We usually say that our favorite adventure is whatever we are doing right now. I know it sounds clichéd, but we really do try to embrace the moment and get everything we can out of each new place we see. That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been many standouts along the way.
Favorite Destination so far – If we have to pick one it has to be the Galapagos Islands. We expected the wildlife to be remarkable, but the way all of the creatures are so completely unafraid of humans meant that we could observe them unbelievably close up. Plus the landscapes of each of the islands are so varied and unique. We looked into an active volcano, and walked on some of the newest land on the planet. There are parts that plants haven’t even had the chance to take hold yet, as volcanoes continued to add to the landmass of the islands.
Travel Tip– Our tip would be to book on a small boat excursion. We had only 16 people on ours and it was fantastic. Much easier to get close to the animals without a crowd and more time to spend on each island without the logistics of a bigger group.
Favorite Destination so far- Picking my favourite destination is like choosing amongst my children – that is, if I had any children! Having traveled to/lived in over 55 countries, one thing I’ve learned is that travel is very contextual. Our experience of a place has more to do with who we’re with, what we’re doing, and how we’re feeling, more than it has to do with the place itself. Thus, you and I might visit the same country and have drastically different experiences. Having said that, one of my favourite destinations (and yes, there are a few!) is Peru.
Travel Tip- When it comes to visiting Peru, do your research before you start packing. Depending on where you go in Peru and the time of year, the weather can vary dramatically. Peru has a stunning variety of landscapes from beaches to desert to high-altitude mountains to lush jungle to deep canyons and more. So….bring lots of clothing options and layer up and down as needed!
Favorite Destination so far-Let’s go with Annapurna Circuit, Nepal — because it was one of our all-around most memorable and diverse experiences, from the culture to the landscape.
Travel Tip- Tips, which apply to much of travel in general: go slowly, take in the moment around you, and be sure to drink a lot of water (helps with the altitude, too).
Favorite Destination so far- My favorite city in the world is Barcelona, Spain. It simply has everything I look for in a destination. Amazing food, vibrant culture, and beautiful sights. It’s one of the most fun cities to live in as well, and during the summer there is this vibe throughout the city that is unexplainable.
Travel Tip- Well the first thing I always tell people when visiting Barcelona is to be very careful when it comes to pickpockets / thieves. Unfortunately, it’s one of the worst cities in Europe for this type of activity, so I always warn people to be extra paranoid on public transport and heavily touristed areas. Besides that, I love recommending people to book on AirBNB during their stay. Such an awesome city to have your own apartment.
Favorite Destination so far-
This is a difficult question to answer because I have many favorites! But out of the top of my head, I would say Iceland
! This place is just so otherworld and magical.
Travel Tip- There’s only one main road called Ring Road encircling the whole country and I totally recommend renting a car and driving around the country to see all its beauty!
Favorite Destination so far- Iran. The country offers something for every type of traveling. From the mountains to the sea, from ancient empires to modern day architecture, Iran has it all. It is blessed with incredible architecture, great food, pleasant climate outside of summer months, and some of the most friendly and hospitable people you will ever meet. We cannot recommend it enough.
Travel Tip- Make sure to understand the concept of tarof. Tarof is formalized hospitality, and dictates, to an extent, how Iranians behave. In practical terms, it means that many Iranians will offer to pay for something, or will offer something for free, or will invite you for dinner, while they do not mean to. They are just being polite, and agreeing to an offer made as tarof can lead to awkward moments. As a rule of thumb, refuse any gift or offer of hospitality at least three times. If your new found friend still insists, it’s not tarof and accepting whatever gift comes your way is a show of gratitude.
Favorite Destination so far- We love Kyrgyzstan and are here right now actually! The mountains are absolutely stunning and the nature is pristine. The people here are friendly and welcoming and the food is great too. Kyrgyzstan is relatively untouched and we love it.
Travel Tip- For travellers to Kyrgyzstan, I’d say to get offtrack and head to the smaller destinations, like the village of Jyrgalan! Also, stay with locals in the homestays and really try to immerse yourself in the culture.
Favorite Destination so far- Philippines. Perfect beaches, lovely locals, and warm weather all year long
Travel Tip-Connect with the locals. It will change the way you travel and possibly lead to some great adventures.
Favorite Destination so far- Iran. I think it was the combination of 2 things:
1. The expectation vs reality
2. Iran’s incredible hospitality.
To elaborate on that: Iran has a negative image in the world. While there is no doubt that Iran does have its issues, there certainly is an other side to the coin, one that isn’t showcased enough (if at all). And it’s that other side that travelers generally ‘discover’ and experience on their travels in Iran.
We (partner Coen and I) were in Iran in 2003, and since have spoken to many travelers. Thus far I have not heard about anybody being disappointed about their journey in Iran, or who didn’t like the country. On the contrary – ‘everybody’ seems to love it (by the way, this is very similar to the media image vs travelers’ reality of Colombia).
While I did have a hard time adapting on arrival – traveling in Iran most certainly wasn’t all rainbows & unicorns – we came across a country with stunning architecture, a diversity of landscapes, great food (in peoples’ homes; not so much in restaurants), and especially kindness, a willingness to help, and hospitality. During our 3-month travel we were invited by strangers for a meal and regularly ended up staying at their house for a couple of days. While this has happened in many of the other 30+ countries we traveled to, it has nowhere been so frequently as in Iran.
In retrospect, I think that traveling in Iran also contributed to learning to open up to strangers, to trust people (and cultures!) I didn’t know. We had just started our nomadic existence (now going strong for 14 years). Iran was only our second country outside Europe so many things were still new and, frankly, frightening. Iran taught me to have faith, trust people, and go with the flow, which has helped me in all following countries.
Travel Tip- I already touched the subject in my previous answer. Trusting people will help you have the best of experiences. Here is how I look at it. When I now – after 14 years on the road – look back at pictures of, say, waterfalls or mountains, I often have no clue as to where that picture was taken.
However, when I look at a photo of a person I met on the road, particularly a new friend whom I spent time with, this immediately brings up memories and emotions. I may not immediately remember every name, but there are always associations: where it was, when it was, how we met, etc.
Meeting people is the best part of traveling. It’s also one of the hardest. To do it well, as in to make it worthwhile and going deeper than a general ‘How is the weather’ conversation, you need to be open, willing to share a piece of yourself, and to trust others. We have traveled in many so-called ‘dangerous’ countries in the world: Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Colombia, and Venezuela come to mind. Each country has confirmed that most people are good people. People who want peace, love, shelter, food, eduction, and a better life for their kids. These traits are universal, and these people are to be met everywhere.
So open your heart, trust strangers (while never ignoring what your gut feeling is telling you), and have a great journey!