Here‘s editors and contributors reminisce on the best places they traveled this year—and lay out the places they’re dying to see in 2020.
We’re winding down to the last days of 2019, and what a year it’s been. We kicked off the year at home in New York with musician Maggie Rogers; took a deep dive into Chicago’s transformative music scene with singer Jamila Woods; explored LA through the eyes of Aladdin’s leading man Mena Massoud; and celebrated Here’s 10th issue with the world’s best female chef, Daniela Soto-Innes.
Not to mention eating and drinking our way through the best dumpling houses and speakeasies in Shanghai; discovering the power of culinary communities in Oakland and Melbourne; the healing power of art in New Orleans; and the dozens of other moments that made this year one for the books.
As amazing as 2019 has been at Here, we’re even more excited for all that’s coming next. We’re setting our sights not just on a new year, but on a new decade. Dreaming up our travel plans, whether short or long term, is often just as fun as the journeys themselves. Below, Here’s editors and contributors reminisce on the places we loved most in 2019—and all the trips we can’t wait to embark on in the next 365 days.
2019: Early in 2019 I traveled to the heart of the Yucatán and stayed at the wonderful Hacienda Itzincab. Beyond the fabulous accommodation and incredible food, I was charmed by the Mexican people and loved how untouristy it felt. Shooting images in Merida’s colorful city streets was a highlight, as was one of the best meals I’ve ever had at the delightful Néctar restaurant.
2020: In 2020, I would most like to visit the island of Sicily. Sicilian food production is having a moment, whether it be fish, cheese, salt, wine, or produce. This fact, and the island’s rich history, means the local culinary scene is thriving. I would like to travel around the Mediterranean island, photographing and eating my way from the farm to the table.
2019: The Greek island of Antiparos—serene, rugged, and elegant in a way that few other places are. It’s a popular retreat for the stars (Madonna and Naomi Campbell have spent time here) and rumor has it that Tom Hanks has a picturesque white compound somewhere on the island.
2020: The island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples. Ever since I read Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, I’ve been dreaming of visiting Ischia, where the novels’ characters go for sun during their summer holidays. The beaches are bright, the water is clear, and a small stone footbridge extends from the east-facing Cartaromana Beach to a fortified medieval Aragonese citadel. Plus, Ischia is volcanically active and has hot springs that bubble onto the beach.
2019: I brought in my New Year in Accra, Ghana (my first time in Africa!), where I ate yummy spicy dishes, indulged in major fashion finds, made new friends, tapped into history and danced until sun-up.
2020: While I’ve been to Portugal briefly before, I’m spending a milestone birthday in Lisbon and Porto as my first true solo trip! Then later in the year, I absolutely want to revisit Africa, but this time in South Africa. I’ve heard so many glowing reviews about the lively, artistic energy of Johannesburg and the sheer beauty of Cape Town from friends. I’d like to live it for myself.
2019: I travel for liquid culture, and last year, the charming French village of Cognac checked every box on my “drinking arts” travel beat. I sipped my way through a fantastic blending workshop in the 18th-century stone cellars of Camus Cognac—the only family-owned major distillery, which I loved—and even left with my very own bottle. An added plus was Camus’s friendly “spirits guide,” Sylvie Perret, who sent me to a couple of world-class local bars, Bar Louise and Bar Luciole where—to my surprise—most everyone spoke English.
2020: I am desperate to get to Scotland. Edinburgh is top of my list for the Fringe Festival and, to deepen my recent obsession with American whiskey, I want to explore Scottish single malt whiskey distilleries—but only those where I hear a handful of female distillers and owners are shaking up Old World traditions.
2019: Kangaroo Island, Australia. The island is a haven for wildlife and we often found ourselves sharing the roads with kangaroos, wombats, and echidnas and even spotted a few koalas up in the trees. The landscape was not like anything I’d seen before and it felt like a different world, even though the city of Adelaide is only 18 minutes’ flying time away.
