The list of places I want to go keeps growing, much like the list of books I want to read. That said, here are some of the top contenders, in a very loose ranking.
Planned for 2021: Belize, Ecuador & the Galapagos, Iceland
Top Fifteen Travel Goals
- Trans Siberian Railway: For those of you who don’t know about the Trans Siberian Railway, it’s where you take a train from Beijing to Moscow (or vice versa), passing through Mongolia and a number of small Russian towns. If you don’t get off the train, the journey would take about 7 days, but most people take closer to a month and take short stops along the way. It’s high up on my list!
- Easter Island: Being that this is a fairly remote island off the coast of Chile, it’s quite expensive and the logistics can be challenging. But I think it would be amazing.
- United Arab Emirates: When I was in 7th grade, our teacher showed us a video of the UAE. It was when they were building the Palm Islands, and I remember thinking it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I want to go up in the world’s tallest building and set foot on manmade islands and walk around a mall that has its own ski slope.
- Egypt: Who among us hasn’t gone through an Egypt phase? I desperately want to see the pyramids and the Nile and the massive temples all throughout the country.
- Croatia: The Balkans is creeping up on my priority list, and one of the ones I’m most interested to see is Croatia. Dubrovnik, of course, is gorgeous. Everyone knows that after Game of Thrones. But there’s also Split and Zagreb and the national parks, and potentially island hopping if I don’t end up going in the dead of winter. Plus, the whole region has so many countries close by that I could easily visit Slovenia and Bosnia and maybe even Montenegro on the same trip.
- New Zealand: For such a small country, New Zealand has an astounding amount of natural beauty. I want to go to the glowworm caves and travel up and down the country, taking in mountains and lakes. Plus, everyone I’ve ever met from New Zealand has made me want to visit even more.
- Hong Kong: I wanted to make it here while I was in China, but alas. Even the impressive Chinese rail system has limits to where you can get to over the course of two weeks. Granted, it’s been going through a few things politically, but I’m still hopeful that I can get there for a visit sometime soon.
- Georgia: Not the U.S. state. No, we’re talking about the literal birthplace of wine, with villages dotted next to the mountains and ancient monasteries. This whole region is on my list.
- Cambodia: I still haven’t made it out to Southeast Asia, and I still very much want to. I want to go to an elephant rescue and see ancient temples and explore the new cultures. Cambodia has also had tragedy in its recent history, and I’m always fascinated to see how countries grapple with that – if I can find a good museum in Phnom Penh, I’ll be happy.
- Petra: One of the world’s great wonders. I want to visit and pretend that I’m a famous archeologist like Indiana Jones. One of my former coworkers did her study abroad in Jordan and she raved about it.
- Australia: I’ve met many Australians while traveling, and every time, I walk away excited to go there. I’d love to see the Sydney Opera House in person, get close to the Great Barrier Reef, wander the streets of Melbourne, and see Ayers Rock. Also, I want to go to some kind of animal sanctuary or something and get close to koalas and kangaroos and other Australia-specific adorable species.
- Machu Picchu: One of the wonders of the world, and one of my top priorities in South America. I can’t imagine the work that went into building such a society on the top of a mountaintop, but I’d love to go experience it for myself!
- Iceland: Remember that time I was going to go to Iceland in 2019? Yeah, that didn’t end up happening because flights are weird. So it’s still on my list. I can’t wait to soak in the Blue Lagoon and visit glaciers and geysers and black sand beaches.
- Tibet: While I have a Chinese visa, I want to go see Tibet. The Potala Palace in Lhasa, the stunning turquoise lakes, and visions of the Himalayas all sound magical. I’d like to see Mount Everest at a safe and comfortable distance.
- Ireland: This may be the only country of my ancestors that I haven’t visited yet. My company has an office in Dublin, and every time I see pictures of the area, I’m excited to go visit. From the Cliffs of Moher to the smaller towns off the beaten path, it looks stunning.