An Open Letter to Santa: My 2014 Travel Wish List
Leah Walker December 8, 2013

Dear Santa,

Around this time of the year, I see tons of _______ of the month clubs advertised. There’s absolutely a club for everyone’s taste: Bacon, cigar, dog treats, ice cream, PB&J, wine, salsa, teddy bear, flower, olive oil, and even a breakfast club, which makes this 80s child laugh. Seriously, I’ve seen just about everything a person could imagine.

Leah with Santa

The one thing I haven’t found is a club for travel—a trip of the month club. It certainly would be my dream gift. How exciting would it be to know each month you’d have a trip already planned? One size does not fit all, so obviously this would need to be a customizable gift. So to make it easier on you, Santa {or anyone else}, this is my wish list for the currently non-existent 2014 trip of the month club.

 January

Paris Eifel Tower

Credit

I kicked off my epic 2013 travel year with a quick New York City break, so I think it’s only appropriate to start off 2014 with a trip to another favorite city of mine—Paris. It’s a place that I visited twice, and I just can’t get enough. I tend to think that Santa brought me an early Christmas present when a round trip flight from Houston to Paris for $381 TOTAL was brought to my attention. I snapped it up quicker than reindeer off of a roof.

February

Aspen Snowmass

Credit

As a kid, I visited Colorado twice per year: once for skiing and once for summer. It’s a sentimental place, and one that I’ve neglected since graduating from high school. In 2012, I made it to Keystone and 2013 took me to Telluride. Thus, I must continue the streak for 2014. Methinks that February is the perfect time for Colorado skiing—the Christmas/New Year crowds are gone and spring break hasn’t yet begun. So, with so many wonderful ski resorts in Colorado, where do I want to go? Aspen and Snowmass will do just fine.

March

Lech Zürs am Arlberg

Credit

Maybe I have a bit of ski {or après-ski} fever, and there’s no place that will make me feel better than the Alps. In January, I got my first taste of European skiing in Verbier, Switzerland. Oh my! The Swiss Alps rank in the top three most beautiful places I’ve seen. But I’m not picky; any of the Alps will do—France, Germany, Austria, Italy, or back to Switzerland. And while I’m in that neck of the woods, I’d love to explore more of Austria. I suppose watching NBC’s terrible live version of The Sound of Music last week got me dreaming of Innsbruck, Salzburg, and Vienna.

April

British Virgin Islands

Credit

My travel life has totally been lacking in Caribbean time. I think April is a great opportunity to rectify that situation. Hurricane season has long passed, and after so many cold weather destinations, some sun-provided vitamin D is in order. The British Virgin Islands have been calling my name lately. With the pristine beaches, gorgeous water, and proximity to home–sign me up. Plus, there’s the BVI Spring Regatta happening at the beginning of the month. I’ve never fashioned myself as a sailor, but I love dressing the part.

May

Churchill Downs Louisville Kentucky

Credit

Three things that you probably don’t know about me: I like hats; I like tradition; and I like mint juleps. There’s nothing that combines these three things quite like the Kentucky Derby. Oh yes, I’m dying to visit Churchill Downs donning my biggest straw hat, and sip mint juleps from a silver cup while singing “My Old Kentucky Home” at the top of my lungs. I’m ready–I even know how to pronounce Louisville like the locals.

June

Porto de Galinhas Brazil

Credit

I’m not really a soccer {or football} lover, but I am a sports fan. After watching the brouhaha of the World Cup in South Africa four years ago, I decided that I wanted to experience this storied event for myself. It doesn’t hurt that the World Cup is being held in Brazil either. Hello! I’d love to be drinking caipirinhas and sporting the stars and stripes in Recife when the US of A plays Germany on June 26. USA! USA! USA!

July

Megeve France

Credit

You’d think I’d learn my lesson about traveling to Europe during the summer, but alas, I’m just too thickheaded to learn. Perhaps if I stay out of the cities and visit the country then I’ll be better off. I’ve always wanted to explore more of France, only having been to Paris and Burgundy. I think the French Alps are calling my name. Higher elevation means lower temperatures and France means French wine and cheese. Plus, I’ll get to see what’s under all that snow and ice.

August

Tuscany Countryside

Credit

This is a VERY special month for me. On August 16, I turn 40. You know what also happens on August 16? The Palio in Siena, Italy is run. This historical horse race is decidedly older than me {having been run since 1656}, but it doesn’t miss a step. Thousands of people pour into Piazza del Campo to cheer on their favorite contrada. No doubt there are large quantities of Italian wine and food devoured during the celebrations. The Palio would be one big Italian-themed birthday party. The only thing that would make my 40th birthday better would be a villa in the Tuscan hills to share with a few of my dearest friends. Splendido!

September

Patagonia Chile

Credit

I think South America and I are going to be good friends in 2014. On the heels of the World Cup in Brazil, I think I’ll have hankering for more. I like the sound of Chile in September. Things are warming up south of the equator, and the country makes some brilliant red wines. There’s like a million wineries located in the valleys around Santiago, and everyone knows that wine is always tastier at its source. Too bad harvest season is February through May, because there are some awesome-sounding festivals occurring. Why not just go during that time, you ask? Well, I want to visit Patagonia, and it’s just too damn cold during that time of the year. Plus, I might be able to catch the impossible-to-predict, desierto florido {flowering desert}. Perhaps two trips to Chile are in order.

October

State Fair of Texas Ferris Wheel

Credit

With so much worldly travel, I think I’d like to spend a little time in the great state of Texas. The heat has subsided, and it’s the thick of college football season. This is also when the State Fair of Texas occurs in Dallas. From Big Tex to the giant Ferris wheel to the Red River Rivalry to the assortment of fried food options, this is the only time that you’ll hear of me clamoring to visit Dallas. It’s a Houston thing, y’all.

November

False Bay Cape Town South Africa

Credit

South Africa, and really the better part of Africa, has been my coveted destination for years. I’ve yet to step foot on the continent, but have been obsessing about it more than usual lately. I need to see the Big 5. I need to drive the Garden Route. I need to drink South African wine. I need to cross this off my to-do list in 2014.

December

Vienna Christmas Market

Credit

The twelfth month of the year is my favorite. I love the merriment and, quite frankly, the cold weather. Frosty hands, ice cube toes, tall boots, a red nose, and wool coats are some of my favorite things, because with them come Starbucks red cups, the Nutcracker, family, turkey and dressing, and Christmas lights. I can’t imagine an area that encapsulates this time of the year like Budapest, Prague, and Vienna. Known for their Christmas markets {and mulled wine}, I’m dying to visit all three during December. I had the pleasure of seeing them in July of this year, but I can only imagine how magical they are around Christmas. Yes, I’m dreaming of a Hapsburg Capital Christmas.

So, Santa, if anyone can whip up a trip of the month club at this late date, it’s you. Thank you for all the great gifts you’ve given me in the past, even when I should have made the naughty list. And if you want to meet me in Paris or Aspen, that would be totally cool. I imagine you could use a vacation after the busy holiday season.

Love,

LeahTravelsHeadertiny01teeny01

 

 

 

 

Featured Photo

Leah Walker

Leah's a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, The Daily Basics, Bonjour Paris, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don't extend to speaking French. Yet.

61 Comments

  1. Leah,

    That’s one long list 🙂 Santa will need some bribing, I think !

    Savi and I are hoping to make it to at least 6 different places next year – let’s see

    Good luck with this list – it looks lovely and I am sure you’ll have a great time in each of these places. Loved the first picture in the post 🙂

    Cheers

    1. That Santa looks drunk, I’m afraid. I think that if I had that many kids sitting on my lap each season, I might drink, too. I can’t wait to see your trips. The photos and stories are always so well done. I’m a big fan!

  2. I would also like to join this club as I share some of your same wishes. I have long wished to attend the Kentucky Derby and return to Sienna again to see the Palio races. What a fun list!

  3. what a fantastic list! My husband and I have always tried to budget for a trip a month since we became expats. Being in Europe now, makes it even easier and cheaper at times. I have to recommend to try the Christmas market in Krakow, Poland, next year too! 🙂

    1. Yes, there are so many great weekend trips living in Europe, in addition to great transportation options. I really want to visit Poland, so I’ll just add a train ticket on to my December trip. Thanks for the tip.

  4. Don’t be surprised if you happen to see me at two of these spots: World Cup and Siena. I probably won’t travel to the World Cup (I am a huge football fan but hate crowds), but after visiting Siena eight years ago we’ve vowed to return for the race. Your birthday is two days after our 15th anniversary. Maybe we can celebrate over a carafe or two of wine.

  5. Hey Leah, nice wishlist. Why don’t you try Santa again… maybe in Vienna with its Christmas Market. I’ve been in December and it’s the best one I’ve seen. Happy Holidays and best in travels for the New Year.

    1. Hi, Richard. Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you again in Houston soon. These media events just don’t happen often enough for us to really catch up. Happy holidays to you, too.

