I remember the first time I traveled outside of the U.S. It was the summer before my junior year of college and I was on a 14-hour flight to Paris for a study abroad trip. It was truly the best summer of my life, and it sparked a wanderlust that would flicker inside of me for years to come.
Paris was simply magical, and there’s so much more to the city than the tourist book guides tell you! I relished the quaint coffee shops, secret flourished parks in the middle of the city and the Friday night dance parties near the Seine River. “Joie de vivre” is not a myth, it’s discovered by immersing yourself in a place that feels like home and foreign at the same time.
Ever since I returned from Paris that summer, I’ve been dreaming of traveling and exploring the beautiful world that God created. And while I would like to just quit my job, drain my savings account and travel to every country, I’ve painted a clear picture of where I would like to go when the time is right.
Here are the 12 places I want to eventually see one day (hopefully sometime before my retirement)! And if you’re planning to visit one of these places soon, I’ve attached link guides for each!
Italy is on the top of most people’s must-travel list and for good reason! Whether you’re staying further inland or on the beautiful coast, the country offers amazing food, wine, architecture and lively culture. And can we just talk about the lovely, fast-paced dialogue spoken here? I would people-watch all day just to see two Italian lovers fighting over meat ravioli.
I can imagine myself just like Julia Roberts in “Eat, Pray, Love” when she makes a stop in Italy. After she eats, drinks and then eats more, it’s hard for her to button her jeans at the end of the trip. That’s my life, ya’ll. And I’m OK with it.
Places I want to visit: Cinque Terre, Venice, Positano – (where Italian cooking guru Giada De Laurentiis is from!)
I find this big island fascinating, and I think it’s a mystery to many of us. Do you ever hear about Australia in the news? Not really. The country does its own thing and can do so because it’s in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. haha, I’m slightly joking. Although it’s known for the Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef, I’m also interested in exploring the nature side of Australia.
Places I want to visit: Katherine, Rottnest Island, Sydney, Great Barrier Reef
This place is the ULTIMATE wanderlust destination. I’ve heard that there is no easy way to get to these secluded islands and that it will cost an arm and a leg and possibly a down payment on a car to pay for it. But the Maldives’ beauty comes with a price. A price I would one day splurge on for a vacation or honeymoon trip! I mean, it’s absolute paradise in the Indian Ocean. I would never leave my lounge chaise unless I’m diving or exploring a local village.
Recent stats reveal that Denmark is the happiest place on earth! But that’s not the only reason I would want to visit this country. I want to explore the Nyhavn Harbor, botanical gardens and wander around and gaze at the storybook homes and buildings that haven’t changed for hundreds of years.
Places I want to visit: Copenhagen, Soro
Africa gets a bad reputation for its political unrest, widespread poverty, disease and violence. But I think South Africa is a special gem nestled at the tip of the continent that offers much more than we know. South Africa has exotic food, friendly people and 11 official languages…that’s pretty sophisticated if you ask me. There’s also an excursion involving swimming with penguins at Boulders Beach…yes, I’m booking my flight now.
Places I want to visit: Cape Town, Johannesburg
Breathtaking scenery, waterfalls, fresh seafood for days—Thailand is a little slice of heaven. I dream of kayaking, laying on the beach, eating authentic Thai food and doing yoga at sunrise.
I’d hope that I’d be lucky enough to see the Yee Peng in northern Thailand on my trip, which is an amazing annual Lantern Festival.
Places I want to visit: Phuket, Koh Phi Phi Islands
Does anyone remember the teen movie, “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?” Well, this is where movie where I fell in love with Greece. Romantic, right? Everywhere you look is like an instant postcard. The Greek Isles is most likely where I’d find myself staying because you island-hop and explore different towns nearby.
Places I want to visit: Santorini, Mykonos
A once-forbidden country is now an upcoming travel destination for many Americans! Cuba is a country trapped in the past and enriched in its own history and culture. I read in TIME magazine that many Cubans still drive cars from the 1950s! I would love try the local cuisine, which I’ve read is super cheap. I would also travel to Trinidad, which is a well-preserved colonial town with colorful architecture.
Places I want to visit: Trinidad, Havana
I would go back to France in a heartbeat. Other than the City of Light, there are so many other wonderful places to visit. I took a train to a northern French city called Lille for a weekend trip. It was the coolest city with Belgian architecture, great shopping and a huge zoo. And I can’t forget about the coastal city of Nice. I can just imagine myself sauntering down the boulevards near the French Riveria, du vin rouge in hand. Ha, a girl can dream, for now.
Places I want to visit: Nice, Bordeaux, Annecy
This Caribbean island is definitely one of the places I plan to go soon, hopefully with my family! According to one travel blogger, St. Lucia is a super relaxing, yet an adventurous destination. She spent her time soaking in mineral baths, drinking wine in a private infinity pool, eating healthy local cuisine and visiting a chocolate lab. Count me in!
Did I miss any must-see destinations? Where have you traveled and where would you like to go? I would love to hear your travel stories!