When I was a child, the farthest I traveled was to Vermont, which was a five-hour drive from my parents’ house in Connecticut. I always envied my friends who took trips to the Caribbean, Europe and other places abroad. I also remember thumbing through my dad’s photo albums from his childhood in India and dreaming about traveling the world. I would sit and daydream about what the life was like there, what kind of food people ate and what these places looked like. I was full of wanderlust, like many other people, and when you have that deep passion inside of you absolutely nothing will stop you from eventually traveling to the places you dream of. Back then, this was only a dream of mine; I never actually thought that it would come true.
Now, as I approach my 30s I look back and smile on all the wonderful opportunities I’ve had over the past few years to travel the world. I started traveling in my early 20s. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to study abroad in England, teach English in Germany and work as a flight attendant in Dubai. Now, I’m back in Germany and I decided to compile a list of my 20 favorite places I’ve traveled to that will hopefully feed your wanderlust.
I want you to reach your greatest potential and I want to inspire you to live the life of your dreams. In order to do that, I really do think you need to broaden your horizons, and I think one of the absolute best ways to do so is by traveling. Next week I’ll be writing a post about why traveling has changed my life (and why you should travel too), so keep your eye out for that.
So let’s get started on this list. Would you want to travel to any of these places? Or have you traveled to any of them already? Make sure you let me know in the comments!
1) Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei is definitely one of my favorite places I have been to. Before going to Taipei, I really didn’t know what to expect. But, now I can’t wait to go back! The awesome food, laid back atmosphere and of course the amazing night markets are a few of my favorite things about Taipei.
I wrote another post about the things I learned while shopping in Taipei which you can read by clicking here. Oh, and you should also check out the great photographer, Jiri who took the above nightmarket photograph.
2) New York City, USA
Honestly, there is no way I couldn’t put New York City on this list. I grew up about two hours from it in Connecticut and I definitely took that for granted while I was growing up. After I left Connecticut and traveled the world I just couldn’t wait to get back to New York! It has everything you want in a city. You can eat food from literally anywhere in the world, and then go for a leisurely stroll in Central Park and enjoy the sites of nature—well of course with skyscrapers peering out 🙂
3) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio has such an amazing energy to it. First of all, the city itself is stunning. The lush tropical greenery of Rio is balanced with beautiful sandy beaches. During the day, there are several wonderful beaches to check out and enjoy a relaxing day sipping on Caipirinhas. There are plenty many cool areas of Rio explore and marvel at the wonderful architecture around as well.
4) Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland had always been a place on my top destinations to travel to, and I finally got the chance this year. All I can say is: “wow”! It’s honestly one of the coolest places I have been to, and definitely a place I would recommend visiting at some point in your life. Reykjavik is not a huge city, but it has great energy to it. It’s a quirky, fun atmosphere and a city full of creativity. The colorful rooftops of the houses are a sight worth seeing as well. If you are daring, you can try Hákarl—better known as fermented fish—which is a delicacy in Iceland.
5) London, England
Ah, all the memories of London! Going there was my very first experience abroad. I was studying at King’s College during my junior year and I’m so happy to have had that opportunity. There is honestly so much to do in London that after my 3.5 months of being there I feel I barely scratched the surface! I just loved strolling around the city and experiencing its diverse neighborhoods. I found some great fish and chips shacks while doing so. Also, at the end of a long day there was nothing better than going to a local pub and having a pie and pint of beer! When in London, make sure you do that too.
6) Bonn, Germany
I have so many fond memories of Bonn. Currently I am still living here, and I lived here before from 2010-2011 as well. When most people think of visiting Germany they think of places like Berlin, the Oktoberfest in Munich or maybe the famous Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria. But, if you ever come to Germany, I really recommend checking out Bonn and the neighboring city Cologne.
Bonn is such a gorgeous city; it’s located by the Rhine River and is by the foots of the Siebengebirge – which literally means seven mountains. The beautiful Zentrum (city center) is a great place to stroll around, shop and eat. Another great place in Bonn is the Altstadt—the old town—which is where I currently live. The beautiful buildings were designed in the early 1900s. A great time to visit would be during the cherry blossom festival in April.
