Before pandemic closed international borders and decimated airline routes, I held the ridiculous job of getting paid to travel the world. I’d jetset to far-flung places (often with my family) and then write a review of what I liked most about the place, people, attractions, and/or food.
It was unreal.
Although I plan on taking up that job again, for now I can only dream. And when I look back on the dozens of places I’ve had the privilege of visiting, these are the ones I’ll return to in a heartbeat—one for every inhabited continent.
When daydreaming or adding places to your bucket list, few countries are more lovable than these:
Japan (Asia). Half of the food is amazing. The other half is gross. But the people are 100% adorable. And their contradictory culture is mesmerizing—everything from their language, customs, formality, architecture, tradition, and scenery. BONUS points for being one of the safest and cleanest countries on Earth—a place where kindergartners freely roam downtown late into the night, it’s so safe.
Slovenia (Europe). There’s a reason Europe is the most popular continent to visit. No where else can you find a higher concentration of distinct cultures, different languages, and diverse foods in such a compact area. But if I could only pick one of the many I’ve visited, it is tiny Slovenia that is big on both adventure and Mountains. My wife and I road tripped through the New Hampshire-sized country for a week. I still smile just thinking about it.
Costa Rica (North America). It’s called “rich coast” for a reason. It’s as green as Ireland and even more adventurous. The food is delicious, the people are delightful, and it’s absolutely worth the higher price when compared to other Latin American countries. Still not convinced? Read this.
Brazil (South America). Welcome to the only non-hispanic country in all of Latin America. They don’t speak Spanish here. They don’t like spicy food. But they dominate world soccer and have their own way of life, which makes Brazil standout. As tall as America is wide, it’s also a massive country with equal amounts of geological wonders. And it’s home to the most beautiful city in on Earth.
South Africa (Africa). Similar to visiting Japan, visiting South Africa was a revelation. I loved most of it and hated parts of it at the exact same time, which is how a lot of people think about Africa in general. I was lucky enough to cross the country on a luxury train that even lower middle-class Americans could afford. I enjoyed a three course meal with Peligrino water and a 25% tip for $17!!! I went on several safaris and climbed Table Mountain in what I swear is Rio de Janeiro’s sister city, Cape Town. I can’t wait to return with my kids in tow.
Australia. Although this continent/country can easily kill you with all the deadly creatures its home to, it’s one of the most welcoming and beautiful countries in the Western world. The people are crazy fun, the food is uniquely delicious, and the beaches and surfing are perfect. I could sabbatical here, I like it so much.