To the places we have yet to go

In four months I will be in the final stages of prepping for my trip to Iceland. It feels like just yesterday that I took the leap, and made the decision to trek the land of Ice and Fire. Back then, Iceland was number two, not number one on my list of places to go. Perhaps it’s due to the immense research and planning I’ve put into the trip, but it has since climbed to the top spot.

People ask why I want to go to Iceland so badly, and more often than not it leads to me telling them about my “theory of vacations”. In my mind there are three type of vacation: relaxation, urban, and nature. Relaxation vacations are easy to understand: sun, sand, and some pure “go somewhere tropical and get away from life” relaxation. The urban vacations are a little different, leaving home sweet home to experience the sights, sounds, and customs of another land. Then there’s nature vacations, where you forget the inhabited world all together and immerse yourself in the wonders that are Mother Earth. Mind you, any vacation can take on a combination of two, even all three of these aspects. Both of my previous ventures outside of Canada/America have been decidedly of the relaxation variety (resorts in El Salvador and Cuba). Yet both have included side trips both into major urban centres and the wilderness (via a climb of a volcano, and an off road tour).

So why do I want to go to Iceland? Because for my vacations, the desire to experience nature aspect is first and foremost. They are the parts that I have most enjoyed on my previous trips. And what better place than an island full of nature whose population is less than that of my hometown, yet is nearly 40 times as large. I will obviously be learning quite a bit about their history and culture while I’m there, but it is the landscapes and landmarks that I am most hoping to see.

And so without further ado, here is the list the list of the five places I’d most like to travel to after I’ve experienced the wonders Iceland has to offer:

1) Australia/New Zealand – As mentioned in a previous post this was my number one place to go before Iceland, and is therefore top dog on this list. They both seem like beautiful places to experience. While some of the wildlife terrifies me, the rest of them, as well as the culture and countryside have me wanting to visit the land down under.

2) Macedonia/Greece – Aside from the fact that the ancient Greeks, and the time of Alexander the Great are among my favourites in history, this trip has more to do with heritage than with any other reason. Macedonia is the land of my grandmother, and I really want to experience the culture that some of my ancestors came from. Apart from that, the countryside itself looks beautiful as well. And while I’m there I might as well see Greece, too.

3) Peru – Two words: Machu Picchu. The Lost City of the Incas. There is a profound beauty to be witnessed in an ancient city on the top of a mountain. Already there have been daily restrictions placed on the number of tourists that can access the city in order to reduce the impact they have on these breathtaking ruins. I just hope I can see them while it is still possible.

4) Ireland – Like Macedonia, part of my desire to visit Ireland is that of heritage. That, the lush green countryside, and the culture of the Emerald Isle have me wanting to tour its hills, towns, and many pubs.

5) Mongolia – In the process of writing this, I realized I don’t really have a definitive number five. There are so many other places that could occupy this spot on the list. For some reason though, the Mongolian steppe has always intrigued me. Perhaps mostly due to the history resulting from the Hunnic and Mongol Empires that poured forth from the region.

Best of the rest: the Serengeti; Antarctica (’cause really, why not); the rest of the Nordic countries.

How about you? If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?