two-week solo christmas adventure, 2014
July 16, 2014 7:44 AM   Subscribe

flying solo, two-week christmas adventure, 2014... but where?

i have two weeks at christmas this year to take a solo adventure and would love your suggestions for ideas of where to go! i haven't traveled a lot, so whatever you suggest will probably be new to me, and i am entirely open to all possibilities.

things to consider:
-pretend money is no object
-i love food. honestly, it's my main passion. eating, cooking, markets, restos, food trucks... swoon.
-i love exploring art
-i'll be leaving from toronto, so would ideally like to escape the cold (but doesn't need to be balmy -- just not freezing)
-i don't speak any other languages, though could muddle by in french
-i love meeting locals and friendly places
-i love learning... whether reading, classes, otherwise

i had kind of been leaning towards san sebastian, but i know so little about international travel that i thought i would put it to the green, just in case there are amazing options that i am overlooking! thank you in advance for your help.
posted by crawfo to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In your shoes I would visit Australia, probably Sydney or Melbourne. They're having their summer in December, so it'll be hot. Very easy for foreigners to navigate, and I found Australians to be incredibly welcoming and easy/fun to meet. I found the food in Sydney to be utterly amazing, so I think you'd especially like that part.

You're very lucky! I'm so jealous right now. :)
posted by schroedingersgirl at 8:05 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Vietnam is cheap, delicious and quite hot. Also gorgeous. Most people speak English. It's safe for a solo traveler.
posted by Duffington at 9:00 AM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Food in Europe is outrageous and in France especially so. Paris will be cold, but not Toronto cold. My first visit to Paris was solo in November and I had a BLAST! Museums for days, lovely walking the streets, chestnuts roasting, nutella crepes. What's not to like?

I started in Paris, then took the train to Dijon, then continued down to Nice/Monaco. Ate my face off and met a ton of fun folks. I did the hostel thing, and that worked out for meeting other people better than staying in a hotel alone. Some hostels have single rooms if that's your thing (it's MY thing.)

The Medeterranian was lovely. Took a cruise from Rome to Barcelona, stopped in Naples, Sardinia, St. Tropez, Palma de Mallorca as well. Good food everywhere, tons to see and do, and the side trip to Pomeii was mind blowingly awesome!

Mexico is a thought. There is a vibrant food culture with big differences between the various states. I had amazing fresh fish in Acapulco. Mole. Mexico City has a metropolitain feel to it, but it's also hard to breathe there due to pollution and altitude.

I'm wary due to issues with violence, but I like Mexico and the Yucatan can be really amazing.

I've done a fair bit of solo traveling and I've always had a great time!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:12 AM on July 16, 2014

Peru! Peru has a huge food scene that is exploding right now. It has some of the best restaurants in the world and incredible markets. And it's beautiful and full of wonderful history and culture - you can go to the beach, go hang out in Lima and see sights, go to Machu Pichu or do other treks- there's just so much to do.

I recommend watching Anthony Bourdain's Peru episode in Parts Unknown to learn more about the food scene and culture in Peru. They have tons of markets with food you can't get easily anywhere else in the world (fresh fruits from the amazons), fresh fish, etc, just everywhere. It's beautiful. The weather is awesome. The people are friendly. There's a huge cocoa industry there, and you can get interesting chocolate related food items. I would go to Peru.
posted by carmel at 9:15 AM on July 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Astronomy cruise with Hurtigruten on the Norwegian coast. Remember, the Gulf Stream keeps Northern Europe's climate much more palatable than a Toronto winter. The cruise follows the coastline from Bergen to Kirkenes / Russian border with 34 port stops. Good food, great views, Northern Lights( !!! ), Norwegian hospitality, astronomy, and something that one does not do every day. I did a similar cruise in 2011 and loved it.
posted by seawallrunner at 5:44 PM on July 16, 2014

-pretend money is no object
-i love food.
-i don't speak any other languages

Good, not necessarily inexpensive food is a major factor in where I like to travel, perhaps more so than I sometimes like to admit to myself. Given that, my recommendations would be:

1. New Orleans. New Orleans, New Orleans, New Orleans. Oh my yes. And the weather tends to be moderate and pleasant around that time of year. I've been to NO four times, twice around New Years', and am hoping to get back again. One of those times in the winter was warm enough for shorts, the other more light jacket type weather, but as you say, not freezing in either case.

2. Italy (English is understood well enough to get by in major cities, at least).
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:57 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

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