This is merely a fun post! Treat it as aspirational goals for the year, if you will. So far in my two years of writing them I haven’t made it to a single country on my lists. It was looking pretty likely that I would make it to Uzbekistan and Taiwan last year, but alas, Covid got in my way. Fingers crossed for a better year in 2021!
1. The Faroe Islands (Denmark)
I swear if putting this on my list three years in a row doesn’t manifest anything…well I guess I’ll just keep trying! The Faroe Islands has long been my dream destination, defying my flights of fancy and travel whims. Those dramatic vistas and the inspiring rugged nature could pull anyone in. One of my favorite singers, Eivor, is also from the Faroe Islands and I’d love to play the Slor album while viewing majestic waterfalls falling into the sea.
This country has also been on the list since the beginning. Lake Atitland captured my heart, along with Mayan ruins, yoga retreats, and volcanos. Going to some kind of yoga retreat has been a goal of mine for a while, and Guatemala is one of the best places for beauty and affordable cost. I want to spend a month becoming as flexible as possible while sipping fruity drinks in front of one of the most beautiful views pictures can capture.
Uzbekistan found it’s way onto the list last year. My fascination with Uzbekistan proves just about anything can spark my inspiration to visit a place. A masked dance group with an incredible violinist was performing at the Andong festival in South Korea – and my heart was won by the stirring performance. The desire to visit this Silk Road nation has stuck firm. I want to explore it all, from Samarkand to Bukhara and Khiva. I’ve yet to go to any country that’s anything like Uzbekistan, and since it’s one of the safer and easier countries to visit in the area it seems perfect. I would have gone this past summer if not for Covid, but who knows what’s in store for the next year ahead!
Egypt is one of those destinations that, for me, suffers from being talked about too much. I didn’t even consider it in my list of places to go because it almost seems a given I’ll wind up there someday. I felt the same about the UK and was absolutely blown away by the amazing time I had there. Egypt has been encroaching on me of late, dreams of floating down the Nile on a Felucca, seeing those incredible pyramids out of documentaries, enjoying that searing desert heat. A recent interest in Egyptian history has seen me consuming documentaries and history books with gusto. Now, I simply must go!
Russia is an odd duck for me. Part of me has wanted to go since forever, with a childhood fascination for the Romanovs. But I hate the cold and tensions are a tad high between the US and Russia at the moment. Regardless, the desire has grown. My close friend is from Russia and plans to visit at some point in the next year or so. Visions of sipping tea and playing chess on the Trans-Siberian railway took hold and I am now firmly in their grasp. I want to go *everywhere* in Russia now!
Ah, another country I was planning to go to until Covid. I even had a flight booked for April (And October but that’s another story)! I would never have put Taiwan so high on this list if I hadn’t lived in Korea. After visiting Japan I wanted to know what other countries were nearby with easy direct flights. Taiwan was only four hours away! Cue a flurry of research and I emerged with hopes dashed as Taiwan and Korea closed their borders (for good reason, of course). Now I have all these amazing plans for visiting tea fields and temples and living it up in Taipei. However, of all the places I could potentially visit on this list, Taiwan feels the least likely in the near future. It’s far and likely won’t fit in the plans I have but that won’t stop me from wishing!
I struggled with whether to put this on the list as, for me, it doesn’t feel like that grand of a location given my family lives in New York. It’s right there – and technically I have been there (when I was three). Despite this, the desire to take a train trip across Canada – and the US – has been an idea I’ve been throwing around with my mom for the past couple of years. Perhaps it will come to fruition in 2021!
For those who know me, Spain appearing on my top ten will likely come as a shock. I spent all of 10 hours in Madrid and came away scarred from overwhelming exhaustion, confusion, and bad churros. But my enduring fascination with the Basque culture and a newfound love of Moor history have combined to make Spain a top 10 destination. Barcelona’s stunning beauty has worked its magic, San Sebastián and its food calls across the pond, and Grenada and Cordoba beckon with history and architecture.
Perhaps you’re getting tired of hearing about my expired plans due to Covid, but I had booked a flight to Singapore with plans to head up to Malaysia in September. But, in a way I’m happy that it didn’t work. I didn’t have a ton of time set aside for a country I found more and more that I wanted to do in. Borneo, the large island shared by Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei wasn’t even on my list! A future trip would allow me to see and enjoy more for longer.
I don’t know where my love for Mongolia began. But the dramatic landscapes and the possibility of doing all manner of amazing activities has kept me interested. I swear every few months a new crazy adventure opportunity pops up – horseback trekking, yurt home stays, hunting with eagles, visiting the last nomadic reindeer herders…who wouldn’t want to plan a trip to Mongolia??
Bonus: Country I Most Want to Revisit
Now *this* has had some success. I have made it back to both countries that I most wanted to revisit, Korea and Italy. SO, I’m sending my wishes out into the world. I most want to go back to Japan! Although the pandemic has put a damper on this blog and travel, I absolutely loved my trip to Japan in Jan 2020.
And that’s it for my top 10 of 2021! I’m hopeful I can make it to at least one this year. However, my current path forward is highly unclear – not just because of Covid. I finished up my job in Korea, I’ve applied to graduate school but only have a 3% chance of getting in, applied to a figure skating job in Germany, and some remote writing jobs. It’s all *very* up in the air!