Travel Dreams for 2015 Ramla I-Hamra, Malta courtesy Viewing Malta

I like the blank white pages of a pristine calendar. All those days, all those possibilities. No dentist appointments or school meetings or obligations to mar the boxes. No “bill due” scrawled in red or “P” in the corner of every second Thursday by which to measure how long of a stretch until payday. Just empty space and yawning possibility. So if money was no object and vacation days were unlimited, how would you fill your 2015 calendar? I know what I would do! Travel! But where to start?

Girls’ Getaway

credit: Vito Arcomano courtesy of Fototeca ENIT

Chianti, Tuscany credit: Vito Arcomano courtesy of Fototeca ENIT

Fantasy: The second weekend of September the Tuscan town of Greve in Chianti hosts a wine festival.  I don’t know about you, but the thought of walking down to the town square from a villa with a group of my besties sounds pretty fantastic! There are several reputable websites that rent villas (popular ones are VRBO and TripAdvisor), you can search out places with pools, on a vineyard, some even offer private chefs! On the subject of food (and I often am) one of the hot new travel trends is family hosted meals, where a local family invites you to their home for dinner, translators provided as needed! The idea is becoming increasingly popular, with more families joining the ranks. Currently, there is no central online spot to book these meals, but the local tourist bureau will be happy to help arrange something to your liking!

Feasible: As wonderful as a long weekend in Italy would be, a quick trip south of the 49th parallel may be more in order. The village at Lake Las Vegas was designed to evoke Tuscany, complete with a faux Ponte Vecchio! Just a short drive from Sin City, the Henderson NV resort area also hosts a wine festival in the spring and fall each year, 2015 dates to be announced.

For Sure: Box of wine in the back yard

Music Festivals:

Fantasy: When I was nineteen, I worked in a small city in England and was invited by coworkers to go with them to the Glastonbury Festival. My wiser office mate/dear friend advised against it. She was right; putting myself in the hands of British hooligans I didn’t really know for three days in a (kind of) debaucherous setting would have been a spectacularly bad idea. While better sense prevailed (I didn’t go), every time I hear the words “Glastonbury Festival” I get a pang about missing a great, muddy, opportunity. As a now 30 something grown-up, I like to think I could handle myself at the granddaddy of music fests because even though might enjoy an occasional piece of fruit cake, I’m not too old to rock out.

For June 24th-28th 2015, Glastonbury will remain firmly in the fantasy category, as tickets sold out shortly after they went on sale at the beginning of October, 2014. Although the official line up will not be announced until the spring, acts rumoured to be appearing include Foo Fighters, Chromeo, Rihanna and incongruously, Lionel Ritchie.

Feasible:Just when the promise of spring is peeking its dirty little head out of the snowbanks in Edmonton, summer has almost arrived in Indio, California. On top of that, some of the top bands are gathering for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Held over two weekends (April 10th-12th and 17th-19th, 2015) The advance sale has ended already, but when the 2015 lineup is announced early in the year, the remainder of tickets and camping spots are put up for sale.

For sure: Blare the car stereo with the windows down.


The Serenity Room at Sparkling Hill

Spa Getaway:

Fantasy: In the hills above the small city of Vernon BC in the Northern Okanagan is the the shimmering oasis of Sparkling Hill. Every sense is catered to, from the eucalyptus scented showers, luxurious spa treatments, various water therapy pools, gourmet onsite restaurant to the 3.5 million Swarovski crystals that adorn the property, you will never want to leave. When you do leave, however, you will be refreshed in a way that you didn’t know you could be! It is quite a coup that the spa was built in our own backyard, this is the kind of place one imagines littered with movie stars high in the Swiss Alps or on the French Riviera…not so much Vernon. But it’s here and we should go.

Feasible: A little more accessible to us prairie dwellers is the Willow Stream Spa in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. A luxurious getaway that doesn’t involve a plane trip or day of driving, Willow Stream is a sanctuary complete with mineral pools, saunas and treatments that will leave you feeling pampered and renewed. Also worth a mention for you in the more Easterly reaches of the country according to our friends at the Lost Faucet are Nordik Spa-Nature in Chelsea PQ and Siberia Station Spa just north of Quebec City.

For sure: A fart in the bathtub

Travel Dreams 2015

Festa in Mellieha, Malta courtesy of Viewing Malta

Family Getaway

Fantasy: The ancestral home of my husband’s family is the small island nation of Malta, and I would love to take our boys there; this Mediterranean isle where they are entitled to citizenship. If you head south off the shores of Sicily toward Libya, you will hit the three islands that compose the Republic of Malta: Malta, Gozo, and Camino. Although popular with British and European tourists, Malta is relatively unheard of in North America, but very worthy of a trip! To coincide with the anniversary of Malta joining the European Union, the country hosts the Malta International Fireworks Competition on  April 25th and 30th, and May 2nd, 2015 . The festival also marks the summer “festa” season: village festivals where Maltese people return to the parish of their baptism (did I mention this is a very Roman Catholic place?) to feast and celebrate with the people they have known all their lives. Oh yes, and more fireworks!

Feasible: Springtime in the Mediterranean might be a little out of reach for the time being, not the least because of the 17 hour flight (2 layovers) and a very active two year old, but mama needs some sunshine! Luckily Houston International airport and the nearby Port of Galveston is a direct and mercifully short flight from major Canadian airports for relatively easy access to a Cruise! Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines currently dock at Galveston, and starting in November 2015, Disney Cruise Line will be joining the ranks. Both Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries are offered from the port of Galveston, and some of the prices, including kids’ clubs are so reasonable as to be shocking (airfare sadly not included!)

For sure: A night on the hide-a-bed at Grandma’s. (Where’s the sun? Don’t worry, there’s a streetlight that shines in your eyes all night long.)

Travel Dream 2015

Ramla I-Hamra, Malta courtesy Viewing Malta

That’s our round up of dreams for the coming year, plus a few alternatives…stay tuned for to these pages for what dreams may come! How about you? We’d love to hear what travels 2015 holds for you! Sweet dreams!