At times I’ve wondered if there’s something slightly strange about my insatiable need for international adventures. It’s not only your typical travel adventures I crave – the cafés of Paris, or the palm trees of the Caribbean – but more off-the-beaten path places too, like Iran, or the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan.
People hear that and usually think I’m a little crazy.
But then I’ll read something that resonates so soundly with my wandering nature that I breathe a sigh of relief: it’s not just me. Most recently, that came in the form of Nina Sovich’s memoir, ‘To The Moon and Timbuktu’, which follows her solo journey through Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, and Niger.
“Our experiences shape us, and if we do not go out and get new ones we will stay static.” Like Nina, I can’t imagine staying static for too long. There are few places on the planet I wouldn’t like to experience. I’ve never fancied, say, Greenland, but hand me a book on the country and I’ll probably fall in love with it from afar, as I do with most destinations.
Currently, I’m craving adventures and the creation of suitcase stories in these five far-flung locations…
One Saturday afternoon, when I was about 15 years old, I read an article about Cuba in the Independent’s Traveller magazine. There was history, culture, cocktails, dancing, and those famous colours on every street. I soaked up every word and image, and never looked back: Cuba has been at the top of my travel to-do list ever since.
At university, I spent a lot of time studying Middle Eastern politics and history (and even a semester learning Arabic in the evenings) so this region has a particular pull for me. Jordan has the bustling modernity of Amman, the open desert of Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea, and that historic highlight, the carved stone city of Petra, which Rough Guides describes as “one of the world’s must-see attractions.”
Tourists to the region tend to head for the pyramids of Egypt or the beaches of Tel Aviv, but Jordan’s off-the-beaten-track appeal is just one more reason why visiting this often overlooked country is up there as one of my top trips to take.
Tanzania & Zanzibar
Having recently visited Kenya, East Africa is now under my skin and calling my name. I definitely want to return to Kenya (sooner rather than later) but a trip to its next door neighbour Tanzania is a tantalising prospect. From safaris in the Serengeti to exploring the stunning Spice Islands, there seems to be no end of adventures to be had here, and I’m ready to experience them all.
Spain is the first foreign foray for many British holidaymakers, yet I still haven’t stepped foot on Spanish soil. A good friend of mine currently lives in Madrid, and I’ve been keeping an eye on flight prices for the past few months – I’m dying to explore the city with her, not to mention enjoy a long overdue catch-up. Then there’s Seville, Ronda, Granada, not to mention tapas, paella, and sangria… Spain, I need to see you soon!
The mountains of Kashmir, the hustle of Mumbai, the beaches of Goa, the tropics and tea plantations of Kerala: India looks absolutely incredible. It’s a country so geographically and culturally diverse that some compare it to a continent.
India is also home to another good friend of mine who I haven’t seen in far too long, so with friendship added to everything this country has to offer, India is definitely a dream destination.
It was quite difficult to pick just five places (I could have easily stretched to 15, or 50), but these are definitely some of my dream destinations at the moment!