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The Aurora borealis, commonly known as the northern lights, illuminates the sky over Iceland. (Photograph by ARCTIC IMAGES / Alamy Stock Photo)

@NatGeoTravel Staff Bucket List: 2016

The staff at National Geographic Travel is continually criss-crossing the globe to uncover the best and the brightest places, but we have travel wish lists just like everyone else.

Here’s where we want to go in 2016 and why:

Iceland: “It’s winter, so I’m dreaming of Iceland’s frozen ice-scapes, geothermal pools, and, of course, the otherworldly northern lights. How many travel destinations on Earth are there where the dramatic highlight of your trip depends on factors such as solar wind conditions and space storms?” —Justin Kavanagh, Traveler series editor, National Geographic Books

Kyoto (Japan): “This year, I want to travel to Kyoto during hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season. I like to sketch the delicate flowers and stunning pagodas there from photos using oil pastels, but I’d rather draw them first-hand. Seeing Japan’s glorious former imperial capital blanketed in pink and white springtime blooms is doubtless an iconic and breathless sight to behold.” —Andrea Leitch (on Twitter and Instagram @andrealeitch), digital director, National Geographic Travel

Trinidad and Tobago: “In a former life (okay, college) I was a teacher’s assistant for a Shakespeare course. In addition to being an expert on the Bard of Avon, the professor I worked under, Milla Riggio, had an academic preoccupation with Trinidad and Tobago. She even helped spearhead a study abroad program there. Her enthusiasm about the people there never left me. And though I missed my chance to spend time there while a student, I plan to right that wrong this year by traveling to the Caribbean island nation to witness its grand Carnival tradition. While other pre-Lenten celebrations may garner more attention (Mardi Gras, anyone?), Trinidad’s version seems to me to be a particularly idiosyncratic, authentic, and exuberant cultural expression. I mean, what Carnival can compete with a live soundtrack of calypso and soca music? Plus, I’ve always wanted to do the limbo in the place where the dance originated.” —Leslie Trew Magraw (on Twitter and Instagram @leslietrew), editor/producer, Intelligent Travel

Kamchatka (Russia): “I’d like to explore the Kamchatka Peninsula in the far east of Russia. From bear watching to exploring one of the region’s many volcanoes, glaciers, and hot springs, this ruggedly beautiful land is teeming with wildlife and adventure.” —Anne Farrar (on Instagram @afarrar and on Twitter @annefarrar), director of photography, National Geographic Traveler

Madagascar: “At the top of my 2016 travel wish list: Madagascar, land of lemurs. The only place in the world where the wide-eyed primates—which are critically endangered—live, this large African island with more than 40 national parks and wildlife reserves is home to a surprising number of other endemic species, including the fossa (a major predator of lemurs), and six of Earth’s nine species of baobab trees. ” —Jayne Wise, senior editor, National Geographic Traveler

England: “This year, I’d love to do a drinking tour—and I’m not talking about a pub crawl. A dream trip of mine would be a tea-inspired trek around England, complete with clotted cream-topped scones and cucumber sandwiches. A must-see would be Northumberland’s Howick Hall, the birthplace of Earl Grey.” —Hannah Sheinberg (on Twitter and Instagram @h_sheinberg), departments editor, National Geographic Traveler 

Isla Holbox (Mexico): “Northwest of Cancún’s party scene lies quiet little Isla Holbox, where residents and visitors get around on golf carts and giant whale sharks congregate offshore in the summer. Ceil Miller Bouchet, one of the Nat Geo Travel group’s regular freelancers, wrote about her stay on the island and it sounds pretty perfect to me.” —Marilyn Terrell (on Twitter and Instagram @marilyn_res), chief researcher, National Geographic Traveler

Mongolia: “Landlocked Mongolia, ‘Land of the Eternal Blue Sky,’ is a land of harsh extremes. One of the highest countries in the world, the country offers snowy mountains, wide expanses of grassy steppe, and windswept desert. Visiting Gorkhi-Terelj National Park in the north and Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park in the south will give me a taste of Mongolia’s diverse landscapes and the semi-nomadic people that live among them.” —Jess Mandia, (Instagram @jessmandia) associate digital photo producer, National Geographic Travel

Ireland: “Itching to plan a trip overseas, my girlfriends and I cooked up an itinerary through Ireland by way of train. Chugging our way from Dublin (one of Traveler‘s Best Winter Trips of 2016) to Galway will yield views of Ireland’s verdant rural landscapes, while stops will allow us to immerse ourselves in cities steeped in history and partake of the pub culture and hospitality the republic is so famous for.” —Becky Davis (on Twitter @beckylane123 and on Instagram @beckydavis1234), associate digital producer, National Geographic Travel

Patagonia (Argentina/Chile): “I spent two weeks in Argentina last year, and I’ve been itching to get back to South America since the day I left. Next on my list? Patagonia. I hope to ride the rapids on the Rio Futaleufú, hike the trails of Torres del Paine National Park, and sample chocolate and wine in Bariloche. That would be the ultimate Patagonian travel trifecta.” —Megan Weiler, digital producer, National Geographic Travel

Sark Island: “National Geographic Traveler‘s Best Trips of 2015 feature planted the seed in my wanderlusting brain to go to Sark. I’d never heard of the island before seeing the article, but now it’s at the top of my list of destinations to visit. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to visit a place where locals travel by foot, and know their neighbors.” —Caroline Hickey, project editor, National Geographic Travel Books

Myanmar: “Burma! I just read Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace, which is this epic multigenerational novel set in Burma and India, and now I want to experience this dynamic region myself.” —Amy Alipio (on Twitter @amytravels and on Instagram @amyalipio), features editor, National Geographic Traveler

Greenland: “Since I’m into food and fascinated by remote islands, I’m curious to check out how climate change is affecting Greenland’s culinary scene. Historically, only potatoes and turnips could survive in the country’s harsh subarctic conditions. Now I hear chefs and farmers are responding to warming temperatures by experimenting with the cultivation of new-to-the-island vegetables and herbs, and even giving beekeeping a try. My thoughts: A gastronomic tour would be the perfect entrée to the natural wonderland that is Greenland.” —Christine Blau (on Twitter at @Chris_Blau), associate digital producer, National Geographic Travel