2020: Bhutan. I’m fascinated by the country’s rich, ancient culture, its strong focus on environmental protection, and the sense of spirituality and peacefulness that many visitors describe experiencing when they are there.
2019: Memphis, Tennessee is always an exciting place for me to visit. It is my hometown, the place that molded me. I was there in May to spend time with my family, check-up with old friends, and enjoy the annual Beale Street Music Festival. This May, my last time spent there, was close to cathartic. I was able to let go of strongholds that had me. This visit was by far the best of my life.
2020: I am visiting Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, in January for my 25th birthday. Three of my closest friends and I are making the journey together. Words cannot express how thrilled I am to not only hang with the girls but to see the world! Mexico marks my first trip outside of America, and I know it will not be my last. If anyone has recommendations, DM me!
2019: The Outer Hebrides in Scotland. I loved the peaceful and dramatic landscapes (think: rugged mountains and pristine, sandy beaches all in one cluster of islands), the mobile library service, and the kindest, most welcoming community.
2020: I have big hopes of returning to my motherland, the Philippines. It’ll be the 10 year anniversary of grandmother’s passing, and I’m looking forward to going back to celebrate her life and learn more about my cultural heritage.
“I’m looking forward to going back to celebrate [my grandmother’s] life and learn more about my cultural heritage.”
2019: I took part in an artist residency in Iceland and it was absolutely life-changing! Getting to experience the fresh air, geothermal pools, rugged nature, and beautiful sunsets were so healing. I also stayed with a long-time friend who recently relocated to Iceland which made the trip all that sweeter. My favorite part was learning about Icelandic history and folk tales and looking out at the vast emptiness.
2020: This coming year I am taking a 3-week trip to Mexico and I am super pumped about it! I will be visiting Mexico City, Oaxaca city, and the coast of Oaxaca. The winters in Canada are quite dark and cold, so I’m looking forward to the sun, of course, but also to familiarize myself with Mexican culture, food, and art—and having the beautiful sunlight for photographs!
2019: Best trip of 2019? Five days Overlanding on the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route (COBDR). Borrowed a friend’s truck and hit the harrowing, blissful mountain trails. Camped next to a Peruvian shepherd, a waterfall that ended in snow, a bunch of old cow bones. All that brushing shoulders with travelers who love land and sharing it.
2020: Out of the gates, it’s feeling like Northern Italy. Partly, it’s those gold hills, distinguished dress, chaotic night streets—but mostly it’ll be Italy because we settled there four years, have been away for twelve, and it’s just time to return. You can’t get a place like that out of your blood.
2019: Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico. I’m here as I write this, and am already planning a return visit. Let the followers have Tulum and Cancun in Quintana Roo—the real gem of the Yucatán Peninsula is its namesake, the state so rich in gastronomy, folklore, and tradition.
2020: I’ve spent some time on the sprawling, humbling beaches of Bahia, but I’ve never been to its capital, Salvador. It will be one of my first trips of 2020, and I’m thrilled to finally experience the magic and vibrancy of this harbor city (Brazil’s third-largest city after São Paulo and Rio, and the biggest in the north).
I will also get to bask in the bright colors of its colonial architecture, swim through mounds of Afro-Brazilian cuisine (like the fried and flavorful acarajé “sandwich”), and I’ll escape by boat to the carless Morro de Sao Paulo archipelago for a couple of days of beached-out bliss—it’s necessary when you’re in Bahia.
“I dream of being able to let the world know Iran is not just hijabs and what you see on the news.”
2019: I deeply and on a nerdy level loved going to Cadaques, Spain this year. I’m a big fan of Salvador Dali (and surrealism in general) and my friends and I made a trip out of going to see his house, which doubles as a museum. It was a whole other world. The rest of the town is this hidden, beautiful, coastal, laid-back, cobblestoned, artsy place, and I was so ready to buy property with money I don’t have.
