2019 was full of new places. I went on my first solo Road Trip, following King Gizzard for a week and getting to check in on a bunch of my people on the East Coast. I made four trips to Toronto and never went to the same neighborhood twice. Perhaps most excitingly, I finally went on my first big international trip, exploring the Caribbean with friends on a cruise that defied a lot of my expectations for what a cruise experience would be like.
If there’s one regret that I have for my travels this year, it’s that I was never able to spend too long in any of the places that I visited. I try to dive right into whatever place I’m in so that I can have a full experience while I’m there, but I’d be lying if I said I was an expert in any of these places. With that being said, here are my favorite destinations of 2019 – the places that made an impact, and that I’m daydreaming about spending more time in in the near future.
Philly took the cake for my favorite places of the year. I was there twice, and to see (literally) my two favorite bands: King Gizzard in August, and Ween in December. I loved everything about this place. I was lucky to be staying close to Philly’s Town Hall, an area of the city that feels bursting with historical nuggets. In July, my friend and I saw the Liberty Bell, which was in no way an overrated experience. The National Parks employee manning the bell told us about the history of the artifact with joy and pizazz. The attitude was infectious. I could not get enough.
I’m usually traveling to see live music, and Philadelphia seems like a fantastic place to see live music — if not only because there’s a Wawa on every corner where I could get a post-show snack before heading back to my friend’s house. Each show included an hours-long waiting-in-line experience, and outside of both venues (Franklin Music Hall and The Met), there was a safe and convenient place to wait in line. The venues were gorgeous (if boiling hot, in the case of the Gizzard show at Franklin) and convenient to get into and leave. I would say that if your favorite band’s closest show on their next tour is in Philly, you shouldn’t despair – it’ll be worth it for you to go and have a Philadelphia experience.
On my Norwegian Gem cruise, we visited a bunch of islands, all with their own vibrant culture. Each place also had a pretty noticeable relationship with the tourism industry, and the people that visit seeking a “paradise” experience. I wasn’t able to get this out of my mind on a few stops on our journey, and I asked myself a lot of questions about whether or not I was doing more harm than good in visiting these places.
Antigua wasn’t without these concerns. But it was the place where I felt I was able to get the best glimpse of what the place was actually like. We visited a museum that explored the island’s history from Pangea to Today. We visited the Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society and met the animals they foster, as well as the amazing woman who spearheads the operation. It was at this humane society that I met the dog that once and for all cured my fear of the animals (pictured above – I wish I could have brought him home with me). We saw kids walking to school. Antigua felt lived in, and it showed us the life that goes on there 24/7, 365. It was the place where I felt we had the best opportunity to meet the people who make the place special – and it’s a very special place.
It’s not like I haven’t already spent a ton of time in Boston – growing up in Maine, it was the closest city and the only place where I went on school trips. On my sixteenth birthday my dad and I drove to Boston to see the Rolling Stones, and were back in time for school the next morning. So I have loved the city for a long time.
But being back in Maine, and considering that my taste in music has evolved from bands that play at TD Garden to bands that play in Allston, I feel that I’ve had a chance to get to know the city better. I’ve grown and changed a lot since I was 16, and it’s been fun to discover all the stuff that Boston has for 22-year-old Camille that younger versions of myself never would have found. It’s not a perfect fit for me (a rule for 2020 – don’t date people from Massachusetts). But if I didn’t already have an allegiance for the place before, I certainly do now, since Boston is the most reliable resource for me to feed my live music addiction. My favorite venue of the year is there, and now I’ve seen Ween there, it’s destined to be a special place.
For a better idea of where I’ve been this year, take a look at The Live Music Map.