I'm loath to reveal too many secrets about my travel hits and misses. So this article comes with one of those all important disclaimers: don't tell too many people about my "hit" and forgive me if you think differently with my "miss". Travel, after all, is majorly dependent on where you stay, who you're with and who you know.
Bled / Ljubljana / Piran, Slovenia
This absolutely stunning country is nestled between the tourist hot spots of mountainous Austria, Mediterranean Italy and the increasingly crowded Dalmatian coast in Croatia. The hit is threefold for me. You have fewer tourists, stunning natural beauty and gorgeous food and wine. If you fancy glacial lakes with an island monastery in the middle, skiing, magical forests and caves, beautifully restored medieval castles and a local population who value sustainability and love foreigners — look no further! I will never forget having fish taken off a boat in Piran and cooked for me, filleted table-side and then the chef joining us for his home-brewed slivovitz afterwards. Go, go, go — but don't tell too many of your friends.
Austin, Texas, USA
Beloved by travellers the world over who have been or just heard of the South by Southwest festival, Austin is the capital of Texas and is actually a perfectly nice city. "But you've just said it's a miss," I hear you cry. No need to re-read everything. Its "miss" status is nothing to do with being a nice city, it's to do with how overhyped my expectations were for Austin. I encourage you to try this. Mention Texas then count how many seconds pass before someone proclaims, "Oh, I hear Austin is really cool". Now don't get me wrong, it's not a terrible town. There are, however, too many people there. Lake Travis is nice but there are plenty of absolutely beautiful lakes in the US and around the world that are nowhere near as packed with people and — for my money — just, if not even more stunning. Likewise with the food scene — it's great but not extraordinary compared to other places, even in Texas. Austin is alright, but because my expectations were so high, it's definitely a miss for me.
Baritone Morgan Pearse is in New Zealand to perform alongside Pene Pati (Sol3 Mio) and Amina Edris in The Elixir of Love with New Zealand Opera. ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre from May 31.