IN THE LAST ISSUE, I announced the winner of the Tell Jim Where to Go contest, awarding 100,000 AAdvantage miles to Alper Aras of Chicago for his winning entry, which suggested that my wife, Jessica, our son, Sam, and I visit Turkey on our next trip.
This time, I’m including some of my favorites from among the hundreds of entries I received. I wish I could run more of them.
The submissions could not be longer than 100 words. I further edited in order to have each continent represented — except Antarctica, for which I didn’t receive an entry. I’ve made up for that, though, by running one suggesting a country in the Middle East, which often gets overlooked when categorizing by continent. I hope that if you’re using the submissions as a guide for deciding where to go on your next vacation, they make your decision that much harder. They did mine.
In the spirit of the season, let me give thanks. Thanks to all who sent an entry. Thanks to all who read the column. And thanks, especially — and I mean this from the bottom of my heart — for writing my column for me this issue.
A writer, Shahin, said: “Send me
on holiday — nothing too trendy.
For I’m likely to grouse
if no grub beats White House
and the scenery doesn’t ascend me.”
“Jim,” says I, “Here’s a spot that’s ideal.
It’s exotic, with down-home appeal.
There are peaks, sea, and sky
and some regular guys
in the pubs, where you’ll get a good meal.
“To New Zealand I bid you to go,
where the Kiwis will put on a show.
Hear the Maoris tell tales.
See the hobbits’ own dales.
And come home with a new sort of mellow.”
— Cynthia B. Astle, Dallas, Texas
KENYA AND TANZANIA
Go to Kenya and Tanzania. Do it between August 15 and September 15.
You will see the annual migration of the wildebeests and their tagalongs (kudu, etc.). You will see up-close prides of lions, leopards, cheetahs, all with their newly born cubs, and elephants and giraffes, warthogs, hyenas, and more. You will see a fascinating culture and have a great learning experience.
I have traveled all over the world, and this is my favorite place.
— Cyrus H. Holley, Trophy Club, Texas
The pyramids, the Sphinx, colorful markets, and savory pita with hummus are just some of the sights, sounds, and smells that have me dreaming of Egypt.
Wouldn’t you love to climb the pyramids of Giza and marvel at the ancient Egyptians for building masterpieces? View the beautifully carved Sphinx, on the verge of becoming the eighth wonder of the world. How about lying on a soft, comfy bed layered with Egyptian-cotton sheets while on a cruise over the Nile?
— Seema Shah, Aliso Viejo, California
• Take a break from Beltway traffic, summer humidity, national politics. Substitute a walkable town, crisp air, a good novel. Leave the TV off. Sleep well.
• Lose the extra pounds from those cheesesteak sandwiches: Hike, bike, fly-fish, golf, ride a horse. Breathe in, breathe out. Indulge in a fresh-baked pie from the farmers market or Idaho lamb chops at a restaurant. Scale still shows progress!
• Sam would not be bored or get into trouble.
— Carol Moerdyk, Naperville, Illinois
It may shock you, but hands down, the best place to visit is Medellín, Colombia! This is no longer the Medellín of drug cartels. It’s safer than most American cities and drop-dead gorgeous!
There is no good or bad time to go; this is the City of Eternal Spring! The people are friendly, the food is wonderful, and the prices are cheap! ¿Qué más puedes preguntar?
— Darcy R. Green, Edmond, Oklahoma
From the exotic mountain-mist-shrouded hill tribe villages outside Chiang Mai to the bustling neon-lit canals and alleys of Bangkok to the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea around the Phi Phi Islands, there is no place more memorable, exciting, and exotic than Thailand.
The people are so welcoming that Thailand is fondly called the Land of Smiles. The food is fresh and exotic, with some of the most intense flavors found anywhere. The temples and architecture are dramatic and colorful.
From the mountains and cities to the beaches, the adventure of a lifetime awaits!
— Jon Karas, Los Angeles, California
(to the tune of “My Favorite Things”)
Sunlight on shamrocks
And castles on hillsides
Freshly brewed Guinness
That warms up your insides
Wonderful climate and the green that it brings
These are a few of those Dublin-esque things
There’s fine Irish stew there
Their writers are famous
The people are gorgeous — they have names there like Seamus
Shopping is great there, they’ve got crystals and rings
These are a few of those Dublin-esque things
When the time’s up
At the airport
And I’m boarding coach
I simply remember those Dublin-esque things
Where Jessica and Jim should go.
— Steven Satzger, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania