Where Next? Part 1

So now that we’re back home, we can’t help but think of where we want to go next. Though we visited 24 countries on our trip, our world did not get any smaller. In fact, I think it got bigger. The more you travel, the more places you want to go.

So here are ten places that we’ve never been to that we’d love to travel next. And by next, we mean sometime in the future. They aren’t our next ten vacations (I wish!), but are instead the places that we will be considering heavily each time we find ourselves with some time and money to spare. More accurately, they’re our dream trips of-the-moment, at least in the category of places we’ve never been.

And because we’re terrible at actually ranking things, here they are, in alphabetical order.

1. Alaska
Those of us who live in the U.S. are lucky. Within our borders we have tropical rainforests and coral reefs, the world’s largest canyon, imposing mountain ranges, gorgeous beaches, active volcanoes and bubbling geysers, eye-searing deserts, ancient forests, glacier fields and polar bears! There is so much of the U.S. we want to see for the first time, go back to for the second or third or fourth time, or spend longer exploring. High on the list is Alaska, a state certainly unlike any of the others.We’d love to do a combination land/sea trip and see this crazy state from all sides.

2. Bhutan
We really, really wanted to make Bhutan a part of our trip, and were even willing to shell out the big bucks it takes to visit, but it wasn’t meant to be. We had found a company there we liked, had worked out a plan for what we’d see and do, and then couldn’t get the flights we needed. You have to enter/exit the country on their official airlines, Druk Air, and the planes are apparently pretty small. We were planning from Africa for the very end of our trip, but every seat was taken on every plane from every entry/exit point. We were offered a chance to enter overland from India but would have spent two of our expensive and precious days in transit. Not what we wanted. So we’ll have to make plans to visit the Land of the Thunder Dragon on its own, and experience the majestic beauty and well preserved culture of the land that measures its wealth in Gross National Happiness.

3. Bolivia
There were a lot of places we wanted to visit while we were in South America but just didn’t make it too. Bolivia was near the top of the list. The combination of traditional culture and landscapes like the otherworldly Salar de Uyuni make us eager to go, even if it’s as frustrating to get around as many people claim.

4. Colombia
In the U.S., you say Colombia and most people think of the FARC and drug wars, but the truth is that Colombia is now one of the U.S.’s greatest allies in Latin America, and the country has done a complete 180 since the ’80s. From the few people we’ve met who have traveled there, the raves just never seem to end. The landscape is supposed to be amazing, the people ridiculously friendly, the culture an interesting mix of Latin and African, and the food delicious. I think all the commercials we saw telling us that “The only risk is wanting to say” have totally won us over. We’re itching to go before all the gringos catch wind.

5. Ethiopia
Not being able to fit Ethiopia into our African itinerary was a major disappointment, but we knew if we were going to do it, we wanted to do it right, meaning we’d love to have something like three weeks. The only country in Africa never to be conquered, it has a unique and amazing culture. We’d love to explore the churches of Lalibela, and really just travel the country from top to bottom. Plus we’re big fans of the food.

6. Mongolia
I have this vision of Mongolia as the last frontier. It’s certainly not on the travel highway, but it’s still being quickly affected by the forces of the world, and I’d like to get there before it becomes mainstream. I’ve actually only ever met two people who have been, but both raved about it, and the adventure of it all calls to me. Though I’m not a fan of the cold, I’d be willing to pull out the long underwear to experience the steppe and meet the hardy nomadic people who call it home.

7. Morocco
Casablanca. Tangiers. Fez. Marrakech. There’s so much history, so much mystique to Morocco. It’s the type of country we love, because all you have to do is wander around and you find yourself immersed in a new world. The souks of the Medina in Fez, the medieval feel of Marrakech. Deserts, beaches, snow-capped mountains. It’s all enticing.

8. New Zealand
Australia holds basically no appeal to me, but New Zealand, that’s a whole different story. Lush rainforest, amazing waterfalls, protected landscapes, and a national love of adrenaline sports makes this a top draw for both of us. We’d love to rent a van and explore both the North and South Islands.

9. Spain & Portugal
There’s something addictive about Latin culture–the food, the dance, the music, the joie de vivre. I made a quick tour through Spain seven years ago and fell in love with it, and Jeff’s been wanting to go for years. Seville and the south is calling to us as well as Madrid and Barcelona. And then there’s always overlooked Portugal. The photos we’ve seen and stories we’ve heard, along with the friendly Portuguese we met on our travels, all leave us itching to go.

10. Turkey
I’ve wanted to go to Turkey since I taught in Greece in 2003-04. I actually had tentative plans to go but then a bombing in Istanbul upset things, and I never made it. But we’d love to see Hagia Sophia, wander through the bazaars, take a balloon ride over Cappadocia, observe the whirling dervishes, and eat delicious Mediterranean food.

Care to join us?

6 Replies to “Where Next? Part 1”

  1. Loved Spain & Portugal- especially Portugal. You hardly ever hear anything about it, but Lisbon is one of my favorite cities.
    You could do these with Morocco, and I think I read somewhere that there are cheap flight from Morocco to Ethiopia.

  2. This reminds me, we need to start planning the Yellowstone road trip. That’ll be here before we know it.

    I’ll definitely join you in Turkey. That is my next international destination. And a trip to the Iberian peninsula isn’t far behind.

    All the rest sound very intriguing and they’re somewhere on my list, but I have some other places which you visited in the last year further up my list than the ones you listed.

  3. My top three has been, for the past few years:

    1. Chile
    2. New Zealand
    3. Iberian Peninsula.

    Seeing as I had a reason to get to the IP and never did, maybe I need to re-think #3.

  4. Having just spent 3 weeks traveling through Turkey I would highly recommend it. Flights from the States are quite easy and not to expensive ~$650. My wife and I have more information on our site, http://www.greenaroundtheglobe.com including pictures and a couple of posts on our time there. If I can get access to YouTube (it is blocked in Egypt where we are now) I will soon be uploading a video of the highlights from Turkey. Feel free to shoot me an email if you want to discuss in more detail.

    Also thanks for the heads up on Bhutan. We are also planning on heading there in the next 4-5 months but have not made the reservations yet. Seems like we should not wait on that. Bets of luck on your re-integration home. I am not sure how ours will go 10 months from now.

  5. I say go for Alaska, it’s right ther ein your own country and it is amazing what you will see there, I went 3 years ago and I couldn’t believe the sights, people, food etc. I was in a dream.

  6. I’d go for New Zealand, Mongolia and Spain. Never been to New Zealand (planning on it though!) and Mongolia intrigues me. Spain, been there three times. Killer country.

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