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9 life-changing travel adventures for 2019

 


It’s January – a good time to start planning your travel adventures. In an ideal world, I like to have a mix of city breaks, camping trips, festivals, spontaneous weekend escapes and at least one BIG travel experience set up for the year ahead, although it doesn’t always work out like this – thank you mortgage...
 
 
Image by Nan Palmero on flickr
 
But if money, time and my own poor organization skills were no obstacles, these are the life-changing adventures I’d be booking right now.
 
1. Journey to the icy north, Canada

Fans of icy realms will love this trip deep into High Arctic Canada, with Quark Expeditions. Based at Wilderness Lodge, 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle on Somerset Island, Nunavut, you’ll see beluga whales, polar bears and musk – illuminated by 24 hours of daylight. Unforgettable. 
 

Image by Martha de Jong-Lantink on flickr

2. Travel deeper into Bhutan

A new cross-country highway has opened up parts of Bhutan that, until now, were hard to get to. The kingdom has always been tricky – and expensive (there’s a hefty daily visa charge) – to access, but that only serves to heighten the experience once you enter this carbon-neutral country that values Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product. Mystical peaks and out-of-this-world wildlife await.

Image by Robert Glod on flickr

3. Pay homage to the hippies, New York

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of legendary festival Woodstock, in Catskills. Rumours of an anniversary event are doing the rounds, but don’t bank on it happening. Instead, visit for a slice of hippie history, and keep your fingers crossed that your trip happens to coincide with an anniversary festival. Regardless, head to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and the hallowed ground of the original festival.
 
4. Trek an epic new hiking trail, Chile

A new 2,800km hiking trail, the Ruta de los Parques (Route of Parks) has just opened in Chile, connecting 17 of Patagonia’s awe-inspiring national parks. If you want to truly get away from the crowds, this is the way to do it.
 
5. See the birthplace of modern design, Germany

Lovers of design, arts and architecture should make a beeline for Weimar, Dessau and Berlin – in fact, across Germany – where the 100th anniversary of the experimental, radical school of Bauhaus is being celebrated throughout 2019; there will be a modernist trail across the country, new museums, exhibitions and a grand launch festival. You’ll never look at modern design in the same way again.

Bauhaus in Berlin by perceptions on flickr

6. Hike the Grand Canyon, USA

The Grand Canyon’s already epic proportions will be further magnified by a programme of festivals and historical presentation celebrating its centenary year as a national park. A programme of events is being planned for throughout 2019, but go one step further and hike into the canyon itself – you’ll be surprised by how few of its 6 million annual visitors actually make the trip down there.
 
7. Retrace the steps of your fathers and grandfathers on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, United Kingdom and France

6th June 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day Landings, and a host of events will mark this significant military moment on both sides of the English Channel. It’s bound to be poignant, but it will be even more so if you can follow in the footsteps of an ancestor who was there 75 years ago; track their movements in the lead up to the big day in England, then sail across the English Channel towards the sweeping Normandy beaches where history was made.

Image by Luis Filip Carneiro on flickr

8. Go on safari in Namibia

This Southern African country is being hailed as the place to safari, thanks to a slew of new lodges opening in 2019. So if an African safari is on your travel wish list, forget Kenya and Tanzania and check in to Shipwreck Lodge for striking architecture on Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, one of Omaanda’s 10 traditionally styled round huts in the Zannier Reserve, or an open-sided lodge on a hillside near Windhoek at Habitas.
 
9. Explore Japan before the Olympic crowds descend

Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics in 2020, so head to the Land of the Rising Sun before 60 million sports fan have the same idea. If you can, get there before September, when the Rugby World Cup kicks off – unless you’re a rugby fan, in which case book your match tickets quick! Whether you travel for Michelin-starred food in buzzing cities or treks across remote islands, you’ll find something to love in Japan.
Are you up for a life-changing adventure in 2019? Where are you going?
 
10 life-changing trips being planned by Thelma & Louise members right now:
  1. Dude ranch in Georgia
  2. Alaska and the Yukon
  3. A long hike along the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada
  4. A painting holiday in Normandy, France
  5. Hike the British Isles
  6. Tuk-tuk tour of Southern Sri Lanka
  7. Climb Kilimanjaro
  8. Mongolia cultural camping adventure
  9. Hike the Lycian Way, Turkey
  10. Rail tour of India