Outside of the question “Aren’t you scared traveling all alone?!” (No, but I was at first. You toughen up pretty quick out there in the world!) The next most frequent question I’m asked is: “What’s your favorite country? You must have one, right?!”
I feel like I disappoint people, more often than not, when I respond with “I can NOT pick just one! That’s impossible.”
I’ve never been one to pick favorites… As a kid I claimed two favorite colors (pink and purple, in case youre wondering 🤣) and as an adult, for the life of me, I can’t pick a favorite band or favorite movie. Sometimes I chalk it up to being an indecisive Libra, other times I realize I’m just greedy and want to have it all. I always worry that by picking “an all time favorite” I’d be discounting all of the other songs and shades of the rainbow, for example, and for me, the beauty lies in the variety- in the combination of it all. The same goes for all of my travel destinations.
Now that I’ve been to 29 countries, I’ve proudly seen my fair share of the world and definitely have my highlight reel, but can not choose one country above all the others. That would be like picking a favorite child or choosing between your two best friends. It’s impossible. I’ve seen 15% of the world to date and I can only imagine how confusing this question will be to me when I’m at 100%, as my goal is to see every country.
For now, here are my top FIVE (in no particular order, of course, because that would be to decisive and final).
1. Thailand 🇹🇭
You have all heard me go on and on about this country and how much bliss it brings me when I’m there. Thailand is like a playground for adults, full of natural and manmade beauty. The people are truly kind and caring, the food is delicious and cheap (most meals cost around $2), and I’m able to relax and regroup on the islands while living on an easy budget of only $25 a day. The cost is one of the biggest pros of this country. It’s just extremely livable for American expats and Digital Nomads like me, and it’s become my home away from home.
Ireland is a spiritual paradise, in my humble opinion. I found peace, quiet and lush landscapes on the countryside and adventures in the cities. The people welcomed me with warm smiles, wide open arms and ample pints of beer. The live music along the streets of Galway still play in my mind when I think of a happy place far far away, and I still feel the luck of the Irish clinging to me over a year after my first visit. I spent two weeks touring Ireland and my only regret is not planning two more. I could easily live in this country and settle down someday, in fact I’d be extremely lucky to be able to do so. Ireland is THE green gem of the world and I think everyone should find a way to see it in their lifetime.
3. Italia! 🇮🇹
Italy Italy Italy… You made me gain 15 pounds and ruined me for carbs in the rest of the world, but I love you still. Pasta in Rome, pizza in Naples and sailboats in Capri… actually can I go ahead and come back now?
Italy was quite the adventure for me, to say the least. I started in the South (Naples and Sorrento) and eventually made my way North over the course of three and a half weeks, stopping for all the gelato I could consume. I hiked the five villages of Cinque Terre. I drank real Lemoncello. I learned how to say good morning (buongiorno!), hello/goodbye (ciao!) and good evening (buona notte). I had an Italian boyfriend for 10 days and took a sailing trip to Capri where we slept under the stars immediately next to the famous Blue Grotto. On loop in my mind at the time, “Is this real life? Who am I right now?!”
Italy was good for me and good to me, and not a day goes by that I don’t daydream of sitting on that sailboat again. If there’s a word to sum up the experience you’ll have in this country it’s this: PLEASURE.
Favorite places in Italy: Sorrento, Capri, Rome and Cinque Terre.
4. Greece 🇬🇷
Greece was very high on my list from the time I was a young girl learning about mythology in Middle School history class. I’ll go there and see that for myself someday, just watch! And I did.
Greece was everything I ever imagined it to be and more. The food was the first to blow my mind again after my time in Italy. (Clearly I’ve got a thing for Mediterranean food.) The artificacts, artwork and rich cultural history throughout this country touched my heart and inspired me. I made friends with locals and drank plenty of Ouzo (watch out, those Greeks like to drink!) and I almost couldn’t leave at all.
5. Norway 🇳🇴
The most recent of my travels to make this list and perhaps one of the most beautiful. Norway doesn’t even look real it’s so pretty. And then there’s all the tall, blonde and beautiful people running around. This country is the poster child of Scandinavia and the postcards we all dream of sending home. I visited Norway last month on a cruise with Viking and it made me fall in love with the planet all over again. Mountains, countrysides and charming little towns full of color and life make Norway a place that anyone could visit and glean joy from. I certainly did.
I hope these places are already on your travel bucket lists and, if they’re not, that you’ve been inspired to add them. These five countries changed my life and left their mark on my heart- something I wish for all of you to experience too.
I am greatly looking forward to adding at least five more countries to this list in the coming months as I embark on my next journey through South America, so stay tuned!
What about you guys? What are your favorite destinations and why? Leave them in the comments below! I’d love to hear them and add them to my own travel bucket list.