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Article By: Nicole Rafalko (Travels of a College Kid)
Let’s face it that traveling can change someone’s life whether it is the destination you go to or the people you are with or meet. Sometimes it can be the experiences that you go through while at the destination you choose. What I have learned from all of my travel experiences is that the destination can change your life. I recently went to Galway, Ireland for my first solo travel and I have not been the same since. It made me appreciate traveling, and what this beautiful world has to offer in the midst of the chaos we deal with every day. Here are nine destinations that are bucket list worthy that will change your life.
1. Machu Picchu in Peru
Of course, why not include one of the seven wonders of the world. My personal favorite is Machu Picchu because not only do you get to experience this beautiful hike up 7,970 ft (2,430 meters) up a beautiful mountain, but it gives you an appreciation for history. The views are breathtaking, and we can give so much credit to the Inca Empire for this beautiful place.
Machu Picchu is located in the Cuzco Region of Peru. You can either hike the Inca trail or the Salkantay Trek. If you do not want to hike, then you can always opt to go there by bus or train. There are also four operating agencies for the thrill seeker that include biking, rafting, and zip lining. UNESCO might be putting Machu Picchu on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Make sure you visit this beautiful place soon!
2. New Orleans, Lousiana
Home to Jazz, Creole food, Mardi Gras, and the Bayou, New Orleans is another destination that earns a spot on the bucket list. New Orleans is such a colorful city filled with music, good food, and happiness. Mardi Gras is a must do in anyone’s life, and it will change your life. It’s a gigantic carnival that celebrates the start of the Catholic holiday, Lent.
There is so much going on regarding dancing, music, costumes, and of course food. French Quarter is a must see place in New Orleans because of the French cultural influence it has. New Orleans is home to the famous Jazz & Heritage Festival. The best musicians showcase their talent, and it is incredible. The food is fantastic, and of course, the drinks are to die for.
3. The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland
This destination, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful places to see in Europe and probably the most underrated! I love the country of Ireland and everything that it has to offer. From the friendly people to the fantastic beer to the beautiful cities and of course the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs are located outside of Doolin, Ireland which is about an hour south of Galway.
You start off with taking a bus from Doolin that stops at the cliffs. You can visit the beautiful O’Brien’s Tower and hike the 12-mile coastal walk over the cliffs. The cliffs range from 302ft to 700ft tall! The hike alone is gorgeous, and it is the perfect place to contemplate life.
4. Tromso, Norway
We are heading about 217 miles north of the Arctic Circle to Tromso, Norway. The most significant reason why this northern city makes a list is that of the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights are a must-see because of the beauty they bring to the world. Not only can you see the Northern Lights you can also go reindeer sledding and husky sledding. You can always experience an ice fishing trip as well. Norway is a beautiful destination. Even though it is near the Arctic Circle, you can still have a fun time in this winter wonderland. It will change your life because of how different the city is and the things you can experience that you cannot back home.
5. Galapagos Islands
Charles Darwin had no idea what he was in for when he went to the Galapagos Islands. Located 620 miles off the coast of Ecuador these islands have so much to offer. See all kinds of new species that have been discovered or yet to be discovered. Witness evolution, and the beauty of Darwinism happen. You can also observe Penguins living there or swim with the Sea Lions. Go snorkeling there and see the beautiful creatures in the sea or the beautiful sea itself. The islands have gorgeous beaches if you want to do a beach day there.
6. Kruger National Park in South Africa
We are headed to beautiful Kruger National Park located in Northeastern South Africa that covers an area of 7,523 square miles (19,485 square kilometers). It is home to the largest game reserve in the world. You get to experience the National Park by staying in a lodge or a tented camp.
Get close to animals this way and experience nature in general up close. Pick from a range of safaris from private to group ones that will help bring down the cost. Don’t miss out on a safari that is centered around the Big 5 which are elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, and Buffalos. Immerse yourself in the beautiful National Park and visit your favorite animals! Embrace your inner animal photographer!
7. Mount Everest Base Camp in Tibet, Asia
Mount Everest Base Camp is located in Tibet sitting at 16,900ft (5,364 meters). The hike will last at least 14 days. The best thing about hiking to the base camp does not only do you get to say you hiked up Mount Everest, but you also get to explore the various villages that are on the mountain. You also get breathtaking views of other highest peaks such as Mt. Lhotse and Mt. Makalu.
Namche Bazaar is located up 3,500m, and it is the prime opportunity to visit the villages. Experience the food and culture on this beautiful mountain. You will also run into Sagarmatha National Park on the way up. It is a lovely place that has also been deemed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bring out the adventurer in you and go hike up to this beautiful base camp.
8. Tuscany, Italy
After being in the cold, we are now heading over to Tuscany, Italy. It has beautiful art, food, ruins, and of course beaches. Tuscany is located in the Southern Region of Italy and is home to cities such as Naples, Rome, Pisa, and Florence. The best part about Italy is that their trains are fast and efficient so that you can visit multiple cities during your stay.
See the beauty that is the Renaissance art in Florence and then go to the place where Pizza came from, Naples. Take a culinary class and improve your cooking skills as well as test your taste buds. Do not forget to stop over at beautiful wine country and enjoy Italy’s most beautiful wines. Whatever your niche may be, Italy serves everyone’s personality.
I know what you are probably thinking, why Antarctica? There is nothing there. Well, I am going to prove you wrong on that. Antarctica is so new for people to go to that there is so much to discover about it. You will also partake in making history on the continent since so little many people have visited it. There is so much wildlife to see. You can also visit the South Pole, yes there is a literal pole there. You can participate in the icy and very cold Polar Plunge. It is for the extreme traveler, but hey it is not a bad thing to get out of your comfort zone. You can also visit Port Lockroy where it is home to the English Research Station there, then visit the museum and also mail postcards home. You can even climb aboard a luxurious vessel and explore the continent that way.
No matter where your travels take you, you must visit at least one of these places in your lifetime. It’ll change your perspective, maybe even show you things that you can do that you never thought possible. Give your taste buds a whirl and learn some new history. I know my travels have changed my life.