2020: Now that I live in Spain, I’m really, really excited to be closer to the Middle East. My goal is to go back to Iran and spend more time with my family out there but also connect with the creative communities. I get excited thinking of the people I could meet who are doing the damn thing and building their spaces for their work despite their circumstances, and the people with who I share a cultural, ancestral level of feeling and understanding. There’s so much wonderful work being made in Iran and I dream of being able to bridge the gap somehow with my work as a photographer and artist and to put those people on, to let the world know Iran is not just hijabs and what you see on the news.
2019: Jeju Island, Korea. In June I went back to Korea to visit a friend from high school. We had a fun few days on Jeju Island jet boating, ziplining, bike riding, visiting waterfalls and beaches and museums, exploring markets, and eating delicious Korean food.
2020: Taiwan. The combination of incredible street food, spectacular scenery, and vibrant city life make Taiwan a destination I’d like to visit. Hoping to make it in 2020.
2019: I visited Amsterdam again this year and discovered the value of the second trip. I did everything I missed out the first time (the Anne Frank House is worth planning months in advance) and found new spots I’d recommend to friends (Rosalia’s Menagerie and Flying Dutchman, I love you). But most importantly, I did it all with my younger sister on what was her first trip to Europe—and hopefully started a tradition we can enjoy together every year.
2020: I’m ready to spend more time out west. My dreary east coast-based behind could use some California sun, and Los Angeles has been calling my name. I’ve also had my eye on Washington State—not just for Seattle’s punk energy, which is very much up my alley, but for the breathtaking mountains and forests in Washington’s state parks. Tiana Attride, hiking and camping = the very essence of “new year, new me.
“We braved the cold and camped in the snow and I saw the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever experienced streaming through our tent in the morning.“
2019: It’s really tough to beat a safari in Zambia, so I’m not going to try. It was an incredible experience—I left in tears!—from tracking leopard paw prints in the dirt to watching an elephant herd crossing the Luangwa River at sunset (with popcorn and gin and tonic in hand, of course). It’s also the only time this year I truly unplugged, which I highly recommend doing at some point, anywhere in the world.
2020: I’ve been crushing on Tbilisi, Georgia, for a while now, and I think the time has come for me. Georgian food restaurants are popping up all over the States, the country is finally being recognized as the original wine pioneers, and I’m ready to get lost in the old cobblestoned and graffitied streets.
2019: Portland, Oregon. Because it was my first time ski touring, we hiked through the snow in the Three Sisters Wilderness and rode down an active volcano. Then we braved the cold and camped in the snow and I saw the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever experienced streaming through our tent in the morning.
2020: Canada. I’ve been to Vancouver the last 3 years in a row to snowboard in Whistler. But this time I’m going to fly to Calgary then rent a van to road trip around and explore the mountains regions of Banff, Revelstoke and Kicking Horse. I can’t think of a better feeling than hitting the open road with a good group of friends in search of fresh snow.
2019: It’s hard to pick just one memorable trip from 2019 (the running joke is that I come back from every one proclaiming that it has changed my life!). But if you’re forcing me, I’d choose Melbourne, Australia. There’s something about traveling to the other side of the earth that really puts things into perspective. Plus, learning about the nonprofits who are welcoming refugees and new arrivals into the country has continued to inspire me, months later.
2020: Next year I am committed to spending time in Europe’s top cities, which I often overlook in favor of new or unexpected places. I already booked flights to London in early January (no better way to beat the post-holiday blues than by booking some off-peak travel), and Berlin and Copenhagen are also at the top of my list.
2019: Geez, what a year. My passport is worn out (and maybe my body also???) but in the best way. Cape Town will likely always be my favorite city (more on this coming soon in issue 11, available in January), but I’d say Shanghai, Berlin, and Melbourne were my stand-out newcomers of the year. The hospitality (and dumplings) of Shanghai, the greenery (and Ethiopian food) of Berlin, and the social justice (and tattoo artists) of Melbourne made 2019 extraordinary.
