Life Stories

2017 Travel Wish List

2017 Resolution: see more of the world. Is that even possible? It is very possible. It is very probable. It is 100% going to happen. Last year, I wrote my 2016 Travel Wish List and surprised myself when I knocked them off all by mid-summer. This year’s list is heftier, geographically farther, and culturally farther than any other Travel Wish List I’ve made (ok, I’ve officially made two, but that’s not to say I haven’t had these lists in my mind throughout my first few years on the road!). It’s time to take the traveler training wheels off, and hit up some places I don’t know much about – firstly, because I haven’t done my fair share of research and secondly, because I haven’t met many people who have visited these locations.

My 2017 Travel Wish List goes a little something like this:

Somewhere in Africa

This is where I need everyone’s help. 2017 is the year I make it to the continent of Africa. To some country where I can experience the villages and African life that we all see in documentaries, and then also to some country where I can experience the other side of Africa that we don’t see in documentaries – the Africa that’s like, um no, we have businesses, and nightclubs, and city-like culture. Maybe I go to French-speaking Africa? English-speaking? Maybe I pick up some Afrikaans? See why I need your help here?

Cross-Country Road Trip

I won’t be happy until it’s New York to Los Angeles…in a red jeep. That’s the image I’ve created in my head and it just won’t quit. In a way, it’s my personal vision board that WILL happen this year. I want the long road in front of me, slightly weird motels, a twerk-worthy hip-hop playlist, and a nice butt cushion. I want it all! Let’s make this happen.

35mm road trip

35mm Road Trip

35 mm Road Trip Gonzalo

Hawaii

Tropical beaches, lush greenery, turquoise water, a distinct Hawaiian culture, and getting lei’d – who wouldn’t want to travel to Hawaii? Remember Tito from Rocket Power, Lilo & Stitch, Moana – I need to meet real people like these fictional cartoon characters.

Buenos Aires

After reading the book What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, I instantly added Buenos Aires to my list. Anyone who describes their stories, especially romantic ones, in a foreign city, pretty much seals the deal for me. Romance adds mystery to a city, and if one thing’s for sure, it’s that I have a passionate love affair with the city of Paris, which may be a great advantage to me visiting Buenos Aires – a city that, for years, has been explained to me as the Paris of South America. So will I fall madly in love with Argentina as well? Vamos a ver. We’ll see about that!

Shanghai

Shanghai shot to the top of my 2017 Travel Wish List when I found out that one of my favorite movies, HER, was not entirely filmed in Downtown Los Angeles, but mostly in Shanghai. Now, after watching the movie a few times, I’m like…duh…these wide-angle cityscape shots are clearly not using Los Angeles as the backdrop. We got smog, but we ain’t got that much smog. As we know, China and I did not get along in 2016 [That Time I Lost My Passport in the Airport], but setting aside their silly Wi-Fi machines that require you inserting your passport to retrieve a Wi-Fi code, the Chinese airport I visited was impressive. It was futuristic. It was clean. Now, I’m curious to see how this compares to the real Shanghai.

Which countries are on your 2017 Travel Wish List?

Any recommendations for me?

damon signature

All photos belong to clearly amazing photographers on Flickr. I suggest you check them all

out!

You also may enjoy: 2016 Travel Wish List, Revisited

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  • Ariana

    These sound amazing! I’ve been dying to go to Hawaii since I got hooked on Hawaii 5-0 and then I saw Moana, I NEED to get there!!

    • Hawaii’s got something special. I can feel it already!

  • Antzela Berzani

    Omg this is just Fab 🙂 I would love to go to Buenos Aires as well!!! One of my goals is to go to Peru,Machu Picchu. An other really interesting place to visit is Crete,Greece the food is fresh and delicious,the people are friendly and had amazing view tthe whole island.I’m from there and i recommended a lot over summer specially but I live in Manchester.Uk . anyway hope this year will open our horizons even more and do things that we love!!! 🙂 have a good weekend 🙂

  • Anthony

    Go to Hawaii! It is AMAZING! I have been to almost all of the islands, and each one is perfect. If you’re looking for a more modern feel, Oahu is the best option. But for more rustic feels, Kauai and Maui are fine! The big island has awesome volcanoes, and black sand beaches! Maui is very touristy and has many attractions, Oahu has Honolulu and bunch of awesome places to see. Kauai is a very nice island and I recommend doing a helicopter tour there as well!

