Five Places to put on Your Travel Hitlist

If you’ve been reading my work, you know I’ve been to Indonesia, and I loved it. Bali will forever hold a piece of my soul. But the world’s a big place, and I have so much more to see! If you’re looking for inspiration for your next trip and haven’t already been, maybe one of these five places will tickle your fancy.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu PicchuYeah, it’s a classic. Adventure travelers the world over speak of the majesty of looking down on the ancient ruins as the sun rises over the mountains in the background – a fitting reward after making the four-day trek up the Inca Trail.

The ruins were originally built in the 1400s using dry masonry (as opposed to the brick-and-mortar methods we typically use these days). The Incas believed mortar to be a sloppy method of building, instead preferring to cut their stones so perfectly that they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, without needing to use any sort of glue to hold it all together. These guys were pros.

Now, some folks seem to think that Machu Picchu will be closing to the public soon because of site erosion… but the Peruvian government has never made any such statement. The Inca Trail closes once a year in February for maintenance, and in 2016 the sites we temporarily closed for a couple weeks for the same reason. Neither of these mean the place is closing for good though, and Machu Picchu is definitely high on my list of places to visit.

Okinawa, Japan

Okinawa, JapanThere are so many reasons I want to go to Okinawa. Being a student of Karate, and Goju Ryu style in particular, a big reason why I want to travel to Okinawa is to visit the birthplace of my style of karate. I’d like to spend some time learning about the local culture and conditions under which the style developed, in the hopes that it will deepen my understanding and appreciation of the art.

That’s not the only reason, though. Oh no.

Have you seen pictures of Okinawa?! It’s frikkin gorgeous!! Okinawa is a tropical island, and there’s plenty to see and do even if you go strictly for the natural beauty. But wait, there’s more!

Word on the street is that the locals are also super-friendly – maybe that’s why Okinawans are some of the longest-living people in the world. It may also have something to do with their diet, which is rich in seafood (and given that Okinawa is an island, the seafood is always as fresh as it can be).

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, GreeceOne of the main reasons why I want to visit the isle of Santorini in Greece is for photography, but there is so much more to the island than that. The food is, of course, going to be unreal, but there’s also amazing hiking to be had.

Maybe more than anything else though, I want to experience the local way of life on the island. This is one of those places where the people have what I’m chasing: that carefree way of life, the ability to let go of the things that don’t matter and really focus on the things that do.

 

Scotland

Hiking in ScotlandStrong. Rugged. Raw. These are all words I would use to describe Scotland, and it’s a place that I absolutely have to check out in the coming years. I need to bear witness to Scotland’s raw natural beauty with my own two eyes.

Of course, while I’m there, I also plan to check out some of the amazing attractions. Edinburgh Castle would rank high on that list. At over 800 years old, the castle has played many roles for the people of Scotland, from barracks to parliament building. A visit to the country would be incomplete without stopping there.

I also plan to visit the Isle of Skye, which is famous for its raw coastline and mountains. I see a ton of this place on Instagram, and I never get sick of it. If you’re planning a trip to Scotland, consider checking out Keith Savage’s blog, Traveling Savage, for some local tips.

New Zealand

Wanaka Tree, New Zealand

The hauntingly-beautiful Wanaka Tree, on Lake Wanaka in New Zealand.

Last but definitely not least, we have New Zealand. This is the only trip on my personal hit-list that I plan to make purely for photography’s sake. Not that there isn’t anything else to do on the island – far from it.  There’s whale-watching, skydiving, zorbing, glacier hiking, and glowworm caves to be seen, just to name a few.

For me, I have a few specific sights in mind for my shooting. The glowworm caves definitely present a unique photo op, but I’m focused on Milford Sound, Wai-O-Tapu, and some of the areas “Middle Earth” areas shot during the filming of Lord of the Rings. I also plan to stop at St Clairs and Wharariki beaches, Purakaunui Waterfalls, the Church of the Good Shepherd (for some night photography) and finally, the fabled Wanaka Tree, supposedly the most photographed tree in the world. I don’t care if it is, I’m still going to shoot it!

Wrapping it Up

Like many places in the world, these places on my travel hitlist need to be seen with your own eyes to be believed. I truly do think that travel experiences are some of the best things you could possibly spend your money on; travel is one of the few cases where spending your money really does make you richer. The stories you’ll be able to tell, the cultures you bear witness to, and the natural beauty you soak in… these things all ground us, shaping us into more rounded individuals throughout our travels.

Ok, enough about my list, it’s your turn. What places are on your travel hitlist? Why are those so high up on your list? Tell me about them in the comments!

CATEGORY: Travel

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