I haven't always loved traveling -- in fact, I definitely took it for granted when I was little and never took advantage of being in a new place. I would constantly have my nose in a book, eating plain foods, and getting lost in my music instead of soaking up the culture. That's all changed now. Oh, what I would give to travel for a living (a girl can dream!).
New places we'd love to visit:
Technically, I've been to Japan, but I was a toddler and I don't remember anything other than my mom getting me ice cream. Visiting Japan is #1 on my list, and although I typically don't know anything about our travel plans (Samuel likes to surprise me and won't tell me until the very last minute), I have a feeling we might be crossing it off this year. Of course, I'd love to see tourist favorites like Tokyo and Kyoto, but also smaller towns like Nara and Hakone (for the hot springs!).
I'm psyched about eating all the Japanese food -- I'm a strict pescatarian and there's so much seafood and delectable desserts in Japanese cuisine. I'm also a tea addict, and matcha is one of my favorite teas, so going to a matcha ceremony or two would be on our itinerary.
This would make for such a fun family trip, so my mom, grandma, and aunt could show us all around, since they've been a handful of times. They used to go all the time, since it's so close to Hong Kong. Also, my grandpa went to school in Japan, and the older I get, the more I want to see and learn more about my family's roots.
South Africa is another top dream destination of mine. I've wanted to visit for as long as I remember, and the more I see my friends visit, the more I just want to jet off. In case you didn't know already, I love, love, love hippos. They're my favorite animal, so what better place to go to see them than Africa? This is basically my dream come true -- I'm convinced that I'd never leave. I'd want to go on a safari every single day and admire all the wildlife.
Growing up in California, there have been countless Spanish influences, which I really appreciate. I missed an opportunity to visit Spain and Portugal a few years ago and I regret it so much. I want to visit Spain during La Tomatina, eat all the paella, and just live it up in España.
Again, I've been to Hong Kong and Macau, which are administrative regions of China, but never in China proper. I'd definitely like to visit Beijing and Shanghai, and I think it would be so cool to visit the provinces that my grandparents are from.
I’m so fascinated by Indian culture. I have a lot of Indian friends, and I’m always so jealous of all their beautiful sparkly outfits and how they are always having a blast and dancing. Plus, I'm obsessed with Indian food, and India has a high vegetarian population, so I’d have absolutely no issues finding food that I can eat. Everyone I know who has visited India have raved about it, and I’m just itching to go. Just not looking forward to the full week of getting sick though...
I’ve wanted to visit Cuba since it opened up to American tourists. From what I’ve seen and heard, it’s like going back in time, and that just seems like the coolest experience. I also love all things Latin, so I’m convinced that I’ll just fall in love with Cuba instantaneously.
I’ve wanted to visit Australia since I was little. Hello, kangaroos and koalas! I’ve heard that the beaches these are unbelievably gorgeous, and I just have to go and see those for myself.
New Zealand’s one of those places that I don’t know much about, other than the fact that I’d love to visit someday. I have a close friend from New Zealand, and she raves about it all the time.
Malaysia and Singapore are both quick 4 hour flights away from Hong Kong, so my family's been there plenty of times before. Of course, this was all before I was born, and I’ve yet to visit. I think Malaysia would be such a cool place to visit, as there’s a huge crossover in culture.
I’ve heard that Singapore is a lot like Hong Kong, which has definitely piqued my interest. My uncle used to go there for business every couple of months and would tell me all about how lively Singapore was. It’s also one of the safest places in the world, which would make me feel much more comfortable exploring.
Peru is a trip I'm hoping to take with Samuel's family, as his parents are basically honorary Peruvians. They've spent so much time there and it would be lovely to have them show us around. My must-do is climb Machu Picchu and play with llamas.
Every time I see pictures of Marrakech, it jumps higher up on my list of places to visit. I've never visited a desert before, so all the desert activities, such as riding camels, are on my list. I've also heard that the artisan markets in Morocco are absolutely to-die-for.
And once we cross off all these places on my list, Indonesia, Egypt, Iceland, and Russia are next up. Writing this post has me all excited for all our future travels!
Places we'd love to revisit:
My family is from Hong Kong, and I’ve been there more times than I can count. We used to visit at least twice a year (it's a 12-14 hour flight, so just imagine my pain) up until my junior year of high school. I've only been back maybe 3 times since then. It’s basically my second home. There’s still so much that I haven’t seen and done, and I really hope we can go back again this year.
Macau: Macau is only an hour-long ferry ride from Hong Kong, so it's a very easy weekend trip. There’s still so much Portuguese culture there, so it really doesn't feel like we're in Asia. It's also got a great nightlife scene, since it's essentially the Vegas of the East.
Vienna is easily my favorite place that I've visited in Europe. It's seriously the most gorgeous city I've ever been to — it was the first trip that I finally appreciated getting lost and exploring by foot. I miss waking up to breakfast made just the way I like at The Ritz and passing Kohlmart Square (and not having enough self control to not pick up yet another present for myself) and grabbing a slice of sachertorte at Cafe Sacher. I can’t wait to be back in one of my favorite cities, whenever that’ll be!
Funnily enough, like Vienna, I didn't know what to expect, and ended up completely smitten with Amsterdam. I was blown away by the city layout (there are canals everywhere) and the charming houses. The food was all delectable (another pleasant surprise!) and best of all, everybody spoke English, so we had no problem communication-wise.
I've only visited London twice, and I didn't feel like I got to explore very much. I’ve seen most of the tourist sites, yet I’d still like to go back a few more times, if not for the afternoon tea.
We visited Rome and Florence last summer, so I finally got to check that off my bucket list! I’ve wanted to visit Rome since the Lizzie McGuire movie (anyone else?). We really enjoyed ourselves, but then again, who wouldn’t with yummy pizza and pasta for every meal? I’d like to go back in the spring or late fall for a more idyllic experience. There are still so many places in Italy that I’d love to visit, like Capri and Tuscany.
Surprisingly, I've only been to Mexico once, and I loved it. Everyone was so friendly and we loved shopping for all the artisanal goods in the little markets. We brought back so many straw bags, blankets, and sombreros for everyone. I also want to visit Mexico City, Cozúmel, Playa de Carmen, and Cancún.
I'd love to revisit Bermuda because I didn't feel like I truly appreciated it the first time around. It was chillier that we'd expected and everything closed quite early. We stayed at the most charming pink hotel, The Hamilton Princess, which is easily the cutest place I’ve stayed at.
Our nanny is from Manila, and ever since I was little, she'd take my family back to her hometown and show us around the city. The last time I was back was in 2008, and I just had so much fun. I'd like to take Samuel back, since he's never been to the Philippines.
I know I'm in the minority, but Paris isn't my favorite place. I just didn't find the people very friendly or the food to be that great. Their pastries, however, made up for that. Nonetheless, Paris is incredibly beautiful and I'm sure we'll be back. I'd also love to explore more of France, like Provence and Nice.