Conde Nast’s Reader’s Choice Awards inspired me. I already scour websites for travel deals on a daily basis, but reading their list encouraged me to focus my deal hunting on places that I really want to see (rather than randomly booking getaways because I get 40% off on Bloomspot). I had a Top 10 list that I created a few years back (Istanbul, Rome and Athens topped the list), but was very diligent about crafting itineraries that allowed me to tick those boxes off, one at a time. There are still so many amazing places on my wish list, though, and new ones that have come to the fore in recent months. Conde Nast’s list inspired me to write one of my own: a Top 10 Travel Wish List covering cool places around the globe (these are listed in no particular order).
1I’ve long had a fascination with the Middle East, and Petra is one of many places that I’d love to see. Ideally, my itinerary would lump a trip to Jordan in with stops in Israel and the Palestinian Territories for a comprehensive Middle Eastern excursion. As a popular UNESCO heritage site, Petra is a draw for tons of tourists throughout the year (I’m sure Indiana Jones helped boost tourism, too.) There’s something about these Old World remains that continue to pique my interest.
2When it comes to South America, Peru has been #1 on my list for a while (trumping the ever-popular Brazil and Argentina). Everyone that I’ve spoken with that has visited Machu Picchu (another UNESCO heritage site) has described it as a breathtaking, other-worldly experience. Blending this experience with a few days exploring the Amazon would make for a primo package in my book. Boat Shoe Boy and I are actually in talks of making this exact trip our honeymoon. Here’s to hoping!
Tanzania & Zanzibar
Photo credit: Marco Campra
3Oh, Africa. To narrow it down to a single country was difficult; South Africa, Kenya and Ghana are also high on my sub-Saharan African checklist. Still, a trip to Tanzania and the nearby island of Zanzibar would be quite the experience. Zanzibar has some stellar beaches, while Tanzania is host to a number of amazing safari adventures and a very cool history and culture. I have a feeling my camera would get some serious use here!
4Years ago I saw a picture of Plitvice Lakes National Park on the internet. Since then, the image always pops into my mind when I dream of Eastern Europe. I was in awe that a place this magical existed somewhere in the world. Croatia had been at the top of my European travel list, but I never actually made the trip out there. I think I’d actually make the trip to Croatia from California and center my journey around seeing this place. It’s like Yosemite on steroids.
Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos
5I realize that’s actually three different countries, but I’m lumping them together because that’s exactly what I’d do in real life. I don’t think you can make the trek to Southeast Asia and go for a few days. If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it. That probably means it would be a couple of weeks (this is in my dream world, when I actually get that much time off of work, of course) and would include a trip to Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. While Asia has never really had a huge draw for me, I find this particular area very intriguing. There seems to be such an incredible, unadulterated culture about it. Plus, flights aside, it’s very doable on a budget.
6Never heard of the Andaman Islands? Yeah, I hadn’t either. It wasn’t until Boat Shoe Boy mentioned his desire to see this remote island chain that my interest was seriously piqued. The islands are technically part of India and sit in the Bay of Bengal. There are roughly 1000 indigenous Andamanese still on the island, with the rest of the population hailing primarily from South Asia.
7I’ve always had this weird obsession with Nepal (and Tibet, too, for the same reason). Mind you, I don’t feel particularly compelled to go to India or Bangladesh (or many other countries in that specific region), but I’ve always found Nepal to be a bit mystical, and thus very intriguing. The country still seems very raw, with much less Western influence than some other Asian nations. If I were embarking on an Eat, Pray, Love-esque adventure, I think that Nepal would be the go-to place to fulfill the ‘pray’ part of that journey. Regardless of religious affiliation, there’s something about Nepal that exudes an aura of spirituality and enlightenment.
8I almost finished my Top 10 list without including a spot in North America (gasp)! I’ll be honest, there are a few spots in the US that I would still love to see (Savannah, Charleston, and Austin come to mind), but no place is higher on my domestic list than New Orleans. Yes, it’s been devastated by natural disasters in the past, but what other city has the unique culture and influences that you find in this city? When my grandfather arrived in the US from Malta in the 1940s, his first home was in New Orleans. As a child, he told us stories about life there; the old school, jazzy, Creole-laden New Orleans that you dream about. I have heard that despite efforts to re-create and revitalize the city after devastation, it is different post-Katrina. Still, New Orleans claims my #1 spot in the US.
9If you asked me to draw up this list last year, I wouldn’t have even included a Caribbean island. After talking with people who’ve done their fair share of traveling throughout the region, though, there’s one place that continues to make people light up: Barbados. Cuba, Turks and Caicos, and the Bahamas are also on my list, but Barbados — with its natural beauty and cool culture — is a must-see.
Photo credit: Mich_obrien
10I was struggling with choosing between Egypt and Morocco for this one. Despite Egypt’s amazing history and culture, Morocco won that battle. Morocco has long made my list of places to see and it’s still holding strong. It’s geographical location provides it with some amazing cultural and linguistic influences that I think make it such a draw. Between its French-infused Arabic dialect, incredible architecture, colorful culture and ancient and religious influences, I think Morocco manages to blend the old world North African culture with a hint of glam.
So, there’s my Top 10 List! It touches on places all around the globe, some spots more achievable than others, of course. What do you guys think? HAve you been to any of these spots?
Tell me: What’s on your Top 10 list?