your list and just see what opportunity presents itself in front of you. That way you might end up somewhere you never expected…

I too am drawing a blank on where to go next. I've done 21 trips in the past 2 years,and the horror! I'm feeling a little tired!

December 13, 2010 at 3:09am

…That way you might end up somewhere you never expected…

Exactly! That's definitely one of my favorite parts of the traveling we do. I love the unexpected destinations that pop up along the way. :)

December 13, 2010 at 2:18pm
Oh you MUST go to New Zealand. It is one of our very favorite countries and somewhere we would love to live someday. Gorgeous scenery, short driving distances, friendly locals and yep, fantastic food & wine! Not sure where your friends live and both islands are nice but we fell in love w/ South Island (Blenheim & Kaikoura area is out of this world…you stand on the beach looking out to sea, turn around and the southern alps look close enough to touch… glaciers, penquins…so much to see and do. Can't wait to hear what you decide!
December 13, 2010 at 3:13pm
What a gorgeous sounding description! :)

We're definitely very eager to see as much of NZ as we can. And our friends will be living on the South Island too (in the Christchurch area or thereabouts), so it's perfect!

December 14, 2010 at 3:49am
That's my favorite kind of "problem". Visit more places in Africa and the Middle East! Morocco, Tanzania, Madagascar, Kenya, Lebanon… so many new options!
Just stumbled on your website today and absolutely love it, especially your debate over whether your trips to Canada count or not :p (Toronto was "home" for most of my life).

All the best trying to find a solution to this best of problems :)

December 14, 2010 at 3:17pm
Hi Souzan! Thanks so much for leaving such a great comment, and welcome to HedgehogsWithoutBorders! :)

Yes, the Middle East and more of Africa really must be on our list. Maybe we can make a few trips this year! Ideally I'd like to spend at least a year just traveling in that part of the world…but even then, I know we'd just scratch the surface. There's so much to see in the world! :)

Thanks again for stopping by! And I'm looking forward to checking our your blog too! :)

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