Chichen Itza Mexico

Choosing My Next Travel Destination… Help Needed!

Derek Personal Stuff 144 Comments

Chichen Itza Mexico

The time has come once again for me to leave Mexico. In only four days time I shall be on an airplane bound for the US. The ‘plan’, and I use that term ever so loosely considering that I really don’t have anything planned apart from boarding that airplane on Monday morning, is to perhaps spend a few weeks visiting family and friends.

After that, I shall head off yet again. To where exactly?

Well, I shall be heading towards my favorite of destinations, that intriguing and typically fascinating land know as, the unknown.

The reality is that, at this very moment, I have no idea where I’ll be going after the US.

And while it is true that only recently I announced my participation in the Ultimate Train Challenge, that 30-day train journey from Lisbon to Saigon that is taking place during the month of September, my ‘plans’, as they have so often done this year, have once again changed. I have chosen to back out of that adventure after a great deal of thought. I just felt that it wasn’t the best match for me at this time. (I still think it’s an excellent idea and I hope you will join me in following the four bloggers who will be embarking on the Ultimate Train Challenge, which begins in less than 20 days.)

So, it’s now time for me to go somewhere new and create my own adventure. The problem is that whenever I sit down to try and determine to which region of the world I should travel, I find myself unable to reach a conclusion.

At certain times I find myself thinking about a trip to South America, perhaps starting off in Colombia, a country I have never before visited and a country that such travelers as Dave from, Troy from, Brendan from and Jasmine from have spoken so highly of that I would be a fool not to place it on my list of possible options.

However, I also have moments when I start to feel as if I need a complete change of scenery right now. After all, I’ve spent such a significant amount of time in a Spanish-speaking, Latin American country over the past two years that it might be healthy to head for a completely different region such as Eastern Europe. I must admit that it is quite easy for me to start imagining myself wandering through such countries as Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria, countries that I have long dreamed of, yet have never gotten around to visiting.

Orchha India
Of course, my mind doesn’t stop there. Before long, that one country that I can never seem to get out of my head starts to take over my thoughts, leaving me wanting nothing else but to be walking down the streets of any of its cities, towns or villages. Naturally, that country is India and it’s been over two years since my last visit, which is the longest I’ve stayed outside of that country at any point during the past decade. Even now, as I type these words, I can picture myself falling to my knees outside of the arrivals hall of the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, and kissing the ground, so happy to be back on Indian soil.

But, wait a minute, what about Africa? There lies an entire continent that I have yet to explore. I must admit that the thought of traveling through countries such as Mali, Sudan, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia is also as appealing a thought as is possible for a long-term traveler such as myself. On the other hand, that thought is also quite intimidating. There’s such a variety of countries to visit in Africa and I would have no clue where to begin.

I just don’t know where to go.

And the above are just a few of the regions of the world that have crossed my mind. Other options include a trip through the Caucasus region, where Eastern Europe meets Western Asia and countries such as Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan await. And far away in the western Pacific Ocean is that country of 7000+ islands known as the Philippines, a country I have often thought about visiting as well. Heck, I’ve even contemplated traveling to Yemen (sorry, mom…but I imagine you’re somewhat accustomed to me traveling to such destinations by now).

As you can see, this is no easy decision. So, even though I will be somewhere new at some point in the relatively near future, I cannot tell you where that will be at this moment.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I should be asking you for advice. So, let me do that right now.

Are there any regions or countries that you would suggest I visit?

Or perhaps there’s a part of the world that you would like to see me travel to?

I know that second question sounds a little strange but I really do want to hear your ideas. And I certainly thank you ahead of time for any input you choose to give!

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Comments 144

  1. Andy

    Yes, Colombia is an absolute must-see. Been there 2 years ago and loved it. Since you enjoyed Mexico and already speak some spanish I’m confident you will not be disappointed. And the security situation is no problem if you use common sense. Actually Mexico is more dangerous these days. Colombia has it all – tropical beaches, snow-capped mountains, modern cities, remote jungles, outdoor sports, museums, history, ultra-friendly people, affordable prices, good cultural entertainment, great nightlife etc. The only thing foreigners don’t seem to like is the the local cuisine which is a bit bland and boring… just don’t tell the locals or they’ll be disappointed. 😉

  2. Tony

    Well, its good to hear that you’re considering travelling here in the Philippines. I am assuring you that you wont get disapointed. My country seems overlooked by traveller of Southeast Asia but certainly, pristine sands and crystal blue water of El Nido, Coron, Bohol, Boracay will surely amaze you. Countryside has a lot offer, you just have to discover the unspoilled places in my beloved country. (In case you will check my blog, there’s no article in it for ive just registered and still in progress of drafting my post.)

    1. Earl

      Hey Tony – The Philippines is always on my list of potential destinations and I’ll get there soon enough. I know I won’t be disappointed, especially after listening to so many other travelers talk about their experiences there 🙂

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  4. John Paskey

    Yo Earl …Yemen is spectacular ( ).
    As an American traveling in Yemen, I can truly say they some of the nicest people I have ever met – probably second only to Syrians). It’s an amazing country. One of the only one’s I’ve found where you can truly feel like your traveling 500 yrs in the past in places. Simply spectacular. If your there, check out Oman also …another one thats off the tourist map but really interesting (and a bit expensive though).

