Bessastaðir, the Icelandic Presidential Residence (March, 2013)

Iceland10

While You Are There: Well, you didn’t come to Iceland just to see the presidential palace, did you? Here’s all the awesome stuff we crammed into a five day trip. Blue Lagoon, Northern Lights & seafood dinner tour, the penis museum, Seljalandsfoss, SkógafossReynisdrangar, Gullfoss, Geysir geothermal field, Sólheimajökull glacier, Reynisfjara, Viking horses, elves, great food, and too many people trying to teach us to say Eyjafjallajökull. Continue reading →

Amritsar and the Golden Temple (November, 2000)

Akal Takhat

While You Are There: Sleep on a mat on the floor with the pilgrims, eat in the communal kitchen, make a karah parshad offering in the temple, close your eyes and listen to the the singing, walk around the pool, people watch, strike up a conversation with a student from the Miri Piri Academy, relax, make a donation or volunteer.

Why It’s On My List: The overwhelming serenity and generosity of the place. While it’s just as crowded as the rest of India, within the temple walls you are left to just be and experience. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, or where you come from. There is a peace there that is nearly impossible to find elsewhere in such a crowded and terribly impoverished country. It was also very humbling to be a westerner (meaning wealthy by comparison to most people around me) and have the Sikh community open its arms and provide lodging and food without question or agenda. I’m not a spiritual person or one to meditate in any way, but I spent many hours in the temple and by the pool just listening to the chants and observing the beautiful community that existed within those walls.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.  

Zulu

I spent 6 years living overseas. I lived for extended periods of time in 8 countries and visited 12 more. That impresses some people. At one time, it impressed me. But that was 10 years ago and there are 176 countries I’ve never set foot in. 176. And Antarctica. I’ve already been alive 37 years so it doesn’t seem to me like my countries-visited to traveling-years-passed ratio is very good.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia are very high on my list. The first is likely to happen soon but the second is not. Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are not very easy to get to, and when I go, I’d like to go for a long time. Well, I’d either like to go for a long time, or I’d like to race through them on the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge. Either way. Continue reading →