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TLO Recommends: Travel Destinations    

TLO Recommends: Travel Destinations

Art by FISK

Despite the slight cringe that occurs when hearing the term “wanderlust,” the lust for traveling is undeniable. The curiosity and awe that comes from discovering a new food or social norm that you’ve never even thought of before are just so fun. Plus, it’s a quick exercise in combating ethnocentrism in such a delightful way. As one Hotline texter succinctly put it, “we come back to a greater understanding of [our own lives] and [where we] fit into this world.” 

When it comes to explore, our Word of the Month, traveling feels like the universal first word that comes to mind. It is our most profound (if literal) understanding of exploring. Travelling broadens our horizons and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. 

We asked The Local Optimist team to share their picks for favorite travel destinations they can’t wait to go back to or visit for the first time. If your traveling bucket list has resurfaced recently, be sure to leave a comment telling us where you want to explore next.

Yosemite National Park, California

I went to Yosemite National Park for the first time last July, and it changed my life. Coming through the tunnel and seeing that view for the first time is a feeling that will stay with me forever. Nothing can compare to the mystical beauty of the natural world. We spent the next few days backpacking through the park, climbing and swimming and cooking and hanging. Camping is my happy place, and Yosemite might be the happiest version of that for me. — Mason Spector, Co-Founder

Ten years ago, after my dad passed on, my mom and I took a trip to Turks and Caicos, just the two of us. So, after a year like 2020, I think going back to the Caribbean to simply swim in the ocean, drink Dirty Bananas, and read as many books as possible sounds perfect. That being said, my partner and I also talk about how we yearn to go to Tokyo as soon as we can safely. The food! The fashion! The culture! Now that’s a place I want to explore. — Meadow Monaghan, Mental Health Lead

Bhutan

I had the extremely good fortune of doing part of my study abroad program in Bhutan. Just getting a visa to enter the remote kingdom in South Asia was (and is) a challenge. This was before the internet was really a thing (Yes, there was such a time, and yes, I am old.) so the sense of adventure was heightened, especially when we were able to trek to the 300-year-old cliffside monastery known as Tiger’s Nest. The entire study abroad program—I also spent time in India and Nepal studying Tibetan exile communities—sparked an interest and study of Buddhism that continues to this day. But visiting Bhutan and being able to see a community that puts preserving its culture and past above assimilating with the modern world was a truly special moment that I actively work to keep fresh in my memory. — Justin Tejada, Editor

Goðafoss Waterfall, Iceland

A couple of summers ago, I did a 2-week road trip around Iceland. I had no clue what type of trip it would be or what I was getting myself into, and it ended up being one of the best experiences of my life.  I spent a lot of time in breathtaking places where I was able to take in everything around me. The whole experience made me realize the importance of living in the moment. Iceland was also the place that I realized how much I love to be independent. So, If I had the opportunity to go anywhere in the world right now, I would definitely want to go back to Iceland. There are truly endless things to see and explore and the most astounding sites of all time. I found myself thinking most of the time, “This can’t be real. Pinch me.” — Hallie Sheinbaum, Project Manager  

Reykjavík, Iceland

I have always wanted to travel to Iceland! The landscape, the culture, and the northern lights have always drawn me to the weird yet amazing place that people seem to always mix up with Greenland. When things start to open back up after covid has subsided, my goal is to travel as much as possible to gather new knowledge and inspiration about the world we live in. — Andrew Wetmore, Graphic Designer

Yayoi Kusama’s famous Pumpkin sculpture on Naoshima Island, Japan.

My dream is to travel to Japan and visit the island Naoshima. The island is known for its contemporary art museums. Museums generally are places where I can find peace and serenity. From poetry to architecture to pottery, Japan has such a rich artistic history. With that said, I am especially interested in modern and contemporary art, which is featured at Naoshima. —Erica Gould, Head of Social Media

Keep the conversation going by commenting on this story below. You can also connect with us about whatever’s on your mind by texting The Local Optimist Hotline at 310.299.9414.