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Our 2014 Travel Resolutions

After spending most of 2012 traveling around the world, we were ready to stay in one place and enjoy the steadiness, calm and comfort of home. In 2013, we did just that, and now that we’re sufficiently rejuvenated, we’re itching to explore some brand-new destinations.

A Seoul sunset

A Seoul sunset

In the past, our travel planning essentially involved pinning a map of Asia on the wall, and shooting darts at it to pick where to go next, but for 2014, we’re setting our travel binoculars a bit further afield and choosing places we really, really want to see and experience – no matter the cost, distance or weather.

February: Chasing the Northern Lights in Scandinavia (with a side trip to St. Petersburg, Russia)

I’ve wanted to see the aurora borealis for as long as I can remember. I could safely say that there is no other travel wish higher on my list than this. The only reason we haven’t gone sooner is because it’s freezing cold, and Scandinavia is super expensive.

In the winter time, our inclination is always towards sun, sand and beach, but with a solar maximum predicted for 2013-2014, there’s no better time to venture into the snow and ice, than right now.

In February, we’ll be spending a few days in Stockholm and Helsinki, and taking a short side trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, before heading far north to Ivalo in Finnish Lapland, and Karasjok in Finnmark (Northern Norway). We’ll be husky-sledding, snowmobile safari-ing, and if we’re really, really lucky, viewing the magical aurora borealis.

June and July – Beaches and Islands of Korea

This summer we’ll be squeezing in our beach escapes close to home. We hope to beat the humidity and the crowds, and refill our bank accounts by visiting Jeju Island, Gyeongpodae and Ulleungdo in June and July.

"Jeju Island," by Justin Ornellas, CC Attribution

“Jeju Island,” by Justin Ornellas, CC Attribution

August: Western Canada Road Trip
We haven’t spent a significant amount of time in Canada, in quite a long while, and lately I’ve been feeling sentimental about where I grew up. In my early 20s, summer days used to mean road trips through the Rocky Mountains from Calgary to Vancouver, with stops for camping in interior British Columbia.

In August, I’ll be re-living my youth, and showing Agri exactly where I used to go during my summer vacations. We’ll be road-tripping, stopping at tacky roadside tourist traps, pitching a tent, eating flavourful BC cherries by the handful, soaking in Radium hot springs, and basically doing all the things I remember doing way back when…

December: Bali, Lombok and the Gilli Islands

We spent one week at the end of our round the world adventure in Ubud, Bali, and it wasn’t enough time by a longshot. This time around, we’ll do our best to leave Ubud (might be difficult), and venture over to Lombok and the Gilli Islands.

Unknown: Malaysia’s Perhentian Islands

We’ve been wanting to land on the white, sandy beaches of the Perhentian Islands for quite some time now, but due to a pesky monsoon, all hotels and resorts are closed from November until March.

So far, it’s been difficult to arrange an appropriate time to visit. Will this be the year??

"Turtle Bay, Perhentian Island," by Achilli Family, CC Attribution

“Turtle Bay, Perhentian Island,” by Achilli Family, CC Attribution

Have you visited Scandinavia or seen the northern lights? Do you have travel tips? Please share them with us!

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16 Comments Post a comment
  1. I would love to see the Northern lights! Unfortunately I’ve come to the conclusion I am just not cut out for cold weather (I’m in the USA right now and this arctic wind is NOT enjoyable). One day maybe…
    If you feel like getting active, climbing Rinjani volcano in Lombok is totally worth it. I also did a homestay arranged through JED, an ecotourism network, which was not cheap but really interesting and fun to see a side of Bali that most tourists don’t.
    And in Korea, I think I’ve recommended Yeosu before, but Muan is also nice (they have a lotus festival in the summer which is crowded but fun). Dokdo is also very pretty, but the boat ride out there can be brutal if the weather is even a little bad (two thirds of my boat got sick!).

    January 8, 2014
    • Haha, I totally understand about the cold. Right now, I am not quite sure how I will cope. LOTS of layers, I guess. That home stay in Bali sounds super interesting – I am all for seeing something that most tourists don’t!

      Yes, we definitely have to get down to Yeosu, and to anywhere rural in Korea actually. It’s such a different vibe than Seoul. Oh man…I totally suffer from seasickness. I’ll have to find a calm day to travel to Dokdo, or unfortunately cross it off my list completely. Seasickness is seriously the worst feeling ever! 😦

      January 8, 2014
  2. Sounds wonderful! I have not been to any of these places. I have been trying for a few years to go see northern lights but the cold prevents me from taking the plunge.
    All the best and look forward to reading about your adventures.

