Colombia. It all started when I went to Panama a few years ago, for an intense language immersion class for a couple of months. I had never really thought of Colombia as a travel destination, but after researching Spanish classes and the best places to learn, I kept hearing more and more about Colombia. I found that many people were claiming that Colombians spoke some of the clearest and easiest to understand Spanish around. Through blogs and travel websites I learned more about the country and consistently bloggers spoke about the kindness of Colombians. From the beach town of Cartagena to the eternal spring of Medellin to the salsa capital Cali to the vast city of Bogotá to the tall palms of Salento, I was hooked.
Tanzania. I have yet to make it to the beautiful continent of Africa, but when I do, Tanzania is at the top of my list. With its rich cultural landscape, Tanzania has over 100 ethnic groups. I want to explore the Serengeti, see the beautiful Masai tribe, and see the snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro with my own eyes. And if that isn’t enough, I have one more word for you…Zanzibar. I dream of taking a walk on the white sand beaches of this beautiful island and smell the cinnamon and cloves of the spice farms.
Japan. Located just about as far from my current location as possible, traveling to Japan and experiencing another culture, seemingly so different from own, would be amazing. The bustling city streets of Tokyo and historic Kyoto are on my must-see list. I’d love to ride the bullet train and hop off along the way to take in the countryside scenery. A coworker of mine recently got back from a visit and could not speak highly enough of her time there. Confirming my sentiment, she shared that the culture is so different from ours here in the U.S. She spoke of the extreme politeness of the Japanese, the jam-packed train stations, and the abundance of vending machines selling…well, everything. Which, speaking of vending machines, how can we forget about the FOOD?! If you feel like drooling, check out the video below from The Perennial Plate. Bento box for one please!
Senegal. My grandfather traveled to Senegal when I was a child and I still remember the stories he told on his return. His excitement was infectious. I have wanted to go ever since. I want to feel what he felt and experience what he experienced. As an art enthusiast, a stop at the Village des Arts on the way from the airport, would be mandatory. An initiative of the country’s Ministry of Culture, it seeks to promote, encourage, and develop local artists. All disciplines are represented within their 52 workshops and it would be a joy to view the work of and chat with the artists. Once arriving in Dakar, I would shop the markets and visit the beaches during the day and dance the night away in the nightclubs.
Unlike Tanzania, Senegal is located on the west coast of Africa. And I could not visit without having a stop at Goree Island. Emotional as it may be, having never stepped foot on the continent before, I feel it necessary to visit and experience the place where my ancestors were sold into the slave trade. Despite the controversy on the magnitude of Goree Island’s role in the slave trade, I want to face the Door of No Return and reflect on the lives of those that crossed through its doorway.
Mauritius. What started out as a casual mention from a friend, soon became my obsession. Located off the southeast coast of Africa, Mauritius is a blend of African, Chinese, Indian, and French cultures. I get dizzy just thinking about dipping my toes in the clear turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. What else can I say? It truly is the epitome of paradise.