I’ve been lucky to have see the world from the vantage point of multiple locations. I started traveling at a young age and have yet to stop and my wanderlust and curiosity for the world were encouraged by my parents, who decorated our family home with pictures of lions and giraffes taken on a Kenyan safari. On the wall of my childhood bedroom was an enlarged photo of my paternal great grandmother riding a camel, posed in front of a pyramid. Love of travel wasn’t only a result of nurture and environment, it’s in my blood. I come from a long line of travelers, from my Civil War era ancestors that went west on horseback to Southern California, to my namesake who went abroad to teach English in Puerto Rico four generations ago.
Living abroad isn’t the same as traveling; this is a common misconception. I have the same day-to-day routine and chores as I would at home. Living in a foreign culture doesn’t always satisfy my adventurous soul and I often catch myself day dreaming about some of the amazing places I’ve been lucky enough to visit, and the places I’d like to see next.
Here are my Top Ten Favorite Corners of the Earth – that I’ve seen so far:
10. San Sebastian, Spain
This beautiful Basque town in the Southern Pyrenees is located around a bright blue bay and guarded vigilantly by it’s patron statue on the hill.
9. Cusco, Peru
The remnants of the Incan Empire and the effects of the Spanish invasion set the backdrop for this fascinating and oftentimes touristy-feeling, highly elevated city.
8. Mendoza, Argentina
The heart of Argentina’s booming wine country is ripe with small city charm with it’s Estancia life and countless boutique vineyards.
7. Lucerne, Switzerland
An ancient Helvetic wall guards the city and a deep blue, pristine mountain lake, polluted only by the downy feathers of swans. The air tastes like Altoids.
6. Portillo, Chile
Enjoy summer skiing in the heart of the Andes, home to a mystical snowy mountain lake and a fantastic ski resort. As you can see, my parents enjoyed it very much.
Dont miss: The pool around sunset, that’s when the party starts.
5. Athens, Greece
The Ancient City and one time stomping grounds of the Olympian Gods and Socrates himself now draws in visitors for its ancient ruins and modern day street art.
Dont miss: Pay your tributes to Athena at her temple on the Akropolis, (aka the Parthenon – for those of you who didn’t write your thesis about it) and wander through The Plaka market and enjoy some delicious gyros!
4. Paris, France
Paris je t’aime. This city is for lovers and romantics. Lovers of love, lovers of art, of architecture, of history, of croissants.
Dont miss: Contemplate The Thinker in the spectacular garden of Le Musee Rodin, ride bikes through Maria Antionette’s private villa at Versailles and will someone PLEASE try some of these tantalizing restaurant recommendations from David Lebovitz!?
3. Kusadasi, Turkey
This Turkish coastal city may be a cruise ship stop, but don’t let that detract from the appeal of it’s long beaches and the unique shopping in Bazaars.
Dont miss: Find yourself a flying carpet, mandolin or at least a pashmina in The Grand Bazaar, and be sure to hit The Largest Water Park in the Middle East. (By far the weirdest experience in my life!)
2. Rome, Italy
The Eternal City, watered by Bernini Fountains and haunted with ancient Roman Ruins wasn’t built in a day, it has been growing since it’s mythological birth.
Don’t miss: After wandering though the Old Roman Forum and taking in the vast collection of Roman sculpture in the Vatican Museum and admiring the ingenious Oculus of the Pantheon, throw a coin over your shoulder into the Trevi Fountain while you try one more scoop of gelato.
1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I challenge anyone to show me a city more breathtakingly beautiful than Rio, with it’s white sand beaches, steep hills and jungle terrain. This city is a treasure.
Don’t miss: Fight your way through crowds of tourists to have your picture taken with Christ the Redeemer, take the gondola up to the Pão de Azucar and sing your heart out at the Copacabana Palace Hotel.
So, what is your favorite place on earth?