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My Top 7 Travel Destinations for 2017

In goals, Travel by Brit Hemming9 Comments

It’s that time of year and my love of lists continues. As the new year approaches and I’m busy setting my goals for 2017, it’s only natural to think about what places are important for me to travel to this year. Travel helps me grow as a person and as I develop and my interest change and expand so do my travel plans. Travel is all about learning and discovery and when I’m lucky enough, making a small difference in the places I’ve been to and the lives I’ve been able to touch. Travel is a big part of what drives me, balances me and gives me inspiration to discover and create so I figured I would share what’s on my list for 2017.

1. Iran

The magic and beauty of Iran has been alluring to me for as long as I can remember, but coming from the “west” I’ve always been told it’s unsafe or off limits (note: this likely makes it all the more appealing to me). So when I started to hearing from people who have visited just how wonderful it is, I knew I had to put it on the top of my list.

Top 3 Things I want to see:

– Sheikh Lutfallah Mosque
– Nasir-ol-Mulk Mosque (pictured above)
– Lut Desert

Top 3 Things I want to do:

– Go hiking in Kerian Canyon (it’s absolutely stunning, look it up!)
– Hang out in tea houses and read about culture
– Explore the street art of Tehran

2. Oman

I have been to Abu Dhabi and Doha and although they are beautiful destinations I did not find them that interesting. There is a lack of authenticity and culture there, in my opinion. I’m not into shopping, flash or brand names and everything is shiny and new. That said I haven’t written off my interest in all of the Arab Gulf States. Oman has been pretty high on my list for a little while and everyone I’ve spoken to that has visited Oman raves about it and mentions how different it is from the surround countries. Apparently you can still experience and discover a lot of tradition and culture in Oman and this year I would like to make a point to visit and see this beautiful country for myself.

Top 3 Things I want to see:

– Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
– Wadi Shab
– Nizwa Fort

Top 3 Things I want to do:

– Camping in the desert
– Snorkeling
– Hiking in Jebel Shams, Oman’s highest Peak

3. France

I have a year and a half left until I turn 30, so keeping my list of goals in mind (30 before 30) I really want to improve my french to the point where I am conversationally fluent. My plan – spend 3 months in France interning and improving my French. As much as I think I would absolutely fall in love with Paris, I also think I could get away with speaking english there. I want to throw myself into French culture and be totally immersed so that I have no choice but to speak French. Even if I feel silly at first.

Top 3 Things I want to see:

– The Louvre
– The Eiffel tower (because you can’t go to France and not see the Eiffel tower)
– The Palace of Versailles

Top 3 Things I want to do:

– Go Champagne tasting in Champagne
– Have a picnic in front of the Eiffel tower
– Frolic through the lavender fields in Provence

4. Vancouver

I love my country, and although I have visited Vancouver and my mom lived in Calgary in four years I have not spent nearly enough time on the West Coast. So, when I found out that my best friend has been transferred to Vancouver for her job this year I thought what better excuse to spend the summer on the West Coast? I will have the chance to explore a new city with one of my favourite people and she will get some company and help with her adorable puppy in exchange.

Top 3 Things I want to see:

– A Giant Red Wood
– This technically isn’t in Vancouver or BC but since I will be closer, I would like to visit Jasper National Park
– The Vandusen Botanical Garden

Top 3 Things I want to do:

– Have a picnic in Stanley Park
– Make friends with a bunny on Vancouver island, I swear this is a thing.
– Spend a weekend Camping and Surfing

5. California

Do I really need a reason to want to explore California? I feel like this is on everyone’s travel list at one point or another. Why 2017? Because honestly, I’m pretty shocked that I haven’t made it here. I will be on the west coast this summer so instead of a 6 hour flight from my home town of Toronto to LA I’m looking at a 3 hour flight and a much cheaper price tag. It’s a destination I do not want to miss this summer.

Top 3 Things I want to see:

– The San Francisco Bridge
– Yosemite National Park
– State St. in Santa Barbara

Top 3 Things I want to do:

– Go wine tasting in Napa Valley
– Drive the Pacific Coast Highway
– Go Camping in Joshua Tree National Park

6. Washington State

One of my many jobs in University was working for a booking system that would make reservations for Washington State Parks. So I got to know the layout of the parks very well and they looked absolutely beautiful. Also, being a huge Greys Anatomy Fan, Seattle has been on my list for a while. It’s also a 3 hour drive from Vancouver so I really have no reason not to visit this summer.

Top 3 Things I want to see:

– Pike Place Market
– The Original Starbucks. I know all you coffee snobs are going to roll your eyes at this. I have an appreciation for independent coffee joints as well. But after reading “Pour Your Heart into it” by Howard Schultz, I have a new appreciation for Starbucks and the vision that Howard, built. So haters gon’ hate, but I’m going to geek out over this and enjoy every second 😉
– A view of Seattle from the top of the Space Needle

Top 3 Things I want to do:

– Ride a ferry boat (it’s cliché, I know)
– Climb Mt. Washington. Climbing a mountain is another item on my 30 before 30 list and although I have my heart set on Kilimanjaro, it doesn’t hurt to get some practice on smaller mountains. Plus, I hear this is a difficult, beautiful and rewarding climb as well.
– Go Camping in a State Park

7. Argentina

I haven’t made it to South America yet, and it is my dream to convert a camper Van and drive from Argentina back to my home in Toronto, so if the stars align correctly I will be starting this Journey at the end of next year. So besides Argentina being the starting point for this, it’s also a beautiful country that I would love to have the opportunity to explore.

Top 3 Things I want to see:

– Patagonia
– Iguazu Falls
– La Boca Neighbourhood in Buenos Aries

Top 3 Things I want to do:

– Go wine tasting (Malbec is my favourite)
– Dance the Tango in Buenos Aries
– Go hiking in Tierra Del Fuego, the southern most point of the America’s.

What’s on your list for 2017? Leave your destination and why you want to visit in the comments 🙂