    As for Mali …do it man. We actaully came in “through the backdoor”, driving up from Ougadougoo in Burkina Faso …I would almost consider it a must (along with Sudan and Ethiopia, as well as West Africa in general). Take a trip up the Niger by pirogue from Mopti to Timbuktu, Djenne, and don’t just plan on a day or two at the Bandiagara Escarpment …make it a week, it’s so worth it. I actually drove up from Douala, Cameroon into Nigeria (definitely recommended by not a solo trip for most …but you have more expereince than most), through Nigeria into Benin, Togo to Accra, Ghana …we drove up to Faso from there into Mali than off to Dakar, Senegal. West Africa is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. …actually started the trip in Istanbul. You HAVE to do the Sahara man. It is just spectacular.

    I’m also currently in the middle of a story on Sudan (from Wadi-Halfa to Khartoum) on my blog …check it out if you want. Another almost “must see” of the world. Again, spectacular people, stunning landscapes, no tourists.

    Whatever you do, have fun and keep on going,

    1. Earl

      Thanks for all of that information about Africa and Yemen John! And the simple fact that you described so many wonderful experiences in Africa is exactly why I need to wait until I have a long enough period of time to spend there. I don’t want to pop in and pop out. I want to spend at least six months on that continent. As for Yemen, I would fly there tomorrow if I could. Unfortunately, they have stopped issuing tourist visas at the moment. There’s a rumor they might start up again on October 1st but no confirmation of that yet. Hopefully the visa ban doesn’t last long!

  5. Ekspotīcija

    Hey, Earl.

    Although Latvia has been mentioned already several times, we would like to suggest you try and visit Latvia (and other Baltic countries). Actually now it’s not so cold here in Riga, it’s still sunny (most of the days) and during the day temperatures get as high as +16..+18C, but it’s getting cooler every day and usually around mid November temperatures get below freezing and stay that way until March (with some exceptions). On the other hand, fall is on the way – with golden colors and cool foggy mornings. Beautiful time of year to be here.

    1. Earl

      @Ekspoticija: Latvia and the Baltic countries is definitely a region I want to get to but even 16 degrees is a bit cold for me 🙂 And the few friends I have who live in that area also keep suggesting that I visit them during the summer months so perhaps next summer will be the best time for me to make it up that way!

  6. Trajan

    Hi Earl,

    While it is very understandable that you would want to return to India, I think you must give India’s big neighbor a shot too. Then you would have experienced both of the two rising giants and be able to compare them. These two often feature in the news in such comparison articles, but spending a lengthy time in both would give you rare insights into these discussions. Go to China!

    1. Earl

      Hey Trajan – Thank you for the suggestion of China! And while I definitely want to visit that massive land, it’s strange because it has never really been high up on my list for some reason. I’m not exactly sure why though, so perhaps I should rethink my list!

  7. ken stanphill

    If you’ve never spent much time in East Malaysia Sabah Kota Kinabalu I would go there keep you busy for a month or so.

    1. Earl

      Thanks for the recommendation Ken! I have not spent any time in East Malaysia and do plan to visit Sabah the next time I’m in SE Asia. I have no doubt I could stick around those parts for at least a month from what I’ve heard from other travelers.

  8. Jake Slade

    For someone who has many experiences in many different places, it seems (to me) that as big a departure from the norm is the way to go. I have never been, but Iceland has been enchanting my dreams for a few years now. The colors i have seen in pictures from that magical volcanic island look amazing.

    The the idea of extremems comes into the equation. Look into Ushaia in southern Chile (patagonia?) Pretty sure it is as far south as you can get (tierra del fuego) on the South/North American Continent.

    Think about it and maybe i will see you there.

    1. Earl

      Hey Jake – Thank you for the comment and Patagonia is definitely a good option. I am trying to get to Socotra (that island you mentioned), but at the moment, Yemen is not issuing tourist visas and the island is a part of Yemen. So if this doesn’t change, I’ll need some new plans!

    1. Earl

      Thanks Brendan! I’ll let you know as soon as I make a decision…which is naturally taking a bit longer than expected (as usual). And I hope you’re all settled in and enjoying life down there. Time to rest after your wild trip through Central America!

  9. Bindumadhava

    Hi Earl. I am huge fan of your blog. As I read your blog, one thing I realized is that you have not visited China. Great place and great people. My vote is for China

    1. Earl

      @Bindumadhava – Thanks for that recommendation. You are very right…apart from Taiwan and Hong Kong, I have not visited China. It is on my list though!

  10. Megan


    I just happened to stumble upon your site and I am so glad I did! I’m a college student majoring in International Studies, hoping that I can end up doing the exact thing you are doing with your life; traveling. You are a huge inspiration and I hope you continue to see the world and share your experiences! As for recommendations on new places to visit, I would have to recommend New Zealand. A group of friends of mine recently returned from a 3 month visit and they loved it. You can try things like bridge bungy jumping, swimming with wild dolphins, enjoying great food and wine and beautiful hikes. It seems like a beautiful place for an adventurous person such as yourself. Wherever you do decide to go, I hope you have a great time!

    Good luck and Cheers!

    1. Earl

      Hey Megan – Thank you for visiting the site! And I can say that New Zealand is a wonderful destination. I have visited two times so far and have thoroughly enjoyed both visits. Everything your friends described is definitely true as NZ is like a playground for adults!