  • Nana

    Go to Mozambique!! It’s a beautiful country and it’s close to South-Africa!! Another great thing is that it’s a Portugese speaking country, so you can work on improving your Portugese!! Greetings from Amsterdam!

  • nico

    Yay!
    Je pourrais te conseiller le Maroc pour commencer ton voyage en Afrique, un pays tellement magnifique, par son moyen atlas, ces couleurs, etc… Comme les villes de Fès, Kénitra, Tangers et bien d’autres mais ce sont les villes que je connais principalement. Je les recommande, les nuits sont parfaite aussi!

    Ensuite, je te dirais bien Abidjan (côte d’Ivoire) car j’avais de la famille qui y a vécu il y a longtemps pour la nostalgie et le Congo pour le contraste et je ne sais pas si tu as connu les BD Tintin au Congo haha (je sais qu’il y a pas mal de night clubs sympa la-bas comme de nom le Ngwasuma ou le Planete sono beach “Mayi ya pembé” avec plage privée, bar, discothèque…) et c’est plus sécurisé qu’ailleurs de l’afrique… et l’afrique du Sud doit être top !

    Je te joins une carte où tu peux apercevoir quel pays du continent parlent quelle langues et ainsi faire tes choix 😉 (L’ouest est plutôt anglophone et moins riche culturellement je trouve : Mozambique, Soudan etc a part l’afrique du sud mais tu pourras peut-être confirmé l’inverse) : http://muriel.lucot.free.fr/local/cache-vignettes/L440xH458/carte_afrique-cab5f.jpg 🙂

    Je te souhaite de beaux voyages en Afrique, faites-nous rêver Damon & Joe en vidéos!

  • nico

    Bonjour Damon,

    si je peux te soumettre le Maroc que je trouve exceptionnel sur tout point de vue, ces couleurs, son moyen-atlas, ces gens, les architectures et sa douceur de vivre… un des pays du Maghreb le plus beau a visiter et plus sécurisé. Je connais Fès, Tangers, Kénitra surtout…. et la nuit sa bouge pas mal.

    Ensuite, pour la nostalgie je te dirais bien Abidjan en Côte d’ivoire. J’y ai vécu lorsque j’étais tout petit, mais ça a dû bien changer depuis le temps…

    Et si tu connais tintin je suis un fan de tintin il y a “tintin au Congo” 🙂
    alors, pourquoi pas le Congo? C’est belge. Et ça m’a l’air sympathique et bien festif en cherchant par rapport à d’autres pays de l’Afrique je trouve. Il y a comme adresse le planete sono beach “Mayi ya pembé” avec ”un espace de détente et de loisirs avec une plage privée”, il fait restau boite de nuit, piscine. Il a l’air pas mal! Aussi le K12 et la night-club N’Gwasuma.

    Je te joins une image où tu pourras t’apercevoir quels pays est francophone et ceux anglophone, a priori tout le côté droit du continent Africain est francophone… Le Soudan, l’Éthiopie etc a droite plus pauvre je trouve personnellement culturellement est anglais, après a toi de voir et peut-être me confirmer le contraire en vidéos ! 😉

    Et pour terminer, mon choix se porterait sur l’Afrique du sud. Of course.
    Fait de beaux voyages sur ce continent et a bientôt pour de nouvelles aventures =)

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d3ad70aa60f3cf1df2030beb8ed8353a6e18ed681d725f8cdf58a4b9ad3dd8ce.jpg

  • nico

    Bonjour Damon,

    si je peux te soumettre le Maroc que je trouve
    exceptionnel sur tout point de vue, ces couleurs, son moyen-atlas, ces
    gens, les architectures et sa douceur de vivre… un des pays du Maghreb
    le plus beau a visiter et plus sécurisé. Je connais Fès, Tangers,
    Kénitra surtout…. et la nuit sa bouge pas mal.

