Happy new year everyone! I hope everyone had a good holiday season and made it through all the family time without losing their mind! So 2012 is upon us. It will be an interesting year in travel with much going on; and on the horizon ahead. For me, it will be an interesting year as well. I have some big decisions to make about what I will be doing and where I will be traveling with only 20 destinations left on the TCC list. The only generic question that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up more than “what’s your favorite place?” is “where are you going next?” So instead of answering the same question a million times I thought I would map out my potential travel destinations for 2012. While everything is obviously subject to change as anyone who knows me knows, but here is a rough draft of my thoughts on what I may be up to.
First, I hate living life to a list. Travel can lose its luster if you just go places to check them off and I don’t feel like I’ve gotten much out of it. So while I am acutely aware of the fact I only have 20 places left to complete my goal and finish the TCC list, my travel is not limited to those places.
That said, I have grouped the remaining places on the TCC list down into several smaller trips that I will decide on. The three main ones are the following.
The seven regions of Antarctica which can all be achieved by a trip to the geographic South Pole is the biggest and most costly challenge. This trip will be a minimum of $45,000. It will cover the seven territorial claims and give me seven TCC countries. Sounds great but $45,000 is a lot of money for a few weeks on a big sheet of ice. I do really want to do this trip as every great modern explorer has been to the South Pole and it is a lot easier than doing several lengthy boat rides to several different island claims near Antarctica.
Another trip that is lengthy and relatively costly but not nearly the cost of the South Pole is a trip to the south Atlantic islands which would net me at least four TCC destinations. These include Ascension, St. Helena and Tristan de Cunha along with the Falkland Islands and several of the Antarctic claims south of Argentina and Chile. This boat lasts approximately 30 days and goes every year or two, there is one in March. The cost is about $10,000 give or take but there are no guarantees for Tristan de Cunha landings. There are some other options for the three former islands I mentioned by boat from South Africa. Additionally, you can also fly to and from Ascension and the Falkland Islands from the UK and from Chile on military aircraft and with LAN to Stanley.
A third grouped trip (three TCC) and one that I am very excited to do includes French Polynesia (Tahiti), the Marquesas Islands and Pitcairn Island. This trip sounds like a dream to anyone and is very attainable. It again is not cheap although it can be done relatively cheaply. The cheapest way to do Pitcairn Island is for $4400 for a week trip all inclusive on a boat from Mangareva (Gambier Islands, French Polynesia). Tahiti and Marquesas can be done cheaply or as expensive as you want to do them so I need to look more into multiple options. There is an eleven day boat trip around the different Marquesas Islands which is something I am strongly looking at which runs like $2000.
Those are the three grouped trips I have left. The rest of the places can be grouped, albeit obscurely but with Wake Island and the British Indian Ocean Territory being so obscure and unpredictable in and of themselves, they will likely be “if available” options. Both trips have been cancelled on me multiple times in the past year or so, so I am not holding my breath. The Line/Phoenix Islands of Kiribati are easily done with a flight from Fiji or from Hawaii. It is out of the way and the true debate with Kiritimaki which is the main island, aka Christmas Island, is how long to stay on the island. The only draw is bone fishing and lovely scenery. My bone fishing skills are not up to snuff so I may do a day trip there which is a possibility from Fiji on Air Pacific.
The other three destinations I have left that I haven’t talked about are Greenland which I will do in April or May, whenever the flights from Iceland re-open and hopefully group that with a flight from Iceland to Halifax. Nova Scotia to head up to St. Pierre and Miquelon. This is of course, the small French possession in maritime Canada. This is the easiest to do from New York but since it’s off the coast of Labrador, I’d prefer to wait for warmer weather so it will get done in April or May. That only leaves the Juan Fernandez Islands.
I am dying to do a Patagonia hiking trip with some of my friends and when I fly down to Santiago, I will catch a small plane for a few days to the main island in the archipelago which is 2.5 hours from Santiago. It is a bit of a pain but very doable assuming they don’t get hit by a typhoon again.
So these are the trips that I am contemplating doing this year to get the record. I am in no rush to get it so I will go at it as it comes. I am also looking into fund raising options with regards to the South Pole trip as that is ridiculously expensive and tough to justify that kind of money. Hopefully someone will sponsor the trip.
So some other trips I will likely do are visiting Europe for a few sports events, namely Wimbledon, the Olympics in London this summer and the European Soccer Cup in Poland and Ukraine later this year. I will also likely head to Belize, Honduras and Guatemala and do some places I haven’t been in those countries in the next few months as I have a friend who is dying to go and who owns a development in southern Belize. Other than that I don’t know. I love so many places and things always seem to come up. I don’t like planning ahead much so we will see what happens. I hope to put a dent into the 20 remaining places and do some other fun trips too. I miss Africa so maybe I’ll get back to Southern Africa again soon; we shall see!
So I hope this clears things up, at least sort of, for people wondering and all those emails I keep getting asking the same question. I am also concentrating on my new website I am re-launching in the next month or two which will be much more user friendly and modern looking and learning social media; namely Twitter @leeabbamonte and facebook so follow or like me on those sites!
Happy New Year! Safe travels and email me anytime!