Travel is everything. As TS Eliot puts it, and I’m paraphrasing here so do bear with me, the whole purpose of traveling is to return home and know the place for the first time. You see, it’s all about context. Come at life from one angle all the time and you’ll become exactly that, one dimensional. It’s better to see how things are done elsewhere every so often. Throw a little culture into the mix.
But where to begin? By all means, set your sights on the popular tourist traps. Thinking about America? Try Las Vegas. Australia on your bucket list? It’s got to be Sydney. The obvious answers are a great place to start, but what about the less obvious answers? The interesting places that you hear about and say “I’ve always wanted to go there”. Well, here’s your inspiration:
Niagara Falls (America/Canada)
That’s right, America ‘slash’ Canada. It’s on the border between the two. Yes, I know, New York City and Miami, and LA may be more well known, but that’s the point. Go see Niagara Falls and become the person who sailed into the mist and heard the deafening roar of one of the world’s most stunning natural wonders. There’s even a casino and a whole mix of family friendly attractions nearby. See here and start to get excited about becoming the person around the water cooler who’s seen something no one else in the office has seen. Be the explorer for a change, and save a ton by avoiding the price hikes in the major cities.
Oslo is close to the UK. Super close. And flights are cheap. Yet, when we think of the Scandinavian part of Europe, most of us think of Iceland for the blue lagoon, or Finland because of Lapland, and maybe even Sweden for its meatballs. But what about Oslo, the capital of Norway? There’s a Viking museum with actual viking ships. There’s a park jam packed with weird and wonderful statues. There’s a massive new (ish) glass fronted opera house to check out … and the nightlife is unreal. The Norwegians like to mix their music as much as they like to mix their interior design. Bars are eclectic places to say the least. Selfie opportunities don’t come much more unique than this.
Wales is home to much more than the DVLA and welsh cakes. There’s magic to be had in the hills of this ancient land. And none more visually stunning and mind bendingly weird than Portmeirion. You have to see it to believe it. Think of a cross between something a Teletubby would dream about and a kid’s drawing of a town. Then add an entrance fee and open a few restaurants and you’re on your way to the real life strangeness of this place. You can even get married there, if you want your wedding pictures to look like you hired unused scenery from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Once you’ve soaked up the architecture, and once you’ve regained your composure from accepting that this place exists, follow the trail downhill towards the beach and take a short wander along the wooded trail to discover the many money trees. Yep. Actual money trees. You’ll see.
Where would you like to travel next? Let us know in the comments below!
*This article was contributed.