  11. Ryan

    Hey Earl, by your travel logs I assume you will get to everywhere eventually anyways.. but out of your options I would have to say the Caucasus countries (particularly Armenia) are certainly enchanting.. You can see how such beautiful cultures are slowly coming out of the wake of the USSR, and on such a budget.. when I was staying in Yerevan I was renting a flat for 100$ near the city centre and eating out at 3$ restaurants, beer included. Armenians are a hospitable people and the scenery and beautiful archaic monastaries are breathtaking

    1. Earl

      Hey Ryan – Thank you so much for adding your thoughts and I’ve actually wanted to visit Armenia for a long time. Last year when I was in the Middle East I hoped to head up there as well but I ended up staying in Syria for longer than expected and by the time I left, it was too cold for me to travel into the Caucasus region. But those prices you mention for a flat is amazingly cheap. If you have any contacts for apartments please let me know!

  12. Edgardo

    Hi Earl! I dont now if you have visited Costa rica, but it is a PARADISE! Costa Rica has beaches, volcanos, tropical rain forest and nice people. I am sure that you will love it.

    1. Earl

      Hola Edgardo! I have actually been to Costa Rica, about 3 times I believe. And I will agree with you…that country has a lot to offer travelers! It will always be one of my favorite destinations.

  13. lindsey

    hey earl,

    I just stumbled upon your blog and find it so inspiring. I think traveling is so important and wish to somehow incorporate it into my life once i graduate. As far as my travel experience goes, I spent a month in Denmark doing an internship this past summer and if you have not been to Scandanavia i definitley recommend it. Copenhagen is a really cool city and the people are so friendly. I tried to make it to Norway while i was over there but the oppotunity didn’t really arise… It seems like a beautiful place (on my list for sure) if you are into natural wonders. Anyway, hope this helps… Good luck on your future endeavors!

    1. Earl

      Hey Lindsey – Thank you for the comment and suggestion! I have spent a good amount of time in Norway and Sweden (both of which are indeed absolutely beautiful destinations) but have yet to make it to Denmark. Although I think I’ll have to wait until the summer for a visit to that region 🙂

  14. Angie

    I too highly recommend Colombia. I absolutely loved it! I loved it so much that I decided to live there for 6 months! Colombia is a beautiful country that will not disappoint a well-traveled person such as yourself. In fact, it was named Off Track Planet’s top destination in 2010 ( and in 2009 Frommer’s magazine voted Cartagena, Colombia as one of the top 12 tourist destinations of the world. I predict that in a decade (or much less) Colombia will be a HOT spot and very trendy location. People are just starting to discover its rich beauty, history, gorgeous architecture, delicious food and not to mention the beautiful locals!
    I would say, judging by your lifestyle that you so generously share with us, your goal is to one day see the whole world. So why not finish up with South America and then dedicate a long, lonngg time in Africa before making your way up to eastern Europe and then heading back to the states.
    Whatever you choose, best of luck to you. I am so thrilled I found your website!

    1. Earl

      Hey Angie – Thanks for adding your recommendation! Colombia is one of those countries that travelers seem to fall in love with so quickly. I’m waiting for one negative comment about Colombia but I’m quite certain that it won’t happen. So naturally, it is high up on my list of places to visit. I’m just trying to work out whether or not I want to spend more time in Spanish-speaking countries right now or if I would prefer to travel to a region with a different language/culture for a while. It’s a tough call.

      Anyway, thanks again for the comment and welcome to the site!

  15. Andrei

    Romania will dissapoint you and Bulgaria, Ukraine and Moldova even more. Excepting Transylvania, there is almost nothing interesting in the territory, only some boring monasteries. The towns and cities are extremely depressing, with hideous Communist appartment blocks. There are some natural attractions but heavily damaged by pollution, deforestation etc. The people is also very closed-minded and unfriendly.

    You can come to convince yourself.

    1. Earl

      Hey Andrei – Thank you for your comment although I personally believe that the rewards of travel have nothing to do with actual sights to see. I’m more interested in meeting people and learning about the culture than I am about going around to famous places. And so far, I haven’t really been to a country I haven’t enjoyed so I’m sure I would find a way to enjoy Eastern Europe as well!

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  17. Ella Claire

    Seeing as NOBODY has recommended Malaysia and after trawling through your posts I think you’ve only been to Malaysia once a long, long, long time ago, I completely and wholeheartedly recommend Malaysia! We’re tropical, summer all year round and not to mention darn cheap 😉 We’re the base of AirAsia so flight tickets here aren’t too expensive, and our food alone should be enough to attract you! 😀 Not to mention the potluck of different cultures, the historical sights.. everything and anything!

    1. Earl

      Hey Ella – You are right, you are the first person to mention Malaysia! I have actually been to Malaysia 3 times (the most recent being this past March) but I still have not explored too much of the country. Usually I get stuck eating Indian food in Penang and find it hard to leave that island 🙂

      But yes, your country is always an excellent choice for a destination and you’ve done quite a outstanding job of promoting it. Consider Malaysia added to my final list of options!

    1. Earl

      Hey Monty – Ha! That’s a great list of recommendations 🙂 A few of those countries I’ve already been to but Romania, Bosnia and Lativa stand out and are all places I want to visit!

  18. Nick

    I’m from Colombia and I live in Bogota. If you decide on visiting us you wont regret it, I can assure you! if you need any info don’t hesitate on contacting me.

    1. Earl

      Hola Nick – Thank you so much for the offer and if I do decide to head down to wonderful Columbia (everyone tells me it’s wonderful down there!) I will definitely be in touch. Much appreciated!

