Looking Ahead: 16 Destinations for 2016

16 Destinations for 2016 - The Atlas Heart

Before I run head first into new partnerships and travels this year, I wanted to take a moment to fill all you readers in on where my adventures will lead me for the next 12 months.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of where I may end up going for 2016, but it’s a good idea at least of the new places I will see and what I’ll be writing about this year. Are you excited as I am? Because I’m ecstatic for this year! I have a feeling 2016 is going to be one to remember and a huge step forward for my life and business, even in terms of expanding my perspective as I travel more.

One of the aspects I’m looking most forward to this year is continuing to explore my own country, which I have sadly not seen all that much of, or at least not as much as I would like.

One point I’ve really noticed since coming home is how different every state is in America. I mean look at Oregon and California, complete opposites, but right next to each other geographically. Everywhere I went in the States last year was so unique, it made me realize how little I actually know about the diversity of my own country.

This year, I’ll be heading to a new state almost every month until the end of summer. It’s fairly ambitious but I’m ready for a bundle of explorations going into the New Year, and honestly I’m not sure when I’ll be in America again once I go back to Asia. I want to live it up while I can.

The start of fall is when I’m looking to reunite with my love for Asia, but this time I’ll be trying to get more off the beaten path than I did last time I was in Southeast Asia for a couple of months. This trip, I want to slow travel through every country and freelance along the way, spending a minimum of a month in each place I go.

We’ll see where this year leads, but I’m going in with a positive attitude, no expectations, and a readiness to work hard and play hard.

These are the 16 destinations I’ll be heading to this year, but don’t be surprised if you see more popping up on my blog for 2016 – you never know where my spontaneity will take me!


That’s right! I’m thrilled to be heading to Big Sky Country in a couple of weeks to explore as much as I can of the State in 7 days, and experience freezing cold temperatures while I’m at it. I’ll be based in the little town of Missoula for most of the trip, as I’m working with the local tourism board there, but I’ll also be partnering with Big Sky Ski Resort for a day, and checking out a couple of other hotspots around Southwest Montana.

A Historic Retreat in Montana - 320 Guest Ranch

Oregon Coast

I’ve seen the Oregon coast in bits and pieces and one long road trip when I was 17, but I haven’t been back to explore it since, especially the northern part of the coast. Kendall and I love Pelican Brewery in Pacific City, so we have a grand image of heading to the coast for a weekend and sipping a beer out on their deck during an epic winter storm. I’m thinking we’ll definitely make this happen sometime in February.

Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, Oregon - USA Travel


I am so delighted that I get to head back to the live music capital of the world this year, Austin, Texas. I’ve been here once before for a spontaneous week during college, but this time I’m coming back for a festival I’ve always wanted to experience, SXSW. Kendall and I have already been approved for volunteer spots for the music week of the interactive festival, now we just need to buy our flights and we’ll be headed to Texas in March!

where to stay in austin, texas

New Orleans

I have this thing where I celebrate each year of my 20s in a different city (if you don’t count my 20th). My 21st was spent in San Diego, my 22nd in Vegas, my 23rd in Melbourne, my 24th in Wellington, and my 25th in Veneta. Well, I have always wanted to see NOLA, it’s the city I’ve longed to see most in the States for awhile now. I figured what better time to see it than for my 26th birthday coming up in May? I can’t wait to stuff my face with beignets, follow the music down Bourbon Street, and take in the lovable eccentrics of the South.

where to stay in new orleans, louisiana

San Juan Islands

Since moving to the Pacific Northwest, I’ve heard so much about how wonderful the San Juan Islands are, and how they represent a certain untouched beauty. Located just below the Canadian border in Washington State, the San Juan Island will be a perfect weekend trip to experience the real Pacific Northwest and hopefully an abundance of wildlife. We’ll be heading up to the islands at some point during the summer.

Yellowstone National Park

Words can’t describe how excited I am to see the famous Yellowstone National Park this summer and hopefully some buffalo too! We’ll be going on a last hurray USA road trip through some of the states and national parks I’ve been wanting to see the most, Yellowstone is definitely at the top of that list. We’ll probably end up spending at least a few days in the park, camping and tackling a multi-day hike or two in the wilderness.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone - National Park - USA Travel

Zion National Park

Another national park that has been on my radar for awhile, Zion National Park is located in Southwest Utah and looks absolutely stunning. The rock formations, forest hikes, and waterfalls all look perfect for a couple of days off the radar in the summer.

best time to visit zion national park, utah


I just put Arizona state as a whole down because I’m expecting to spend the most time here for our USA road trip. There are so many spots in Arizona I’ve been dying to see, including the Grand Canyon, of course, which I still haven’t made time to visit. Unacceptable!

