When I travel, I always like to pick travel destinations I’ve never visited. Part of the joy of travel is the discovery of new things – the people, the food, the architecture. And I’m pretty fortunate to have had to chance to visit a lot of places, both big and small.
Sometimes, it’s nice to reminisce about those travel destinations that have had the biggest impact on me for one reason or another. So today, I’m picking 5 of my favorite travel destinations to date!
1. Maricao, Puerto Rico
I’m not necessarily a get-back-to-nature kind of girl when it comes to my accommodations. But that’s what I got when I won a free trip to Puerto Rico.
I stayed a couple of days at a very nice beachside resort. Then I spent the last 2 nights in the mountains of Puerto Rico in the middle of a rain forest. Guess what? They don’t have phone or internet there. Or TV.
My accommodations were at an old coffee plantation, called Hacienda Juanita, that had been turned into guest houses. The rooms were simple – no luxury there. And no air conditioning. Just a single 3 blade ceiling fan. I was hot, sunburned, sticky.
But it was amazing to step out of my room and stare at a rock wall with water gently trickling down it. And more amazing to take a quick walk through a jungle and see bamboo the size of my legs.
And the best part? The coldest beer and freshest food I’ve ever tasted.
2. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Yes, I said West Virginia. And I meant it. It’s an absolutely beautiful state. Check out the New River Gorge sometime and maybe even whitewater raft. I did. Once.
But one of my favorite places on Earth is Harpers Ferry. Not being a history buff, AT ALL, I still managed to learn that this was a significant location during the Civil War and home of the John Brown Slavery rebellion. WAIT, don’t yawn! It’s quaint and beautiful. That’s all.
3. Linköping, Sweden
Before you ask, you pronounce it like this: LIN-show-ping. Defies all rules of phonetics that I know. This is a gorgeous city right smack in the middle of Sweden that I had a chance to visit may years ago.
I was young and poor. I slept on my brother’s friend’s couch. I was sick and watched Charlie’s Angels reruns.
But I still remember the gorgeous blue skies, crisp clean air. Colors just seemed more vibrant there. And there were old churches where actual knights were buried. I bought a cool wool sweater at a second hand store. I bought glass candleholders that looked like ice. And I ate pizza with egg on it. And I really, really liked it.
4. Cancun, Mexico
Oh yes. I also travel to mainstream locations too.
Back in my travel agent days, I got a deal for roundtrip airfare and 4 nights accommodations at a brand new, beautiful all inclusive resort called the Moon Palace. That name still makes me think of Moonshadow by the former Cat Stevens (young folks, look it up).
Here is the kicker. $119. Total.
Did you hear me?
All-inclusive means all the food and drinks you can stand. I never wanted to go to Cancun but how could I say no? Turns out I love it. I love the sunshine, the Mexican food, the Mexican people, the marketplaces that feel like some sort of sadistic trap. Still, I’d go back in a heartbeat.
5. New Mexico
I know it’s not a city. I’m really big on consistency so it pains me to make my 5th entry just a state. But I can’t pick a city. I love the whole darn state.
I’ve been right smack in the middle in Albuquerque. Up in the peaks of Sandia mountain. North to Santa Fe and Bandelier National Park. South to the devil’s casino and some tumbleweeds. West to Gallup and the Arizona border. East to the odd lands of Roswell.
When I tell people I have vacationed in New Mexico, they usually say why? If you have to ask, it’s not the state for you.
I still left out so many of my favorite places. Some of the best moments of my life have been away from my home and certainly away from my comfort zone. So I’ll be posting again soon. Now. It’s your turn. Where do you love?