Scottish author and travel writer Robert Louis Stevenson said in Travels with a Donkey, "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."
I was inspired recently by an episode of Extra Pack of Peanuts, a travel podcast hosted by world traveler and entrepreneur Travis Sherry, where he and his wife spoke about their top travel destinations for 2020. They listed domestic and international trips.
For me, there’s at least 3 places on my list that I will definitely hit this year, but I wanted to share the entire list to hopefully inspire others to travel further this year than you ever have, and to not be afraid of traveling solo. Some of my best trips have been adventures on my own. Plus, according to Lonely Planet, travel is great for your mental and emotional health.
So, without further delay, here is my Travel Wishlist for 2020!
1. Accra, Ghana — As reported by Essence.com, everyone and their mama was in Accra during the holidays for the Year of Return.
From everyday people and celebrities such as Lupita N’yongo, Boris Kodjoe, Nicole Ari Parker, and Akon, West Africa was the place to be. I’ve been drawn to Ghana for years because of its highlife music, art, food, and local markets.
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo declared 2019 the Year of the Return to encourage anyone of African ancestry to make the journey back to their homeland. And I feel like everyone did it to the fullest at Essence’s Full Circle Festival and Afrochella.
For those who may not know, Afrochella is like California’s Coachella festival, except for one major difference: it was created by us and largely made for us.
Conceptualized in 2015 by Abdul Karim Abdullah and his Ghanaian team to create a space for others to learn about different African cultures, the official launch of Afrochella happened in December 2017.
Best time to visit Accra: October to March, when the weather is cooler and dryer.
2. Chiang Mai, Thailand — Jungles, expats, affordable living, and tons of digital nomads; as well as meditation retreats, ethical elephant sanctuaries, Thai massages, and vegan Thai cooking classes.
I’m drawn to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand mainly for its peaceful culture and creativity, but also, for its affordability compared to the Southern portion of the country.
Additionally, I want to visit Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary who is committed to the education and rehabilitation of elephants who were abused in the tourism industry. I would love to volunteer and visit to help bath and feed the elephants.
Best time to visit Thailand: it’s a year-round destination, but the rainy season falls between June and August; the best time to visit Chiang Mai is April.
3. London, England — From Acid Jazz and British soul music to Big Ben, Stonehenge, and Lush on Oxford Street, these are my top 5 reasons for having the U.K. on the list.
Best time to visit London: most anytime of the year, but for warm weather, summer is best for taking advantage of green spaces, music festivals, and outdoor cinemas.
4. Hanoi, Vietnam — Rice fields, mountains, beaches; Halong Bay; Kuchi (underground tunnels) and I want to rent a motorbike and tour the city.
Best time to visit Hanoi: April and May when temperatures are cooler.
5. Bali, Indonesia — I discovered the Bali Eco Lodge (Sarinbuana) researching meditation retreats from around the world. Based on its website, the lodge has laid-back, open-air bungalows in a serene jungle. It offers a restaurant, yoga and a waterfall; plus it’s family owned by a couple and their sons, who have been living in Indonesia for 25 years.
Beyond Bali, I would like to visit the resort village of Canggu, take in the nightlife of Kuta, and maybe ferry to quiet Lumbok.
Best time to visit Indonesia: May to September, during the dry season.
*** Asheville, North Carolina – Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian Trail, Pisgah National Forest; craft breweries, quirky art scenes, music venues, and coffee shops.
I’ve been hearing beautiful things about this small city for years now. With its relaxed, bohemian vibe and adventurous side, Asheville speaks volumes.
I would love to summit Mt. Pisgah; a 1.2 mile (1.85 km) hike that takes you to an observation deck overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Best time to visit Asheville: March to May and September to early November, when temperatures are between the upper 50s and the mid-70s.
*** Portland, Oregon – PETA ranked Portland #4 on its list of Top 10 Vegan-Friendly Cities of 2019. I mean they have an entire vegan mini-mall of businesses that “helps the earth, benefits human health, and saves countless animals.”
Best time to visit Portland: June to August to take advantage of the outdoors.
*** Washington, D.C. – The nation’s capital also topped PETA’s Top 10 Vegan-Friendly Cities of 2019; it sits at #9.
I visited D.C. for the first time 10 years ago to attend a concert, but I’m aiming to be there again in June for Black Poly Pride, “a weekend/conference/party/shindig wherein we intentionally take up space, celebrating our lovestyle, and our Blackness.”
I’m also hoping to walk through the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, as well as Busboys and Poets, a cultural hub for artists, writers, thinkers, dreamers, and activists.
Best time to visit D.C.: September to November and March to May. June, July, and August is tourist season.