Places to Go in 2016
Every once in a while, there are tiny events mixed into the goings-on of the day-to-day make you stop, take a look at your life, and say, "Well, what do you know? I'm an adult." I'm not talking about paying your bills, picking up the tab when you are out to eat with your parents, or buying your cat food before she runs out of it. Those are things that you are supposed to do in order to be a responsible human being. Those moments don't feel special. Those moments don't suddenly put your adulthood into perspective as you shout out to no one, "I do what I want!" No, the moments I'm talking about are more spontaneous and, often, significantly less honorable. You know what I am talking about. Here are some examples:
1.) Drinking on a weeknight alone in your kitchen while you listen to the sweet, soft sound of Terry Gross's inquisitive voice.
2.) Deciding that yes, you are only going to eat pie for dinner, and it is going to be delicious.
3.) Walking in front of a store window and saying to yourself, "Oh, I really like the clothes in there," then looking up and reading "Talbot's" above the entrance.
4.) Booking a vacation for no good reason other than you haven't been to that place yet.
Ok, let's zoom in on #4. There are so many good reasons to go on a vacation. There are the visiting people vacations, the wedding vacations, the work-trip-with-lots-of-down-time vacation, the group trip vacations, and the no-good-reason vacations. I don't know about you, but I think it is really hard to plan a vacation for no good reason. I have to work through a fair amount of ingrained American anti-vacationism in order to plan a vacation for no good reason besides I would like to go to a certain place. Even the New York Times' annual Places to Visit feature gives you specific reasons for traveling to a destination. It makes sense, of course. It would be a much less compelling article if they told you to go to Mexico City in 2016 just because it's freaking awesome.
I've had the serendipitous pleasure to have travelled to locations the made the New York Times' list during the years they were listed. Last year we were in Milan and Ile de France for our wedding (and Philadelphia, where we live), the year before I was in Nashville for a friend Valentine's trip and prior to that Rio for research. These trips were all amazing, but I would love to head to a destination on the NYT list for absolutely no other reason besides checking it out.
And, you guys, guess what! That is happening this year! In 2016, Rachel and I booked a trip to Japan in March for absolutely no good reason whatsoever except that we wanted to go to Japan. We have no idea what we are going to do there! We don't know where we are going to stay! But we're just going to do it! If you have any advice on what to do or where to stay in Japan, please let me know.
So, Kansai in western Japan is #22 on the NYT list. But the serendipity doesn't stop there. We are also planning to head to Ireland in June for a family reunion on my father's side. The reunion is in Cork, but I hope we can visit Dublin (#38 on the list) while we are there. While I wouldn't plan a trip around the list, finding our already-planned destinations on there is pleasing to my list-loving brain.
The fun doesn't stop there. In addition to the no-good-reason trip to Japan and the family reunion in the ancestral home, we have at least two far-away can't-miss wedding this year. My cousin is having a seaside wedding in North Carolina, and our friend Anne is having a mountain wedding in Colorado. I hope to blog about travelling to these places as a middle-of-the-road traveler. Another spontaneous event that makes me feel like an adult is when I read the word "hostel" and shudder at the thought of sharing my space with strangers. I also shudder when I see the price of average hotel rooms, so we'll be dealing with that together.
Please share your thoughts on travelling to Japan, travelling to Ireland, and being an adult by celebrating your bad decisions!