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Where L.A. Times readers are traveling in 2023

Illustration of a passenger jet viewed from above and trailing colors in its path.
(Patrick Hruby / Los Angeles Times)
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We traveled near and far last year, from Paso Robles to Poland, Anza-Borrego to Abu Dhabi, June Lake to Juba.

I shared readers’ favorite travels of 2022 last Thursday. This week, we’re looking ahead to the journeys we’ll be taking in the coming year and beyond.

We’re also saying goodbye to Escapes, which I hope has provided a weekly burst of color and travel inspiration to you. This is the newsletter’s final edition, and I can’t emphasize how much I’ve enjoyed getting to connect with you all each week. More on this (and how to keep in touch) at the end.

Where are we going in 2023?

Over the last few weeks, readers have shared with me their plans to visit Big Sur and San Diego; Cuba, San Antonio and Arizona; and a March trip to Spain, visiting Seville, Granada and Cordoba, and finishing up in Barcelona. For another reader, it’s a vacation in Italy, a destination made ever more delicious by the latest season of “The White Lotus.”

For some, it will be a year of train travel. Jerry Curlan is looking forward to “whistle-stop-type train travels across the northern U.S. and Canada,” while Ashley V. is Japan-bound. “I can’t wait to take a train ride to see some museums or art galleries in the smaller cities,” she writes.

Tadios Belay says he will visit Ethiopia as part of his Fulbright project, writing: “I will engage with the local communities and young people on issues pertaining to education, peace building and democracy in the country.”

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Alia Kate, a longtime traveler to Morocco, plans to take a ferry from Genoa, Italy, to Tangier, a journey she’s been dreaming of for a long time. “In the same way that you experience a city differently depending on if you drive, bicycle or walk through the streets, I believe you experience history, culture and the geography differently depending on how you move through it,” Kate writes.

“After spending so much time and clocking so many kilometers on my cars from one corner of Morocco to another, I’m excited to experience it from the periphery, traveling along its coasts.”

My 2023 resolution: Revel in ‘vacation anticipation’

Illustration showing one woman dreaming of vacations and the other without any dreams about upcoming trips
For many people, anticipating travel acts as a type of self-care.
(Getty Images; illustration by Micah Fluellen / LA Times)

Reading these messages from fellow travelers, it’s easy to feel their sense of “vacation anticipation,” one of life’s keenest joys. And, as I learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, vacation anticipation is more than just excitement.

“We tend to use something to look forward to as part of our self-care routine,” Taisha Caldwell-Harvey, a psychologist and chief executive of the Black Girl Doctor, told me when we spoke in September 2020 about the loss of vacation anticipation.

The thrilling prospect of travel and new experiences can be a salve. “You’ve never been to the Hawaiian Islands, and you try to predict what it’s going to look like. That’s the kind of soothing thought that puts you to sleep,” Tom Gilovich, a professor of psychology at Cornell University, said for the same article.

This form of self-care largely disappeared during the worst of the pandemic. “It’s always a struggle to keep yourself uplifted. [Now,] it’s like everyone’s trying to do it with both hands tied behind their back,” Caldwell-Harvey said.

I’ve been reflecting on my conversations with Caldwell-Harvey and Gilovich as I write this final edition of Escapes. Things feel very different now, compared to fall 2020, with travelers once again on the move. Yes, vacation-related headaches and roadblocks remain — just ask anyone flying Southwest over the holidays — but I hope you feel excited for the year ahead.

If you’re having trouble finding inspiration, I recommend taking a spin through Christopher Reynolds’ 2023 California travel wish list, as well as his rundown of 11 ways to travel better, smarter and cheaper.

Craving alone time? Don’t miss Julia Carmel’s list of seven rejuvenating spots around California for solo travelers.

A few of my favorites from their lists? Exploring Lake Tahoe’s Fannette Island by kayak and browsing for treasures at Berkeley’s Sleepy Cat Books.

As for me, I plan on exploring the medieval streets and hofjes of my new home, as of this December: Haarlem, a small city a short ride away from Amsterdam in the northwestern Netherlands.

Though 5,500 miles from Los Angeles, I find bits of California everywhere I turn. This spring, instead of driving north to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, I’ll take a bus south to Holland’s famous tulip fields. There’s a sandy beach just a half hour away by bicycle, and, last week, I saw one of my new neighbors walk by with a surfboard, damp-haired and wearing a cold-water wet suit. When I hear the seagulls screech, it’s easy to imagine I’m back in my L.A. apartment.

What will I be writing next? These days, I’m thinking about trees. Stay tuned for a story about the colorful past and potential future of California pepper trees and a piece about redwoods (turns out, they travel as much as we do — I’ll leave it at that for now). I plan to visit a few castles across Europe this year — and write a story about castles hiding in plain sight in L.A. You can find my work here and on Instagram.

Keep in touch

Bookmark this link to keep tabs on all future L.A. Times travel stories, and subscribe to the Wild newsletter for a weekly blast of all things outdoors. If you live in the L.A. area (or simply enjoy visiting the city), you can find lots of experiences to try on our Weekend page.

Even though Escapes is coming to an end, I am ever eager to hear tales of your travels and recommendations. When I started writing Escapes in summer 2020, I wrote that I received most of my inspiration from conversations with other travelers — my colleagues at The Times as well as kind strangers I’ve met in $4-a-night hostels. So please, send me a note and say “Hi” anytime.

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Road song

Instead of leaving you with one song this week, I thought, as a final send-off, I’d make a Spotify playlist of previous editions’ road songs. Play it with your windows down and enjoy the ride.

Check out previous issues of Escapes, or to view this article in your browser click here.


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