Every year as the calendar starts over, a bunch of us pledge to lose weight, some of us vow to let our loved ones know exactly what they mean to us, and a whole lot of us promise that the new year will hold something spectacular for us. But hold up. Is holding a noisemaker and sitting at the same pub you’ll be at next week anyway, the way you want to start off making your year spectacular?
Give the old year an amazing send-off while welcoming the new with a pledge to travel somewhere meaningful this year. Make it boisterous and bubbly or silent and reflective, but New Year’s Eve is a time of resolutions, so start making yours now. Where will you #PledgetoVisit in 2015? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Original Image: pclvv
For a serene experience, visit Patagonia on the border of Chile and Argentina. Being surrounded by a beautiful ice world under a bright, cloudless sky should be enough to quiet your mind and enjoy the peace of just existing. Kayak around glaciers and marvel at their size and beauty, or for more adventure, climb one. You’ll have plenty of time for some quiet reflection hiking along the shores of Lake Nordenskjold or atop Grey Glacier.
Original Image: Phil Whitehouse
Get lost in the lovely solitude of Easter Island. You’ve likely seen pictures of the monolithic moai that guard the island, but to see them in person is a magical experience. The moai were once used in ancestral worship by the local people and were moved to the steep cliffs above the island’s rocky coast. While seeing one of the most significant man-made creations on Earth may seem like a touristy thing to do, the island’s lack of beaches and resorts keep the average tourists away.
Someplace with history
Original Image: Roberto Taddeo
This year plan to take a trip that so many have taken before you. Centuries and centuries of people, in fact. Ancient architecture stands as a portal to the past in Edinburgh, Scotland. Cobbled streets and castles can still be found in this place that has managed to enter the modern age while maintaining a firm grasp on the past. Find the stories hidden in a corner booth of a well-preserved pub, or scour the landscape for ghosts of the past.
Original Image: Bert Kaufmann
The Colosseum, the Vatican, the Catacombs of St. Callixtus—how can you not feel connected to the past in Rome, Italy? History abounds in Rome, and the people there see it and live it every day. Pledge to get close to the history you’ve only previously learned about in school by visiting this great city. With centuries-old architecture as a backdrop, and numerous sculptures and frescoes to see, you’ll get an artistic perspective of the past as well.
Image: Mike Behnken
Trek through brilliant landscapes of forest, pristine lakes, and layers of snow, and you’ll find hundreds of species of rare and exotic wild animals in Nepal. All species of birds, rhinos, elephants, and lions call this special place home. Majestic temples and stupas still standing after centuries tell of a place where religion is a way of life. This all makes Nepal a lovely place to visit, but what makes it incredible is that it boasts the world’s high peak—Mount Everest. And you, my travel-seeking friend, can climb it. Located in the Himalaya, Nepal is a place rich in culture, offering plenty of once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Original Image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
It’s not on the travel wish lists of many people, and that’s precisely why you should #PledgeToVisitAntarctica. Traveling to the Antarctic Peninsula isn’t as challenging as you might think, with convenient transport to and from Chile. Especially if you go between November and March, the weather can be quite bearable—between 20 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit. View wildlife like penguins, orcas, and seals, and capture photographs of ice waves. And with 24 hours of daylight you’ll get plenty of time to take it all in.