    January 8, 2014
    • I really, really hope that we get to see them, but of course nature is finicky. That’s why we finally chose to do it this year – trying to give ourselves the best possible odds of seeing them – especially if we’re gonna suffer all that cold! πŸ˜‰

      January 8, 2014
  3. Oh my goodness I am excited for your trip to Scandinavia and St. Petersburg! I am sure they will both be beautiful!!

    January 8, 2014
    • I am started to get really excited now too!! It’s still a month off, but it’s definitely starting to feel more real now. πŸ™‚ I’m especially excited to get my hands on those gorgeous huskies! We’re actually staying on a husky farm, so we’ll be surrounded by them all day long.

      January 8, 2014
  4. Planning your trips to completely different places from each other! How exciting, and enviable. πŸ˜€ But at least I get to follow along on your blog. πŸ˜‰ Safe travels and have fun. Hope your plans do get through ’cause I’ll be following. How I wish I could plan just like you did.

    January 12, 2014
    • Well, hopefully most of those trips will happen! But things are already changing…no St. Petersburg this time around unfortunately. 😦 Russia’s visa process is sooo confusing, and you need some kind of sponsor inside the country. Too much work for just a few nights. Next time…

      Def started to get excited about Scandinavia now though…a totally new part of the world for us! πŸ™‚

      January 15, 2014
  5. Sounds like an awesome year! I’m so envious of your Scandinavian plans, I’ve made a Finnish friend during our travels and now I can’t wait to go! I’ve just seen above that you aren’t going to St Petes, I was there a few months ago and was under the understanding that you could go to St Petersburg by boat/ferry/cruise, from Helsinki or Tallinn etc, without a visa for a couple of days.
    If you were to get a visa you don’t as much need a sponsor just an invitation letter. We stayed at the incredible Soul Kitchen Hostel there and I know they provide this {for a fee of course}. We got a Russian train ticket agency to get our visa as we booked a train through them too. St Petersburg is so worth the effort!
    Happy travels!

    January 21, 2014
    • Ooooh, really?? Hmm, that’s good to know, but I think we’ve decided to go to Tallinn instead, since we’ve never been. It seems more manageable from Finland, than St. Petersburg.

      I actually visited the Soviet union wayyy back when I was 13, and it was still communist, and I was really, really looking forward to going back and seeing it with new eyes. Anyhow, we’ll get there one day…better to save it for when we do the Transiberian one day. Then we can really give Russia the time it deserves! I’ll be asking you for tips!!! πŸ™‚

      January 23, 2014
      • Wow, in Soviet times, how cool! It will be totally different now I’m sure. Yes, do the Transib, totally amazing and so wonderful to get so far across the globe without a flight. Have a peak on my blog for some tips and inspiration and I’m always available if you need any more. I’ll devour yours about Finland πŸ™‚

        January 25, 2014
  6. Lauren Jarman #

    Hi there, firstly, thanks for the like on The beauty of Autumn. Just reading your article and so interested to see how your trip to see the Northern Lights turns out, that is high on bucket list πŸ™‚ Being a South African I can tell you I loathe the cold so not sure how I am going to tick this one off the list…I’m hoping if you survive it then I can at least attempt it πŸ˜‰ Hahahaha!

    February 3, 2014
    • I am super interested to see how it all turns out too, and crossing my fingers that all of the cold and expense will be worth it. Nature is a finicky one, that’s for sure. Hopefully we’ll get lucky!! πŸ™‚

      February 4, 2014
  7. Ooh, did you make it to Jeju? I grew up in rural Manitoba so I’ve been very lucky growing up- my parents would drag us out of bed a few times each winter to drive up the hill and look up at the northern lights! We watched a few meteor showers as well. It’s hard to beat an experience like that!
    I read this post after your ‘Top 7 travel moments’ post and I’m happy to see you’ve accomplished most of them! πŸ™‚

    December 27, 2014
    • Lol…we are so bad with going to Jeju. It’s such a short, cheap flight from Seoul, but somehow we never make it. This year will be the year for sure! πŸ˜‰ Oooh, you’re so lucky to have seen the lights at home…def can’t beat that.

      December 28, 2014

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