Top Ten Countries I Haven’t Been Yet (And Other Lists!)

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

1. Japan

This would be the biggest gap in our travels. Would it be OK to say, “It just hasn’t come up yet”?

2. Morocco

Near or at the top of my list of places I want to go next.

3. Nepal

Been to places peopled with Nepalis in northern India but never Nepal. Also high on the newly calibrated list.

4. Peru

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.

5. Portugal

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.

6. Denmark

Me not having been to Copenhagen?

7. Sweden

I had a dream about Stockholm before I ever saw photos of the city, and saw a sparkling waterscape that continues to haunt me.

8. Mexico*

*I have been to Mexico, but only Ensenada and Tijuana. It was so long ago, it doesn’t count.

9. Switzerland

Not having been here seems somehow wrong.

10. Bahamas

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)

1. Ghana

I’ve wanted to go to Ghana for a long time, and I will one day soon.

2. Georgia

Sounds awesome and I know I will love it, along with…

3. Armenia

Ancient Parsi stuff. Speaking of which…

4. Iran

My ancestry. Persepolis. The food. And having to wear a scarf every day means never having to worry how my hair looks.

5. Morocco

Endlessly fascinated.

6. South Korea

The food.

7. Taiwan

Food and nature, too.

8. Japan

It’s about time.

9. Ethiopia

A new level of ancient civilization.

10. Portugal

Show up, drink some coffee, eat some food, walk around.

11. Nepal

I don’t want to climb Everest, but I do want to do meditation retreats.

12. Kenya

Animals and stuff.

Top Three Destinations I Thought I Wouldn’t Like But Did

This is a short list.

1. Solomon IslandsDSC00445

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.

2. Ukraine

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.

3. Spain

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

1. Hanoi

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.

2. Albania

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.

3. Buckie

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.

4. Shanghai

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.

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