1. Laguna Madre, Mexico
2. NW Costa Rica
Fly fishing the Laguna Madre. Photo from lagunamadre.net
It's worth noting that I have been to one of those three places, am very close (another year or two) to traveling to another (if I don't balk, and travel back to the one I've already visited), and am nowhere near in good enough shape (physically, mentally, or financially) to visit and truly enjoy the third.
Me, at sunset, waiting for one last wave at Reef el Estero, NW CR
Next is Laguna Madre Sur, which is a very salty estuary that spans from South Padre Island far down into Mexico, finally emptying into the Gulf at Rio Soto la Marina. The best way to describe this area's potential awesomeness as an outdoors dream trip is to mention that 50% of Texas' commercial fish come from this area, which, according to USGS, winters over 75% of the world's redhead ducks. Inland, the largemouth fishing and quail hunting are absolutely legendary as well.
Eventually I will make this trip. I don't imagine it'll be vastly different from visiting Florida, the Carribean, or even coastal North Carolina,, other than the sheer remoteness. And hopefully the excellent tequila.
Finally, my dream/nightmare trip. The one that stands as an obstacle in so many ways right now. It's so remote, and so far from home, that I refuse to go unless I'm sure I will enjoy it - for all that it is. Peru.
Photo from Surf Peru
Peru is not messing around. Peru is not laying around in an all-inclusive resort, waiting for your surfing/hunting/fishing guide to knock on your door when they have found conditions that will meet your exacting requirements. Peru, like Chile and Argentina, would love for you to come visit and find it yourself.
Locked Up Abroad episodes when I run out of money halfway through my trip, and offer to mule 20lbs of gold, which of course turns into 90lbs of weaponized uranium, through security and customs at the airport. Oh well!
Photo by Calderon de la Bruja
Sometimes, maybe it's good to think of dreams as being dreams. What would really be so wrong with going back to Costa Rica (yes, that's me!)........
Or tackling some small waves in English-speaking Jamaica?
photo: John Pool
Or perhaps fishing and surfing the also-quite-English Eleuthera, Bahamas?
The fact is this: any place can be your dream destination if it gets you those things that you've been longing for. For me, it's warm air, "not freezing" water, and the opportunity to get out and pursue the outdoors in places where I am not limited by parking, work hours, beach tags, and 5am boat ramp backups. Places where I can focus on being alive and noticing all the beautiful things around me. What about you? Where's your dream destination?