  6. Ah Budapest, Prague and Vienna are all on my wish list for 2014 (Father Christmas – I’ve been good this year, honest!). I love the anticipation of where a new year might take us – I’ve been pricing up trip ideas like a mad woman this last week or so. I’m on a mission to take 12 trips in the next 12 months as part of a wee project I’ve got going on, but sadly I don’t think the reality will be as filled with far flung places as I’d like – but there’ll still be 12 trips!

    Have a lovely 2014 – hope Santa makes the wishes come true! From a fellow believer 🙂

    1. Oh, that’s wonderful, Clare. I imagine this trip would cost a pretty penny. I can’t even imagine adding up the numbers. I can’t wait to see what you’ve put together for 2014.

  7. Yes what a nice list to celebrate whole year on traveling. You have make a schedule of trip and really you have selected so wonderful places where every one want to go. I appreciate your traveling place suggestions.

  8. HELLO, I´M GUY FROM BRAZIL!! I WAS BORN IN RIO DE JANEIRO AND THE CHEAPEST PLACES TO STAY IN BRAZIL IS FAR AWAY FROM RIO DE JANEIRO!! SÃO PAULO CITY IS CHEAPER THAN RIO DE JANEIRO CITY!! BELO HORIZONTE IS CHEAPER THAN RIO DE JANEIRO AND SÃO PAULO. MANAUS IS CHEAP BUT THE SITUATION IS: MANAUS IS FAR WAY FROM EVERY HOSTAGE CITY INSIDE BRAZIL!! THE DISTANCE FROM SÃO PAULO TO MANAUS FOR EXAMPLE IS 3.844km!! THE DISTANCE FROM PORTO ALEGRE CITY BETWEEN MANAUS CITY IS ABOUT 4.424Km!! YOU´LL HAVE TO BUY AIRPLANE TICKETS TO TRAVEL AROUND BRAZIL AND MOVE YOURSELVES BETWEEN ALL HOSTAGE CITIES!! TO CONSULT AIRPLANE COMPANIES IN BRAZIL FOLLOW THESE WEBSITES: http://www.azul.com.br, http://www.tam.com.br, http://www.voegol.com.br, http://www.avianca.com.br, http://www.trip.com.br
    THE FOOD OF BRAZIL IS TOO RICH AND VERY CHEAP IN ENTIRE COUNTRY!! YOU CAN EAT A LOT AND PAY A LITTLE!!
    IF YOU´D LIKE TO EAT SOMETHING TYPICAL PLATES, THEN ASK FOR IT: MOQUECA, FRANGO A PASSARINHO, FEIJOADA, CALDEIRADA, CALDO VERDE, LEITÃO À PURURUCA, CASQUINHA DE SIRI, FRANGO AO MOLHO PARDO, CHURRASCO RODÍZIO, FRANGO CAIPIRA, MOQUECA DE SIRI, MOQUECA DE CAMARÃO!!
    BEVERAGES IN BRAZIL IS VERY CHEAP AND YOU´LL FIND IN ABUNDANCE: CHOOSE AND ASK FOR THESE BRANDS WHILE YOU ARE INSIDE BRAZIL: BRAHMA, SKOL, BOHEMIA, BAVARIA, NOVA SCHIN!! A CAN OF BEER COST ON AVERAGE OF 1 EURO!
    THE CLIMATE OF BRAZIL IS: EQUATORIAL, SEMI-ARID, TROPICAL, TROPICAL SAVANNAH, SUBTROPICAL AND SUBTROPICAL HIGHLAND!!!
    RIO DE JANEIRO IS HOT ON THE WINTERS
    MANAUS IS TOO HOT AND WET ON WINTERS
    FORTALEZA IS HOT ON WINTERS
    RECIFE IS HOT AS FORTALEZA IS
    CUIABÁ IS CAN BE COLD AND HOT ON WINTERS
    BRASILIA IS COOL AND TOO DRY ON WINTERS
    BELO HORIZONTE IS COOL AND A LITTLE DRY ON WINTERS
    SÃO PAULO IS COOL AND DRY ON WINTERS. THE AIR IS TOO POLLUTED!!!
    CURITIBA IS WET AND IS THE COLDEST STATE CAPITAL OF ENTIRE BRAZIL!!
    PORTO ALEGRE IS COLD AND WET DURING WINTER SEASONS!

    WELL, HAVE YOU A NICE TRIP AND WELCOME TO BRAZIL!!

Your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers

Have the world delivered to your inbox
Well, maybe not the whole world, but some of it. Either way, subscribe to my monthly newsletter. I'll include my latest articles from around the Web, travel announcements, and maybe even a few Paris insider tips.