New Year’s Reservations

9 01 2009

“Hey, wiseguy, do I a moose you?”                        (Algonquin Park, Ontario)

I’ve long wondered just what precisely ‘doing’ a country means. You often hear people say they’ve ‘done’ China, which is a pretty big ‘do’ considering it has more than 9.5 million square kilometres and a population of more than 1.3 billion people. If each day you managed to cover 100 square kilometres and shook 13,698 hands, it would take you more than 260 years to ‘do’ the whole country.

I’m not sure that a t-shirt from the Terracotta Warriors, a pot noodle near Tiananmen Square and a postcard from Shanghai constitutes ‘doing’, but I think I know what they mean: they’ve visited China and are looking for a new destination to explore.
We all have our lists of places we want to visit. Generally, I find they tend to fall into one of three categories:
1)    The ‘dream’ vacations (North Pole, Orient Express, Victoria’s Secret product launch)
2)    The ‘I’ll do it one day’ vacations (African safari, The Galapagos, Alaskan cruise)
3)    ‘My next’ vacation (Cuba, Costa Rica, skiing at Whistler)
In order to help you lengthen your own lists and further blur your plans and dreams, Lonely Planet has just published “Best Travel in 2009” which features more than 850 of the world’s hottest travel trends, destinations, journeys and experiences for the year ahead. Dubbed as the “ultimate inspirational year­book”, the book promises to entice armchair and seasoned travellers alike.

So, what do they propose for 2009? Bearing in mind that Lonely Planet cater to travellers of all tastes and derring-do from those who climb Kota Kinabalu in flip-flops to those who prefer La-Z-Boy as their tour operator of choice, their lists run the gamut from Sir Edmund Hillary to Dame Edna Everage.


The Top Countries for 2009 (in alphabetical order):




Georgia (the country…not the state!)






Sierra Leone


The Top Cities for 2009:


Antwerp, Belgium
Beirut, Lebanon
Chicago, USA
Glasgow, Scotland
Lisbon, Portugal
Mexico City, Mexico
São Paulo, Brazil
Shanghai, China
Warsaw, Poland
Zürich, Switzerland


So, forget the list of New Year’s Resolutions that you’ve already either forgotten or completely broken, how about starting the year off on a travelling note and making a New Year’s Reservation to one of the spots on your own list?



Photo and post by:  Simon Vaughan

Asia In Style

5 12 2008


I don’t feel as though I am truly an adventurous traveller unless my hotel room has a rusted fan bolted to the ceiling, a television with three channels (or better yet…no television at all), a constant din rising from neighbouring streets, a lingering air of insect repellent and periodic power cuts…but I’m not so dedicated that I won’t occasionally stray towards something a little more opulent and luxurious that boasts white gloves, white sheets, white towels and fine white wine. Ultimately, a vacation is a treat or an opportunity to re-charge well-worn batteries, so why not indulge a bit?tic1


It was long believed that adventure and comfort don’t mix. Unless there was a dirt floor, a lumpy bed or a lack of air-conditioning it couldn’t possibly be adventure. However, as more and more people are drawn to exotic destinations, so the ability to travel in small groups and experience genuine cultural immersion while also enjoying a bit of comfort at night are no longer mutually-exclusive.


Oned of the best places to combine both worlds is in Asia. Boasting some of the best hotels and finest service in the world while still offering ancient ruins, congested markets, vibrant culture and thriving tradition, Asia can provide it all. Intrepid adventurer by day sampling food that would cause the neighbour to pass out, considerable comfort by night. Stimulation for the mind and senses by day, pampering for the weary body at night.


If your idea of adventure doesn’t extend to dorm rooms, mosquito nets and communal showers, click here.