Mark Twain famously said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
As someone that likes to travel a lot I often get asked which are my favorite places i've visited and why. This list could be 30 or 40 places deep but I decided to narrow it down to my 10 favorite places I've ever been..
1. South Africa/ Victoria Falls- Since they are essentially the same part of the world and I visited both of them on the same trip I have to put these 2 places together. In a week we cage dived with great whites, white water rafted an insane river that had crocodiles in it, bungie jumped over 700 feet, slept in the bush 200 feet from a family of lions, and a dozen other adventures.
Most Surprising Thing- The sunsets are huge and just amazing... I was shocked at how romantic Africa was. Sitting on a berm drinking your favorite drink while watching hippos splash around and a pack of elephants silhouette in the sunset
2. London England- The thing I loved the most about London was the history and all of the classic buildings and traditions of England. I was only there a couple of days but I got to see a lot of what the city offered and I just loved it.
Most Surprising Thing- How quickly you can get around the city and see everything that you want to. There are a ton of taxi's and Ubers and everything is quite close anyways so it was really easy to see a lot of the city in just a few days.
3. Hong Kong- The best way I can describe this city is if Hawaii and New York had a baby it would be Hong Kong. So much to do, so much to see, yet you get the tropical feel of Hawaii while you are in one of the biggest and wealthiest cities in the world.Most Surprising Thing- You have to go up the mountain and see the skyline at night. I will for sure bring a spouse back to the point one day cause it was so romantic. Best skyline I've ever seen
4. Ha Long Bay Vietnam- I had always wanted to go to this place because of how beautiful it is but I never expected to enjoy all of Vietnam as much as I did. Hanoi is kinda crazy but in a really good way, super fun vibe to the city and a lot more to do than I had imagined.Most Surprising Thing- The traffic is something else! You literally feel like you are playing frogger just crossing the street. Yet somehow all of the scooters and vehicles just happen to miss you like it's no big deal.
5. Alaska- This is the first place in the U.S. to make my list but really there are a dozen cities and places I could have put from the United States. Some cities that will barely miss the cut are; Chicago, San Fransisco, Miami, and Boston. There is just something magical about Alaska. We took a float plane into the mountains and landed on a lake, watched bears in the wild, fished on the ocean for salmon and halibut, and relaxed each night in a fancy cabin.Most Surprising Thing- How much fun it was to go deep sea fishing. Granted you are about 95% sure to get sick but it is so worth it. You cast in and within minutes you just keep pulling more and more fish out of the sea. It was my favorite part of the trip.
6. Phuket/ Phi Phi Islands Thailand- There is a reason they filmed the movie, "The Beach" in this location, they really are the best beaches in the world. You have enough things to keep you busy all day or you can just relax in what is probably the most romantic place I've personally ever been.
Most Surprising Thing- It is an adventure in and of itself to get out to the Phi Phi Islands from Phuket. Do not try and go cheap on this, take the expensive but very hands on transportation if you don't want to spend a whole day getting out and back.
7. Angkor Wat Cambodia- I really didn't have much of an expectation of this place because another traveler that I had met in Asia told me that it really isn't that cool of a place. That person could not have been more wrong. We went really early in the morning and we accidentally snuck into the large temple before anyone else did. We eventually were told we couldn't be in there yet but we had a half hour to ourselves and it was nothing short of a spiritual experience. It's a must do for me if you want to see something amazing like no where else.
Most Surprising Thing- I gotta go back to how spiritual of an experience this place was. There is just something magical about it and you can feel it when you are there. You MUST go for the sunrise, it was like no other you'll ever see.
8. New York- This is the best city in the entire country if you like to move at a fast pace and cram a bunch of things into a short amount of time. Although you could spend weeks in New York and not even begin to see everything that is there. I ran the New York Marathon a couple of months back and to run through all 5 burroughs and see the different people from all wakes of life was one of the most inspiring things I've ever witnessed. On one block I passed a jewish school of little kids, a puerto rican block party, and a black cheerleading team from Harlem all cheering us on, complete strangers. If you have lost your hope for mankind, go run that marathon. New York knows how to bring it back.Most Surprising Thing- The Starlight Diner near Times Square. This is a restaurant where all of the out of work broadway singers serve you on the tables and in between taking your orders they jump up on the tables and sing and make the entire place a party.
9. Hawaii- I have been to several of the islands and I think my favorite is Oahu. There are just so many things to go do, places to visit, hikes and beaches to check out. Plus, the nice thing about Hawaii is you can always take a short flight to any of the other islands as well. This is where you take a significant other to give them a romantic week/ weekend they will never forget.Most Surprising Thing- The hikes for sure. I have done over a dozen hikes in Hawaii and while the Stairway to Heaven was easily my favorite one, they all seem to end up being amazing.
10. Cabo San Lucas Mexico- I love everything about Mexico so I am probably biased on this one but I feel like I am at home in this country. Of course I lived in Monterrey 2 years from ages 19-21 and I am fluent in Spanish so this makes communicating easy for me. But the food, the culture, and the weather are 3 of the reasons that I just love coming here anytime I can. Plus, many don't know this but Cabo is just a 2 1/2 hour direct flight on Delta from Salt Lake City! Most Surprising Thing- About an hour and a half from Cabo you can go to La Paz Mexico and swim with Whale Sharks. It is one of the best places in the world for it. This was easily the highlight of all my trips I've had to Mexico.