These Must Be the Places: Where to Travel in 2019

21 February 2019 — Todd Smidt

“The world’s big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.”

I seem to have a reoccurring problem.  Truth be told, I have several, but the one most obvious this time of year is I tend to have all my trips planned and vacation days accounted for before February is even half over. Hopefully, this sickness of mine will give you a few ideas of where to travel in 2019.

Sure, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for “spontaneous” trips.  Yes, it means that each time I discover a new place I have to add it to the bottom of an obscenely long list.  I’m fairly positive my list is already booked out until 2025 assuming I go 3 to 4 new places a year.

Related: What Makes a Bad Traveler

No lie, last week my mom called me and “put in a request for a trip in 2022” because she knows I “book out my trips years in advance these days”

So it goes.

My goal for 2018 was to work on patience (which I think I accomplished with flying colors).

My goal for this year? To work on being less selfish. Which is one reason why I wanted to share with you where I’ll be traveling this year in the hopes it gives you an idea of where to travel in 2019 for your own trips.

Anyone that knows me, knows how precious my vacation days are.  I aim to take off about 4(ish) weeks a year, which usually translates into 3 trips: two 11 day trips and one 16 day trip.  To some, that may seem like a lot.  But to me, who used to spend months out of the country at a time, it means I have to be selective and efficient with all my days and each of my plans.

Related: 9 Tips for Your Next Trip

A lot of my past trips were places I’d seen or discovered on my own and without consulting with anyone decided that’s where I was going to travel to.  People could join (or not join) as they wished.  It didn’t matter to me because my mind was made up and I wanted to go.  With the way, life has unfolded  (eg, bachelor parties, weddings, and past promises), this year’s places are more collaborative and, while I had some input, have been selected by other people and honestly, I’m okay with it (quite the sign of personal growth for me).

If I’ve learned anything of the past few years, it’s that who you go with is just as important as where you go to.

And because of that, this year, I care less about the places than I ever have before, because most of the places are directly tied to a special event in a close friend of mine’s life. Which is worth giving up all my vacation time and going anywhere they ask me to. This is, as they say, their party in 2019 and I’m along for the ride.

Related: 25 Lessons from 25 Countries

Below are the places I’ll be visiting, the dates, who’s coming with, and the reason it made my where to travel in 2019 list.

Houseboat Bachelor Party

Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River near Page, Arizona, USA.

Location– Denver and Lake Powell Utah
Date  May 15- May 18th
Crew: Jordan, Dylan, Josh, Jimmie, Fitz, Chris, Pat, Scott, Weber, Peter, Farrell, and Bobby

The Reason:

Because Jordan is officially going off the market and what better way to celebrate than to be trapped on a houseboat, in Utah, with old friends?

How often does one of your best friends get married (hopefully once right?) Each year for the past eight years I’ve gone out to Western Nebraska to the France family lake house.  It has become a tradition to sit around, playing pitch (a card game), and watching Go Pro Videos on YouTube.  The videos are perfect because you don’t really have to pay attention to enjoy them and they are all set to great music.  You just glance up and a snowboarder is doing a 360.   

In short, it’s just cool.

Last year when we were sitting around talking about how one of our other friends had rented a houseboat with some of this high school friends somewhere in California and around the same time we came across a video of a bunch of people who’d rented a houseboat on Lake Powell.   Jordan and I looked at each other and he voiced my exact thought “A houseboat on Lake Powell would be the perfect boys trip/ bachelor party”.

I’m excited because it’s a long weekend on a houseboat (I’m easy to please like that).  But more than that, it’ll be everything a bachelor party is supposed to be. It is an excuse to spend quality time with my friends while drinking, reliving old memories, and making new ones before our lives change forever.

The DMKV Reunion Tour


Location: Aspen, Las Vegas, Lake Havasu, Joshua Tree, The Grand Canyon
Date: May 24- June 2nd
Crew: The “Don’t Kill my Vibe” crew featuring Zoran, Priya, Seif, Mazen, Cam, Rose, Palak, Asha, Neal, Shreya, Sona, Brian, Ariel, Kareem, Henry, just to name a few…

The Reason:

Because Zoran and Priya are getting married and it’s be far too long since we’ve all been together.

Five years ago, Zoran and I were at Tomorrowland in Boom, Belgium with two of his friends from Serbia.  Over the next few days, we met friends of friends of friends and just hit it off.  We decided we had to stay in touch and travel together again- eventually the group “Don’t Kill My Vibe” was formed.   The ‘group’ now has over 50 members and keeps expanding because every trip we take someone brings a friend (or ten).  Over the past few years we’ve attended Burning Man (twice), gone skiing in the Alps, partied in Ibiza, backpacked Southeast Asia, but not everyone has been able to come on one trip or another.

This trip is different- Zoran (DKMV cofounder) and Priya (charter member) are getting married (congrats!!) and has been on the calendar for three years which apparently is the right amount of notice to ensure maximum attendance.