  19. Michelle

    If you hadn’t already been to NZ I would definitely have recommended my home land! But because you’ve already been then I whole-heartedly vote for Africa along with the many others here. It’s been over 10 years since I was there but it was the best 3 months of my travel.

    1. Earl

      Hey Michelle – I really wasn’t expecting so many people to state that the best travel experiences they have had were in Africa. So now I have to listen to all of these votes! Thank you so much for adding your suggestion…

  20. jim

    I can fully reccommend Namibia, Earl, and Botswana also. Namibia, if you take your time and don’t wizz around the place just grows on you. Botswana is exciting particularly up through Chobe. I just spent a month though both( third time to Namibia and still want to go back ) and 3 days running I was surrounded by elephants just metres away. Incredible adventures. Not to mention head on smash and playing hide and seek with 4 lions in the dark, oh and an elephant running around the place too.
    Can’t wait to go back.!

    1. Earl

      Hey Jim – That’s another convincing sales pitch for Africa! And as for Socotra, all I can say is that I MUST get there. It is now a top priority of mine!

    1. Earl

      Hey Jasmine – You have no idea. I can’t get Socotra out of my mind at all after seeing those photos. I told you it was quite a unique destination! Let me know if you care to join…

  21. Sam

    I would love to see you travel in South America, as I’m planning to travel extensively there with my partner from next year. However, I see your reluctance to stay in the Spanish-speaking hemisphere and your inclination for something new. I would also highly recommend the Philippines from my own (limited) experiences there and would be intrigued to see how you experienced it.

    1. Earl

      Hey Sam! South America is always appealing and that’s wonderful to hear that you’ll be headed there next year! Perhaps I should wait until then myself. As for the Philippines, I have now decided that the next time I do find myself in SE Asia, the Philippines will be a must. So that means I’ll get there in the near future for sure.

      As always, I hope you’ve been well!

  22. Charlie

    I certainly think any city in China like Hong Kong or guangzhou would be awesome!! It sounds very interesting to experience the way Eastern civilization does buisness and the people. I have a friend who moved to Columbus, Ohio from guangzhou 1 year ago and he has shown me many cool pictures of the utterly amazing city. It definetly should be a good expirence.

    1. Earl

      Hey Charlie – China seems like one of those countries where no matter where you go, it would be quite an interesting experience. While I have been to Hong Kong already, there are obviously hundreds of other places in that huge country to visit…I’ll get there at some point!

  23. Giselle

    Africa is wonderful, and there is so much to explore, and so many wonderful people.
    I vote Africa. But I can understand why you would want to keep returning to India.
    We haven’t even been there, we’ll be going in March 2012, and I already want to go back 🙂
    India is calling us……But you should visit Africa, where it all began.

    1. Earl

      Hey Giselle – Haha…that is the power of India! And yes, Africa is looking like it will happen at some point on my upcoming trip (with a stop in India of course).

  24. Vishal

    I vote for South America! You can buy British Airways miles and redeem them for your selected destination and a lot of other places in-between. British Airways offer unlimited stop-overs en-route to your destination. You can stopover in Santiago (travel all over Chile and Easter Islands), Rio de Janeiro (travel to other parts of Brazil too), Guayaquil (go to Galapagos Islands from there) and Bogota (travel all over Colombia through that).

    Outbound: MIA/LAX/SFO-SCL-GIG
    Inbound: GIG-SCL-GYE-BOG-MIA

    You can choose your own destinations too. Anyways, now that you’re coming to USA, if you land in NYC, do let me know!

    1. Earl

      Hey Vishal – Thank you for your input! I’ve actually stayed away from using British Airways because of their miles program. If you purchase an economy ticket, you don’t get 1 mile per $1 you spend but about 1 mile for every $5 you spend, which is worse than any other airline. Anyway, I shall be in NYC in a couple of weeks so let’s see if we can work something out!

      1. Vishal

        Hey Earl – I didn’t know that. That’s really terrible along with the fact that they charge hefty fuel surcharges on their metal. Anyways, if you havn’t had an Amex PR Gold Card, with the current bonus (ID: 5985), you could get 75K MR points after spending $1,000 within 3 months and then transfer those points to BA Executive Club. Anyways, wherever you choose, it’s going to be great. 🙂

  25. Marlou

    What about the East Asia, like China, Japan and Korea? There seems to be no mentioning of East Asia in your wish list at all.

    1. Earl

      Hey Marlou – That’s a good point, I was not considering that area but really for no reason at all. My only concern is the weather as I don’t do very well in cool climates at all! And it will be the fall/winter during my upcoming travels, which could make it tough. But yes, the trio of countries you mentioned need to be on the list in the near future!

    1. Earl

      Hey Ryan – I must admit that I have not considered visiting Scotland although I believe that would have to be a summer destination given the location and my lack of any cold weather clothes 🙂 Am I correct in assuming that the fall/winter season can be a bit on the cold side up there?

  26. Brian

    I say africa because you have not been in that area of the world yet yet. Many people here have recommended it. I know when i start travelling Tunisia is one destination that would be cool to visit. I believe it would be something new for you.

    1. Earl

      Hey Brian – It is amazing how many people have recommended Africa, so many people in fact that I simply must listen. It would be an entirely new adventure for me and I have now vowed to make it to Africa at some point during these upcoming travels. It might be after the New Year but I will make it there very soon. Thanks for adding your input!

      1. Brian

        im planning to start backpacking in a about a little more than a year and a half if you ever go there during that time. i think it would be awesome to meet up

    1. Earl

      Hey Matthew – Exactly what I was thinking. Once vampire hunting enters the mind, it’s difficult to think of going anywhere else.

