We are not ones for extravagance and whatnot, but the lotto is a dream for everyone, and we could always do with a decent road trip car for Europe, and a refurb on our condo in Bangkok. Otherwise our initial winnings would go towards our joint obsession with travel and food. And we have always toyed with the idea of a ‘year out’ to ‘live like locals’ in various destinations around the world. And while this will of course differ between my own and Fanfan’s desires, I share here my own personal list, giving 2 months in each destination, with lots of eating throughout.
Sapporo, Japan (Jan-Feb)
I would love to just list 6 Japanese destinations, but that would be cheating, so in the early months of the year I would have to go for Sapporo in the northern island of Hokkaido. Simply because it is almost uninhabitable at this time of year, so there’s that survival aspect, but Japan is also fascinating when drenched in snow. And I will always have hot sake to warm me at nights.
Istanbul, Turkey (Mar-Apr)
I’d be struggling to find anywhere within Europe to make this list exciting, as it’s just all too familiar. So the closest destination to home would be Istanbul. A completely new destination for both us, with bustling street scenes, a unique culture, although it would otherwise be all about food exploration. With the souks, and the spice trails, and kebabs and flat-breads.
Ubud, Bali (May-June)
While Bali is somewhat notorious for its touristy reputation these days. Behind the tourism is a ridiculously rich Hindu culture, full of ceremony and mysticism, with Gods peering out from every canopy. And I just love the vivid colours, the ornate architecture, and the hypnotic smells and sounds of incense and gamelan. It’s always a dream destination for me. And that’s why we were married there.
Havana, Cuba (July-Aug)
This is a complete wild-card destination, as I’m fairly clueless about the Americas, yet I feel there should be at least one destination from this part of the world. Simply to throw me from my comfort zone. And while Mexico would be the obvious choice for foodie travels, I would really terrified to live there like a local. So Havana it is, for quaint cars, a laid-back culture, and lots of rum and Mojitos.
Kochi, India (Sep-Oct)
I feel a beach destination is needed on this list. At the same time, I really don’t enjoy beaches, as I’d probably be bored within minutes unless there’s a city nearby. Therefore Kochi (Cochin) takes this spot, as I feel India is also essential on this list, for its food and culture, and Kerala has long been high on my to-do list. Due to a keen interest in the colonial spice trails, and just that relaxed seaside vibe.
New York, USA (Nov-Dec)
Ending with a cliche. But few destinations stand out at this time of year than New York City. And while this destination may have been somewhat influenced by Christmas movies, there are few countries outside of Europe that share the sheer extravagance of celebrating the winter season. Then there will be New Year at Times Square, and at least we can say we have done it. It’s like an essential bucket list destination in winter.
This post was in collaboration with Lottoland!