Although the former Soviet republic might seem remote, Uzbekistan once sat at the very center of the world. In the first millennium, no traveler could pass from Asia to Europe without stopping in the Silk Road strongholds of Bukhara and Samarkand, and as a result these cities evolved into rich cultural centers. For intrepid travelers, today’s Uzbekistan is a promised land: a Muslim-majority nation that’s both safe and affordable, with few tourists and an abundance of well-preserved mosques and harems. And since the death of authoritarian president Islam Karimov last year, the new regime has taken steps toward reform that have given both Uzbeks and the international community reason for optimism. Improving relations with Iran could soon bring a rail link to the Persian Gulf, and in 2016, the Afrosiyob high-speed-train line began connecting the country’s major cities. Meanwhile, Uzbekistan should benefit from the so-called Iron Silk Road, or Trans-Asian Railway — a Chinese-funded network of routes knitting together Beijing and Europe — once a segment connecting the country through Kyrgyzstan is completed. Book a customized journey with Exeter International, which specializes in the region. —Heidi Mitchell
Over the past few years, South Korea’s Gangwon Province has shed its sleepy past and come into its own as a prime winter-sports destination — a transformation that will take center stage during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics (February 9–25). Ahead of the big event, the region will debut a new high-speed rail line that will whisk travelers from Incheon International Airport to the resort town in just 70 minutes, making it easier to access the Taebaek Mountains’ panoramic pistes and tourist-friendly attractions. Powder hounds will want to lodge at the InterContinental Alpensia Pyeongchang Resort, which commands a prime location at the foot of the Alpensia ski slopes, steps from two Olympic-class runs, and is one of a handful of hotels built for the games. Break from all the outdoor action at the Ocean 700 indoor water park, complete with wave pools and tubing rides. —Talia Avakian
Until now, Zambia has had little recognition as one of Africa’s great safari destinations. Yet experts know it as the birthplace of the walking safari — as well as the home of some of the most highly trained guides on the continent. In South Luangwa National Park, visitors can expect to see more animals than baobab trees, while Liuwa Plain National Park is the setting for the world’s second-largest wildebeest migration, when tens of thousands of the creatures head across the plain from neighboring Angola. Last year saw the arrival of Liuwa’s first permanent camp: King Lewanika Lodge, a six-villa safari lodge overlooking a watering hole where hyenas and antelope gather. —Mary Holland
A suicide bomber and his victims are set to become travelers, but the bomb explodes and only Donner, the bomber, survives. Devastated by his failure, Donner tries to betray the traveler program to the authorities, but the entire hearing is populated by travelers who hold a trial and convict Donner of treason. Donner is overwritten by a new traveler, who must serve Donner's prison sentence, and reports that things in the future are getting worse despite the changes enacted by Traveler teams in the 21st. Luca approaches Donner in prison, implying that he has lost faith in the Director. Ken, David's boss, believes David's relationship with Marcy is inappropriate. Upon meeting Marcy, he believes she has defrauded the system. Marcy saves David's job by repaying her benefits. Grace, Trevor's guidance counselor, and Jacqueline, Carly's social worker, genuinely care about them, respectively. Grace tries to help Trevor with his academics, and Jacqueline promises that she will not let the system fail Carly and her child. Philip discovers that gambling outcomes are deviating slightly from the historic record.
The capital may be set on banks of the Potomac, but it’s never had a reputation as a great waterfront city. That could all be about to change, thanks to the $2.5 billion, 24-acre District Wharf, which opened in October just south of the National Mall. The shiny new InterContinental Washington D.C.-The Wharf offers access to the development’s new parks, music venues, 50-plus shops, and 20 restaurants — which include projects from area chefs like Fabio Trabocchi, Mike Isabella, and wunderkind Kwame Onwuachi. This is also set to be a banner year for culture: the Freer and Sackler galleries, sister museums that champion Asian art, recently reopened after a 20-month renovation, the National Gallery of Art will host the first-ever show dedicated to Cézanne’s portraits from March to July, and the Kennedy Center continues its inaugural season of hip-hop programming curated by Q-Tip. —Brooke Porter Katz
Landlocked Laos might be quieter than Southeast Asian neighbors like Vietnam and Thailand, but 2018 could transform the country into the region’s next hot spot. Wattay International Airport, in the capital of Vientiane, is set to complete a terminal expansion to accommodate more international links next year, but the biggest changes are foot in the UNESCO World Heritage–inscribed town of Luang Prabang, in central Laos. This serene riverside spot lures travelers to its golden Buddhist temples, French-colonial architecture, hiking trails, nearby elephant sanctuaries — and now, glamorous new digs. Last year, the design-forward Azerai opened inside a century-old French-colonial building that was formerly an officer’s quarters. The debut concept from Aman Resorts founder Adrian Zecha has airy, light wood interiors that nod to local culture in their use of batik textiles and Laotian artwork. There’s also an 80-foot swimming pool in a tree-shaded central courtyard. The upcoming Rosewood Luang Prabang aims to be a destination in itself. Opening in mid 2018, this highly anticipated resort will feature pavilion-style villas, luxury tents, and a spa that seems to float above the jungle. —Kate Springer
In an interview with Exclaim!, Nick Thorburn explained that the overhauled lineup was a product of his desire to try new things. "That's important to me ― to be able to constantly try new things. That's why this record's largely informed by electronic stuff like drum machines, sequencing, and programming, which really scales it back from the last record."  Thompson once again left the band prior to the summer 2010 tour, and was again replaced by Aaron Harris.
Just an hour and a half north of Melbourne, Nagambie Lakes is one of Australia’s oldest viticulture areas, with some vines dating back to the mid 19th century. This part of Victoria has long been considered a great day-trip destination for its outdoor activities — waterskiing, rowing, and sailing — and renowned wineries. Now there’s reason to linger, thanks to the November debut of the Mitchelton Hotel, a 58-room resort and spa at Mitchelton Winery. With its fine-dining restaurant, the Ministry of Chocolate, and 5½ miles of trails circumnavigating the vineyard, it’s the perfect base for a weekend in the region. Start your trip with a tasting on-site — Mitchelton is known for its Riesling — before venturing to other nearby wineries like Tahbilk, which has been producing quality vintages since 1861, and Goulburn Terrace, which specializes in natural wines. Other popular local vintners include McPherson Wines, David Traeger Wines, and Box Grove Vineyard. —John Scarpinato