  27. Emily

    Hi Earl,
    Morocco is a good country to start with if considering visiting Africa. As you have a mixture of European culture and the traditional Berbers. Although it has become an increasingly “touristy” location it has a great culture and people. A trip through the Atlas mts. with the Berbers is worth the visit. Also if considering visiting the Middle East, Jordan is a great country to visit. It has very friendly people and less danger than Yemen.

    1. Earl

      Hey Emily – Morocco does seem like a good place to start in Africa and is of course another place that is on my list of places I’ve been wanting to visit for a while. As for the Middle East, I have been to Jordan and also to Syria and Lebanon (all of which I enjoyed) which is why I thought of Yemen. I’m alright with the danger 🙂

      Thank you for your suggestions!

  28. Steve

    I’m almost in the same boat with you in trying to decide where to go next after having been to fifty-seven countries. I too, think you ought to consider Africa.

    My dream is to start in Morocco then go south along the coast then fish-hook around and up into Mali to end up in Timbuktu. As I’ve been to the eastern countries of Africa, I would highly recommend you to fly into Kenya and do a loop around Mt. Kilimanjaro. You will find many small local safari companies in downtown Nairobi. I’m sure you could sign on with a camping safari that would make a two week circle visiting several national parks to see all the wildlife for only $250 or so. Be sure to go to Mombasa if only to go north to Lamu. Then go south and west thru Tanzania to see the Ngorongoro Crater. You can keep going west and south or backtrack and go to Zanzibar and Madagascar.

    Or, check out the Philippians, as it’s way off the gringo trail and high on my list for just that reason. Having traveled all through Southeast Asia, I can’t ever remember meeting another traveler who had been to the Philippians.

    With all that said, you might just consider flipping a coin or drawing from a hat!

    1. Earl

      Hey Steve – The coin method is often the best way to go! As you very well know, such decisions are not easy and when you love travel, every single country sounds appealing. So how do you choose when you want to go everywhere??? I appreciate the Africa tips. I will definitely be headed there in the near future, if not in the fall, then after the New Year, so your tips will come in handy I’m sure!

  29. Nomadic Samuel

    Earl, now that I realize how much you’ve enjoyed India in the past, my vote would be to go back there and explore new and familiar territory. Not only is it budget travellers paradise but sometimes I feel there is more going on in India than the rest of the world combined 😛 You won’t have many dull moments – that’s a given.

    1. Earl

      @Nomadic Samuel – What you wrote is exactly what goes through my head whenever I think of India. There are never any dull moments and there is always more to explore. I could spend the rest of my life over there and every day would still be filled with eye-opening, educational, fascinating experiences.

  30. Me

    Well… according to my experience, IF you decide to go to Africa, you should start in Kenya and then from there maybe head south.

      1. Earl

        Hey Ronald – A poll would be interesting although with so many people suggesting Africa, I think I know what will be the winner 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey James – I don’t think I need to set up a poll, the winner seems to be clear – Africa! However, I think your suggestion of doing both sounds ideal to me. It’s a nice mix of geographic locations and once the cold sets in, I can head towards Africa and keep somewhat warm. Your idea just might be the winner.

  31. Ronald Robbins

    If you decide to make your way down to South America, I’ll be hiking from Peru down through Brazil over a period of a few months! On the other hand, you should check out Antarctica! There may not be a lot of locals to talk to but you may be able to strike up a conversation with a penguin or polar bear! 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Matt – Ukraine has long been a place I’ve been wanting to go as well. And don’t even get me started about Uzbekistan and the rest of Central Asia. That will be a mighty trip one day…a summer trip of course given the location.

  32. marissa

    AFRICA. Gotta be. Life changing experience, man. It will penetrate your heart and soul and you will be forever touched. How have you not been there yet, and what are you waiting for..?

    1. Earl

      Hey Marissa – With that description I want to head off to Africa this very moment! Truthfully, the only reason I haven’t been before is because of my general need to stay connected in order to get my work done (which is all done online). I always felt it would be better to travel to Africa during a period of time when I wouldn’t have to work much and could concentrate 100% on the experience. I’m almost there, just need to finish a couple of projects I’m currently working on!

      1. Marissa

        Wow Earl, didn’t expect you to respond to every comment. And I’m glad you are sold on Africa. I work for an adventure travel company…in Sales…so I wouldn’t be doing my job very well if I couldn’t highlight the benefits! Not that Africa requires “selling.” It sells itself. I understand you’ve got projects, man. But your current reasoning sounds counter to what you say to those who come up with excuses why not to travel. And that’s not the Earlitude (Earl + attitude) we know! You do NOT want to be North of the Equator during the Winter, dude. Africa! Africa! Africa!

        1. Earl

          Hey Marissa – Ha! You’re definitely in the right job 🙂

          It’s not that I’m coming up with excuses but the projects I am working on are what fund my travels. Every year I combine backpacking with staying in one place (so that I can work and hopefully increase my income). Unfortunately, I’ve had to leave Mexico a little earlier than planned and so I still have a couple of months left of work to finish. Either way, I will be in Africa soon! That I know!

  33. Devin

    How about Japan or Brazil? Those seem like a staples for travelers. I also agree about the philippines, I’ve heard nothing but good things. Good luck with such a ridiculously hard decision!

