How are you going to Reset Your Compass in 2011?
Everyone has travel dreams and New Year is often the time when people start turning them into reality. So what are people dreaming of doing in 2011?
We decided to ask four experts to reveal all…
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“There is a longstanding joke at Exodus that given the choice, I would always opt for Nepal as my preferred destination. There is some truth in that; the amazing Himalayan peaks never fail to inspire me. However, I have a list of other favourite destinations including (in no particular order) Kenya, Corsica, India, Turkey, Norway, Zimbabwe, Sudan and California, that are, for varied reasons, amazing places to visit. But theNew Year is exactly that - a new beginning - and where I really want to go in 2011 is Ethiopia.
Many years ago I was working and travelling in Sudan and spent time close to the border with Ethiopia. At that time it was impossible to cross, as the Eritrean War was ongoing; however it did not stop me becoming fascinated with the country and mountains I could see so clearly. I had also followed the Blue Nile from its confluence with the White at Khartoum and swore that one day I would get into Ethiopia to visit its source. By chance, my curiosity was re-ignited last year by the documentary of Joanna Lumley’s journey along the Nile to both the White and Blue sources. Ethiopia is one of those rare places on earth that the more I hear and read about it the more truly “different” it seems. Will I finally get there in 2011? Well with a very busy work and family life, I cannot yet be sure, but...”
“This year I want to discover more of the quieter, less well-trekked trails of the Alps. In fact this was my resolution last year too but there was so much to do that I couldn't fit it all in.
I love trekking in the Alps. It's a truly stunning destination that is every bit as impressive as the other great mountain ranges of the world. Like all great places that are visited by trekkers, classics develop and Europe has its fair share such as trekking under the Matterhorn in the Zermatt valley or the Tour du Mont Blanc. As fantastic as these treks are, I want to find and follow the less well-beaten trails that I know to be equally as impressive as the headlining classics.
Last year I walked the alpine section of the GR5, from Lake Geneva to Chamonix, which involved staying in remote mountain refuges and carrying my own kit (real trekking!) I also searched out other less trekked routes in the Chamonix Valley that crossed rocky ridges above glaciers, bagged peaks and were away from the busy, more obvious trails. The treks were so good that they have now made an appearance in the Exodus Walking & Trekking brochure! All that achieved, I have only whet my appetite; this year I want to discover even more.”
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“For 2011, I have two travel related resolutions.
One is to explore more with my family – my daughter will be one in February and I would love to get the fascination of travel instilled in her early!
The second is more personal. It is five years since I last climbed Kilimanjaro but I want to go back! Tanzania was a huge part of my life for three years when I was guiding, and as clients and colleagues regularly talk about their experiences and ask for advice, it has rekindled a fire inside. The plan is to head out in April on a fundraising Kilimanjaro climb to raise money for our porter and guide projects in the area. The porter school has been running for a few years, providing invaluable training to those who wish to improve their English language skills, but also providing valuable work for some of our guides as teachers during non-trekking seasons.
In 2011 we will also be supporting a guide scholarship program for the first time. I want to help give something back to the communities I called home, to have a focus on something I am passionate about, and an excuse to try and get rid of those few extra pounds that always get piled on around Christmas! Anyone fancy joining me?”
Special Departure: 18th-30th April 2011 From GBP1299 plus Kilimanjaro Park Fees USD635 (discounted flights courtesy of Ethiopian Airlines).
Sarah Baxter, Associate Editor
“In 2011 I want to fall in love with cycling.
I know it's really good for you – and, of course, the environment. But so far my only two-wheeled expedition has been a day-trip with my Dad, on which we managed to find the only hill in Norfolk.
No, this year, I've decreed, will be the Year Of The Bike. I want to get what all the fuss is about, green-up my ground arrangements and expend a suitable amount of energy to fully justify stuffing my face with the local injera/pho/deep-fried tarantula at the end of a day's pedalling. And I want to expand out of Norfolk (though no offence to my beloved, if un-undulating home county). For the thing that excites me most about embracing the bicycle is the access it gives to other cultures and landscapes.
I love walking – and will continue to do plenty (have you seen the new Yellowstone Wildlife Trek in the brochure? Signme up!). But there's a limit to how much ground you can traverse on your own two feet (unless, perhaps, you're a Nepalese Sherpa). I like the idea of using a bike to cover a country – still slow travel, but, well, a bit quicker. I'd like to start in Syria (bet youweren't expecting that...) If I'mgoing to take up something new, why not do it somewhere totally different? Somewhere where the bike can open up Middle Eastern village hospitality, propel me from Crusader castle to ancient souk and somewhere where, if my limbs give out altogether, they have a fine line in restorative steam baths.”