With almost 200 countries in the world, 196 to be exact..unless you don’t count Taiwan as a country (yep, that’s a thing), there are a ton of places that I still need to check off my bucket list. This can pose a serious question to an avid traveler like myself. Where should I go? Why that city? And, what good is it anyway?
These days my destinations of choice have less to do with nightlife and more to do with beautiful scenery, delicious cuisine and most definitely, some adventure. That’s not to say that culture, history and their overall propensity for peace don’t also play a role. Each country has it’s pro’s and con’s but there are some undeniable attributes as well as contributions that many have made that should be recognized.
So, in honor of Thanksgiving, what would be more appropriate than to pay respect and give thanks to the countries around the globe who are truly doing their thang?
10. Germany is a wondrous place for many reasons. If castles and cold beers don’t interest you, a). I don’t think we could be friends and, b). there are still plenty of volksfests (aka festivals), outdoor activities, museums, hot springs and a world famous food scene. They did invent the gummy bear after all. We need to show a little respect!
9. Costa Rica was rated one of the top 25 places in the world on many different grading scales. It has a reputation for it’s relaxed “Pura Vida” attitude that draws in millions of travelers each year and offers world class entertainment provided by Mother Nature herself. You may have heard about the zip lining or volcanic heated hot springs but many don’t know that Costa Rica is, in fact, a very charitable country. Seems all that karma is working!
8. Thailand is hands-down one of my favorite countries on the planet. Between city and island life, you can choose which vibe you’re going for, knowing it’s a win-win situation. Inexpensive massages by the beach and locally caught seafood dinners are an easy sell. No wonder they coined the term, “same same, but different”. It’s like everywhere else, but not. We totally get it.
7. Canada has a pretty solid reputation for being clean, pleasant, stunningly gorgeous and leading the way on some pretty important social issues. It’s also one of the world’s most ethnically diverse nations, with a bilingual status on the federal level. Not bad, eh?
6. Switzerland is a magical place. Being born in Zürich may have made me a bit biased but the rest of the country is just as wonderful. This notoriously neutral country lays home to many of the worlds patent holders, nobel peace prizes and international publications. While the city is fun and entertaining, don’t neglect the spectacular countryside in all its splendor. Food and adventure galore await you in this little slice of European heaven.
5. Australia may be home to some of the world’s most dangerous creatures but for those that dare venture to the continent, you will find incredible farms, cities, beautiful beaches and diverse cuisine choices. The famous (pink) Lake Hillier can be found here as well as over 10,000 beaches to choose from! You could literally visit a new beach every day for 27 years! Australia just moved up a notch in my book.
4. Chile comes in under the radar but holds the record for being the longest country in the world, housing over 100 wineries, and the Chilean Patagonia is recognized as one of the cleanest places on the planet. Not to mention, penguins can be found in several regions. What more can you ask for?
3. The United States tends to take a back seat when planning my next trip but the more I explore my country, the more I realize just how much it has to offer. America is a melting pot of all cultures, races and religions in an equally as diverse landscape. Variety is the key word when it comes to the States. And we are surely the Cheesecake Factory menu of a travelers world.
2. Ireland may not have been first on your bucket list but it ranks first place according to Good Country Index. This means Ireland trumped every other country when it comes to overall health, technology, culture, equality and peace. We also hear they’ve got a lively nightlife scene along with all the adrenaline pumping outdoor activities one could desire. Need a little liquid courage? I think they’ve got you covered.
1. Spain will always be #1 in my heart. Who doesn’t love tapas and siestas, or Gaudî inspired architecture and sangria by the pitcherfuls? Even with all these wonderful distractions, Spain still leads the way in humanitarian and food aid, pharmaceutical exports and excess donations to the WHO. Spain truly is a diverse country with everything to proffer. And for that, I thank you, Spain.