This month, I’ll be traveling to Paris, France for the first time. Although I’ve been to Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and South Africa, this will be my first time ever traveling to Europe. I, of course, hope to travel way more in my lifetime, but this got me thinking about where my next stop will be. I ultimately want to continue to travel places that will nourish my soul; that’s why these 5 places have made my travel bucket list.
1. United Arab Emirates
Dubai and Abu Dhabi are apparently great places for first-time travelers to the Middle East to visit. Dubai is known as the ‘more liberal Emirate.’ There are people of all races here as it is made up of 71% foreigners. I’m sure to learn something new with this many cultures in one place. Fun fact: Dubai is also home to the biggest mall in the world and the world’s only 7-star hotel. I have a friend who spent a while in Dubai, and she loved it. Not only did she participate in new experiences, she also ate great food, and found love.
On the other hand, Abu Dhabi is a bit more traditional. It is full of amazing architecture thanks to its many beautiful buildings and mosques, including Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the Capital Gate. It’s amazing to think that, with all of its innovation, the United Arab Emirates was once only a desert.
Since learning about my ancestry, Ghana, also once known as the ‘Gold Coast,’ has been a country that I am determined to visit one day, as I’ve discovered that I am 33% Ghanaian. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to trace my tribe…Ghana was the first African country to gain its independence, in 1957, from the British. Ghana is full of tradition and culture as there are over 20 Ghanaian languages and monthly traditional celebrations. These festivals are a way to celebrate life with music, dancing, and FOOD.
Yams, maize, beans, cassava, plantain and rice form the main ingredients of traditional Ghanaian cuisine, along with savory seasoning (these are my favorite things; this obviously confirms that I am Ghanaian). There are plenty of museums to visit including, The National Museum of Ghana, The Cape Coast Castle Museum, The Volta Regional Museum, and the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and Museum.
The majority of Thai people are Buddhist and their practice is to be kind always. Therefore, the Thai are often known as the world’s kindest people. They could probably teach me a thing or two about being more welcoming. Interestingly enough, the country is also renowned for its reggae and jazz bars; now that’s my jam!
In addition, a majority of the year, Thailand has perfect beach weather, which is awesome as Thailand has over 1,500 miles of coastline. I’ll have no problem finding a peaceful place on the beach to reflect and meditate. Not only that, Thailand has about 40,000 beautifully structured temples. As an animal lover, I figure I’ll have to make my way to the elephant sanctuaries or Monkey Beach. As a bonus, Thai food is one of my favorite types of food.
Aside from Egypt being home to one of the 7 Wonders of the World, The Great Pyramid of Giza, it is also full of ancient and biblical history. Mount Sinai is located in Egypt, where Moses originally received the 10 Commandments, according to Christian faith. The Valley of the Kings is also where many Egyptian pharaohs are buried. Taking a stroll back in time would be my main purpose in visiting Egypt.
The Red Sea also makes for great, relaxing beach days. I’ve been snorkeling once in Jamaica, but diving here can make you feel like the Little Mermaid since, apparently, there are over 100 shipwrecks ‘under the sea.’ And, taking a trip down the Nile will allow me to witness both modern and ancient scenery.
Brazil is heavily influenced by African culture, especially when it comes to food (are you tired of me mentioning food yet?), music, and beautiful brown skin, which means I should feel right at home. Brazil has the world’s second-largest population of Black people and welcomes people of all shades.
When I watched the movie, Rio, years ago, it was then that Brazil made it on to my radar. There are more than 2,000 beaches stretching along Brazil’s shoreline filled with pink, that’s right PINK, dolphins. Pink River Dolphins, or Boto, are the largest freshwater dolphins in the world. I hope to catch a glimpse of one in addition to visiting Iguazu Falls, a collection of 275 waterfalls that flow into the Iguazu River.
Lastly, anyone who thinks of Brazil cannot forget to mention Carnival, which is a huge five-day celebration as the last hurrah before Lent.
These five countries (UAE, Ghana, Thailand, Egypt, and Brazil) have made my travel bucket list because I feel they will each add something that will build me as a person from meeting new and friendly people to trying new and delicious foods, to just celebrating life. I cannot wait for the journey!
What are some places you hope to travel? Leave a comment!