  34. Elise

    I think Africa sounds very exciting. And you say you’re doing this journey at all to educate yourself, so I suggest you become a volunteer at Red Cross or something for a little while and for example give some soup to the poor children in the Horn of Africa. It’s a hunger catastrophy there now, as you may know.

    For me, that’s sound like a great idea. 🙂 I think that’s a great education, and I think you learn so incredebly much about both yourself and others. And life in general.

    I really admire you, Earl! I have always dreamed of doing what you do, because it sounds so incredebly amazing. After visiting your website every day to follow you and get updates on where you are and what you’re doing, I understand that this is something literally everybody can do. But I don’t think I have the guts to do it, unfortunately. Not yet. But I’m only 17, so who knows what will happen in the future. I wish you the best of my luck further on your travel, and I’m sure you’ll have a great travel to the next place. 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Elise – Thanks so much for commenting and offer your suggestion of Africa as well! And as for getting out there and traveling, don’t worry about having the guts right now. You have time and if you find that in a few years you want to travel bad enough, you’ll realize that you have no choice but to take that step into the unknown. Luckily, once you take that step, most of what we were worrying about seems silly and in the end, few people ever regret making the decision to travel!

  35. Erin

    We’ll be in Japan soon so selfishly I suggest there as we want to meet you, and it sounds like an amazing country. I can understand the pull of India though…

    1. Earl

      Hey Erin – Japan is always a good option of course and after all, we need to figure out a way to meet up finally at some point! It’s funny because a few minutes after I published this post, I immediately remembered your posts on the Cook Islands and so I began thinking about a South Pacific loop as well, which naturally could begin in Japan I suppose.

  36. Dede

    I LOVE the eastern Carribean islands St.John,Tortolla,VIRGIN GORDA (the baths) fly into st. Thomas and all the islands are within 1/2 hr. boat ride.My idea of paradise,st. Martin is awesome on the french side[; Diving Meca,snorkel heaven,romantic and beautiful,especially gorda….untouched and vacant for the most part…all to your self……while you are home check out the little island off palm beach,cant remember name but so cool to get away …just off shore…

    1. Earl

      Hey Dede – I also am a big fan of the eastern Caribbean and have already spent a great deal of time in St. Thomas, Tortola, St. John, etc, getting my first taste of that region when I was working on board cruise ships. And St. Martin is one of my favorites as well, both sides, not only for the beaches but also for the Indian food on the Dutch side 🙂 And I will check out the island off of Palm Beach…I’m not sure what it is but I’ll do a little research and find out!

  37. Amanda

    I would definitely go for the Caucasus! I know that people from the States are pretty hesitant to travel there, but considering the Middle Eastern countries you’ve done, I don’t think you’d shy away from it. I have unfortunately never been to Georgia or Azerbaijan, but after living in Russia for four months I’ve developed a soft spot for Georgian food. And, having been to Sochi and Adler, right by the Abkhazian border, I can say with confidence how beautiful that part of the world is. It was unlike anything I’ve seen, and I highly recommend it. Maybe you can do a stop (or two or three..) in Russia as well! Though all of your choices are great, so good luck choosing!

    1. Earl

      Hey Amanda – Finally, a vote for the Caucasus region!! I was getting worried that they would be left out completely. Every traveler that I know who has made it to those countries has been blown away by the beauty as well and you’re right, I would have no problem in visiting that region. I think I may need to figure out a way to combine everyone’s suggestions into one crazy trip!

  38. Nora Lynch

    Hi, since you aren’t feeling a strong preference for a place, perhaps a different focus: like what you’d like to do for the next month or couple of months. Study a language somewhere? Explore a historical or architectural period? (we loved the Painted Churches and Saxon fortress-churches in Romania, for example) Learn to play the sitar or tabla in India, or get to know the lesser known but amazing Jain temples in Rajasthan (if you haven’t already)… Find a great travel book and follow in the footsteps of the author? Do a wine and spa/baths theme in Eastern Europe? Maybe it’s time to volunteer, or perhaps do an active, nature-focused trip? A meditation retreat in Nepal or Thailand as an anchor? Whatever you choose, have a great time!!

    1. Earl

      Hey Nora – Your comment is completely valid and it makes complete sense to me. Such a focus would make a huge difference and there are of course a few specific things I can think of that I would like to concentrate on or accomplish. Honestly, I really appreciate what you wrote as that has made me stop for a moment and remember that having such a focus often does make one’s adventure significantly more rewarding. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with trying to choose where to go but if we decide what our goals our first, then the destination often becomes obvious.

  39. Jeremy B

    Earl-Looking at your map the obvious choices seem to be Africa and South America or if you want to focus on one country you could go to Japan or China or Russia as well among many others. Perhaps a less obvious choice is here in the States. Have you been to Monument Valley, Yosemite, New Orleans, the Grand Canyon? How much travelling have you done here in your home country?

    1. Earl

      Hey Jeremy – Interesting idea you have my friend. While I have visited about 40 US states, I have not been to New Orleans yet. And I was recently talking about this with a friend of mine who was trying to explain how magical that city is to him. Well, thank you for adding an entirely new perspective to my decision! Hopefully I’ll be able to sort it all out and come to a decision.

    1. Earl

      Hey David – I am happy to report that West Africa is now on the radar! I am thinking of starting my Africa trip after the New Year so that I’ll be a little more organized in terms of work. But there is no way I can ignore your, and every other person’s, recommendation to travel to that region.

