My Top Three

The view of Nha Trang, Vietnam

My Top Three

From the very beginning, I have had the strongest desire to travel and see the world. I would have done anything to pick up my belongings and just go. But, that wasn’t always possible.

As I grew older, I began to make travel a priority. To this day, it still takes priority over anything else in my life. I make sacrifices to travel, and whether they are big or small, I do anything I can to make sure I get out and see as much of the world as I have always dreamed of.

For me, there has always been a priority in the places I desired to see. Yes, the world was my oyster and I wanted to explore it all, but I also thought it was important to narrow it down to my top three.

The view of Nha Trang, Vietnam

This grew from a personal question to one I would ask everyone around me. What were the three countries in the world that someone needed to see before they died? It’s a great way to start conversation, and in my early-twenties it was also the dating question that I placed the most importance on.

I’ll admit that at times this could make me a bit judgmental, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned not to judge others dreams, but more to listen to them and what they were. Why did they dream of visiting those countries? Once I learned more, I understood. Just as once they learned more about my dreams and the places I desired to see, the more they understood, as well.

Growing up, my top three were usually different from the people around me. But again, as I’ve grown older, I’ve been able to connect with others who share my experiences and dreams, or at least understand them. Once I began meeting people who had actually ventured to my top three, I knew it was time to take those dreams and make them my reality.

So, what are my top three? Well, I can tell you this, I have just one left, and an opportunity to make this a reality very soon. Then, I guess, I will have to make an entirely new list.

But for now, here are the two places I have been to on my list, and the place I am hoping to get to by the end of 2014.

Thailand

Wat Pra Singh Voramahavihara

I think that I have wanted to visit Thailand since the very moment I knew it existed. The people, the culture, and the religion have always intrigued me, and in the summer of 2011, I was lucky enough to spend a week in this beautiful Southeast Asian country. It was not long enough, and I only got to experience Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Still, it was enough to make me fall in love and long to return.

Thailand held my heart long before I ever arrived, and the kindness of its people and beauty of its country along with delicious food and an interesting culture are enough to get me back sooner rather than later.

Anywhere in Africa

Sunset in Botswana.

I know, I know, this is totally cheating, but I just always wanted to visit everywhere in Africa, so why not lump the continent together? I guess, it was really hard for me to choose between all the different cultures and countries that Africa had to offer. Eventually, I made my decision, however, and headed south.

My trip to Africa in the summer of 2012 was the trip of a lifetime and the best four weeks of my entire life. I visited Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Egypt, getting to cross off a slew of bucket list items during my time there. Between the people I met on my tour to those I encountered in the country, along with the cultures and beauty of the land, Africa lived far beyond my expectations. Now I miss it everyday, and I am already scheming on when I can visit next.

India

Taj Mahal (photo credit: Captain and Clark)

Photo credit: Captain and Clark

There it is, the final country on my top three list. It’s the only place I have left on my original list, and the destination I hope to visit in 2014. As with the others, I can’t explain what has always drawn me to India, but I believe that I have always been fascinated with it. The culture, the food, the colors, the life, and the energy, all are what draw me to India.

Once I reach India, I know I’ll feel accomplished because I’ll have reached my top three. But, that list will forever grow and change until I have uncovered each part of the world. I know that I never want to stop learning about the world and myself; I know that I will never stop traveling.

It makes me curious, as my readers, what countries are in your top three?

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Comments (36)

  1. @mrsoaroundworld

    This is like asking a parent which is their favourite child!! I cant answer!!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Haha, so true, Ana! This list is pretty old – I mean, look, I couldn’t even narrow down Africa! 😉

  2. Colleen

    Thailand tops my list (of places I need to go)! And meant purely as a compliment, but you remind me of a lovely friend I have here in Kansas City.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Yes, you do! Oh, thank you for the lovely compliment. 🙂

  3. Cat

    I’ve also been to Thailand and found it amazing! As you mentioned, it had the kindest people of any country I’ve visited. I’ve also been to Egypt, but found it to be more touristy than I’d like.

    Honestly, for me, I’d like to take just a slow road trip around the US. I feel like there’s so much in my own country that I’ve never seen! Plus, there’s something so romantic about sleeping in the car, visiting National Parks, and exploring the open road with just my dog by side.

    1. The World Wanderer

      I would love to slow trip around the US too, what a great idea. I always forget how much there is to see here at home, so I’ll make that a priority too. Egypt was a bit touristy, but I still fell in love, especially outside the tourist sites and in cafes while interacting with the people of the country. I have to make it back though, as I was only there for three days.

  4. Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    Pretty cool. Of the countries I have not been to yet, Bhutan and Iceland rank at the top. Of the places I have been, the top ones (before I saw them) that I have checked off are New Zealand, Egypt and Austria!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Bhutan and Iceland are absolutely on my list! So glad you made it to your top ones too. 🙂

  5. Pola (@jettingaround)

    Great list and I hope to visit all these locations (OK I’ve been to Africa, but only northern). As far as my Top 3 countries, Argentina was one of them and luckily I got to visit. Japan would be one of them and actually India too. I have a few places on the list in Europe, but that’s more easily achievable than the rest. 🙂

    1. The World Wanderer

      Love your list, Pola! I am hoping to get to Argentina one day, especially after seeing your photos. I agree on Europe too, I have a few places in mind. 😉

  6. Harvey (H-Bomb's Worldwide Karaoke)

    I’ve been to Africa three times (although there are still so many more countries to get to there), and I have firm plans to visit India in March 2014! Thailand I haven’t been to yet, but I have very strong intentions of getting there sometime in 2014 as well! Also at the top of my list would be China and Israel.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Three times! I am so in love with Africa, I am really hoping to get back there soon. I am also excited for your India plans. One day I’ll get to China and Israel, but those two places aren’t as high on my list.