In addition to the Grand Canyon, I’d love to explore some of the cities around the state, as well as Horseshoe Bend and the elegant Antelope Canyon.

things to do in arizona

Las Vegas

Oh, Vegas. It has been awhile. I used to go on weekend trips to see you way too many times while I was in college, I even had a birthday party with you.

Sadly, I haven’t said hello since I’ve been back and I think that needs to change. This time around, I’m going to try even harder to do Las Vegas on the cheap – it can be a very hard goal to accomplish but I’ll give it my best shot. Kendall has yet to see Vegas, and since it’s really like no place else in the world, I figured we should add this to our itinerary since we’ll be so close to it anyway.

where to stay in las vegas, nevada

Black Rock City

If we manage to get Burning Man tickets this year, we’ll be heading to Black Rock City, Nevada for our first burn in September. We were originally thinking this was going to happen in 2015, but with the expenses that came with settling back in America, we just couldn’t afford it. Also, when the tickets went on sale we were still in New Zealand, and there was no way we would ever have bought tickets from there with the Kiwi internet. Thus, it seems like 2016 will be the year for us to head to Burning Man, and directly afterwards we should be leaving the States, so it will be our last big party in America.


Another destination that has been at the top of my list for over a year, especially after all of the awesome Canadian friends I made while I was living down under.

Kendall has some family that still lives in Canada, and I’m assuming we’ll probably spend most of our time in British Columbia. However, you never know, we may choose to hitchhike east for a bit, but again, it will just come down to money and time. I’m hoping to spend at least 3 weeks in Canada before heading out to Asia.

where to stay in toronto, canada - neighborhood guide

Hong Kong

Hong Kong will be our first stop in Asia, not only because I’ve heard amazing things about the city, but because it is by far the cheapest place to fly into from the West Coast of North America.

As I mentioned before, I want to spend at least a month in the places we travel around Asia, and Hong Kong is no exception. It will give me a chance to experience hands on the hustle and bustle of a huge city with an even bigger population.

You can bet I’ll also be making a day trip (or two) to Macau while I’m there, and trying ALL the dumplings I can get my hands on. I left my dumpling addiction back in Melbourne because I was never able to find any that were so good, but I have a feeling it will be coming back in full force as soon as I land in Hong Kong.

First Impressions of Hong Kong | Asia Travel


From Hong Kong, we’ll be heading to the slightly less crazy Taiwan. I’m not sure what to expect with Taiwan, just that I think I’ll really like it. It’s not talked about all that much by bloggers and I feel like it’s a passed over destination oftentimes. I’m looking forward to discovering Taipei and gradually working my way south from there.

Active culture in Fenchihu, Taiwan - Asia Travel

Mainland China

China will most likely be the only exception to the 1 month goal for Asia. Although I would love to spend a decent amount of time in the country, China is overwhelming in size and population. The visas are more expensive than it seems anywhere else in Asia, and I don’t think we’ll have the budget to do it properly. Luckily, in certain areas, such as Beijing and Shanghai, they have these 72-hour exceptions where you can stay there without a visa. We may as well take advantage of it while we’re in that area of Asia, so we’ll be spending a few days at least in the country and seeing what we can in a whirlwind amount of time. But we’ll be back one day!

South Korea

We would love to fit in South Korea before settling down for a bit in the Philippines. Seoul looks like such a fun city, especially in terms of nightlife, and I’ve heard when you get outside the cities the hiking is phenomenal in Korea. If all goes as planned, we’ll be heading here sometime in November this year.


And lastly, we’ll be ending the year in the Philippines! We’ve already tentatively decided on making this our home base in Asia for awhile. With over 7,000 islands, you can bet there’s a ton I want to see. This is also where Kendall will probably take up work again as he got his scuba instructor’s license when he was back in New Zealand. I’m looking forward to a relaxing time on the many islands, writing on the beach and scuba diving as much as we can. I think it will be the perfect place to ring in 2017.


16 Destinations for 2016 - The Atlas Heart

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Where are you heading for 2016? Have you been to any of these destinations? Any recommendations for what I should see? 

Mimi McFadden
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