Rishikesh, India

Poll Results: Incredible India Takes First Place

Derek Everything Else, India 27 Comments

Rishikesh, India
Let me begin by thanking everyone who participated in the travel poll over the past week. There were over 500 voters as well as a few dozen comments in which many of you offered your own suggestions of other countries and regions that you would be excited about visiting in the near future.

As for the results…

Starting with the question of “Which continents interest you more than others?”, the clear winner was Asia as it received a vote from 49% of those who took the poll. The second and third place positions were almost equal, with only one vote separating Europe (2nd place) and South America (3rd place). Africa came in next, receiving a vote from 23% of participants and then Australia and North America filled up the last two spots, somewhat far behind the others.

As for the second question – “Which country/region do you want to visit the most?” – India easily took first place by receiving a nod from 34% of voters. In all honestly, I was more than excited to see India receive the most votes. India certainly is a destination where I would love to organize an informal tour given the 2+ years I’ve already spent traveling/living in that country. It is also a destination that I truly believe every traveler should try to visit but at the same time, I understand that the challenges of India often keep people away. So, what better way to get into the groove of this fascinating land than by joining a small, informal group!

After India, I was definitely surprised to see Argentina take the second spot as I rarely receive any questions about this country from readers. However, it only narrowly beat out Thailand by just one vote. And while Thailand came in third place in the end, it only narrowly beat out Australia/New Zealand by one vote as well. So the difference between second and fourth place was a mere 2 votes.

To see Australia/New Zealand so high on the list despite coming in fourth place in the first question was something I didn’t expect, although I certainly agree that Australia/New Zealand is a region well worth exploring.

And then came Nepal, which was another surprise to me (but a welcome one of course). I just wasn’t sure if Nepal would appeal to travelers/potential travelers considering the typically greater allure of its massive, and more popular, neighbor India. After Nepal, and rounding out the countries that received at least 20% of the votes, came South Africa and Turkey, two countries that have quickly risen to the top of my own list of favorite destinations on the planet.

View of Cape Town, South Africa from Table Mountain

While the remaining countries, such as Indonesia, Czech Republic, Romania, Mexico, Slovenia (I’m going to work on bringing more attention to this wonderful country) and last-placed Guatemala, filled up the bottom half of the results, I was happy to see that every country at least received a respectable number of votes.

There were also some great suggestions left in the comments, including Colombia, Oman, Iran, Egypt, Vietnam, Philippines, Mongolia, Belgium, Greenland and London for the Summer Olympics. Just reading that list makes me want to pick up right now and head to the regions I’ve yet to explore…so many places to see in this world!

So, what’s next?

Within the next few weeks I will write a post with more details about my informal tour project. Right now I can say that the focus of this project will be on small groups (no more than 8 people), unique off-the-beaten-path experiences, building confidence in one’s ability to travel independently and of course, having such a blast doing it all that you’ll want to continue traveling for a long, long time!

The idea is also to ensure that these tours are accessible to as many people as possible by having them offered at a cost that is more than reasonable. I’m not looking to turn this into a million-dollar tour company. I just want to continue doing what I love most and to help others do the same, and that will never change.

Where did I get this idea?

I am often contacted by readers who ask if they can travel with me or if I have an ‘apprentice’ program that will teach them the ropes of long-term travel. After receiving a few dozen of such emails over the last year, I started thinking that maybe I should take this idea and run with it. I did some brainstorming, talked about the concept with some of my closest friends in the travel world and suddenly, the informal tour idea was born.

And I must say that it feels wonderful to think about the possibility of meeting many of you in person should you be interested in participating in one of these ‘toursunique first-hand travel experiences.

Stay tuned for more information and thank you again everyone for taking the poll…


In my next post, I will tell a story about a crazy incident that took place while I was in Beirut in 2010. It is a story that I have been debating whether or not to write about for many months (you’ll soon see why) and now I’ve decided to just write it.

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Comments 27

  1. Sharni B

    Ooo, I can’t wait for your story about Beirut! I loved your post about how confounding your experience there was, as I felt exactly the same when I visited Beirut for 12 days in Feb 2011.

    I cherished talking politics with the locals, as it would always be a fiery/spirited/lengthy conversation, and so hard for a tourist to get their head around the complex (to put it mildly!) views of Lebanese society/politics/government, as it differed wildly whether you were talking to an ethnic-Armenian Christian, a Palestinian refugee, a European-blood atheist university student, a long-term expat aid worker, a Shi’a from the northeast of the country, a Sunni who’s lived in the country since French rule or, as is the case with many Lebanese, a mixed-race person who was caught somewhere in between!

    Lebanon was absolutely intoxicating, especially with the exuberance of the locals (I’ve never met a quiet/reserved Lebanese to this day!)….so I vote for more posts on Lebanon or a small-group tour led by you to this country!

    1. Earl

      Hey Sharni – A tour to Lebanon would be a good one as well! It sure was an intriguing country and even now, over a year later, I still am unable to make sense of what I experienced there. Maybe another trip there is needed in order to get some answers!

  2. Leanna

    Ive spent the last year traveling and upon returning home have spent an abundance of my time, all day-late nights, planning and plotting how to travel for a living. Finding your blog was a great discovery! I look forward to India and a lifetime abroad!

    1. Earl

      Hey Leanna – That’s what happens…it’s almost impossible to get the idea of travel out of heads once we have a taste of it. Hopefully I shall see you in India and get you back on the road!