7) Barcelona, Spain
What’s not to love about Barcelona. A day at the beach soaking up the sun and enjoying wonderful tapas and Sangria at night are some of the highlights of what you can do there. I’ve been to Barcelona twice and would say that the best time to visit is the Summer. The days are long then, so you can really experience the laid back lifestyle during the day while partying away at night!
8) Accra, Ghana
I always dreamed of going to Africa and my very first time there was when I went to Ghana. I totally loved it! I was still working as cabin crew when I was there so didn’t have too much time to explore, but the vibe of the city was pretty awesome.
While I was in Ghana I went to one of the local wood markets, where you can see some of the men making their products while you shop around. That kind of craftsmanship is something totally unique these days. I hope I can go back someday!
9) Warsaw, Poland
I always wanted to get Pierogis (stuffed dumplings) in Poland, something my mom used to cook for me when I was a child! Last year I finally got the chance to go when my boyfriend surprised me with a birthday trip to Warsaw.
The Warsaw Old Town is a stunning place to hang out and people watch. Of course there are tons of places you can get tasty Pierogis! On top of that, Warsaw is relatively inexpensive in comparison to other major European cities. But, I don’t think that will last for long! More and more tourists are flocking to Warsaw each year. So, if you are planning on going, I would say go soon.
10) Hvar, Croatia
Hvar is one of Croatia’s many breathtaking islands. To get there, you must go by ferry from the mainland of Croatia. When my boyfriend and I went, we rented a car and took it with us across the ferry. If you choose to go to Croatia, I would recommend you to do the same.
We stayed at this amazing Air B&B which had a private bay. When we arrived late at night I went down to the bay and was taken aback by how gorgeous it was. Hvar Town is another cool place to check out. But, get there early to avoid the crowds in order to enjoy this ancient pearl by the sea.
11) Cochin, India
My father was born in Kerala, India and ever since I was a little girl I was dying to get there.
The urge for me to go there grew stronger and stronger over the years and I finally made my first journey there when I was 25. I’m not going to lie, I definitely shed a few tears when I felt the plane touchdown in India. After so many years of dreaming about traveling to a place where my roots were, I finally made it.
My first time to India I traveled alone, which many people warned me against. The thing is, Kerala is full of tourists, including many young female solo travelers. So I didn’t feel nervous at all. Kerala is a stunning place to visit, and Cochin is definitely a cool little city to visit. I stayed at a wonderful homestay near all the tourist attractions and had some of the best dosas and lassi I’ve ever had! If you stop in Kerala, make sure you take a trip around to other places like Munnar and to the backwaters. You won’t be sorry!
12) Ko Samui, Thailand
What a gem of paradise! I went to Ko Samui on vacation with one of my friends from Emirates. It was exactly how I pictured the islands of Thailand to be. The bays and beaches are some of the most beautiful I’ve seen so far in my travels!
My friend and I spent our days wandering around the island, grabbing lunch somewhere and then going for pampering sessions at the spas. At night we would check out some of the bars near our resort, which were always packed with people and had a great atmosphere.
My favorite part of this trip was when I went to a place called Tamarind Spring Spa. Honestly, this place is magical. All of the saunas and rock pools were carved out of the natural landscape. My time there was so relaxing and peaceful. I totally did not want to leave!
13) Hong Kong
I just love Hong Kong. I remember one night I was there wandering down the streets full of bright neon signs and a sea of people. I was so mesmerized by everything I saw.
My first time to Hong Kong I went and visited the nearby Big Buddha which is nestled in the lush greenery outside of Hong Kong. Before that, I never knew that the landscape there was so tropical and green! Another time I visited Hong Kong, I went to the top of Victoria Peak to see the harbor of Hong Kong at night. Wow! What a beautiful sight to see. I definitely would say that the Hong Kong skyline is one of my favorites in the world now. Totally worth visiting!
14) Melbourne, Australia
So far, I’ve been to three Australian cities, and would definitely say Melbourne is my favorite. I just fell in love with the city as soon as I got there.
