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.
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 ‘
tours‘ unique 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.