Ten Places I’d Go Right Now (vol.1)


“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

Something occured to me the other day (no, not that the strawberries I bought last week are by now a mushy, useless red mess in a plastic container.) I haven’t had a vacation…a real vacation…in years. Not since the days of being forced to ride along in the backseat of my parents’ car, watching Middle America fly by as I blissfully listened to my Discman. In fact, in my adult life, I have not actually had what most people would consider a real vacation. You know, the kinds of vacations they give away on game shows. So I thought it wouldn’t hurt to make a top 10 list of places I’d want to actually go, if the Travel Fairy were to visit me right now and tell me I could hop on a 747 and head anywhere. In no particular order:

New Zealand’s Southern Alps

Lovely view at sunset

This is the trip I almost took when I graduated from college.

The Lord of the Rings had just wrapped, as had the long-running Xena: Warrior Princess TV series. Both of which fascinated me endlessly. I have to say, I’m fascinated by a land that can double as Hobbiton, Mordor, ancient Greece, and the steppes of Mongolia, all in two small-ish islands. There’s also the added bonus of not having to pack a Berlitz tape to learn a new language, even if the local Kiwi slang can be daunting. This remains my dream destination.

Hokkaido Island, Japan

Mt. Youtei

Japan is among the most densely populated countries in the world, but its northern islands are more sparsely so. I have always wanted to learn more about traditional Japanese culture and travel in the footsteps of the feudal lords. Plus, I’m dying to try the shinkansen, or bullet train, that has become a major transport in that nation.

Easter Island

Use your head(s).

Another location which has intrigued me ever since childhood. Rapa Nui (as it is known in the local dialect) and its ancient Polynesian monoliths (moai) are about as cool and mysterious as it gets. Plus, you can’t beat it for remoteness (2000 miles off the west coast of Chile) and its warm climate.

Nunavut, Canada

Glaciers in Nunavut

The most remote part of Canada, Nunavut (meaning “our land” in an Inuit dialect) comprises an area the size of Western Europe (!) and is home to only about 30,000 people. With that much wild land to explore, not to mention the native Arctic wildlife, what’s not to like for a solitary?

Southern Cape, South Africa

Let's Play "Where's Wikus?"

So many destinations in the Southern Hemisphere…and this is another good one. I’ll admit I’ve become rather obsessed with South Africa ever since District 9 was released. I hear the climate is a lot like that of San Diego. Remind me to order prawns when I visit.

The Northern Steppes, Mongolia

You want remote?

Statistically, Mongolia is the most remote place on Earth. It’s also the birthplace of the great Genghis Khan, the land of the horse herders and reindeer people, and the cradle of shamanism. It’s not the kind of place one goes to sit on a beach. I first became intrigued with Mongolia as a girl, and the fascination has not diminished. I recently read the nonfiction book The Horse Boy about a man’s quest to heal his autistic son through shamanic methods, and Mongolia was the setting.

Horse Trekking through Iceland

Fire and Ice, and Horses too

Much like its Southern Hemisphere counterpart, New Zealand, Iceland is a land of contrasts. As a horse person, this has always been a dream vacation for me. The native horses (don’t call them ponies) are small but mighty, and their ancestors carried fully armored Viking warriors.No easy feat!

St. Petersburg, Russia

Moon over St. Petersburg

One of my regrets during my time in Europe was that I never got to visit Russia. So much history, architecture, literature…not to mention the birthplace of Ayn Rand and the world’s largest art museum. Of course, to get the true Russian experience, I’d be sure to visit in winter. I’ll be sure to say hi to Trotsky for you…no, wait, he’s dead.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail, Vietnam

Party like it's 1969

The history buff in me wants to do this trip. Not most people’s first thought of a trip through Southeast Asia, but it would be a first-hand research project for my Vietnam-era story. 40 years later, it’s a surprisingly safe place to go, and many with firsthand knowledge serve as tour guides.

The Upper Cumberland, Tennessee-Kentucky

Limestone at Pickett State Park

Close to home, and it’s become one of my favorite places to go and relax. Plus, it’s absolutely beautiful.

Have you been to some of these places? Got comments? I’d love to hear from you…write me at wikusandmurdock@yahoo.com.



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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on October 28, 2010.

2 Responses to “Ten Places I’d Go Right Now (vol.1)”

  1. I can relate to a lot on your list. I want to visit many particular places because I enjoy studying their history and cultures. New Zealand is also in my top ten (once a LOTR geek, always a LOTR geek.) Easter Island isn’t on my top ten, but Stonehenge is… and for the same life-long intrigue factor. Although Easter Island would be cool too!
    I hope you will get to fulfill your dream and visit these places someday!

  2. I would have to completely agree with you about South Africa. Cape Town is absolutely beautiful- I’d love to go money and weather and lots other factors permitting haha. 🙂
    And of course you’d have to have some prawns. ;P

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