Blah, blah: overused travel stories

Just to be a contrary old bat during the terribly cheery and determined New Year, there are a few travel destinations/stories/ideas that have really been flogged to death by major travel magazines and Web sites. It’s a big planet; can’t we find something else to explore and talk about?

I’d like a short reprieve from:

Your “secret” Tuscany. Hel-lo. This part of Italy has been a big deal for centuries. Let’s find another room with a view.

Eastern Europe is the new place to go. Yes, OK, got it. Croatia. Poland. Cheap Europe. I dare someone besides the intrepid Leif Pettersen to get into Really Cheap & Kinda Grungy Europe, like Romania and Bulgaria.

Dubai is the new place to go. And it’s safe and Westernized so you can feel adventurous about going to the Middle East and….shopping at modern malls, buying Gucci and staying in gazillion-dirham hotels. Um, no thanks. I’d rather go to Oman or Saudi Arabia. Heck, I’d rather go back to Iran.

Argentina is cheap, and they have tango and beef. OK, OK. Give me some Uruguay and Paraguay, which I don’t know anything about. More Chile, please.

Costa Rica. I’m sure it is lovely and jungly and all that, but by now it must be overrun with tourists all looking for a green eco-adventure or a beach hit.

Austin is hip and funky even though Texas is (mostly) not. I live here now and I’m actually tired of reading about my hometown. Yes, Austin is sort of the Berkeley of Texas. It’s been that way for decades; why is this news? Liberals can eat BBQ and put on Wranglers to go two-stepping. I know that already. So do thousands of Aggies, and they are usually perturbed about it.

Now, there are “evergreen” destinations that I personally never tire of reading about: New York, Paris, London, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Tokyo. Sydney seems to be on a tear, India is on the rise and I’m sure we’ll be overrun with China articles as the Olympics approach. Keep them coming, for now. I haven’t reached saturation yet.

Here’s where I’d like some more travel insight: Chicago, and the Midwest in general. Wales. Malaysia. The BENELUX countries. Mexico (not just the beach resorts.) Russia. Canada. The American South, especially Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. Botswana. Northern Ireland. Brazil. Jordan. Hungary. Finland. Minneapolis.

Just quit telling me that there’s a “secret” Tuscany.