The trip kicks off casually, with an Indian weekend in Aspen.  After the wedding festivities over twenty five of us are flying into Vegas and then on to Lake Havasu where we’ve rented two giant Airbnbs for a week of lake activities, BBQs, rounds of shithead, and a few tequila neats.  We also plan on taking day trips to Joshua Tree and to hike in the Grand Canyon which would be epic trips in their own right.

People who I haven’t seen in years are flying in from all over the world including: Australia, England, Egypt, Scotland, and Canada for the wedding and the following week of shenanigans. 

Having a good amount of the DKMV squad back together has me beyond excited because it’ll be an amazing time with old friends who have a habit of escalating things.

The Desert is calling and I must go- Lebanon and Egypt

Location: Cairo, Dahab & Sharm El Sheikh, Beirut, Byblos, Jeita Grotto, Saqqara, Alexandria
Date: August 3- August 18th
Crew: Seif, Zoran, Priya, Nick, Mazen, Meghan,

The Reason:

Because I promised Seif and when will I get another chance like this?

This is the BIG trip for the year.  This is a rare trip where I just get to show up, do where I’m told, and go with the flow (perks of not picking the place).  And it’s all because of Seif.  For those who don’t know, Seif, one of my best friends in the world, was born in Egypt and raised there until he was six before moving to “West London Fam”.  He goes back for vacation and to see family multiple times a year and talks about Egypt more than I talk about Nebraska, which to be fair, is probably more justified.   Which makes him something of an Egpyt expert (at least to me).

Since I met him back in 2014 he hasn’t shut up about the place.  Cairo this. Alexandra that. The Sinai Peninsula is amazing and so on.  While we were in Southeast Asia, he and I were talking about different places and like clockwork, he started talking about Egypt.  He’s been trying to get us to go for years and I finally gave in and promised him that I would in 2018.  We had just started planning the Egypt trip when he messaged me saying ‘bruv do you want to go to the World Cup in Russia?”  I asked “what about Egypt” and he said, “mate we can do that the next year this is the World Cup”.

And so, here we are. I will finally get to go experience Egypt with a local, which is something few people from Nebraska ever get the opportunity to do (we don’t generally run in the same circles as Egyptians after all).  One of my rules is if you get the chance to go to a place with someone that is from there you always say yes.  Luckily for me, I’ll be able to truly experience a part of the Middle East, an area I’ve heard so much about, and cross Egypt off the bucket list with a few of my close friends by my side and one of them leading the way.

Magnificant Morocco: My First WiGo Trips Experience


Location: Marrakech – Dades Valley,  Todra Gorges, Sahara Desert, Ouarzazate, Essaouira
Date: December 4 to December 15th
Crew: TBD…

The Reason:

Because Morocco seems cool AF and I wanted to go somewhere with more travelers than tourists

It’s no secret, I’m really excited about the WiGo Trips platform.  I think it’s going to completely change the travel community and love the opportunity I have to be apart of it.  It’s a way to see the world with likeminded people who want to do cool shit and my first expeirence with WiGo Trips (the Ambassador’s weekend) only reinforced my excitement.  We spent the whole weekend bonding and talking about where to travel in 2019.

But if I’m being honest, this is the trip that has the most questions around it- which naturally means it’s the one I’m really excited about.  The more challenges there are, the more opportunities there are for unplanned adventures.

For those who don’t know, unplanned adventures make the best stories.

But that excitement hasn’t stopped my mind from racing with certain questions.  Will people want to come with me?  What will they be like?  What if I pick the wrong people? Is it going to be weird traveling with strangers at first?  Was Morocco the right place? Did I plan a good trip?

The things I’m least worried about are the place and the itinerary.  Simply put, it’s fire.  I did a lot of research on where to go and what to do.  I looked into countless other places before choosing Morocco and spent even more time figuring out the best way to spend 10 days there which is why I’m super excited it made my where to travel in 2019 list.  Morocco is the place I picked and had to plan which means it’s the one I know the most about.

Related: On Coming Home, an Explanation for Those Who’ve Stayed

In short, I’m stoked with the plan I created.  I, along with whoever wants to join me, will be spending that week and a half surfing, hiking the Atlas Mountains, camping in the Sahara, taking an authentic Moroccan cooking class, getting a massage, riding camels, and exploring the Marrakech Medina.

Any place I can surf, hike, and explore a Medina is a place I have to check out.

I have a few spots left on my Magnificant Morocco trip so if you or anyone you know wants to travel with me apply through on WiGo Trips app or send me a message!

Lake Powell. Aspen. Lake Havasu. Lebonan. Egypt. Morocco.

These are the places where I’ll be going this year and hopefully gives you an idea of where to travel in 2019.

What a year of adventure, exciting places, old friends, and new memories to look forward to.

And just like that, it’s time to finish planning those trips for 2020.

Where do you want to travel to in 2019?

The best way to keep up with my adventures:

Stay Gold.

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