Travel has been on hold for most of 2020, but as the world begins to look to the future it's time to start dreaming again. Rosie Paterson and Toby Keel have put together a few suggestions.
For more inspiration, make sure you pick up Country Life’s December 30 issue — it’s our annual travel special, full of many more ideas for adventures far and near.
Go on a subterranean adventure
Deep cave systems are fascinating places — if you’re not convinced, read Robert MacFarlane’s superb Underland. Bonus points for heading to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, and scuba-diving through the extraordinary flooded cave system.
Set foot on one of the world’s most remote islands
Pick any one of the trio of Saint Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha — if you make it to any, we’re impressed, but particularly the latter. Be warned: there are no organised tours, and tales abound of keen travellers coming thousands of miles, only to be frustrated by high seas making it impossible to make landfall.
A tour of Greenland
The world’s largest island — assuming that you’re happy to count Australia as a continental land mass – is unexpectedly fascinating. Tourism is picking up — expect to sail through dazzling fjords, go on a husky safari and fly over towering glaciers.
Visit a true desert island
It may not feel like it, but there are uninhabited islands everywhere — you’ll be able to do so in the Isles of Scilly or the Outer Hebrides for starters. That said, one in the South China Sea or South Pacific would be more exotic and deliver those Mutiny on the Bounty / Robinson Crusoe vibes. But remember — as the phrase goes — make sure you leave only footprints.
Rarotonga Island, one of the Cook Islands, with the Muri beach and lagoon in the foreground.
Trek through virgin jungle
The Amazon, Borneo or the heart of Africa are among your options, should you wish to live out your Indiana Jones fantasies — but be careful where you step, for these can be dangerous places. Take the Darien region, for example — this is mountainous and unforgiving terrain with no infrastructure at all (there’s no river and no road, despite there being just 100 miles between the southernmost Panamanian settlement and the northernmost Colombian one) full of tales of bandits and hardened criminals preying on the unwary.
Take a great train ride
The Trans-Siberian is top of the list for length and the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada the best for sustained, staggering scenery, but you needn’t go quite so far if time and budget are a problem. The West Highland Railway and the Norwegian lined between Oslo and Bergen are both breathtaking as well.
An Antarctic Odyssey
Tourism is becoming surprisingly popular to Antarctica, with many now plying the route between Tierra del Fuego and the Antarctic Peninsula, which juts out from the landmass into the Southern Ocean. Few trips head into the Antarctic Circle, though with scenery such as this you’re unlikely to be too worried about such technicalities.
Climb up to Everest Base Camp
If you think that ‘only’ going to Base Camp won’t tax you, think again: it’s at 17,500ft (altitude-related effects, for most people, begin at 10,000ft) and offers a real sense of the excitement and adventure of the Roof of the World.