Often, I’m inspired to travel through various means of information sources one of which being the Internet. Online, I can find information on every possible travel destination out there along with pictures, which, let’s face it, always helps because you need to be able to imagine yourself at the destination. Travel communities such as TripAdvisor are extremely helpful for finding specific information in the shape of reviews and personal experiences. However, sometimes it’s best to have a specific destination in mind before using the Internet. Therefore, I like to explore travel agencies, magazines, blogs and books that can inspire me with undiscovered destinations around the world and enlighten me with elaborative descriptions of these. However, I must admit, experiences by fellow travelers are what influence me most – especially experiences from friends with similar interests. As a result, my travel bucket list is full with possible travel destinations that I want to explore.
As a traveler by heart, I would like to explore the entire world. So when people ask me where I want to travel, that’s my answer. Discussing this subject with fellow travelers, though, has made me aware that there, of course, are certain destinations we’d prefer to travel over others. Places and cultures that we, simply, have to explore first hand. Forget all about the order of exploring the world (yes, I do have an order for this), let’s concentrate on places that I prioritise due to an emotional connection.
I have eight places in mind that I must explore some time throughout my life. They are scattered out all over the world with one thing in common – their roots in local history and culture. It makes me thrilled and excited to daydream about these places and the adventures that such a travel experience would give me. These eight magical destinations are:
1) The Lake District National Park, England
Located in the very north of England, the Lake District is said to be the birthplace of the English Romanticism, and it’s not hard to imagine why. With numerous forrests, mountains and green hills with sheep, England’s largest national park is not only rich on wild plant- and animal life, however, is also home to lush valleys and rocky cliffs as well as the two longest and deepest rivers in England (CNP, 2015; Lake, 2015). Oh, how I would love to travel here during spring or summer time, rent a holiday accommodation for a week or two and take in the beautiful scenery. Explore where many well-known English writers such as Beatrix Potter, Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth were inspired. I can easily imagine myself walking around on the many walking routes and hiring a boat to sail out on one of the lakes with (although, I would definitely need a friend with sailing skills for that adventure). Moreover, as a big fan of history (and castles, of course), I would be visiting Muncaster- and Lowther Castle full of excitement first thing. Also Wordsworth’s old house, Dove Cottage, is located here, which would be amazing to explore as well, along with multiple other attractions in the region.
2) The Inca Trails and Ruins, Peru
Another region I have to explore is the Cuzco Region. The reason for my fascination for this region is due to the ancient Inca Dynasty – its history and culture.
Located on the Andean mountain range from Colombia to Chile in Peru, the Inca Dynasty started as settlements and gradually grew into a dynasty that flourished in the 15th century until it was abandoned in the 16th century under the Spanish Conquest. The ruins of the dynasty weren’t discovered until 1911, and with ancient trails in and around the Sacred Valley and throughout the dynasty, I feel as if there is a lot to be explored – not only scenery-wise but also culture-wise. The Incas was a well-functioning society with a running water system in the Sacred Valley (imagine! In that era!) that appreciated art and architecture, which they are also well-known for today (Ancient, 2015; LiveScience, 2015; Water, 2015). This perfect combination of history and beautiful, dramatic scenery highly interests me, which is why I want to explore the region. Imagine the insight into this ancient culture such an adventure would allow!
3) Northern Lights, Norway
I’m absolutely obsessed with nature and scenery, and the phenomenon of Northern Lights fits right into this obsession. Although Northern Lights can be seen all over the northern and southern hemisphere, I would like to see them in Norway. I have this idea of doing a road trip throughout Norway at some point and see them in that connection. Not only does it look beautiful, there’s something truly magical about it, too. The beautiful ’dancing lights’ as a result of collisions between electrically charged particles are almost divine (Centre, 2015).