    Ensuite, pour la nostalgie je te dirais bien Abidjan en Côte d’ivoire. J’y ai vécu lorsque j’étais tout petit, mais ça a dû bien changer depuis le temps…

    Et si tu connais tintin je suis un fan de tintin il y a “tintin au Congo” 🙂
    Alors, pourquoi pas le Congo? C’est belge. Et ça m’a l’air sympathique et bien festif en cherchant par rapport à d’autres pays de l’Afrique je trouve. Il y a comme adresse le planete sono beach “Mayi ya pembé” avec ”un espace de détente et de loisirs avec une plage privée”, il fait restau boite de nuit, piscine. Il a l’air pas mal! Aussi le K12 et le night-club N’Gwasuma.

    Je te joins une image où tu pourras t’apercevoir quels pays est francophone et ceux anglophone, a priori tout le côté droit du continent Africain est francophone… Le Soudan, l’Éthiopie etc a gauche relativement plus pauvre je trouve personnellement culturellement est anglais, après a toi de voir et peut-être me confirmer le contraire en vidéos ! 😉 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d3ad70aa60f3cf1df2030beb8ed8353a6e18ed681d725f8cdf58a4b9ad3dd8ce.jpg

    Et pour terminer, mon choix se porterait sur l’Afrique du sud. Of course.
    Passe de bons moment et fait de beaux voyages sur ce continent et a bientôt pour de nouvelles aventures!

  • Can I go with you to all of them? 😉 On my list is definitely Norway (I have to go there every year, because I love it). And the rest is completely open, I have no idea where I will go but I’m sure I will visit some awesome new places. X

  • AlicevstheWorld

    Oh I’d love to go travelling round Africa too! And I can’t take my eyes of the giant poodle in the Shanghai photo. It’s really weirding me out for some reason.

  • Gabriele Santos

    Hey :3 I’m brazilian and I’m trying read things on web in english <3 I'm reading very well, thanks for your posts be too simple for read <3
    I'm in love with this wish list, because, is exactly what I want for my life. Buenos Aires is too near for here, so, I think that I could start for there.
    Thank you for all xoxo

  • Gabriele Santos

    Hey :3 I’m brazilian and I’m trying read things on web in english <3 I'm reading very well, thanks for your posts be too simple for read <3
    I'm in love with this wish list, because, is exactly what I want for my life. Buenos Aires is too near for here, so, I think that I could start for there.
    Thank you for all xoxo

    http://www.avenidamundo.com.br

  • I suggest Tanzania, Africa.

    I was there for a summer as a volunteer, and boy, did I experience both worlds–quiet village and tourist life.

    Besides having the majestic mammoth mountain, Kilimanjaro, and amazing safaris, you also have the option to take a ferry to the island, Zanzibar, to soak up the emerald waters. Seriously, the beach was so beautiful! Any time I need a brain-cleanser I took the 2 hour dala dala ride just to relax for a few short hours.

    Anyway, it’s a beautiful place filled with so many different pockets of life and culture.

    Do you like spices and luxurious doors?
    Zanzibar is the place to be!
    I don’t recommend the spice tour, but I do recommend viewing the spice market (FREE).

    Also, visit lead singer of Queen’s past humble abode in Stone Town. Speaking of Stone Town, there’s an awesome market to eat at during the night. So yummy! Definitely get “chipsi and mishkaki,” a local favorite. Oh, and wash your meal down with a sweet mango lassi.

    Catch every sunset by the ocean. Every. single. one. will take your breath away.

    If you really wanna go when Zanzibar is popping I suggest going during the summer when they have their annual International Film Festival! People come from everywhere to see live performances and watch amazing films outside. When I went I kept being swept up in the euphoric experience it was to be in Africa watching Selma with an audience of glistening stars above. Also, there’s a sweet dance party after the movie is shown.

    Want an interesting experience? DEF take a dala dala ride–you’ll probably hold a random chicken or someone’s child. Haha!

    Also, visit the butterfly garden near Makunduchi. It was one of my favorite experiences.

    Honestly, I had a hard time being a volunteer there because I was in such a small town, but I would definitely go back for a vacation. I wish I got to see more of the mainland, but I’m thankful for the time spent on the island. Tanzania and it’s island, Zanzibar, has my highest of recommendations.

