We all have gaps in our travel itineraries. Some are more glaring than others, and especially after visiting almost 80 countries some are embarrassing even though we’ll make it to all of these eventually. Now these are all Sunshine lists only. First let’s start with:
Top Ten Countries I Am Ashamed to Admit I Have Never Been
This would be the biggest gap in our travels. Would it be OK to say, “It just hasn’t come up yet”?
Near or at the top of my list of places I want to go next.
Been to places peopled with Nepalis in northern India but never Nepal. Also high on the newly calibrated list.
Given my love of archaeology, food, culture, hiking, and the Peruvians in my family now, it’s beyond strange that I’ve yet to hit up Peru.
Of all the European countries I haven’t been to, this one is the most embarrassing. Spent 6 weeks in Spain but never made it to Portugal or Morocco.
Me not having been to Copenhagen?
I had a dream about Stockholm before I ever saw photos of the city, and saw a sparkling waterscape that continues to haunt me.
*I have been to Mexico, but only Ensenada and Tijuana. It was so long ago, it doesn’t count.
Not having been here seems somehow wrong.
Growing up in Miami, I have no good excuses for this one.
Now let’s go with:
Countries I Most Want to Go Next (subject to change and in no particular order)
I’ve wanted to go to Ghana for a long time, and I will one day soon.
Sounds awesome and I know I will love it, along with…
Ancient Parsi stuff. Speaking of which…
My ancestry. Persepolis. The food. And having to wear a scarf every day means never having to worry how my hair looks.
6. South Korea
Food and nature, too.
It’s about time.
A new level of ancient civilization.
Show up, drink some coffee, eat some food, walk around.
I don’t want to climb Everest, but I do want to do meditation retreats.
Animals and stuff.
Top Three Destinations I Thought I Wouldn’t Like But Did
This is a short list.
This tops the list, because the fear mongering on the Interwebs was almost enough to scare us away from going entirely. I am so glad we went, because it became one of the world highlights for me. I would go back in a heartbeat.
Europe’s biggest surprise, maybe? Entering in Lviv helped, even though it was 5:30AM on a rainy day we loved it there. It wasn’t just searching for my ancestors that I liked; I liked Kiev in the summer, drinking beers all afternoon in the city park. I loved the Crimea, which will always be Ukraine to me.
Spain? Yes. In 2006, I went to Spain because my ex really wanted to go. I heard good things, but I never imagined I would like it. It turned out to be one of my favorite countries in Europe. I particularly liked Madrid, Cadiz, and Extremadura.
Destinations I Thought I Would Love But Didn’t
Big surprise. We quite liked the rest of Vietnam, but Hanoi rubbed us the wrong way. We arrived thinking we would rent a flat for up to six months, and instead only stayed 10 days. It just wasn’t for us. We found it unfriendly and…Hanoi-ing. It is an interesting place, though.
Except for the southern coast, Albania was a real letdown. We rented a car in Tirana, and saw more of the country than most Albanians. Our favorite part of Albania might have been our side trip to Macedonia.
We were expecting the official terminus of the Speyside Way to be a nice place, the kind of place that you want to relax after walking for 100 miles. They could not have chosen a worse town to finish a long-distance walk. Scotland is Bonnie, but Buckie is not.
Sorry, Shanghai. Maybe we were there at the wrong time of year (winter), and maybe it was the construction from all the Expo pavilions, but we found your street life boring. However, your dumplings rock. We haven’t had xiao long bao as good since. Oh, and we loved what was near Shanghai!
5. Buenos Aires
Now, we were there during Christmas holidays. It was the worst time to be there in terms of weather and lack of street life, but generally we expected the so-called “Paris of South America” to deliver the goods and well, it really didn’t. If there’s an infectious charm there, I didn’t catch it.