04 Jan My Top 10 Travel Destinations of 2010
2010 turned out to be an incredibly liberating travel year for me. With a brief stint of unemployment came a robust time of opportunity, full of adventures and exciting destinations. Here are my top 10 places that I visited in the past 12 months…
10. Taupo,New Zealand
Taupo itself isn’t the most notable place in the world, although it is home to the largest lake in New Zealand. However, for me Taupo represented where I took a walk on (or leap from?) the wild side, because it was where I went skydiving for the first time from a little pink plane at 15,000 feet.
9. Las Vegas, Nevada
Reuniting with old friends (who studied abroad with me in Florence in 2001) made this trip really memorable. Las Vegas is a great place to spend a girls weekend, and who doesn’t love staying up really late, drinking and dancing with old friends?!
8. South Palm Beach, Florida
Ah, South Palm Beach. Many of you may know her better-known sister, the exclusive West Palm Beach, but I’ve become very familiar with this little town, as 2010 was the year that my parents set up a second home base there.
The town is only approximately 5/8th of a mile long (with 4 cops monitoring the short bit of street!), but in our cute little two bedroom condo we are right across the street from the beach. We ride our bikes into nearby Lake Worth, and have lots of restaurants and bars we can easily walk to, and stumble back from. It’s great to have a home away from home someplace so likable.
7. Waiheke Island, New Zealand
I spent my first full day in New Zealand exploring the picturesque Waiheke Island off the shore of Auckland. What started out as a sleepy day turned into a wine-filled day of fun, Pétanque and new friends. It was a great way to start my New Zealand adventure.
6. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando, Florida
I got to try Butterbeer and roam around Hogwarts… do you really need a more detailed explanation?
5. Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand
There’s not too many day hikes you can do where you can boast that Sir Edmund Hillary also frequented the same trail, but the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of those places! Incredibly strenuous, it was truly one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever been, like walking on another planet!
4. New Orleans, Louisiana
Good jazz, good food, good shopping and good company! I just loved my first trip to New Orleans and I can’t wait to head back there soon.
Some foodie highlights: the BBQ shrimp at Mr. B’s, the beignets at Café DuMonde and the Muffeletta at Central Grocery. All New Orleans clichés, but I can say that they’re clichés for a reason. So good!
3. Milford Track, New Zealand
One of the most ambitious places on my 55 Places bucket list, the 33 mile, 3 day hike was both relaxing and strenuous at the same time. Braving the elements, being surrounded by some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery and meeting new friends along the way has never been so fun.
2. Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, Arizona
Another ambitious bucket list item complete in 2010! Hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon was an amazing experience and I feel very fortunate to have been able to share it with my parents!
And without further ado… my number 1 travel destination for 2010 was…
1. Sydney, Australia!
I had a lot of difficulty picking my absolute top destination for the year, and it’s funny that I decided upon Sydney since I ended up there nearly by accident. But Sydney was the very first stop on my month-long trip abroad and despite having only 2 days there and being completely jet-lagged, I approached every moment with vigor and enthusiasm.
My love of Sydney really does represent my love of travel, and the joy I felt every moment was a direct reflection of the joy I had of being at the very beginning of such a great adventure.