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Dreaming of 2021

With the year 2020 almost over (woot), it is a fine time to start dreaming of the many places we want to travel to come 2021. While the weather outside here turns colder and darker - winter is definitely upon us - we find ourselves dreaming, no longing, for warmer climates and sunnier days.


2020 was a rough year, no denying that, but now as we look towards the future it seems like good times might possibly be in the cards. While there is still a long way to go before things go back to “normal,” it is never too early to start planning an exciting adventure.


Here are the five places that are on the top of our list:


Colombia

At the top of our list is the sunny and exciting country of Colombia. With its wide array of adventures, from the tropical mountains to the colorful coasts, Colombia is just begging to be explored. And for two people who have spent the last month in the icy Colorado winter, the idea of a sunny South American country could never sound better. A few places we are especially curious about adventuring to are Puinawai National Reserve, Natural Isla Gorgona National Park, and the culturally rich town of Medellin.


The colorful landscape of Colombia. PC Fernanda Fierra on Unsplash.

Japan

While Japan is a wonderful place to visit no matter the time of year, we are especially curious to adventure there in the chillier months. Why? Well for one, the northern islands become a gorgeous winter wonderland once the snow begins to fall. And secondly, the area is also home to some stunning hot springs, known as onsens. Another thing not to miss? The wildlife that becomes even more beautiful in the winter - including the red-faced Japanese macaques. A few top places at the top of our adventure list: Jigokudani Yaen-koen, the Tsurui-Ito Tancho Sanctuary, and the historic settlement of Gokayama, a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Lively landscape of Japan. PC Clay Banks on Unsplash.

Finland

While Norway might possibly be the more popular Nordic country for tourists, we have instead set our sites on its close neighbor to the east. For us, Finland holds all the same beauty and adventure as Norway - just without the crowds. We are especially excited to explore the northern region, home to numerous nature preserves and hiking areas (Finland has a “right to roam” policy - meaning everything is fair game for exploring). A few places we are especially excited to explore include the Kevo Strict Nature Reserve, Urho Kekkonen National Park (known for stunning views of the Northern Lights), and the seaside town of Hanko, once a popular destination for old Russian nobility.


Winter wonderland in Finland. PC Ralph Messi on Unsplash.

Alaska

In a similar vein as Finland, Alaska holds that wonderful allure of long sunny summer days out adventuring in the forests and mountains. Alaska has always called to us, called to our adventurous spirit and desire to totally and completely get off the beaten path. A couple of places we cannot wait to explore include adventuring out on the Alaska Marine Highway System all the way to the town of Unalaska (home to the highest concentration of Bald Eagles), the Aniakchak National Monument, Gates of the Arctic National Park, and finally, the town of Sitka, a historic town in the southeastern part of the state (it is also home to numerous natural hot springs).


The unrivaled beauty of Alaska. PC Darrin Henien.

Gabon

Nicknamed “Africa’s Last Eden,” according to National Geographic explorer-in-residence Mike Fay. This is likely due to the fact that more than 11 percent of Gabon is national parkland. In fact, there are 13 national parks within the country - some easy to reach, others more remote. A couple of the parks we are especially excited to adventure to include Minkebe National Park - home to giant waterfalls and gorillas - and Lope National Park - where you can explore rainforests and savannahs, as well as have the chance to see elephants and other primates.


Backroads of Africa's Last Eden. PC Ethan Hu on Unsplash.


While it might take some time before travel is back to “normal” it is never too early to start planning a wonderfully exciting adventure. These five places are definitely near the top of our Adventure Bucketlist - either due to their remoteness, otherworldly natural beauty, or the wildlife and cultures that can be found.


What destinations are at the top of your bucket list once travel is allowed again?