2020: I’m headed back down under in 2020, this time to Tasmania for a two-day hike around the Bay of Fires and Mt. William with Trafalgar. Given my brother’s recent trip into the wilds of California, I can barely contain my excitement for this opportunity to experience the natural beauty of these ancient indigenous lands alongside an indigenous Palawa guide.
2019: I began the year with a two-week trip to Italy. There’s such a romance to cities like Florence and Venice in January—their crisp, heart-melting beauty might just be nostalgia, but I doubt it.
2020: The first destination on my books is so outrageous that I find myself smirking as I type this: This introvert is headed to Las Vegas. I’ll be looking under the proverbial rock for a more grown-up Vegas; for the city of architectural significance, cultural importance, and natural beauty that I think we all hope party Vegas can be. Wish me luck.
Abby Sjoberg, Here Audience Development Director
2019: This has been a standout year for travel and I’ve been so lucky to experience it with some of the people I care about most. In April, I took a trip with my sister to London. It was our first trip traveling together and I cannot wait to do it again. We ate our way through the city and saw a few sights along the way—mostly the inside of pubs. In late-August, my husband and I took a trip to Copenhagen. We had just found out we were pregnant and the city was the perfect, walkable escape for both of us. We enjoyed an unforgettable dinner at Pluto and a semi-private boat tour of the city with Hey Captain. I’m already thinking about when we can visit again with our newest addition come February!
2020: With a baby on the way, 2020 is going to be a tough year for travel, but I am so looking forward to a wedding I was invited to in Albuquerque, New Mexico this May. I’ve heard such great things about New Mexico and the wedding is at a lavender farm—does it get any better than that? If I have time, we are hoping to stop through Sante Fe and take in the sights. Thanks to the Here weekend guide, I know we’ll be prepared!
2019: San Francisco is one of my favorite places. I’m from Chicago—so near Lake Michigan—and I still live here. While we do have a big body of water, we definitely don’t have as many hills as San Fran. I love the mix of culture that originated there and still influence the city, though I hate many communities of color are being pushed to the outskirts of the city and priced out of living there. They make San Francisco the great place it is today.
2020: Atlanta! I am working on becoming a great traveler in the states before heavy-hitting abroad. Atlanta is the birthplace of so much Black culture, the city has a stronghold queer community, and I only hear great things about the food. I am hoping to visit the A during Pride season in 2020.
2019: I personally loved the Galapagos Islands the most because it was one place that truly left me surprised. It was, in some ways, exactly how I pictured it, and then completely the opposite in others. From food to culture to preservation efforts to the wildlife, it kept me guessing.
2020: I’m excited to take a road trip through Utah’s national parks—I’m ready to explore more of my own backyard in the US.
2019: The Dolomites in Italy. Only two hours north of Venice, you feel like you’ve entered a fairy tale world of majestic snow-capped mountains with pastel-colored gingerbread houses. I would love to return and spend more time taking the chair lifts up to the peaks and hiking around there. (Also, the food was incredibly delicious with northern dishes like polenta with mushrooms and spaetzle.)
2020: Island hopping in Croatia has long been on my list, as well as Oaxaca, Mexico. I’m also a big animal lover so visiting a far-flung place like Kenya, Madagascar, or Sri Lanka also sounds dreamy.
2019: The Northwestern Territories. It is hard to find places unaltered by the presence of humans, to see a landscape preserved for ages. I flew into Yellowknife and then took a 30-minute charter to a remote lodging on the Northeastern side of the Great Slave Lake. It was mid-September and all the autumn colors were out. I’ve never slept so well, and at nights I stayed up the Aurora Borealis would dance above. The mana of that place still lingers in my mind today and I hope one day I get to return.
2020: Aotearoa (New Zealand). I’ve studied the Austronesian migration and Polynesian culture for many years now and Aotearoa represents the end of that great journey. I’ve met traditional voyagers there from my time sailing the wa’a (canoes), and I long to see the forests of kauri trees where the Waka are born.