I used to live in Oregon in the USA and I sort of got the same feeling I had in Melbourne as I did when I was in Oregon. The people were chill and laid back, yet there were plenty of cool things to do. I bought some of my favorite clothes while shopping in Melbourne. I also had amazing Vietnamese food while I was there! Every time I went back to Melbourne I always went to that same restaurant. I could definitely picture myself living in Melbourne for a while. I do hope that happens one day!
15) Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland is another city you have to visit when you are on that side of the world. When I was in Auckland I remember feeling as if I was on the edge of the Earth. It was such a cool feeling to be so far away from everything! If you go to Auckland, you should find time to take the ferry to Waiheke Island, which is about 17 kilometers away from Auckland. When I went there I felt so at peace and so happy! I took a long walk around the island with some friends and it is for sure one my favorite memories from my travels so far. I can’t wait to go back one day!
16) Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is such a bustling and huge city, that I recommend picking a few districts you want to check out before going there. I went to the trendy Harajuki district. Man, the fashion there! People know how to dress. Such quirky styles that I could never pull off.
The food in Japan is amazing as well. If you are ever there, make sure you get some yummy ramen and gyoza. Of course, you need to get some sushi as well. Look at that masterpiece in the photo above. It looks like art, doesn’t it?
17) Bruges, Belgium
As soon as you pass the gates of Bruges you are in a medieval fairytale land. That is the only thing I kept telling my boyfriend after we left! The cobblestone streets and beautiful medieval buildings are stunning! There are many canals throughout the city, which reminded me of being in Amsterdam. If you ever go there, make sure you try out their Kriek beer (cherry), it’s so delicious. Also, you have to get some hot chocolate and a waffle.
18) Colombo, Sri Lanka
Thinking of Sri Lanka brings a big smile to my face. I remember my first time to Colombo and strolling along a beach. I came across some local fisherman who struck up a conversation with me and didn’t seem to care that I was so mystified by their fishing nets that they were repairing by hand.
When in Colombo, it’s worth it to hire a driver to take you around the country. You can explore plenty of places nearby on your trip.
There are several elephant orphanages in Sri Lanka that are actually places that respect the elephants. This is something very important for me. Many elephants all over the world are mistreated and not properly cared for. But, the Pinnawala orphanage was one place I found where you could see that the elephants were being respected and cared for.
I also made a good pen pal friend (see photo above)while I was visiting a city outside of Colombo. I saw an older gentleman with a typewriter he was using for work. My father loves typewriters, so I went to the man and asked if I could take a photo for my father. He said yes, and after taking the photo started quickly typing something. He gave it to me and it said, “please send me a copy of the photograph,” with his address as well. I sent him a copy of the photograph and a letter. Ever since then, we’ve been in touch. Encounters like that are what make traveling so important to me!
You know when you picture a place and hope it will really be like that? Well, Mauritius is definitely this place. The soft sand beaches and crystal clear blue waters are by far the most gorgeous I’ve seen while traveling. I could never get tired of being there. If you are looking for a cool place to honeymoon or tropical getaway, I highly recommend checking out Mauritius!
20) Valetta and Gozo Island, Malta
Malta is an archipelago situated between North Africa and Sicily. The laid back atmosphere of the country combined with the beautiful Mediterranean landscape made it one of my favorite places I’ve visited so far. The ancient capital, Valetta, is one of these places where you should just stroll around and take the sights in. I would definitely recommend going to the Gozo island as well. Here you will find stunning cliffs that rise up out of the beautiful blue water, bays and caves you can swim in.
Ready to pack your bags?
Writing this list made me just want to grab my bags and head back to all these places! How about you? Which of these places would you want to visit?
If you really want to travel, why not try to do so in the next couple of years? Make it your goal! I promise you, you can find a way to travel. I know some of you may be concerned that you don’t have the money or time to do so. I used to think that too. But, I found a way to travel the world and it wasn’t because I was lucky or had something you don’t. I just made it a huge priority of mine and made many choices to lead me to be able to travel the way that I have. So, if you are unsure of how to travel but you dream of it, then just write me a message. I’d be more than happy to help you figure out a way you can do it. When there’s a will, there’s a way and I will help you reach your dreams 🙂 That’s what I’m here for!