It’s a new year, and to me, a new year means a new destination to dream about. We usually travel in the fall, when the weather is nicer worldwide and the flights and hotels cheaper. So I have some time before we decide on our next destination. We have a few in mind, but then again, in early 2016, we thought we knew exactly where we wanted to go (Wales, Scotland, Ireland — the mister really wanted to see Skellig Michael, the island in the last scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens). We ended up going somewhere completely different (southern Spain and Morocco), and I’m glad we did. Morocco is challenging, and I’m not getting any younger, so it was nice to take it on in a semi-backpacker way. (Besides, I got practically a year’s worth of Instagram posts out of the trip — prepare to see lots of blue!)
But before I get started, some factoids about my travel life:
- My first plane ride was when I was 3
- My first memory in life was on that plane ride when I was 3
- My first solo flight (without my parents) was when I was 12
- My dad’s a big road tripper, so as a child, I traveled practically every year of my life
- As an adult, I’ve traveled every year since graduating law school
- I’ve traveled to over 25 countries in 6 continents, a number of them multiple times (because, seriously, who can resist a second trip to Italy in two years?)
- Some places on my bucket list (meaning, I MUST travel here before I die) include Peru to hike to Macchu Picchu, Nepal, Iceland, Croatia, Jordan, Greece, Burma, Malta, and France (I know, I can’t believe I’ve never been to France). The mister would add Iran to that list.
So in honor of 2017 and our next destination, my post on the Travel Tag.
1. Where is your favorite place you have visited?
Aww, do I have to choose one? There’s no way I could! So here are my top
three five six:
Chefchaouen, Morocco (where the photo above was taken — read more about this magical place here)
Turkey (truly one of my favorite countries)
(Though Korea, in general, is always in my heart.)
2. If you could visit anywhere tomorrow, where would you pick?
Again, a hard question. At this very second, I’d have to say Malta, Sri Lanka, or Zanzibar.
3. Would you rather go on a city holiday or a beach holiday?
Even though some of my favorite places have been beach destinations (Seychelles, Palawan, the Turkish coast), in general, I prefer a city holiday. But most of all, I’ll go wherever there are historic sites — give me a ruin, temple, fortress, cathedral, or palace any day.
4. What are 3 of your holiday essentials?
- A cushion compact, which has UV protection, coverage, and hydration, all in a portable compact, perfect for touch-ups on the go. (The sun is my skin enemy.) Right now, my favorites are Sulwhasoo Brightening Cushion and Troiareuke A+ Cushion (a new K-beauty brand I just discovered and am sooo in love with, currently on sale here).
- A wide-brim hat. This one was indispensable on my most recent trip to Morocco, where the sun is the strongest I’ve ever felt.
- Google translate. I believe in learning a bit of the local language — at least “thank you” and “hello” — as a sign of respect.
5. Are you an over-packer or an under-packer?
Definitely an under-packer. I pride myself in hyper-organization and the ability to fit everything I need for a two-week vacation — yes, even my extensive skincare regimen — in two carry-on bags.
6. What is your favorite thing about going on holiday?
Oh man, what don’t I love about going on holiday? The planning, the plane ride, the journey, the amazing sights, the food, the discovery, the learning, the aesthetic and mental inspiration. I truly love every last aspect of traveling.
7. What is one place that you would never want to visit?
Unfortunately, I’d have to say New Delhi again. Even when we were there in 2009, I felt uneasy, especially about the band of roving young men you see everywhere, apparently with nothing to do in the middle of the day. A few times, these men would harass me, sometimes subtly, sometimes more blatantly. I’ve never felt so uneasy in a country — and I’ve backpacked alone across Asia before!
My concerns were confirmed when, after we returned, we’d read about some sort of gang rape of a tourist seemingly every year. It makes me shudder just to think of it. It’s truly a shame because Rajasthan was amazing, and I’d love to visit different parts of India again (northern India, Goa, Mumbai).
8. Who would you rather go on holiday with, family or friends?
The mister is my travel soulmate. If you can travel together, you can definitely live together. Not to say we always get along when we travel. But between his ability to navigate and find the most amazing local places to eat, and my super organized itinerary of must-sees and seemingly boundless energy on the road, we make a pretty dang good travel duo.
9. What is the most adventurous dish you have tried from another country?
I almost tried hong-uh sashimi, which is raw skate fish, a major sought-after delicacy in Japan and Korea. The way they prepare it in the countryside of Korea is by wrapping the fish in newspaper, burying it in pig dung (you read that right), and letting it rot (er, ferment) for three months. The stench of nose hair-burning ammonia as soon as they unwrapped the fish immediately repelled me — I mean, physically made me pull back — and I just wasn’t able to do it. My colleague at the time, a reporter from Japan, thrilled at my revulsion, gobbled it up like candy. She said that the tiny piece I simply couldn’t stomach would have cost $75 in her home country. Do I regret not trying it? Not for a second.
10. Who do you choose to do this Travel Tag?
I nominate some of my favorite bloggers:
Can’t wait to read your answers!