  40. Oksana

    Eastern Europe! So much history there, great adventure spots, gorgeous nature, and – important – not too many tourists yet. Biased as I am, Ukraine should definitely be on the list, but other countries are also worth a visit. My top suggestions (beside Ukraine) – Romania, Poland, Russia.

    1. Earl

      Hey Oksana – Having not too many tourists is a big plus for me as I really enjoy traveling to such destinations. And even though you may be a ‘little’ biased, I can say that Ukraine has always been a country near the top of my list. For some reason I just never made it there…so perhaps this is the time to make it happen!

  41. Forest

    I would love to see more of Africa but am always a little worried about the vulnerability of so many of the beautiful countries there. I havn’t done South East Asia just yet either but why don’t you try somewhere odd like Iceland or Northern Europe for a short spell to get a different kind of culture to your normal warm stops.

    1. Earl

      Hey Forest – Well, I have been to Iceland as well as most of Scandinavia already but there is always places such as Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia to visit. I do worry about the cold though as all of these warm stops over the years have made it quite difficult for me to be anywhere with cool temperatures, let alone winter in Northern Europe! But I do see your reasoning and I must admit that it really does make sense 🙂

  42. Maggie Dodson

    Hi Earl,
    Like Phil I suggest West Africa and in particular Senegal. I won’t be there until next year but I can tell you where to go and who to talk to and I know that you will love it. Plus Mali (and Phil) is close by………..relatively speaking!

    1. Earl

      Hey Maggie – I think it is safe to say that West Africa will be a destination of mine in the near future. I am thinking of waiting until after the New Year to head over there (so that I can finish up a couple of projects I’m working on) but I am quite confident that it will happen. And I would of course appreciate any advice about Senegal that you may have!

  43. Lydia

    I vote for Africa. Start in South Africa where it’s a bit more comfortable and work your way to Morocco!

    By the way, your blog has inspired my bf and I to abandon the US and head to the seas with a cruise ship sometime soon! We couldn’t figure out how the two of us could work abroad together or fund our adventures without selling out. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Earl

      Hey Lydia – That’s excellent to hear that you’re taking off for some interesting adventures. ‘Ship life’ is going to lead you to plenty of new opportunities…and that of course, comes from personal experience 🙂

      And thank you for the suggestion of Africa…seems like that is the place to go!

  44. cashflowmantra

    I don’t know that I could really offer any suggestions on where to travel next. I am a little disappointed since I was planning to follow you on the train challenge. Oh well, I am sure that you will have interested tales nonetheless.

    1. Earl

      @cashflowmantra: Yeah, I’m disappointed I won’t be going on it as well, but I’m certain that I made the right decision. The format of the challenge changed a bit and in the end I just didn’t think I would have benefited from it enough to make it worth the cost. Hopefully you’ll still continue to follow my travels!

  45. Lotte Sorensen

    I definetely recommend eastern Europe. I went to Romania earlier this year, and it was amazing. There’s so much history in that region and so many contrasts; they are so similar to westerners, and yet so different. The rich are super rich and the poor are way too poor. But all are really nice, welcoming and easy to talk to. Also the countries in that region are in a very interesting phase, still sort of struggling to make the last adjustments after getting rid of communism. I say go 🙂

    Although, I also have a soft spot for Africa. I only been to South Africa, but on my to do list is South Sudan, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Namibia, Botswana… well the list goes on…

    1. Earl

      Hey Lotte – You had me all excited about Romania and then you threw in the last two lines about Africa and now I’m back to square one 🙂 I’m looking at a way to combine both regions as, after all, I do want to visit Eastern Europe AND Africa.

      Thank you for commenting!

      1. Lotte Sorensen

        Sorry about that 🙂 I guess it depends on what kind of adventures you want to get up to? And how long you plan to be out and about. A solution could be to jam the two together – maybe start somewhere in eastern Europe and work your way down to Turkey, through the middle east and on to northern Africa…

  46. Matthew Cheyne

    Hi Earl:) How about considering a cruise to Antarctica via a plane trip to Ushuaia. It’s a bit out of the way compared to other places that you have visited but you’d be able to tick it off your lists of places that you can say you’ve been to. If you do it around January/February your in the middle of the summer in the southern hemisphere so the weather would still be cold but not too bad.

    1. Earl

      Hey Matthew – It’s interesting because a few people have now suggested Antarctica and that is not a place that had even crossed my mind before. I’d probably like to tie it in with a trip to South America as I prefer not to fly in and out of one destination, but to spend more time in one region, traveling overland. But, thanks to your suggestion, Antarctica is on the final list!

      1. Matthew Cheyne

        Hi Earl,

        Most people don’t think of Antarctica because there’s nobody there and that it’s so far away from civilization. But it’s one of the last untouched places on earth. If you were going to do an overland journey in South America you could trek say from Santiago all the way down to Ushuaia through Patagonia and then reward yourself with a cruise to Antarctica. The ship itself would be warm so provided you could handle the outside temperatures of around 0 to 10 celcius at the time if there were any points where you’d stop on on the continent itself; the weather shouldn’t affect you too much.

  47. Cynthia

    You should go to Africa! Visit countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco. In a few weeks, the weather would be ideal to visit those places. If you have never been, I highly recommend it. The experience is no other.

    1. Earl

      Hey Cynthia – Your enthusiasm for Africa is definitely enough to get me excited about traveling there! At this point, I’m actually thinking of heading that way after the New Year as I’ll have more time to spend there if I wait until January.

    1. Earl

      @Total Travel Bug: Caz’s words are very true, especially when you start to realize that almost every country is a potential travel destination!

