If I Won the Lottery Today, Here are the 10 Countries I'd Visit First!
It's likely a surprise to absolutely nobody that if I won the lottery, the first thing I'd do would be go on an extended trip abroad to all the places I've dreamed of going - and I'd take Bri, of course. I've been lucky to visit plenty of incredible countries, but my bucket-list contains most countries on the planet, in some form or another.
That being said, there are ten places that especially peak my interest that would be at the top of my list. In the interest of exploring a lovely hypothetical scenario, here are the countries I'd visit should I win the lottery this very day! But, you can also think of these countries as what amounts to the top of the top of my bucket-list. Here goes, in no particular order.
Ever since I visited nearby Ecuador a few years back, Colombia has been near the top of my list. I've had friends who've lived there and shared stories, and travellers I've met along the road have had innumerable good things to say about it. Not to mention, it's a country that's a part of popular culture for better or worse (see Narcos for more details.) Obviously, Colombia is more than I've been able to piece together thus far from a mixture of stories and a television series, but I'm keen to go and discover that for myself. I must also add that I'm a fan of their fast-paced international football squad, so I wouldn't mind seeing them either!
I've read far too much Dostoevsky to not want to visit Russia. I mean, he doesn't paint the most calm and serene picture, but that's actually what draws me there. Russia has been a major player in international politics and conflict for a long, long time, and their history deeply fascinates me. Also, I'll admit then when I look at the map, I have a longing to be able to fill in that massive empty space on a travel map. I'm hoping to get here this coming summer - fingers crossed!
3. Easter Island (Chile)
Ever since I saw the episode of Departures where Justin, Scott, and Andre visited this place, it's been near the top of my list. When I think of truly unique destinations on the globe, this is one of those places that first pops into my head. In all likelihood, I'd probably head over to mainland Chile beforehand (Easter Island is technically Chilean territory), then find transport across the long stretch of Pacific Ocean. What really intrigues me is Easter Island's famous "moai," the nearly 900 rock statues resembling men strewn all across the island. I don't know enough about it to be honest, as that's as good a reason as any to make sureI get there to get a closer look.
4. North Korea
I'm guessing this gets left off most bucket-lists. The fascination (if you could call it that) with North Korea for me formed during the year that I lived in South Korea, naturally. As far as I understand, you go to the DPRK and have a guide or two who show you around and essentially let you know what you are allowed to see. Despite the inherent risks, or perhaps because of them, I'd be interested in going. I've read extensively about the DPRK, and I'm aware of what could be seen off the guided tour as well, but I just can't help being interested in what having first hand memories of seeing North Korea as a tourist would be like.
Despite the recent flare up of increased tension there, it's still near the top of my list. In truth, I've had the pleasure of visiting most of the rest of the region of Southeast Asia, but this is the big remaining blank for me. It's really the thousands of temples near the city of Bagan that beckon me. I've seen enough photos from there on respective travel feeds to know it's a "must-see" - and so, I must see it!
6. New Zealand
I have wanted to visit Australia and New Zealand for my whole life, and since I visited Australia a few years back when my brother lived there - well, that leaves a visit to the land of the Kiwis. It also helps that one of my great old friends, Alix, lived on Waiheke Island for a few years and loved the experience. I've also found that New Zealanders and Canadians have quite a bit in common in terms of our love of the outdoors and so on and so forth. I'd like to go and investigate whether the high, high hopes I have for the nation are founded. I have a good feeling they are.
After spending time in Tanzania, I had to move Kenya quite a bit higher on the list, as re-visiting East Africa became boatloads more appealing. Kenya's got a unique history in many respects, one I'd like to do justice to by visiting the nation. I also understand they've got top-notch wildlife reserves, solid infrastructure for getting around, and just generally gorgeous landscapes. I also recently read "Out of Africa," so I'd like to see how it's changed since it's WWI colonial history. One day, hopefully soon, I'll be able to make this a reality! And, if I win the lottery today, I can, of course.
8. Costa Rica
I've spent time previously in Central America, and just adored it, especially my time in Nicaragua. But, on my travels, everyone kept telling me that the jewel of the region was in fact Costa Rica. As far as I understand it, there are still problems which plague the nation, but it's a shining light in Central America and it offers a high quality of life, especially compared to its neighbours. One theme that you may have noticed is that I've heard so much about these respective nations that I feel it's time to go and properly visit, and see if my assumptions are correct. Indeed, I rarely forget that it was Aldous Huxley who noted that "to travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries."
In part, my desire to visit Iran is due to the fact that, as a Canadian, it's not all that easy for me to do so. I've investigated the matter, and it's become clear that at the very least, I'd need to be accompanied by a guide at all times. Despite the title, I'll likely just wait until the day that they don't just bunch Canadians into the "North American" pile with the U.S., and see if I can do some exploring when and if that happens. Iran's history fascinates me greatly, all the way back to antiquity, and my Iranian friends tell me that it's one of the most beautiful countries on the planet. There are few countries I want to explore more than I want to explore Iran.
Firstly, I acknowledge that this is indeed a continent, but I had to include this on the list because there is nowhere that fascinates me more. I think it's the "unknown factor," and the sense that, potentially, I could take a step where nobody has previously. If you love adventure and exploring, then you look to take some of those ideas to the nth degree, and that is what Antarctica is for me. I'll get there, one day! Until then, I'll just continue to longingly look at Instagram photos of the area, which are awe-inspiring.
I'd love to know what your top ten countries would be. Please comment below, and I'd be happy to respond back with any tips if I've been there! Cheers!