  3. Bama

    I’m glad India makes the #1 spot! As for myself I’ve been recently researching about great places in India, and oh my! even in one state (i.e. Rajasthan) there are so many incredible things to see! But I surely hope Indonesia will also get bigger attention in the near future.

    1. Earl

      Hey Bama – That is very true…you could spend a year in Rajasthan and never get bored 🙂 And it’s the same for just about every state in India. And I’m sure Indonesia will get more attention as time goes on…so many wonderful places to visit in that country as well!

  4. N!N

    Hey Earl,
    Remember me ??
    I’m looking forward to meet you… we would talk about my failed plan to sneek out.. allthough its still their in my to-do list on top. 😛 now may be you’ll recognize me!

    Anywayz great to know that you are planning to visiting India once again.

    I would like to offer you and your fellow travelers the more insite view of some unknown-to-tourist-destinations near Mumbai region.

    I’m not planning to act as a paid\hired guide asking you to follow me coz I know its irritating specially when people like you wants to explore things by themselves.. I myself havent yet explored much of it so it will be an an adventure only but a bit easy.
    I’m fully aware that above action item may or may not fit into you plan, but meeting me has to be one… 🙂

    1. Earl

      @N!N I do remember you and it’s great to hear from you again! And I appreciate the offer of providing some further insight for us travelers. I shall look forward to sharing the adventure with you and I have no doubt that spending time together with the group would be beneficial for everyone!

  5. Nguyen Ngoc Huong

    Hi Earl,

    I’m Huong from Vietnam. This is my first comment in your website although I’ve written almost all your experience and writing. At the present, I do really love your idea on creating an informal group to India. The reasons are (1) India is the country I really want to go, explore and experience before 25 and (2) ….wish I could meet you directly, face-to-face to know the guy who inspires me a lot

    Waiting for your update and pls keep my emails on track.

    Huong

    P/S: If all of you come to Hanoi, Vietnam, pls call me and we’ll be an informal group 😀

    1. Earl

      Hey Nguyen – It would be excellent if we do get a chance to meet up in India and I’d love to have you join the experience! I shall keep you updated 🙂

  6. Jeremy Branham

    All of them are great countries. I am disappointed in seeing Slovenia so low. Like you, I am a big fan and have done a lot to promote the country. I’ve written a travel guide to Slovenia covering all the bases for traveling there so I really hope that people take note of this country. I will have another post coming up this week on Slovenia (my 8th on this small country). The tourist board and their website is one of the best I’ve ever seen. I would love to spend three months just exploring the country and I hope it’s something I can do it some day.

    OK enough about Slovenia. I’m a fan. We get it. 🙂

    India is both appealing and a bit daunting. For one, the country is HUGE and it’s hard to know where to start. An informal tour would be great. For me, I would also put South Africa up there as well.

    It is quite odd that Australia/NZ did well on destination countries but low on continents. I guess people find other continents more interesting because of the number of countries but Australia/NZ as countries rank pretty high.

    1. Earl

      Hey Jeremy – South Africa would be another great destination for such an experience and hopefully I’ll organize a trip there at some point as well. And yes, you certainly are a fan of Slovenia…perhaps its biggest fan!

  7. Tamara

    Anxiously waiting for the next post on this – if timing and all pans out I will deff try to get a spot!! I was aiming to be in Europe for a few months in Summer and then make it to India for an indefinite stay…
    Nervous about figuring things out on my own still, and though I plan to do it with or without help, this informal tour sounds almost meant to be!

    You already spend so much time with us here answering every question and I’m sure many more in email – it’s so amazing for you to be willing to share even more of yourself. Thanks for that 😉

    1. Earl

      Hey Tamara – Hopefully it will all work out! That would be very cool indeed. And I know the challenges of trying to figure India out before arrival…it’s impossible to know where to begin. But if it does work out, your trip will get off to a perfect start!

  8. Jeanette

    I’m so glad you’re giving Slovenia some attention. The country is unbelievably beautiful. The people, the culture, the art scene, the Julian Alps. I miss it so much.

    I just have to say that I love your blog and the way you’re living! Keep up the good work!

    Love from Finland

    1. Earl

      Hey Jeanette – I really appreciate the comment! And maybe we should organize a travelers meet up in Slovenia…seems like an ideal place for such an event.

  9. Dalene

    Hmm. I think Pete and I may need to apprentice with you, especially if you go to India. I’m truthfully a wee bit afraid to take it on. 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Dalene – It is an intimidating place for sure. And it would be such a great time to share the experience with you guys and have you come along 🙂

  10. Angelyn

    I just love how you crossed out the word “tours” and changed it with “unique first-hand travel experiences.” Love! Love! Love!

    I wish I’d be able to join this “unique first-hand travel experiences” you’re arranging. I hope the odds will be on my favor. I love India so much! It’s my next destination. I am totally excited! No article has ever discouraged me of traveling in India. I want to stay there for at least three to six months, or maybe a year.

    Btw, I also like the idea of how you leave teasers of your next post. Best of luck to you!

    1. Earl

      Hey Angelyn – Well, that is the idea…to ensure that these are not your traditional tours! And I also hope things work out and you’re able to make the trip to India. It sure is an easy place to stay for a year…there’s no shortage of places to visit in that vast land.

  11. T.W. Anderson

    Argentina is high on my list, as is Brazil, which I think is next year…but I voted for Asia in the first part for sure 🙂 After I finish up in Latin America around 2017 or so I’ll be heading in that direction, as I’ve already explored much of the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, so I’d like to see something different for a time.

    Even so….lot of good stuff on that list.

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