The last two years have taught me that traveling internationally is both easier and more affordable then I would have ever imagined. Granted, I currently have no dependents and could use my tax refund on purely personal gain and have the luxury of having my entire summer free, but it’s still more attainable than I would have imagined.
Granted, taking a 2.5 week full blown tour of Ireland like I did last summer did require more than one year of savings and quite a bit of planning, but this year’s 7 day trip to Iceland is very budget friendly and hopefully the start of what will become an international destination a year habit.
Ireland was always my number one goal. Iceland, for whatever reason, was my number two. Here, presented in no particular order, are my new international wish-list.
We’ll start with the trip that’s most attainable and the only domestic location on this list that won’t require air-travel. I’ve been to Canada several times: Niagara Falls on family vacations (and later in college to legally drink at age 19..I’ve always been classy) and Nova Scotia and St. Johns for a cruise the summer I graduated high school. However, the parts of Canada I’ve been to were basically indistinguishable from New York. Montreal and Quebec are French Canadian and by all accounts much more European then the rest of the country. And, Montreal has an ice hotel and ice bar.
I primarily want to visit Germany for the Oktoberfests. What can I say, Hofbrauhaus has made an impression. This means that I’ll have to go in September and base myself, for a time at least, in Munich.
Aside from waving around a giant mug of beer the size of my head, I also would like to visit Bavaria, take advantage of no speed limits on the autobahns, take a tour of Berlin’s extensive underground bunker system, and somber as it is, go to a concentration camp. I’d like to take a few days drive into Austria to see the Alps.
One of the biggest trends in crime fiction is Scandinavian (Norway, Sweden, & Finland) literature (probably has nothing to do with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). I’m a pretty big nerd so have read a lot of these and in doing so developed a fascination with Scandinavian culture. Also, Men’s Journal and Outside magazine, both which I subscribe to, have begun to run lengthy several page ads sponsored by the Norwegian tourism board. Check out the pictures, specifically the Geirangerfjord, and tell me you don’t want to be there. There’s also several glaciars that boast summer cross country skiing.
Also, who wouldn’t want to go on a musk ox safari (I’m being serious here)?
I expect that my trip to Iceland will only exacerbate this longing.
4)) South Africa
South Africa appeals to me for a variety of reason. Most notably, I’d like to go on a safari. I realize this can be done in all sorts of African locations, but South Africa also has beaches with penguins. I don’t think that any other country has beaches with penguins and big cats.
One of my favorite books is The Bang Bang Club (also an underrated movie), a nonfiction account of several South African apartheid photographers, a couple of years ago and was fascinated by the book. I wouldn’t mind learning more about the dark parts of the country’s history.
5) New Zealand
New Zealand is the adventure sport capital of the world. There’s a ton of tour companies that specialize in adventure tours, where hiking, whitewater rafting, caving, and bungee jumping our built right into the itinerary. New Zealand is one of the only countries to allow “freedom camping.” You can traverse the island(s) and camp wherever you see fit, which would be an awesome way to travel.
Have you ever looked at pictures of Croatia? It’s absolutely gorgeous, like breath takingly postcard-fake looking pretty. It’s tropical looking without being unbearably hot. Also, google image Dubrovnik. You’ll want to go there as well, not just because it’s a walled city thrust into the Mediterranean, but also because it’s the real life King’s Landing.
Island hopping, preferably aboard a catamaran is my optimal touring mode.
I read an article in Men’s Journal a couple of years ago about a rafting trip in Bosnia, which piqued my interest in the country. It’s gorgeous and one of the few European countries that isn’t extensively traveled and holds some old world charm. I’ve also read up quite a bit on it’s complex and violent history so would be curious to explore that side of it.
Lithuania is definitely the dark sheep of my international wish list. It’s not as random as it seems. I’m a quarter Lithuanian and feel since I’ve already conquered my Irish and English (a Birmingham layover counts right? What about Northern Ireland? They use the pound…) heritages, Lithuania is next on the map.
Lithuania is most known for….. See, this is embarrassing. I should know. I need to go and reclaim my heritage.
I wrote extensively in my “Grand Inevitable Return to Ireland” post a list of reasons why I want to go to Scotland. They include, but are not limited to adventure tours, creepy haunted castles, searching for Nessie, and going on a Haggis Adventure.
When I think about Australia to following things come to mind: gorgeous beaches, kangaroos, shrimp on the Barbie, beer drinking on gorgeous beaches, rugby games, koalas, and giant Aboriginal horns. Many of these things may be stereotypical and not realistic, yet it’s still enough to make it onto my wish list.