Being known as a traveler has its pluses and minuses. One of the minuses in my mind is that I have to answer the dreaded question everyone seems to ask. For those travel addicts like me, you know the one I’m talking about –“what’s your favorite place?” That’s like asking “what’s your favorite place you’ve worked” to someone that has had 25 different jobs over the course of their life — sure, there are some favorites that end up near the top of the list, but it’s not an easy numbered list that can be given without a lengthy explanation; it requires time to explain how they were different. Travel destinations are no different — they are vastly different cultural experiences that satisfy different needs. How do you possibly compare rural Ghana to New York City? The beaches of the Dominican Republic to the skyscrapers of Hong Kong? The rivers of Cambodia to Rome? You can’t.
It seems like I’ve answered this question hundreds of times already, but wanted to clarify so that the next time someone asks, I can send them a link to a blog post.
- Santorini, Greece – Those of you that know me know I love Santorini. The summer of 2010 was the best summer I’ve ever had. The island has a way of sucking you in and making you never want to leave. Once you visit, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. It’s actually surprisingly affordable to backpack Santorini (and particularly if you rent an apartment long term).
- Cinque Terre, Italy – unbelievably gorgeous and tranquil. Hiking all 5 cities in one day was quite the workout, but well worth it for those in a rush to get to Rome (if going south) or Monaco (if going North).
- Interlaken, Switzerland – probably the most gorgeous city I’ve ever seen. Towering mountains surrounding the city, and an amazing backpacker destination right in the center of Switzerland.
- Cambodia – The people there genuinely cared about me as an individual, whereas in Thailand and Vietnam, people were helpful and kind but seemed to just be after my money. An amazing rich cultural country with a war torn history that should be high on your list.
- Kenya – I’ve posted my thoughts on Kenya already, so read those. In short, it’s just an amazing country with an unbelievably kind local population. My first real visit to Africa was an amazing experience.
My list has changed slightly since I wrote this post in July of 2010 — Barcelona and Hong Kong have been axed from my top five as a result of spending more time in Santorini and backpacking Kenya for a month.
What are your favorite destinations?