Well, 2014 has started with bang! Mother nature wants us all to know what season we’re stuck in right now, doesn’t she?
While we freeze our tushies off in North America, thanks to the ‘polar vortex’ that is sweeping across the continent, those on the other side of the hemisphere are suffering record heat waves.
It was five degrees this morning in Nashville. Alan stayed up until 3 AM insulating our water pipes, all the faucets set to drip, and get this- the power just went out! Not good. Heat. Dissipating. Quickly.
In Argentina, at least seven people died from temperatures reaching 117 degrees (45 C), and the government declared a state of emergency. I have trouble with that association because when I was in Argentina last July, it was pretty dang cold. So far, some pretty extreme weather patterns are afflicting this side of the globe.
OK. We get it. It’s winter (or summer, if you’re in Argentina).
Let’s give ole mother nature the bird and escape (mentally, at least) to some more pleasant, temperate- even sunny and warm (but not too hot) climates. Here are the places that are all a-buzz and on everyone’s travel radar for 2014.
The Travel Trends for 2014
Travel+Leisure included some of the more obvious candidates for 2014’s trendiest destinations, like Sochi, Russia (the winter Olympics), Rio de Janeiro (World Cup) and the perennially popular California Wine Country.
Some spots are making waves as new cruise ship destinations, like Santa Marta (Colombia), Lombok (Indonesia) and Rangoon (Burma/ Myanmar) (Sochi and San Francisco are also included in this category).
Places like Nashville, Miami and Cape Town burst on to the food scene with forward-thinking, farm to table restaurants.
Others on their list include Playa Carrizalillo (Puerto Escondido, Mexico), Palermo (Italy), Zimbabwe, Tetiaroa, (French Polynesia), Helsinki (Finland), Vinh Hy Bay (Vietnam), Mokapu Beach (Maui, Hawaii), Dominica (Caribbean), Meads Bay (Anguilla, Caribbean), Kerala (India), Little Corn Island (Nicaragua), Pangulasian Island (Philippines), Iceland, Warsaw, and Uruguay.
Conde Nast granted 14 places a spot in their top travel destination predictions: Mexico City, Sri Lanka, Disney World, Panama City (Panama), Russian River Valley (CA, USA), Fogo Island (Newfoundland), Las Terrenas (Samana, Domincan Republic), Bergen (Norway), Colombia, Bath (England), Tubac (Arazona) and Cerrillos (New Mexico), The Uco Valley (Argentina), and – you better believe it- NASHVILLE baby!!
Trip Advisor pooled their travelers’ choice 2013 votes for top 10 world destinations on the rise. A few of these surprised me, but some have been all the buzz in the traveling community: Havana (Cuba), La Fortuna de San Carlos (Costa Rica), Kathmandu (Nepal), Jerusalem (Israel), Cusco (Peru), Ambergris Caye (Belize), Sapporo (Japan), Hanoi (Vietnam), Corralejo (Spain), and Fortaleza (Brazil). Wait, where’s Nashville?
Trending Travel Patterns
Many of these locales are getting their fair share of media attention. In the travel blogging community, you also pick up on certain things, like emerging hot spots or the new destination darling. The places that seem to be garnering the most interest, or maybe I should rephrase this… The places that seem the most interesting to me, of the names that continuously flicker across my MacBook’s screen and in travel publications, are: Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Dominica, Mexico, Norway, Iceland, Finland, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Poland.
There’s a little bit of marketing science behind this, I realize. Some of these countries have led strong tourism campaigns over the last year, which generates interest and press trips (therefor, press mentions). There was Meet South Africa last spring. The Scandinavian countries have also poured some resources in to their tourism outreach.
What most of these places seem to have in common, though, is that they are relatively unspoiled and have not been “done to death” by the tourist and traveler circuits. Every single country I mentioned above is an extremely high priority on my travel wish list, and of the four that I’ve actually experienced (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mexico and Dominica), I would agree that they are four of the best, and definitely places I long to go back to and explore more.
Zimbabwe is one of those countries that draws you in, with its unique natural and human spirit. It’s incredibly infectious. I spent about four days there and wanted to return before I even left. I’m thrilled to see this amazing country receiving props from the international travel community.
So proud of my city
Nashville seems to also be making all of the A-lists for 2014. If you haven’t been, you should go ahead and book your trip. Heck, drop me a line and I’ll show you around! Notable nosh dens like Rolf and Daughters, Husk and City House are often mentioned (I can vouch for each- seriously good grub), as well as Josephine (going next week!) and Pinewood Social.
What I love about this city is the near-perfect balance of natural and urban landscapes. I live on almost two acres of what is often described as a “mountain retreat.” You can only just now see the road, after all the leaves have fallen from the trees. Deer sleep curled up outside my bedroom windows, and wild turkey and fox run amok all around our yard. Most of our neighbors have the same serene privacy.
Just ten miles down the road is the electric capital: Music City. And it’s not all about country. There’s a thriving indie/alt/rock music scene that rivals Austin, TX.
As mentioned in all of the renowned travel publications, the food scene here is taking off. There’s a plethora of free outdoor activities like concerts during the summer.
I can’t say enough about this place, but I do plan on saying a lot more!! As hard as it was for me to leave the international hub of DC (after 8 years!) behind, the transition could not have been to a better place….