So, I took the first step: decide that I am definitely taking this world trip, but where do I go? I don’t think it’s escaped anybody that the world is quite big.
I usually choose where to go based on culture, history, and/or nature. I always like learning some history of the places I’m visiting. The idea that generations of people lived where I’m walking now, in the 21st century, just blows my mind. I’ll never see how they lived, but I can try and picture it, standing where they would have.
History is still visible in culture. Nothing makes me check myself as much as learning that the way I see the world isn’t the only or “right” way to see it. I like to wonder how it came to be that people in other countries got these different standards about what’s right and wrong than we do.
Besides the human factor there’s of course also the environment. I love being from a place that has seasons. Something I never questioned, until I met people from Mexico that had never experienced autumn. Mountains, giant lakes, clear blue seas, I want to see it all.
On these criteria alone I had about fourteen countries I wanted to visit. I guess my initial plan to stay away for just a year wasn’t realistic. That’s ok though, this list is more of a framework anyway. I wouldn’t want to skip an interesting destination or refuse to join an interesting group of people, because in my head I have to be somewhere at a certain time. So these are the countries I’ve come up with so far:
A lot of backpackers go for Australia, but I can’t shake the image of real big bugs and spiders and scorpions and stuff. You hear less people about New Zealand, but to me it seems even more beautiful than Australia. Besides that, they filmed about half of the Lord of the Rings movies there. If that’s not some beautiful footage I don’t know what is.
Something people outside of the Netherlands never believe is that I’ve got Indonesian roots! I believe my family is from around Jakarta somewhere, though I’m not sure. I want to know more about the culture and see in what kind of environment my ancestors (from one side of the family anyway) lived.
In the four months I’ve been there already, I was mostly around Seoul. Now that I can go back, I want to explore more of Korea.
I took five days to do a lightning visit of Japan when I was in Korea and let me tell you: it was not enough. Not. Even. Close. So now I’m going to take the time to not only discover the big cities of Japan, but also all the weird and wonderful customs and of course nature!
China is a scary place. They’ve got this system where they rank citizens and when you score too low, you’ll be denied certain things. When you want to visit, you’ll practically need to draw out your whole itinerary and stick to it.
But it’s also where Kun Fu originated (which I practise) and a place with an amazing history and breathtaking nature. So I’m going to try and visit anyway.
Seeing the fjords and the northern lights has been on my bucket list since forever. I don’t know if I’ll be there in time for prime aurora borealis viewing, but I’ll try to make it work. And otherwise I’ll just be trying to find out why Norway has the third most happy people in the world (according to the World Happiness Research).
Those Indonesian ancestors I was talking about married into the family. The Schottish part. There is supposed to be a castle ruin somewhere in Schotland that belonged to the Macgillivrays. I don’t know if I’m going to look for it, but I sure want to know what kind of place Schotland is.
Ireland alway has something magical in (fantasy) literature. It’s either the place where fairies live, or the birthplace of European magic. I already visited there a couple of years ago on a not-so-well-worked-out vacation, so I’m ready for a rematch. (The trip was still fine, but I was a lot younger and would be doing things differently now)
I don’t know what it is, but I have this feeling that Iceland is a place unlike any other. I’m going to see how and if that’s true for myself.
Oh my gosh, the pictures I always see of Canada! Stunning. I hope I can stand the cold though, but I’m willing to risk it.
If there’s one thing I would do differently during my USA trip, it would be that I would have stayed around Seattle longer. I still very much had that feeling of needing to move on, so I think I didn’t do it justice. I want to go to Olympic National park and go whale spotting. If I can manage it, I would like to be there at the end of October so I can experience a genuine American Halloween! I would celebrate that with my friends for sure!
Oh and I need to visist Hawaii.
South America is still a bit of an unknown to me. I’ve never been there and I really want to, but it’s a region with a lot of problems, mainly political. I don’t know which countries will be save to travel to by the time I get there, so that’s something I’ll work out around that time. For now it seems like Argentina and Chili are still doing fine, but I could be wrong.
There’s a couple of reasons why I would skip a country, for instance if I don’t think I’d be safe there alone. Besides that, I still have some feeling of time pressure. I wasn’t planning on staying away for 10 years (not now anyway) so then I’ll have to prioritize and these are the countries that come to my mind first. This mean that in these early version I’m skipping Central Asia, even though it has a lot of amazing history as well.
What country would you recommend?