“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
Commuting to work, paying the bills, doing laundry on a Sunday… it’s too easy to get caught up in the mundanity of our everyday routines and forget that there’s a big world out there waiting to be explored and experienced.
Traveling doesn’t and shouldn’t just mean sitting by the pool and taking hotdog-leg pics for the ‘gram. Even though every vina deserves to clock out from reality and relax, sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone. Travel can be a way to open our minds to new experiences and cultures, it can both humble and empower, and teach us things about ourselves and others that we simply won’t learn by sitting at home.
Ready to pack your bags, grab your best vinas and sail away from the safe harbour? Here are 10 places every vina should visit at least once:
1. WEST COAST, IRELAND
A road trip along The Wild Atlantic Way just might be the best thing you ever do – with rugged mountains, grey skies that almost always mean rain (pack a raincoat!), and wild Connemara ponies running along the beaches, the West Coast of Ireland is one of the few places left in the world that is still so untouched and raw – and the few people you do come across will no doubt be the friendliest you have ever met!
2. KYOTO, JAPAN
Once the capital of Japan, Kyoto is known for its ancient architecture, scenic gardens and tranquil spirit. More subtle than most cities, Kyoto is a place to truly find your zen as you get lost in the Bamboo forest, follow the rules of the local ryokan, indulge in green-tea ice cream, stare in awe at the Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, and maybe even catch sight of a Geisha.
3. CAPRI, ITALY
A short boat ride away from the Italian coast sits the tiny island of Capri. Once you’ve had your fill of sweet bread, zingy fresh oranges that are local to the island, and the creamiest gelato ever, venture down to the shore and bargain with a local boatman to take you to Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto) – a magical underwater cave where the water shines bright like a diamond.
4. KREUZBERG, GERMANY
Berlin is the definition of “cool” right now, particularly it’s bohemian neighborhood Kreuzberg (fondly referred to as Xberg). Founded on anti-establishment values (brush up on your history of the Berlin Wall before visiting), Kreuzberg is literally an outdoor art exhibition – one that refuses to lose its rebellious and gritty nature. Don’t leave without trying a Döner Kebab!
5. BARCELONA, SPAIN
Known as the avant-garde capital of Spain, this architecturally fascinating and historical Catalunya city is the place to visit if you want a laid-back trip that includes long lunches spent by the sea, even longer afternoon siestas, and late nights spent wandering the winding roads of the Gothic Quarter until you stumble upon a hidden tapas bar.
6. MARRAKECH, MOROCCO
Have you ever sat on a roof terrace and sipped sweet mint tea whilst the skies above turned from clear blue to dusky orange? Or how about getting lost in a souk, searching for traditional Moroccan slippers, and bumping into a snake charmer? If not, get yourself to Marrakech – the delightfully exotic city in western Morocco that will win you over with its luxurious riads and stunning mosques.
7. REYKJAVÍK, ICELAND
As the most sparsely populated country in Europe, Iceland was a mostly undiscovered gem until recently – now it’s normal to spot your favourite blogger or Kardashian sister taking a dip in the country’s medicinal Blue Lagoon, surrounded by ice and snow. Once you’ve ticked that off your list, there are hundreds of volcanos, glacier lagoons, black-sand beaches and waterfalls to explore and don’t forget to keep your eyes on the skies as the Northern Lights are something you don’t want to miss.
8. HAVANA, CUBA
Another place that is quickly becoming popular is Havana, Cuba’s capital. Famous for many reasons, one being that the entire island seems to be trapped in a time-warp, people are clambering to visit this vibrant city before the vintage cars vanish from the streets, the pastel Spanish Colonial buildings are replaced by pastel boutique hotels, and free WIFI becomes the norm. That said, the music, the sensuality, and the Cuban people are reason enough to visit even if everyone else is.
9. CHIANG MAI, THAILAND
If the buzzing, urban sprawl of Bangkok doesn’t appeal to you then consider visiting the northern capital, Chiang Mai. From the Elephant Nature Park hidden within the mountains to the dozens of temples and street markets, this is a place where you can completely immerse yourself in the mix of regional cultures, customs, and peoples.
10. YOUR OWN CITY
When was the last time you pretended to be a tourist in your own city? Everywhere has it’s own charms and quirks so take a day or two to explore your surroundings, jump on the local tour bus, visit that new brunch spot, and see your city through fresh eyes. Sometimes, adventure is right on our own doorstep…
What places are on your bucket list? Tell us in the comments! (Feature image via @ceciliablack)