Every year I update my travel bucket-list and every year the list of places I want to wander gets a little longer. Travel is my passion and I just can’t help discovering new places that call out to me. No matter how much I love our island home of American Samoa, I will always have an insatiable desire to travel to new places.
This year, I’m another year older and my list is another destination longer.
Places I Want to Wander Through Africa
Morocco moves up and down my list, depending on my mood at the moment, but it’s going to keep making the list until the day I’m finally able to wander through it. I’ve heard and seen enough about the markets to know I could spend a few days wandering around, not necessarily buying anything but soaking it all up. After the markets, I fully plan on spending time in the Sahara Dessert, as well.
It seems like Tanzania is the place where everyone goes for African safaris these days. Not that I like to follow the crowd, but in a place like this, where I know no one, it’s nice to research other people’s experiences. I imagine a trip like this would be one of those things our kids would never, ever forget.
Places I Want to Wander Through Asia
How could you not want to dive into waters that look like that? Ever since I worked with a travel agency almost 15 years ago, where one of the employees took a trip to the Maldives every winter, I’ve been dreaming of staying in one of these bungalows, over the warm, crystal blue ocean. There are also plenty of resorts with awesome looking kid’s clubs for families like ours.
I can see our family being able to spend weeks snorkeling and kayaking around these islands. The variety of food options can be intimidating sometimes (watch the video and tell me if you think you could try them), but we’re all pretty adventurous when it comes to trying new things, especially Kip! I’d love the chance to wander around both the cities and coasts.
Israel is another new addition to my list this year. Maybe it’s because we just passed Christmas or maybe because I’ve been studying the New Testament this past year, but the idea of wandering around the places where so many of my beliefs stem from seems like a dream come true. I also love learning about other religions and Israel has so much to offer when studying religions of the world.
I know there’s more to Indonesia than just their beaches, but if I’m being honest, I think that’s where we would spend the majority of our time. Indonesia has some of the most beautiful landscapes, just check out these photos. And the low costs of everything from food to lodging to transportation makes Indonesia even more attractive. Plus, on the grand scale of things, it’s relatively close to us.
While most places attract me with their beautiful beaches and alluring waters, it’s the countryside of Vietnam that calls the loudest to me. Don’t you want to just wander through this valley? Meeting locals, tasting the authentic flavors of Vietnam, and taking a million pictures? But the countryside has so much more to offer than farmland. Check out this list of other amazing things like the world’s largest cave and Perfume River. Or cities are more your thing, make sure to check out Ho Chi Minh City, a UNESCO Heritage Site.
Thailand is one of those places that I have been wanting to wander through since I first learned about it. I want to see every corner of the country, from the temples in northern Chiang Mai to the Phi Phi Islands in the south, and everywhere in between. Thai food is amazing (or at least the Americanized versions I’ve had) and cheap. We could stay in Thailand very comfortably, for a long time.
Places I Want to Wander Through Europe
I keep hearing that Portugal is becoming a hub for expat families. I’d love to wander through the streets and see what’s attracting so many like-minded people. From what I’ve seen, they have long stretches of white sand beaches, inspired architecture, delicious food and friendly locals. Plus, they seem to have some of the most temperate climates of Europe.
I always come back to Ukraine… Nate lived there before we were married, became fluent in Russian, and loved the people. It’s a place we’ve always talked about visiting or moving to. The cost of living is low, there’s plenty of countryside to explore, the cities are busy, and the people are beautiful. I especially want to wander around the Crimea ( which is currently under Russian rule) and the Black Sea coastline, but I might have to wait for things to calm down before I can cross that part off my bucket-list.
Everything I’ve ever seen or heard about Croatia seems simply magical. Can you imagine wandering along that walking path? Croatia has amazing national parks, world-class scuba diving, European architecture and cuisine, but at prices lower than you’ll find in the more touristy countries. Yep, I’d be perfectly happy to spend my next trip in this wander-ful place!
Think Croatia looks good? Albania is right next door and every bit as magical. Albania is cheaper and they offer visas for US citizens for up to one year! I could do a lot of wandering in that much time. I dream of exploring these hills and ancient castle ruins with Nate and the kids on our free days.
Now before you start arguing with me about putting Russia under the Europe section, the parts of Russia I see us staying in (Moscow/St Petersburg) are in the European section. Of course, I want to explore the whole length of the country. In fact, one of my biggest goals is to ride the length of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. I want to immerse myself in the Russian language, culture, and food. The visa laws are much more difficult for US citizens than somewhere like Albania, but I would love to stay for as long as they’ll let me.
Places I Want to Wander Through North America
United States of America
You might wonder how the US made it on my list, it’s because this country was my home for 33 years and now it’s been almost three years since I’ve been back. Especially after the Christmas season, I miss family and friends and there were still so many parts of the vast country that I never got around to exploring.
Places I Want to Wander Through Oceania
Competing at the Pacific Games last July, further opened my eyes to how many incredible places there are around the Pacific. After meeting some of the team from Vanuatu, I started researching and quickly fell in love with the island nation. It’s small and remote, just our style. If you want to know more about them, check out this YouTube video.
Ever since I first heard stories of New Caledonia, I wanted to wander around the Pacific island nation. I once heard it described as a tropical island, with French cuisine. Um… how can you go wrong with that? Again, meeting some of the New Caledonian team at the Pacific Games, I saw such a difference in personalities and apparent upbringings that piqued my interest even further.
We’ve known so many people who have gone to New Zealand and every one of them have come back raving about it! Being so close to American Samoa, it would be CRAZY not to make the trip while we’re here. It seems like the way to go is to rent a caravan (RV) and road trip around the islands. That sounds great to me!
I don’t know that Australia will ever get knocked off my bucket-list. In 2017, we went to Sydney and road-tripped to Brisbane. We absolutely fell in love with it. But Australia is so much bigger than that. After our trip, we decided we needed to get back and wander through more of the country/continent, especially Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef. Luckily, it’s relatively easy to get to from American Samoa.
Places I Want to Wander Through South America
After graduating high school, I looked into working in Ecuador for six months. This didn’t work out, but I’ve always looked back and wondered about the country that would have been my temporary home. Now, I dream of bringing the whole family and experiencing everything from the local people and culture to wandering through the Galapagos Islands.
And last but not least, Colombia. For awhile, I’ve been hearing about the virtues of this South American country. Colombia seems to have something for everyone. Their cities are bustling, their beaches are chill, and their mountains are incredible. Did you know that you can see active volcanoes?
This is is for you. You know, because I’m generous like that. haha
How could I make a list of amazing places around this world and not mention our island home? In the 2 1/2 years we’ve lived here, we’ve absolutely fallen in love with it. It’s not perfect, but it’s our Paradise. If you like quiet beaches and warm ocean waters, adventurous rainforest hikes and breathtaking views, friendly people and authentic culture, than American Samoa is the place for you! You can read more at my other website, AmSamFam.com.
You made it through the list. Well done!
Now, if I can only make it through the list. haha
In the comments below, tell me if you’ve been to any of these places and what we have to do when we go. Also, if you think there’s a place that needs to be on my 2021 bucket-list, tell me where and why. If you’ve fallen in love with it, I’m sure I will, too.