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New Year, New Adventures

For many of us, this month is a time of reflection and renewal. As I ponder over this past year and what the coming year may bring, I’m inspired to make 2018 a year of new experiences. 

Although I’m an avid traveler and have visited many exciting destinations over the past 30 plus years, there are still many places on my travel “to do” list. And with each issue of Traveler, I find even more trips to add. 

Really digging into the destination you travel to is a wonderful way to appreciate the history and culture of that region. With each trip I take, I challenge myself to seek out activities and attractions that expand my way of seeing the world around me.  During my trip to the Netherlands, I opted to take a food tour in Amsterdam. We tasted authentic street foods, visiting the shops and restaurants where locals buy their herring, baked goods and other items. Have you ever visited a bakery that only makes one thing? You can in Amsterdam! My mouth still waters at the memory of that world-famous Van Stapele Koekmakerj cookie — a chocolate cookie filled with warm white chocolate. They bake them every 30 minutes, so they’re still warm when you eat them.

The “Europe’s Majestic Rhine” feature on page 18 reminds me of another memorable excursion I enjoyed during a Viking River Cruise vacation. During the length of our land tour, we visited a cheese shop, a local bakery, a dessert shop and a wine shop. As we left each spot, our guide purchased the items we sampled. At the end of our tour, we convened at a lovely outdoor spot and enjoyed a picnic of the day’s spoils.

If you’re dreaming up new experiences through food and travel for 2018, let this issue of Traveler inspire your list. Savor the Bahamas with our article “Tasting the Bahamas” on page 14. The islands of the Bahamas are so close, and with direct flights easily accessible from the Carolinas, it makes for an easy escape. In addition, the Bahamas didn’t incur hurricane damage this past year. Actually, many of the Caribbean islands that did incur damage have recovered and are ready for visitors. Add them to your list, too!

I’m particularly excited about our feature “Iceland. Ireland. Italy” on page 8. I’ve visited both Ireland and Italy, but still need to check off Iceland. This article definitely sparks my wanderlust for the land of fire and ice! 

Unique experiences like sleeping in a glass igloo to view the northern lights (see page 3) or sampling local beers around the world (page 5) are easy to plan with your trusted AAA Travel Agent. They are well traveled and well connected to provide you with your absolute best travel memories. 

          — Sarah Henshall, Vice President, Travel & Branch Operations