Matador's Wishlist Destinations for 2010

Benin Canada China Cuba Ireland Kazakhstan Madagascar Mongolia Nepal New Zealand Peru Yemen Wales Insider Guides
by Hal Amen Jan 1, 2010
Trips isn’t into pushing “must-sees” on you. Instead, here’s a list of destinations the Matador team is lusting to explore in 2010. Maybe it will inspire your own.
Lola Akinmade, Matador Goods

Tibet has long been on my radar, including inciting the post Dreaming of Tibet on my personal site. One of many dreams for 2010 would be to travel to Tibet with the nonprofit organization United Planet as a photojournalist.

Carlo Alcos, Matador Trips

Now might be the time to go. The U.S. has eased some of its sanctions against Cuba, so you could imagine a much more Americanized version of the country down the line. My wife and I want to see it before that happens. And lucky for us, we get to turn this wishlist destination into reality.

Eastern Kazakhstan
Hal Amen, Matador Trips

The fence-less plains, high mountains, and nomadic culture of Central Asia fascinate me. Kazakhstan is good to go year round. In winter there are golden eagle hunting competitions just east of Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, and summer would be an ideal time for trekking the Altay Mountains in the northeast.

Ross Borden, Matador Co-Founder

Matador travelers have raved about it and all of the photos I’ve seen make it look like another planet. Huge baobab trees, red earth, amazing beaches and reefs, and a ton of wildlife — 80% of which exists nowhere else on Earth. Hoping to hit up World Cup 2010 in South Africa and skip over to Madagascar from there. Any advice would be appreciated! My Matador profile is here.

Tom Gates, Matador Nights

I’ve only begun to highlight my Rough Guide but it’s already doing me in. I hadn’t even considered going to this country before but now I’m twitchy for it. I didn’t realize that Machu Picchu was only the tip of the iceberg. Given the entry fee in Brazil, Chile, and now Argentina, I’m ready to start exploring the north of South America.

JoAnna Haugen, Associate Editor

For the last couple years I’ve had an incredible desire to cycle through the Irish countryside. Though I’d like to visit Galway, Dublin, and Cork someday, I’d love my first trip to the Emerald Isle to be laid back and touch on moments that I can relish in.

Andy Hayes, Twitter Ninja

I can’t help but notice Nepal popping up in unusual places. And given my love for rich, experiential travel, I can think of many ways to spend my time there. I’m not looking forward to the affects of altitude, but I am sure it’s nothing an authentic spiritual journey can’t fix.

Ian MacKenzie, Brave New Traveler

My growing interest in Taoism is leading me back to the native country of Lao Tzu. To the Western mind, China is a mystery — a place both ancient and struggling to modernize, currently operating under the thumb of a Communist regime that has existed for a fraction of the region’s history. Given the depth, scope, and potential glimpse at enlightenment, it’s high time I experience it for myself.

Xinjiang Province, China
Sarah Menkedick, Matador Abroad

Xinjiang province called out to me the whole time I was in China. My husband and I chose tropical Borneo over frigid northwest China when my sweet two months of winter vacation rolled around, but Xinjiang has continued to haunt us.

Amazon Rainforest
Abbie Mood, Intern

I’ve wanted to go to the rainforest for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I read about the deforestation and about the plants and animals that can only be found in the rainforest and since then have desperately wanted to go before it is gone forever.

New Zealand
Sarah Park, Matador Trips Intern

I’d love to visit New Zealand in 2010 to complete my very first year-long winter. And if the day ever comes when I’m sick of snow, I’ve really got to check out these penguins.

Osaka, Japan
Tim Patterson, Matador Abroad

Ryan Libre is putting on a photo show at the Osaka Nikon Gallery this summer. Titled “Portraits of Independence,” the show features photos from our time together in northern Myanmar with the Kachin Independence Army. I would love to make it to this show, not only to relive some of the moments Ryan and I shared in Kachin, but also to renew my relationship with Japan.

Adam Roy, Matador Sports

One of my favorite things with any adventure sport is looking for the extremes. Ever since I learned how to use a drysuit, scuba diving in Antarctica has been one of my dreams. Getting to jump into that totally alien world that so few people get to see — just the idea gives me shivers (for more than one reason).

Michelle Schusterman, Matador Goods

I want to be surprised. I’ve visited Scotland, Ireland, and England, but never Wales — I know a pathetic amount about it, and now I just want to jump in without giving a thought to guidebooks. I want to see the landscapes I can’t picture and eat the food I can’t imagine. I want to hear Welsh.

Julie Schwietert, Managing Editor

My beat — journalistically, psychologically, and mentally — is Latin America and the Caribbean, but I’ve been feeling pulled toward Africa for a long time. I’ve never been. West Africa, in particular, is of interest to me for its political history and its music; of all the West African countries, Benin is where I’d want to go if I had to limit myself to just one country.

Matt Scott, Community Manager

There’s something about being able to stand on the bottom of the earth, in a place that is truly unique. No one really knows how long Antarctica, and its wildlife, will exist in its present form, so I want to get there before it changes forever.

Kate Sedgwick, Matator Nights

I love big cities and there’s nothing like a good culture shock to get the mind’s gears whirring again, so I’ve got to see Tokyo. I want to go into a store and have no clue what might be in a package and have no idea how to even find out. I want to be confused by street signs I can’t even begin to decipher or pronounce and get lost, lost, lost.

Mainland China
Leigh Shulman, Matador Life

I’ve been obsessed with China ever since reading Soul Mountain years ago. I most definitely see myself backpacking alone through the countryside one day soon enough.

South Island, New Zealand
Eileen Smith, Intern

Give me windswept and stark, photogenic and green apple-fresh, and I’m all over it. 2010 has already agreed to be very kind to me and whisk me to points unknown in New Zealand, where the goal is to pedal against punishing headwinds and through pelting rain into the kind of scenery where you lament that your peripheral vision simply can’t take it all in.

Paul Sullivan, Editor-at-Large

The first time Mongolia “came to life” for me was while watching an incredible throat-singing band called Yat Kha at the Transmusicale Festival in Rennes, France. I sat in on the subsequent press conference and was really spellbound by the band’s stories of life in Ulan Bator — the isolation, scenery, folk mythologies, ways of life, the horses and yurts.

Candice Walsh, Associate Editor

After country-hopping for the past two years, my whole attitude about Canada has been, “Well, I live here, what else is there to see?” But when I took a trip to Ottawa, Ontario, this past summer, I was blown away by how different everything was in comparison to my province, Newfoundland. This year, I hope to hit up Halifax and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and I’m also planning a trip to Edmonton, Alberta, for early fall.

Socotra, Yemen
Jason Wire, Contributor-at-Large

A place that evolution forgot, Socotra seems as though it appeared out of a wormhole, giving a glimpse into some sort of human-alien hybrid world. So, naturally, that’s what I’d put on my wishlist. I should probably add good luck with weather and security through Yemen and the waters near Socotra, which are notorious for pirate attacks. Hopefully they’re still offering luxury pirate-hunting cruises. :-)

Community Connection

Okay, lay it on us — what is YOUR Getsome List for 2010? Also, make sure to VOTE: Which Country Would YOU Rather Visit in 2010?

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