4) The Taj Mahal, India
When I heard the romantic story behind the iconic landmark of Taj Mahal, I knew I wanted to see it first hand – then I saw pictures of it. Located in Agra, the Taj Mahal dates back to 1653 where it was build by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, for his favourite wife who died in child labour (Official, 2015). As a castle and palace enthusiast, this iconic landmark clad in white marble is just so beautiful and massive, which adds to its majestic feel. And this is not to forget about the beautiful gardens. I desperately want to see this palace – for its beauty alone.
5) Skaftafell National Park, Iceland
Recently, I discovered the beauty of Iceland. One of my treasured fellow traveler friends visited Iceland a couple of months ago, and, when she returned, she told me all about her experience. In my fascination over her little Icelandic adventure, I began researching Iceland as a travel destination. It was here, I discovered the beauty of Iceland – and also Skaftafell National Park in the south of Iceland. I have now become quite keen on the idea of one day visiting it due to its beautiful rough scenery with mountains, volcanoes, rugged landscape, black sand beaches and glaciers as well as its wild plant life. I can’t imagine a better place to walk in nature, breathing in fresh air and clearing my thoughts.
6) The Egyptian Pyramids, Egypt
I’ve always found ancient Egyptian history and culture highly interesting. Exactly because they were so advanced within not only architecture, however, also within math, medicine and agriculture not to forget their art and writing system, I’ve been baffled by and interested in the mystery and stories linked to the era (Council, 2015). Ideally, I would like to explore the oldest and largest pyramid, the Cheops pyramid and the Great Sphinx located in Giza. Although I am aware that it’s a tourist trap, my fascination draws me to this specific pyramid anyway.
7) Hobbiton, New Zealand
Haven’t we all been slightly in love with New Zealand after Peter Jackson’s filmic trilogy, the Lord of the Rings, shone a light on the country? I sure have, and with the scenery there, it isn’t difficult to understand why the country has become such a popular travel destination. However, as a Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fan, I would love to explore Hobbiton! Granted! It is a film set but, for me, it’s also a real place – and a beautiful one, too. I would love nothing more than to explore this magical place and discover unseen treasures while imagining myself in the shoes of a Frodo Baggins, ready to save the world. Wouldn’t that just be great!? Absorbing the beautiful scenery of the Shire, walk in the foot steps of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, see their hobbit hole, the Mill and eat a meal that the Green Dragon Inn.
8) Auschwitz, Poland
In the hope of history not repeating itself, I find it important for people to remind themselves of tragedies of the past and learn from them. Sometimes it takes dramatic and tragic reminders and, for me, Auschwitz Concentration Camp presents one. Not only does this former extermination camp, located in Auschwitz in Poland, exhibit and focus on the prisoners of the camp, it also gives insight into a hateful society filled with stirred political anxiety, xenophobia and alienation of foreigners. Furthermore, it exhibits how such a hateful world view can influence politics – and in result, innocent people. I mean, from 1940-45, 1,1 million people were murdered there (Museum, 2015). Today, visitors at Auschwitz have the opportunity to acquire insight into the life of the prisoners as well as the life in the camp with exhibitions including personal stories and belongings of the inmates. With xenophobia still existing in today’s societies, I find important to become knowledgeable about tragedies of the past on order to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future – learning to detect certain patterns and signs of a shift in society. This is exactly why I would like to explore Auschwitz.
Now, full of excitement for my future travels, I’ve presented to you my eight must sees. Maybe you were inspired? What are your must sees?
Sources Ancient. (2015). Inca Civilisation. www.ancient.eu/ Centre. (2015). Northern Lights. www.northernlightscentre.ca/ CNP. (2015). Lake District National Park. www.cnp.org.uk/ Council. (2015). The Giza Plateau. www.sca-egypt.org/eng/ Lake. (2015). The Lake District. www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/ LiveScience. (2015). The Incas: History of Andean Empire. www.livescience.com Museum. (2015). Auschwitz History. auschwitz.org/en/ Official.(2015). Taj Mahal. www.tajmahal.gov.in/ Water. (2015). Water Supply. www.waterhistory.org/ Pictures Retrieved online