Image of La Gomera by Leo-Seta
On a bus into downtown Seoul from ICN airport a couple years ago, I chatted with a French-Canadian guy who was interested in my travel experiences. He asked me a question that has always stumped me: “What is your favorite country?”
I never know how to answer that one, because I honestly have no idea. When I started traveling years ago out of a search for something indefinable, I think I expected that somewhere along the way I would find the perfect place. As long as I had that expectation in mind, I was continually disappointed throughout the journey – or if not disappointed, I was certainly unfulfilled.
Since then, I’ve heard the “favorite country” question countless times. Now that this site has a fairly broad readership, I do interviews for other blogs at least once a week. Whenever the interview is with a travel-related site, I can always count on that question coming up.
My favorite country… my favorite place... hmmm.
Somewhere along the way, I decided that I simply don’t have one favorite place in the world. There are still a lot of countries left on the list, and of course many places in the countries I’ve already visited that I haven’t been to, but as of now, I’m no longer expecting one clear favorite to emerge.
Instead, I’ve developed a larger perspective, where I have not one but several favorite places in the world. Maybe it’s a cop-out, but I think it’s also a reflection that many of us enjoy different things about different places. No single destination is the best.
Here are some of the most beautiful places I’ve been to since I got serious about travel.
Image by Ewa
Image by Slack12
Image by d70focus
Image by Leo-Seta
Image by FDVG
Image by RahelSharon
Image by NM
Update: Before I published this post, I asked on Twitter for other recommendations. Here’s what I heard in the initial replies:
Itpodcast: Cathedral cove, NZ. recently featured in Narnia: Prince Caspian
zoewesthof: Merzouga, Morocco and anywhere in Galicia (Spain)!
obsalah : Petra in Jordan, one of the 7 wonders of the world (the new ones) not much known kind of hidden away
eighteyes : Canyon Dechey, Sighisoara -> Romania, Mono Lake, Lost Coast
theo_chiari: Québec City
ElasticMind : White Desert, outside Bahariya Oasis, Egpyt
Earl52 : Hatteras Island, Outer Banks, North Carolina. Absolutely remarkable.
melissamcd: 2 of My Favorite Places: Camp Leaky (Tanjung National Park, Borneo); Bonaire National Marine Park
amoir : I adore ShinSekai in Osaka. ShinSekai is Japan at its most accessible, alive, vibrant, humble and real.
rose_w:The drive from Fairbanks, AK to the Artic Circle, desolate, breath taking and cool to say you've been there
krippl : Puerto Pinaso, Mexico. Better known as Rocky Point.
TheGirlPie: We LOVED our month at Ein Bokek at the Dead Sea in Israel in 10/01. No one else would though... it was beyond dead.
I’ll add to my list as I keep traveling. Early in 2009 I’ll be heading to a big part of Africa that I’ve never visited before – the region around Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. In the spring I’ll resume my OneWorld Round-the-World trip with visits to Haiti and South America. After that, I’m not sure what comes next.. but my journey will still be far from over.
But wait, what about you?
A couple weeks back I told you about 9 Overrated Tourist Destinations (and 9 great alternatives) and asked for your feedback. Is the Grand Canyon more than just a Not-Bad Canyon? Is Dublin worth visiting? I don’t think we ever came to a consensus, which isn’t too surprising considering how passionate people can be about travel.
Well, here’s your chance again – what would you add to the above list of beautiful places? Is there anything you’d take off? Let me know.
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