20 New Adventures for the 2020s

With all the earlier buzz about entering the next era, our lifetime’s “roaring 20s,” I decided to make a list for 20 destinations  I’d like to experience in this next decade.

Of course, I’ll still find plenty of surprises, like my recent sailing to Maine or discovery of Valle de Bravo, Mexico (both future Staying Adventurous podcasts) and more. So, yes, I’ll keep on adventuring, don’t worry, but, as I prepare these, for my “20s,” I decided to make a list of 20 adventures, I want to visit.

parasail in hawaii

Let’s go…. (parasail in Hawaii)

Ok, here we go…

1, 2, & 3. Three Trips to Finish the 50 States

After graduating University I decided to drive cross country instead of the popular backpack adventure in Europe. I wanted to know my country, to know where I was from.  That 10 week epic adventure essentially started my quest to visit all 50 US states. Now in an effort to complete the “mission” before I turn 50 in these 2020s, I still have 3 trips to make happen.

I’ll need to 1) visit North Dakota – my thoughts are to perhaps camp in Theodore Roosevelt National Park for an outside adventure. Next or 2) I’ll need to take a big road trip through Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa, perhaps take in baseballs games? Maybe Football?  Then finally I’ll need to 3) visit the tropical paradise of Hawaii… hmm, sounds like a great spot to celebrate a 50th birthday.

4. Jordan

One word – Petra.

petra jordan


These ruins, a city carved into a cliff. absolutely are a must visit for me. Made famous (to me) in my childhood thanks to Raiders of the lost Ark: The last Crusade the desire to visit with an explorer mindset still burns inside me.  Plus, who can argue against a sunset in deserts of Wadi Rum too.

5. Sri Lanka

Winter months translate to travel show season in the States and for every travel show I attend I always make an effort to stop by and talk with Sri Lanka. It always refuels my burning desire to visit this island nation in the India Ocean. From its ancient ruins, tropical terrains, and unique cuisine there is plenty to appreciate for the five sense. Couple that with pristine beaches, surfing and train travel. I am sold. Tickets please.

6. Dubai

Also in the Middle East, the luxury destination Dubai intrigues. Full disclosure, I like to not just stay adventurous, but also sta

the iconic, Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, top luxury hotel in the world

perhaps the top luxury hotel in the world, Burj Al Arab in Dubai,

y luxurious too. Of course, I’d immediately sign up for the adventures and a glamping sunset in the desert, but I am also extremely curious about the city itself and a chance to meet the people who call it home and of course appreciate a few of the best things to do in Dubai.

7. Mongolia

When asked about my top bucket list destinations, I often respond with Mongolia. Yes, I want to visit Mongolia.

The dream remains to gallop across the open grass plains like Genghis Khan did almost 1,000 years ago with a desire to spend time in the least populated (measured by population density) country on earth. Nights in Yurts with local families traveling across this vast landscape coupled with plenty of evenings staring up at the night sky to see the Milky Way. Mongolia will offer the chance to become wide awake again.

8. Bolivia

the salt flats of Bolivia

Salt Flats of Bolivia

Listed on my 2013 top 5 places alongside Guyana, Bolivia still escapes me (as does Guyana), but not for another decade. This country remains a place I’d like to visit for its green aspects alongside it mysterious ruins at Tiwanaku and the high altitude capital city of La Paz.

9. Peru

Peru, famous for Machu Picchu, and make no mistake I want to visit that sire, also holds plenty of natural gems across the Andes, and some incredible places to stay such as its Skylodge. Plus, this country remains so culturally rich with indigenous customs, colors and cuisine. Of course I’d love to also check in to a few coastal beach towns to sample the surf. Some believe it is the origin of surfing itself

10. Amazon Rain Forest

With both Bolivia and Peru on the list, I’d like to also add a trip through a portion of the Amazon Rain Forest. Whether it is from Peru, Bolivia or even Brazil, this trip is to understand this incredibly important and diverse part of our planet. Plus, I believe in high school our fundraiser purchased an acre somewhere to help protect it.

11. Dive with Whale Sharks

snorkel with whale sharks

An activity rather than a destination specific, but this most likely means another return trip to Mexico. And since I don’t dive (yet) I plan to snorkel alongside these incredible gentle giants, the world’s largest fish. As for a destination it probably means a return to La Paz, Mexico or perhaps the Mexican Caribbean island paradise of Holbox.

11. The Mexican Wine Region in Baja California

I can recall the first time in Mexico City at a client dinner when they wanted us to try Mexican Wine. I honestly thought they might be ordering tequila as a joke, but actually the joke was on me – and Mexican wine is world class.

Since then, I learned more about the regions in the state of Baja California and its creative wine making scene.  I look forward to a trip of food and wine pairing Mexican style.

12. Antarctica

After taking an adventure through Alaska and eventually seeing the glaciers close up on a cruise ship, I realized I need to experience the beauty of the frozen worlds and plan to make time to cruise to Antarctica. It may just be my next cruise holiday

13. Portugal, Beyond Lisbon

the 28 Trolley in Lisbon Portugal

Riding the Tram in Lisbon

After desiring a trip to Portugal for over a decade, I finally visited the country last year. I will not wait that long to return. My time spent falling in Love with Lisbon, only cemented my desire and plans to explore more of the country. This lucky 13 may be my first trip off the list with an excursion after a Lisbon career retreat slated for this April

14. Galicia Spain

Part of the reason for my long Portugal omission was my love for Spain. Yet, even after multiple visits, which included many popular tourist spots and also not such popular places like Zaragoza and L’Ametlla del Mar , I’ve yet to visit places in Galicia.

Besides knowing some amazing people who come from this region and learning about its secrets, I know it is also a place to start the “el Camino” pilgrimage, another bucket list adventure.

15 Australia & New Zealand

sydney harbor-australia

This one will take planning, and will be a challenge to make just one trip. But with its distance (form my home) I can’t imagine making multiple trips even in a decade. I’d rather make it longer and visit both countries, well portions of them. Australia can take a lifetime from its Great Barrier Reef, Sydney and the “surfable” city, the Outback and more. Plus the scenery of New Zealand, some of the most beautiful our planet offers, and a great place to sail. Is a month long enough?

16. Eastern Africa

sunset in kenya, africa during the migration

The safari in South Africa and sand dunes of Namibia offer such incredible raw and emotional experience and made me want to return for Africa for so long.  Another wild landscape can be found in Eastern Africa with the opportunity to view the incredible Wildebeest migrations in Kenya or even perhaps take a journey to Uganda to see Gorillas in the mist. A return to the Africa is a must.

 17. Morocco

As a photographer I know the importance of light, colors and contrast to making an image pop. Every image I see from Morocco has me wondering if it’s really that vibrant, that picturesque?  It seems like a photographer’s paradise. Couple with a unique culture, delicious cuisine, glamping in the Sarah sand dunes and a chance to surf. Sold. Why haven’t I been here before again?

18. Egypt

egypt pyramids

the Pyramids

As you may have noticed, I love ancient sites, I’ve written about many in Mexico and Guatemala and selected many destinations based on access to new sites to explore. So, no surprise Egypt is on the list too. I hear Cairo is an incredible capital, and I love cities, but the pyramids and an excursion down the Nile is why I am making plans to visit.

19. Snowboard on New Slopes

Many destinations I selected involve surfing, but let me also put an activity – snowboarding on the list here. It has been more than a decade since I took to the slopes… way, way too long. The activity is not new, but I’ll make it happen in a new location.

As much as a trip to the northeast makes logistical sense, I am hopefully for some western powder via Colorado or even flipping the seasonal script and heading to the southern hemisphere for “summer.” Chile or Argentina seem like a perfect from the hot Florida Keys.

20. Hot Air Balloon Ride

hot air balloon over the state of Hidalgo, Mexico

In this last decade I have hang-glided in Valle de Mexico, parasailed in South Padre Island,  Sky dived in Spain and also Soared in the Finger Lakes, but I still need to get myself inside a hot air balloon. I’d love to try in Hidalgo, Mexico or even float over the Teotihuacan site in Mexico. And then there is the festival in Cappadocia, Turkey.  Regardless of where, I just want to take to the sky in a hot air balloon.

The 2020s shall become another decade of travel and adventure with plenty of unique experiences. And to be honest as I write this and edit it, I keep thinking of more – like returning to Italy and exploring its Amalfi coast, experiencing the Maldives, experiencing Russia or even Germany (I am part German and have never been)… The world is an amazing place filled with riches to experience – make sure you take and make time to roar in these 20s.

Stay adventurous, Craig

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