Travel Plans 2010

Topping 2009 travel-wise is, well, pretty much impossible. At least at the moment, with our mortgage payments and book contracts and post-doc positions. It just ain’t going to happen. Sadly. But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to at least try to have a little adventure. There’s no way we’re going to pass the year without going somewhere we’ve never been before. That’s just plain unthinkable. I mean, seriously, the travel bug does not just disappear. Oh no, my friends. It infests. And multiplies. It simply can not be killed. Not that I’d want to kill it anyways. It’s no worm.

So though it’s plenty safe to say that our 2010 travel plans aren’t nearly as grand as our 2009 plans, I don’t think they’re at all shabby. And to say that I’m looking forward to them is like saying that Durham did a lousy job plowing the 7 inches of snow we got on Saturday. (In case you’re unclear, it’s a huge understatement.)

With 2010 now all the way in the door and not looking a bit like it plans to retreat, I think it’s safe to go ahead and unveil the plans. So without further ado, here’s what’s on tap for us.

The first trip of the year and the biggest is a 16-day trip to Colombia in March. As we traveled through South America in 2008-09, we kept hearing over and over that Colombia is the place to be. Rumors of its beauty, friendly people, and affordability barraged us. While in Ecuador, we pondered making the trip across the border, but we just didn’t have the time. I’ve been haunted ever since.

As for what we’re planning to do in Colombia, I’m not yet sure. All we know is that we land on the Caribbean coast and depart from Bogota. I’m definitely going to get a few dives in, and I want to enjoy the beaches of Parque Nacional Tayrona and the colonial ambiance of Cartegena, but beyond that I can’t choose. Do we take on San Gil, the adventure capital of Colombia? Do we spend a few days on a finca in the world capital of coffee? Do we taste city life in Medellin and Bogota? Do we jibe to the Afro-Caribbean Beat of Providencia? The only thing I know for sure is that we can’t really go wrong. But if you have some tips, we’re all ears.

The second trip we have planned is a domestic roadtrip that will take us from Chicago to Yellowstone and back in late May. We’ll be traveling with my brothers (or at least Gregory and Mark, as unfortunately last I heard Matthew doesn’t think he can make it), so it will certainly be full of funny moments. We plan to ditch the interstate system for the old highways and see what kind of nonsense we can find along the way. We’ll be taking a northern route there and a southern route back and should have time for the Badlands, the Black Hills, and other awesome scenery along the way. On a family roadtrip in 1993, my brothers and I covered much of the same ground, so it will be cool to see what we think 17 years later. And to find out if in 17 years the photos we take on this trip will be as embarrassing as the photos taken on that trip.

And well, that’s it for the year’s big trips. Apparently when people hire you around here they expect you to work. A lot. I can’t say I’m a fan. But I’ll survive, especially since we also have a slew of small trips thrown in to keep our cabin fever from turning into cabin swine flu.  We’ll be hitting up Bloomington in early May to watch my baby brother (that’s right Mark, I called you baby) graduate from Indiana University, and in August, we’ll be in the Seattle area for the marriage of Jeff’s sister. We’ll also get to say hello to Charleston, SC, when our friend Kristi says I do to our other friend Ziga (who we hear will be saying I do back).

And though I guess technically it’s work, I’ll be spending a lot of time exploring the Bluegrass State as I work on the Moon Kentucky guidebook. It’s a cool state, I tell you, and I’m going to be covering it top to bottom, inside and out. Diving into Appalachia has definitely got me excited. The culture completely intrigues me, and I have to admit that I really, really, really want to see a blue person.

Finally, we’ll be dedicating any free weekends we have to exploring our brand new home state. That is if they can figure out how to get the snow off the roads before, say, April. I definitely intend to make it to the beach a time or two…or three or four. And I’m committed to adding a few more miles to my Appalachian Trail in pieces project, with the 30-mile Art Loeb Trail in Pisgah National Forest looking like it might be my first NC leg.

You know, I think it just might end up being a pretty darn good year. I really do.

But gosh, enough about me, let’s hear about you. What’s on your travel calendar for 2010?