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Every time the new year rolls around, I always try to throw together a list of resolutions, usually at around 11:47 PM on December 31st.  My resolutions can usually be classified into three categories:

  • Resolutions I Won’t Even Try to Keep – Things like “have a steady gym schedule” and “don’t gossip” fall into this category.  I’ll write these resolutions down because they sound good, and theoretically, they are things I should aspire to; but then I realize before the new year even begins that I don’t really care to keep them.  I have to come to terms with the fact that the gym will never be my friend, and that, within certain ethical limits (i.e. don’t make things up, never gossip about close friends), bitching about people can be quite entertaining.
  • Resolutions That Will Last Through January 15th – Since a lot of my work is freelance, I’m always juggling a bunch of employers, assignments, and deadlines, meaning I need to be on my game when it comes to organization.  And I am absolutely, undoubtedly…not.  So on the last day of 2014, I got my “Unread” e-mail folder down to zero, my tasks for the next couple of weeks set up on Wunderlist, and organized all my projects and ideas on Evernote in an effort to make 2015 better.  I honestly hope I will continue to be on top of things in this way throughout the next year, but my past experience has proven this to be unlikely – my to-do lists and organizational tools usually become a distant memory by late January, left untouched and forgotten in the farthest reaches of my Bookmarks bar.
  • Resolutions I Will Absolutely Fight to Keep – And here is where we get to things like “travel”.  The resolutions that have to do with my work (both acting and writing), the hobbies I love (photography, languages, etc.), and traveling all over the world are at the absolute top of my priority list. They may not all happen – after all, things change, I adapt to what life throws my way, and sometimes I realize perhaps I don’t really want something after all – but I try my best to achieve them.

Here is my New Year’s resolution: I resolve to visit at least 4 out of 6 of the following places, and finally make the dream destinations that have been floating around my head for years a reality.

Let’s make 2015 less about dreaming and more about doing.

1) Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe New Mexico

How Likely I Am to Visit in 2015: 10/10

Distance From Home Base (LA): 847 miles/1,363 km – 12.5 hours of driving

Why? Stunning desert landscapes, ancient pueblos, UNESCO World Heritage sites, plus a revitalized Santa Fe that keeps finding itself on every “Top 50 places to go” travel list.  It’s only a 12-hour road trip’s distance away from Los Angeles, so really, I have no excuse not to get there.

2) Ireland

Cliffs of Moher, Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

How Likely I Am to Visit (Out of 10): 7/10

Distance From Home Base (LA): 5,157 miles/8,300 km to Dublin

Why? A combination of beautiful landscapes, Irish people’s reputation for warmth and friendliness, and a cultural love affair with beer have put Ireland on my top places to visit for a while.  If that wasn’t enough, a few months ago I found out that Ireland has a stunning road going down its west coast known as the Wild Atlantic Way.  Though Ireland is a relatively small country, the twists and turns of the road along the less-explored western coast of the country, not to mention all the sightseeing along the way, means that it takes about two weeks to explore the entire length of the route.  Check out Planet D’s collection of the best sights on this lonely Irish road.

3) Tokyo & Kyoto, Japan

Tokyo Japan Cybercity

How Likely I Am to Visit in 2015: 9/10

Distance From Home Base (LA): 5,474 miles/8,810 km of endless Pacific Ocean, but just 1 Singapore Airlines direct flight away

Why? Japan is one of those countries that have fascinated me since I was a child.  I need to visit Japan because, for starters, I’ve never been to Asia, which is completely unacceptable.  But more than that, I’m attracted to extremes when I travel – complete isolation or total chaos, ultra-modernity or centuries-old traditions.  So of course I need to experience what life is like in the largest city in the world, and then go on to explore pavilions, teahouses, and gardens in Kyoto.

4) Cuba

Havana, Cuba

How Likely I Am to Visit in 2015: 5/10

Distance From Home Base (LA): 2,292 miles/3,689 km to Havana

Why? Cuba appeals to my (very well-hidden) romantic side, since everyone describes their visit as taking a step back in time.  Obama already relaxed restrictions on Cuba just a couple of weeks ago, and as a US citizen, I would like to visit before the borders open up entirely, to get in before the wave.  Also, my life will not be complete until I’ve had an authentic mojito in Havana – I could write an entire post on mojito comparison, and pass my bar nights off as work.  I gave myself a lower probability of going, because it’s still going to be hard to find the time, the method, and the money to get there, but I hope I can pull it off this year.

5) New Orleans, Louisiana

Bourbon Street, New Orleans

How Likely I Am to Visit in 2015: 10/10

Distance From Home Base (LA): 1,893 miles/3,047 km by car or 1671 miles/2689 km by plane

Why? Because it’s unacceptable that I’ve been in the US and over 21 for 4.5 years and still haven’t visited New Orleans.  From the relaxed, party-like atmosphere, to the great food and music I keep hearing about, New Orleans sounds like the kind of city I could fall in love with.  It’s also one of the few US cities that escaped the usual American tendency to strictly regulate fun and leisure, and therefore has no bar closing times.  [I mean, come on LA.  I love you, but when a bar kicks me out at 1:30 AM, it makes me feel less like a 25 year old woman out on the town, and more like a teenager who managed to sneak out of the house for a couple of hours until my parents found me and came to drag me home.] So, sign me up for New Orleans.  Also, this is the third entry that has mentioned alcohol – no more, I promise.

6) Iceland

Iceland Northern Lights

How Likely I Am to Visit (Out of 10): 7/10

Distance From Home Base (LA): 4,305 miles/6,928 km to Reykjavik

Why? Two words: Ring Road.  Iceland has what is possibly one of the most epic roads of all time to explore.  The Ring Road goes all the way around the country, through waterfalls, mountains, lagoons, and every other form of rugged natural beauty imaginable on this lonely island.  I’ve always had a fascination with rugged landscapes and low-to-no population areas.  If you still need convincing for Iceland, check out the video below from Fstoppers, and try to refrain from booking the next flight to Reykjavik.

What are your “dream” destinations – the places you’ve always imagined, looked up pictures of constantly, and wanted to visit ever since you can remember?  Share below, and then try to get there!