  7. Davide

    My top 3 places were Australia, New Zealand and Japan and I have been lucky enough to visit all 3 of them. I loved India and hope to go back there again soon; in the meantime on my new top 3 list are China, Dubai and South Africa.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Love your new and old lists! New Zealand and South Africa I have been to – So beautiful! The others I am hoping to make it to at some point soon. 🙂

  8. Jessica

    My travel list is so long, it hurts my brain. My list of 3 would be as follows:
    1. Greece and Turkey: islands, food, mosques, everything about both of these places (combined) wows me. I want to experience them in person.
    2. Brazil: Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in particular
    3. Cape Town and South Africa in general

    I went to India in 2011/2012 (over New Years for a friend’s wedding). I was terrified, but I had always wanted to go. I’m so happy I can say I’ve seen the Taj Mahal, but Jaipur was the true treasure. The culture, colors, and food are the best! India is truly like no other place! SO MANY PEOPLE everywhere!

    Also, I had always wanted to go to Bali, and over Labor Day, I finally went for a wedding. It was another place I thought I’d never make it to, but I did. I’m so thankful to add that to my “places seen” list. It reminds me of your Thailand experience. It’s so far, yet so spectacular once you get there. Biking through villages and rice paddies in central Bali will stick in my head forever. So will the Salmonella I came home w/, but travel is worth the horrible bacteria. (Strangely enough, I didn’t get sick in India!)

    Once you go on one big trip, you’re addicted. My adventures started by studying abroad in Spain, and once I got a good taste, I was addicted.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Love your list – I hope to get to Greece, Turkey, Brazil, and Indonesia too! I hope you get to South Africa – it’s so beautiful and Cape Town is a fun city. It’s great that you have friends that get married all over the world! 🙂

  9. the lazy travelers

    ugh this is an impossible question and the answers are constantly changing! food for thought, most definitely.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Agreed – definitely not an easy one to answer.

  10. Beth

    Mine are changing by the week! But I think if I had to pick 3 destinations that I’m working towards for 2014, I am hoping to get to Cambodia and Indonesia, as well as revisiting Thailand!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Cambodia and Indonesia are high on my list too!

  11. lola

    thank god you have not quizzed me on this. you would be disappointed because i have way more than 3 and their priority is based on my memory and nothing more. i’ve actually started a list so i can remember! hahaha

    1. The World Wanderer

      Haha, three is tough, but my other answer is just every country in the world. 😉

  12. Mary Anne

    Africa: check
    Japan: not yet
    Italy: check but need to go back to see more.

    1. The World Wanderer

      I’m coming to Japan with you…and we’re going to Africa together! (tell me how ya doing?)

  13. Traveling Ted

    I love any post that mentions Chiang Mai. I know Stay Adventurous would concur. This list could be my list. Happy that I will be stepping foot in Thailand in just a little over a month. India and Africa are the two places I have not been that I am dying to see.

    1. The World Wanderer

      You will get there soon enough! I have no doubt!

  14. Lance | Trips By Lance

    I have no clue. It’s usually whatever I start thinking about becomes the next place I want to go. We just went to New Mexico. Well, it’s always been in the back of mind to visit New Mexico but I didn’t think much about it until a couple of months ago. We knew we wanted to go somewhere in October. That was it. But I guess I can throw one out there. Austria. I’ve always imagined the mountains and lakes are so beautiful there.

    1. The World Wanderer

      I agree with you on this too. I pretty much want to see it all, but these three are definitely a priority. Austria is only somewhere I have driven through, but I’d love to spend more time there. So beautiful!

  15. Leah

    The answer to your question changes with my mood. I haven’t been to any of your top three, but they are on my list, especially Africa. Good luck marking these off really soon.

  16. Olivia

    Mine seem to change daily! Right now – Turkey, Greenland, Morrocco. But ask me again tomorrow and I’ll most likely have a different answer!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Haha, I can totally relate. My new list is a disaster! I could not narrow it down to three I don’t think. Love your list! Turkey and Morocco are very high on my list. 🙂

  17. Mariella (Bridgekeeping Traveller)

    I love this!! I will have to come up with something like it. I definitely know I always had a weird longing for Bosnia, and it totally turned out to be my kind of country when I went. I also relate to your Anywhere in Africa point. I totally agree. And for your new list: You and I still have Afghanistan waiting, right? 🙂 xx

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks, Mariella! Yes, we definitely have Afghanistan waiting! I really hope we get to visit there one day. I want to see it for my own eyes one day! xx

  18. Eileen

    I guess I’ll be hitting a few this year…my #1 is New Zealand (April).
    Then in the summer I will finally make it to London & Amsterdam…not sure if they were #2 & 3 but they were on the list. I really want to cruise the fjords of Norway.

    1. The World Wanderer

      SO exciting! Glad I’ll get to show you around London and give you advice for NZ and Amsterdam. 🙂

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