Welcome back to my new monthly series on Nomadderwhere, one which highlights the incredible trips one could take in that current month - thanks to a vibrant book called Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic. Each month I pick a couple adventures from each section in the book in order to provide you inspiration for 365 days from now. Read the brief description to whet your appetite, and click on the trip name for further information (links provided by National Geographic...of course you could be a gritty backpacker and make it on your own).
Charleston and the Lowcountry Cruise: Board a large motor yacht in Charlston, South Carolina and coast alongside Southeast America, freckled with 19th century mansions and unspoiled beaches, and slowly make your way to Jacksonville, Florida via Savannah, Georgia, floating under tree-covered waterways in between.
Amazon River: Avoid the massive ships that cruise the Amazon and board a two-decked riverboat to feel a little more connected with the vast wilderness that flanks the muddy river system. Be sure to go on foot into the jungle to find some local communities that will put a face to the environment (wouldn't recommend venturing solo).
The Oregon Trail: If America were a trail map like Africa, the Oregon Trail would be the main overlanding route if you wanted to see beautiful landscapes with a taste of history. Taking you from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City, you're bound to see many a-monumental sight on the 2,000 mile journey.
The Takenouchi Highway: A one day trip from Osaka to Nara, this route gives you a taste of the old and new world, allowing excellent views of mountains and nature from your car window. Don't miss a sumo match, climbing Mount Nijo, or opening your eyes to the vast amount of cherry blossoms everywhere.
Wildlife Safari: Take a one week tour from Durban to Pretoria where your daily tasks include looking out the window and gorgeous scenery, getting up occasionally to observe large African mammals lumbering around their natural habitat, and eating/drinking as much as you can with Rovos Rail's all-you-can-eat-and-drink policy. Triple score!
The Rocky Mountaineer: Starting in Vancouver, this train rides only in daylight through the snowy landscapes of British Colombia to Alberta, Canada. Give yourself two days to be amazed by terrain deeply carved by ancient glaciers and powerful rivers. GoldLeaf service sounds pretty classy.
The Annapurna Circuit: Meander past the world's deepest gorge among the world's tallest peaks on a trek that's sure to bring you to physical and spiritual enlightenment, purely by your proximity to the stratosphere. Take the whole month of April off. Pick wild flowers in the Himalayas.
The Cinque Terre: Romp around the Italian Riviera from quaint coastal town to even quainter coastal town; it doesn't get any quainter than this, people! Brilliantly colored houses stack next to a blue sea and craggy, mountainous olive pitches. Try to make it to Monterosso al Mare for the Limone Festivale!
In Search of Culture
Ancient Kyoto: The quintessential Japanese experience - what do you think it could be? How about picnicking under a blooming cherry blossom tree in one of Kyoto's parks. That doesn't sound half bad, does it? Neither does ambling through ancient wooden temples and stalking authentic geishas, if you can spot a real one from a poser.
Mexico's Colonial Cities: Whadayaknow. Mexico has a heartland, too! It's colonial heart where New Spain erected its elaborate cathedrals and palaces, connected by cobbled streets. While you're taking a good ten days to peruse these central Mexican cities, don't miss the opportunity to visit an indigenous village while you're there!
In Gourmet Heaven
A Bedouin Feast: Visit the scorched, orange plains and rocky outcroppings of Wadi Rum where not only can you take jeep safaris, spot wildlife, and sleep under the stars but most importantly you may enjoy a traditional meal of the desert dwellers, sure to be teeming with meat, spice and complementary flavor.
Sri Lanka Tea Estates: In the higher altitudes of a near Equatorial island, there grow the sweet leaves of your morning tea. Wake up at dawn to see the clouds covering the bushy plantations like a blanket. Hire a car with a driver and discover the southern half on your own.
Into the Action
Moroccan Camel Train: Cruise the Sahara with your head bobbling with every camel step toward the next dune. Don't be frightened; the Berbers have your back out here, where you're likely to pitch your tent yourself and enjoy traditional food and tribal music until the moon sits atop the dome. If camels are too smelly for you, surf the dune waves with your sandboard.
Crossing Transylvania: Instead of thinking "vampires," here are the following thoughts I want you to associate with Transylvania: mountain biking, meadows of wildflowers, ancient forests, horse-drawn carts, and smoked cheese. Not blood...smoked cheese.
Up and Away
Glaciers by Air: How does an airplane land on a glacier?With skis, of course! Crisp, cold air of the southern island will seem paper thin from your window in the sky. The entire wilderness is frozen, crackling, and shades of blue.
Cable Car to Sugar Loaf: Take a gander from Sugar Loaf mountain at one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Rio de Janiero. From there you can also admire Christ the Redeemer perched atop another mountain in the distance.
In Their Footsteps
Thoreau's Wilderness Home: Stretching from Massachusetts to Maine, the beaches, woods, and mountains that inspired this natural philosopher will intoxicate you with the scent of Mother Earth. Read his books while pondering civilization, sitting in a copy of his cabin in the woods. Should be a lovely bout of isolation.
Don Quixote's Spain: Create your own Quixote-inspired route from Toledo to Cuenca on a quest to empower the needy and defenceless...or maybe just enjoy the windmills and poppies along the way. It's said this La Mancha region also has some opportunities for great wining and cheesing. You can blaze this trail by bike, by foot, by car, or by trusty steed.
How's that brain? Spinning with innumerable desires to traverse continents and climates? Pull out a pen and prioritize your life by putting one or more of these trips at the top of the list. And by planning a year in advance, you'll be quite able to save, prepare, and anticipate the rigors of your adventure in every way. Check back in May for the Journeys of a Lifetime you could partake in next year!
Where are you inspired to travel to next year? Leave a comment and be my new friend.