    P.S. Pack a few modest clothes. The tourists wear whatever, but majority of the locals will be covered. 🙂

    P.S.S. Pick up some Swahili on the way! It’s actually quite easy.
    I’ll teach you two now–“shindikiza”.
    Tanzanians are so hospitable. If you make any local friends they probably will accompany you as you walk home; the farther they walk, the more they appreciate you. This is called “shindikiza”.

    Also a favorite, “shikamoo.” This is a greeting you say to people older than you, in which your elder will respond “marahaba.” I loved saying it to a group of older women passing by because they always added some Beyonce’ flare to it and sang their reply–“marahabaaaaaa.”

    Hope you go!

    • lucy amos

      I definitely recommend Tanzania! I have family there, my aunt and uncle are doctors at the Teule Hospital in Muheza and lived in the village. My cousins grew up playing with the local kids and everything.

      I totally agree with the Dala rides, as well as any kind of public transport. The bus system was an experience by itself. People basically do their everyday shopping on the bus; every time there’s a stop people flock to windows selling eggs, produce, phones, everything.

      The safaris are a must. They can be expensive, but its worth it going for a few days and having a guide. Otherwise you’ll miss out on a lot of the best scenes, and they’ll be able to get you through the villages and all of that.

      Also, I highly recommend visiting a Mosque!

      I could talk all day about Tanzania, definitely a trip of a lifetime 🙂

  • MomentsbySese

    YOU GUYS YESSSS TO AFRICA ! HERE ARE SOME OF MY SUGGESTIONS !

    -Djibouti (A French Speaking Country in East Africa ! )
    -Ethiopia ( For all the beautiful landscapes and best Vegetarian food !)
    -Tanzania ! ( yes yes yes )
    -Angola (Portuguese speaking country)
    – Cabo Verde ( again Portuguese speaking, Literally so beautiful )
    – Senegal !

  • Isabella Biagiotti

    I can’t wait for Shanghai! I’m fascinated by the Asian culture

  • sohia a

    you should go to morocco because we speak french and it’s in africa and if you do u should go to moulay bousselham

  • Josh W

    So for your trip to Shanghai…
    If you have a choice go to Shanghai Pudong Airport and use the MagLev train to get to the city! you go like 350kph.
    Places to visit:
    The Bund: Financial Center of Shanghai
    Oriental Peral Tower: CCTV antenna and great observation tower with glass floor
    Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center: if you like to go to massive buildings
    Shanghai World Expo: Home of the 2010 World Expo! Visit the China building which houses great Chinese artists.
    Yuyuan Garden: Its a great place with lots of little stores and great architecture. There is a place there with giant soup dumplings.
    DinTaiFeng restaurant: they are the original Soup Dumpling restaurant (started in Taiwan)
    Visit basically any park, especially if it is a People’s Park
    Get a haircut in China! Idk if it is standard, but every haircut I got from a nice’ish looking salon included a shoulder, arm, and hand massage.
    Check out any of the Shanghai University campuses. Its cool to compare schools between countries.
    Hostels are super cheap in China.
    Oh, and you have to visit McDonalds and see the difference in the menu. Also, KFC is the largest American chain in China and is completely different.

  • Cami Velazquez

    BUENOS AIRES YESSSSS, I’m rightu here waiting anytime you want, buenos aires has a unique vibe you need to experience!

  • Amelia Larwood

    Honolulu on Oahu is definitely very touristy, but it’s still a cool place to go to! There’s a lot of beautiful hikes to take. One of the more popular ones is up Diamond Head, the mountain inpictures of the Waikiki (Honolulu area) shoreline. A few years ago, I hiked up Koko Head with my family, and the view is amazing (though the hike is a bunch of stairs, so I got a bit tired. But we had mochi ice cream afterwards at Bubbies!). And definitely try some Poi and Haupia! The Diamond Head Grill has some cool desserts, too.
    Definitely check out the North Shore of Oahu too! 🙂

  • bella97

    Madagaskar is a really nice island in the south east of Africa!The Nature is amazing and they can speak French because it was a French colony. Who doesn’t want to feet King Julien? 😉
    I love your blog! It really inspires me!