  48. Maggie

    Go to Africa!!! I think it’s the best choice since you don’t know much about it. Start researching – that always gets me pumped for a new trip!! 🙂

    I went to South Africa for a week in 2006 and it was wonderful! I loved Cape Town. It’s a complex city with some beautiful sights and some painful sights, as well, but that just adds personality. Lately, I’ve really been itching to go to Morocco…all the color, spices, and intricate details make me swoon.

    I look forward to hearing where you decide to go next!


    1. Earl

      Hey Maggie – South Africa would be a must whenever I do make it to Africa, as would Morocco (and I guess everywhere in between considering that they are at opposite ends of the continent!). I’m working on making my plans now and Africa will be included, although that portion of the trip might not start until January. But that’s not too far away!

  49. Olivia

    If I could go anywhere in the world, I would go to Thailand. However. I’m sure you have already been there, so if I were you I would go to… Greenland, or Iceland. Just go somewhere you have never been! And then write about it.

    P.S. Today is another love day for the blog of Wandering Earl.

    1. Earl

      Thanks for that Olivia 🙂

      I have indeed spent quite a lot of time in Thailand over the years but of course, that’s because it is such a great place to visit over and over again. Greenland is another destination I didn’t consider although it will start to be quite cold up there quite soon and so that makes it difficult for me as I’m a warm weather kind of person. No matter where I choose, it will definitely be somewhere I have never been before!

  50. simone

    I can really recommend eastern europe. I am living in Budapest for the upcoming 5 months and it is an amazing city. Plus as an european I should know what I am talking about. Eastern europe will suprise you with its beautifull cities and landscapes. Yes it is more poor than western europe but wandering around you might not even notice it because of the sceneries. Prague, krakua, budapest, romania, croatia, latvia etc etc I could go on and on. Also africa is worth it of what I heard of my brother in law. My sister and he are now in Mali as we speak. Whatever you choose it wilk be an adventure anyways..

    1. Earl

      Hey Simone – Your last line is exactly how I feel. It almost doesn’t matter where I end up going as there will certainly be adventures everywhere. But yes, Eastern Europe is a region I would like to explore some more. I have already visited Czech Republic, Croatia and Hungary and of course, there is plenty of more countries that I have no visited!

      Thank you for making your suggestions 🙂

  51. Caz Makepeace

    You sound more confused than Craig and I. I think the more you travel the harder it is to decide where to go next.
    My vote is for Africa. We love that continent so much and we are sure you will too. Start with East and South Africa to ease you into it.

    1. Phil

      Hey Earl,
      I’m with Caz!! Except, you know I’m gonna say West Africa all the way… Thanks for the Mali link 😉 If you do in fact come to West Africa, let me know. I will be back there in a couple of months.

      1. Earl

        Hey Phil – I am definitely going to be in touch with you for some advice about Africa. I’m really thinking about heading that way after the New Year and Mali will certainly be on the itinerary. Will you still be there in the beginning of 2012?

    2. Earl

      Hey Caz – That is the truth! The decision making has gotten harder as the years have passed, especially when you realize that you can go anywhere, yet also, that no matter where you go, you’re most likely going to have rewarding experiences. So how do you choose under those circumstances???

      Thanks for the Africa vote! It does seem to be the clear leader in terms of suggestions. Now let’s work on getting you guys less confused as well!

  52. Lyuda Tishchenko

    Hi Earl,

    I’m surprised you haven’t gone to Russia yet. If there’s no valid reason that’s keeping you, then why not go there?

    Also on an unrelated note, if you happen to be in NYC and in the mood, you should check out this little restaurant that has some really good Russian food. It’s called Uncle Vanya’s and it’s on 53rd St between 8th and 9th Avenues.

    I hope you figure out the next step soon and in the meantime try to enjoy being in the US. :]


    1. Earl

      Hey Lyuda – There really is no reason why I haven’t been to Russia yet. My only concern about going now is the weather as I generally don’t enjoy being in cool or cold climates 🙂 But I will get there one of these days!

      And thanks so much for the restaurant recommendation. I love hearing about places in NYC that I would never find by myself!!

  53. Audrey

    This is a tough question. You know that I’m partial to the Caucasus and Central Asia. People are welcoming and there are some great adventures to be had there. Some of the most beautiful mountains in the world I’ve seen in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. And the adventures you’d have in Georgia would be fantastic. Additionally, we met some great travelers going through that region.

    Eastern Europe would also be interesting, especially as those countries are changing really quickly.

    However, India is your first travel love. Maybe it’s time to return for a bit?

    1. Earl

      Hey Audrey – I must say that every time I think about a new destination, the Caucasus and Central Asia region immediately pop up as I remember reading through your posts from your travels there. I don’t think I’ve ever read any other series of posts that have gotten me so excited about a region, especially about Georgia.

      As for India, I do miss her dearly. So perhaps I just need to add a month or two over there before I move on to somewhere new. I do plan on getting the 10-year Indian visa when I’m in NYC so that might put me over the edge in terms of excitement and lead to an immediate flight booking!

  54. Leif aka The Runaway Guide

    I bet there are some cool places along Africa’s east coast. Central Asia sounds good as well. What about Japan? It’s not the cheapest place but if you are into seeing fantastic juxtaposition between the high tech and modern with the ancient traditions, Japan is the place. If you decide to head to Japan, let me know. I have lived there for a few years and know how to do it for cheap.

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