In our earlier post, Where Next? Part 1, we laid out the places we have never been that we’d like to go. In this, Part 2, we give you a look at sites that are located in countries that we visited but that we weren’t able to make it to for whatever reason. In some instances, it was because we were there at the wrong time of the year to do whatever it was we wanted to do. In other instances, the site was so popular that you had to make plans to visit it much farther in advance than we did. In still other cases, costs or logistics made a visit impossible. They were places that caught our imaginations at the time we were in country and that have stayed with us long after we left. Here, in no particular order, are six sites that will have us returning to one of the 24 countries we visited on our round-the-world trip, hopefully sooner rather than later.
1. Dive Sipadan, Malaysia
After getting our SCUBA certification just before our trip to Borneo, I was anxious to dive into what is supposed to be one of the world’s best dive sites. We heard amazing stories of huge schools of barracuda, 30 + turtles in one dive spot, and sharks galore. Unfortunately, we were there at the peak of the high season, and though we were flexible with date and time, we couldn’t find a single dive operator with an opening. Apparently they’d been booked up 6 months in advance. So looks like we’ll have to go back and see the underworld wonders of Borneo. Maybe it’s for the best. We heard it can be a more challenging dive site, and as beginners we might not have got to experience the full extent of the magic.
2. Witness the Great Migration, Serengeti/Masai Mara
Is there anyone out there who doesn’t want to see this? We love going on safari, and I can imagine the thrill is only upped by the sight of the huge herds of migrating wildebeests fighting for their lives against stalking lions and hungry crocodiles. Plus the Serengeti has a certain romance to it, the wide plains dotted with flat-topped acacia trees. Our timing wasn’t right this trip to witness this magnificent event, so we’ll have to return. Maybe if I win the lottery I’ll splurge on a fancy camp. Otherwise, I’ll just rough it like we usually do. Either way, I’m certain it will be awesome.
3. Drive the Skeleton Coast, Namibia
The landscapes we saw in Namibia were simply mindblowing, but we hear they’re completely unearthly along the Skeleton Coast. You need a 4WD to venture here, however, and we were in a little Kia, so it was forbidden territory for us. Namibia is high on my return list, and next time I’ll definitely get the fully kitted out camping car. Then we’ll be able to venture up the Skeleton Coast, meeting locals who still live in very traditional ways, gawking at the rugged coast, and maybe spotting one of those rare desert elephants that we hear hang out there.
4. Explore the Kalahari, South Africa/Botswana
Like the Skeleton Coast, the Kalahari (well, hell, most of Botswana) is 4WD territory. It’s also territory for the tough and self-reliant. The Kalahari is a whole lot of nothing according to some, a whole lot of beauty according to others. I recently read an article on traveling through the Kalahari, and the photos blew my mind. Some really amazing and interesting people, as well as animals, have learned to survive here, and I think encountering them would be pretty darn cool.
5. Hike the Cordillera Blanca, Peru
After hiking the Inca Trail, our legs weren’t exactly thrilled about the idea of another long, hard hike at high altitude, and the extremely rainy weather hitting the area while we were there sealed the deal: no Cordillera Blanca for us. But we only crossed it off the list temporarily. We both really love to hike, especially in terrain that is as lush and breathtaking (literally and figuratively) as that of the Cordillera Blanca. There’s a whole slew of trails that cross through these northern Peruvian mountains, and we’re not sure which trek we’d chose, though I think we’re looking for a road a bit less traveled. And when we do make it back to Peru, I think we’ll also fly south, as we didn’t make it to Arequipa or Colca Canyon either.
6. Taste the Wine in Mendoza, Argentina
Abundant and delicious steak, ice cream, and wine. What’s not to love about Argentina? While we got our fair share of all of them during our six weeks or so in the country, we didn’t actually make it to Mendoza, the heartland of Argentinian wine production…and supposedly a lot of excellent restaurants to boot. Mendoza was supposed to be our final stop, a layover on our way from Buenos Aires to Santiago, but we ended up flying and thus missed it. But I have no doubt we’ll make it back to Argentina (what a scrumptious country!), and on that trip we’ll not neglect Mendoza and its delicious wines.
If you know of anywhere else we missed, any site you can’t believe we didn’t make it to and strongly believe that we should, let us know. Obviously we plan to live a long, long life and become quite wealthy, so we’re completely open to expanding the list.