  • Katlego

    Hey!

    I live in Johannesburg (aka Joburg / Jozi), and this could be your city life African city. A couple of things:
    – travel is fairly easy to Joburg – direct flights from the US and good AirBnB’s – and I could recommend a few friends with lovely AirBnB’s in cool areas i.e. great night life and accessible without a car.
    – An hour’s drive out of Joburg takes you to the bush i.e. wildlife with lovely hiking trails (which you guys seem to love), and picturesque views, and UNESCO heritage cites.
    – Joburg night life is awesome. Period.
    – Afrikaans is not the language you might think it is: not recognised as a popular African language, but the language of the apartheid government in South Africa and Namibia, so it’s politically charged. It has Dutch roots, so learning it won’t be hard for you, but if you want a challenge, and to get respect in the country, learn a language widely spoken by black people – and there are +9 to choose from.
    – Check out TravelNoire blog on their visit to South Africa – in addition to Joburg in South Africa, you can visit Cape Town (beaches, nature and city life), Drakensburg (picturesque mountains), Mpumalanga (wildlife), and the Kingdom of Lesotho (a country within South Africa).

    A lovely francophone city for your consideration is Dakar in Senegal…but come to Joburg, it won’t disappoint!

  • Dora Dias

    What about Portuguese-speaking Africa?! 😀 I suggest Angola!

    • Katlego

      Mozambique and Cape Verde!

  • Sophia M

    Raised on Oahu! Some people think Honolulu is all of Oahu and Oahu is Honolulu. International tourists, especially Japanese, tend to come to Oahu, mainlanders tend to go to Maui and stay in resorts… Half of Oahu (over the Ko’olau mountain range) is just residential towns linked together. While there is a city and there is a touristy side, it is personally my favorite with the Big Island in second. You can’t beat walking on volcanoes on the Big Island… I could totally see DamonAndJo videos filmed next to flowing lava! The real local life that most of us experience everyday is found on Oahu.

    If you want small towns, jungle and waterfall hikes, secluded beaches but also enjoy a HUGE variety of every Pacific culture type restaurant, farmer’s markets (Eat the Street), concerts, and museums then Oahu is the place to be. Although it takes a while, it’s super easy to get around Oahu by bus btw.

    • Genesee Greco

      Hey! I’m from Oahu too 🙂 Born on Kauai, raised here, and my mom and her family come from Volcano on the Big Island. I’m going back to Kilauea this summer, couldn’t be more excited!!

  • Katarina Holtzapple

    Okay for Africa:
    1) Africa north of the Sahara is completely different that that of the South, and East different than West, so you could easily get multiple places in like an “Africa hopping tour” (I am imagining something like starting in Morocco, then Senegal, Mali, South Africa, Tanzania or Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt). That being said, it would be quite difficult.

    2) I can’t speak much for North Africa as I have never been, but obviously, Morocco and Egypt are two crowd favorites, with lots to do and see, a tourist infrastructure, and only a quick trip from Europe.

    3) West Africa is more my area, seeing as I lived in Cotonou, Benin for a few years as a kid. Obviously, this area is less popular than most, but Ghana is lovely with natural landscapes, Accra to explore, and lots of history surrounding the slave trade. Benin I am biased towards of course, and there is a great little village called “Ganvie” that is like “the Venice of Africa.” Senegal is much more popular and would probably be the best visit though. Nigeria is intense, and although Lagos is a really neat city, I don’t know if I would recommend it for your first time in any African setting.

    4) Going down further South, Kenya and Tanzania are also major tourist destinations, with the “best” safaris and I’ve just heard really wonderful things about Nairobi! (Plus if you went to Kenya you have Mt. Kilimanjaro!)

    5) South Africa is one of my favorite countries in the world. Joburg is a really vibrant city with so much history and so many things to do. Kruger park is where I went on the best overnight safaris, although places like Pilansberg also can be really cool. And, of course, there is CAPE TOWN. One of my favorite trips ever, I absolutely fell in love with the city, the people, Table Mountain, the seals, everything! Totally worth a visit and would shake up your idea of what “Africa” is like.

    6) That being said, every country is so unique in its own way and I you could spend your whole life just travelling Africa and never be done!

  • Lin

    If you do go to Shanghai:
    -The Bund(Waitan) have some really nice European architecture and if you go at night you get a really good view of the skyline on a clear day
    -There is a underwater tunnel that you can take across the Huangpu River which costs 50RMB (~$7.3) but I would only recommend doing this once as it is more expensive than a 3 day pass for the subway (45 RMB)
    -Nanjing(Nanking) Road is a good night shopping district
    -Around the Yu Garden are many restored 15th century temples that is now turned into a shopping district
    -You can take ferries on the Huangpu River at night for around 100RMB (~$14.6)
    -Tianzifang is a cool place to go, that’s where the cafes, bars, and art galleries are
    -New World(Xintiandi) is where foreigners typically go
    -All these places are nice to go when there are less tourists, try to avoid any Chinese holidays when most people travel
    -If you are in Shanghai might as well go to Suzhou, it is more historical, more cultural, and less polluted than Shanghai which you can go by taking the train on either on the normal train (dongche) cost 15.5RMB (~$2.3), takes around 1 hour or the high-speed rail (gaotie) cost 25.5RMB (~$3.7)

  • Jo Diane

    Hi Damon,
    You and Jo inspire me to be a traveler some day, I speak seven languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Swahili, Lingala, Italian) and I am learning Chinese and German now.
    I really suggest that you ships should go to the Congo, it’s a beautiful country full of beautiful Rivers, the second largest forest in the world, great animals and although some parts speak French you might need a translator for some part of the country but I promise that you won’t be disappointed and will have a lot of fun.

    Thanks,
    Jo(my nickname is Jo by the way 😇😆)

  • Tasya warda nabila

    Datang ke Bali, Indonesia!
    come to bali, in indonesia! There are hidden heaven-like-beaches, a monkey kingdom, amazing traditional bali dance that kinda look like a scary theatrical performance, beautiful sunset everyday, warm & welcoming local people or as we call them ‘pribumi’, rich indonesian culture & pretty much everything else that’s travel worthy.

  • yessssssss ! great wish list !!!

  • Anna Souza

    just a heads up: moana is polynesian, not hawaiian.

  • pelin

    You should definitely go to Turkey. I’m sure you will like it here. Especially, Alaçatı. That place feels like paradise 🙂 And I guarantee you will adore Turkish-Greek foods there.

  • grant

    Come to South Africa! Perfect mix of literally everything that you want out of an African trip. Loads of amazing rural villages to get the stereotypical “3rd world Africa” experience but also loads of very cosmopolitan urban cities with lots of art, culture, nightlife and restaurants. Joburg and Cape Town need to be on your list!

  • Ashley Moreira

    I recently got the chance to go to Togo, West Africa right by Ghana. They speak mostly French, Togolese and English. I even got to visit one of the first slave ports that ever existed. I am going back to live there for a few months in June. I travel at least once a month, follow me on instagram to see pictures @ashley718. I love you guys so much!!

  • Nidhin Chandrasekhar

    Guys Why don’t you visit India.It’s a country with lots of history and also home of 1/5th of humanity.How can be a world traveller if you don’t visit the country where 20% of humans live 🙂

  • Sabrina K

    I want to go to Spain (Barcelona), France (Paris), Luxembourg and Austria (Vienna). And I was in Portugal (Porto). 🙂

  • Andrea

    Hi Damon! First of all, I’ve loved reading Shut Up and Go, and watching your youtube channel. I’m currently studying abroad in England and all of the travel tips have helped a lot!

    Anyway, I’m originally from Canada, and would like to recommend Halifax, Nova Scotia to you. I’ve noticed that when people talk about Canada, they only mention Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver (sometimes). But no one seems to know about Halifax. It’s located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, and is a city filled with young people, folk music, a beautiful pier, and so much history. There are also lots of universities that make the city what it is. If you visit and have time to explore Nova Scotia, come to Wolfville, home of Acadia University. It also has a fantastic farmers market, and as a small town, student life really brings out its charm.

    Just wanted to let you know that I think you guys would really enjoy Halifax, and to maybe consider visiting one day. 🙂

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