Best, Worst & Firsts: Country Roll Call

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. There aren’t any excuses really, so I’ll just jump right in, and pick up where I left off.

One of my dreams is to travel the world. That simply means to see as much as I can see of the world: countries, cities, people, cultures. The memories I have from my travels are cherished ones and shape me into a human being who is more aware of the different kinds of paradises experienced on islands or in one’s mind, as well as the varied types of hardships people in other countries and governing bodies have to endure. Sometimes one moment in travel can change you forever, but mostly, it’s the bits and pieces from every travel experience saved somewhere in your heart or mind that slowly shapes and empowers the spark of magic that lives in you. It is that magic that propels you to keep traveling, keep imagining.

In honor of that intangible magic residing in me, I have put together a “Roll Call” of all the countries I have been to:
Worst Country Ever – Malaysia (Wait! Let me explain: this trip resulted in a series of unfortunate events including monkeys stealing my belongings and getting groped in the subway station, but I’ll elaborate on that in another blog.)

Inside one of the caves at Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.
Inside one of the caves at Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
That look was the beginning of the end for my bottle of water and umbrella.
That look was the beginning of the end for my bottle of water and umbrella.

Best Country Ever – USA (hahaa, lol… What else did you expect? I’m American, after all. )

Visiting in "America's Finest City," San Diego, California at Balboa Park.
Visiting in “America’s Finest City,” San Diego, California at Balboa Park.

All time best trip EVER! – Costa Rica
Top country I cant wait to return to – the Philippines (2nd runner up, Morocco)
1st Country I could see myself living in (*that I’ve been to*) – Spain (2nd runner up, Costa Rica; 3rd runner up, Hong Kong)
1st Country I’ve ever been to – Morocco 1998
1st country I celebrated the new year in – Jamaica 2000 (2nd, Bali 2014)
1st country I had a fling in – Costa Rica 😮

My first solo trip on a yoga retreat in Costa Rica at Poas Volcano National Park.
My first solo trip on a yoga retreat in Costa Rica; this is at Poas Volcano National Park in 2008.
Trekking the rice terraces of Batad in the Philippines.
Trekking the rice terraces of Batad in the Philippines.
Overlooking the city of Hong Kong at Victoria Peak.
Overlooking the city of Hong Kong at Victoria Peak.
The Hong Kong skyline at that twilight hour.
The Hong Kong skyline at that twilight hour.

1st country I fell in love in – Ghana
1st country I ever lived in – South KOREA!!!
1st country I went ape shit in (like postal, lol, not ‘turn down for what’) – Thailand
1st Asian country I’ve ever been to – Korea
Only *foreign* country I’ve had the pleasure of buying & eating Garrett’s Popcorn in – Japan (For those who are sadly out of the loop, Garrett’s popcorn started in Chicago, IL and is the most delicious gourmet popcorn I’ve ever tasted. They are most known for their ‘Chicago Mix’, which is cheese and caramel popcorn. Mmm, mmm, good!)
1st country I did solo travel in – Costa Rica 2008 (2nd, Thailand)

Beautiful Ghana...
Beautiful Ghana…
The streets of Accra, Ghana.
The streets of Accra, Ghana.
At Duryu Park, in my second 'hometown.'
At Duryu Park, in my second ‘hometown.’
In Seoul, at the Lotus Lantern Festival.
In Seoul, at the Lotus Lantern Festival.
Garrett's Popcorn in Japan. Taste just as delicious as the original in Chicago! *This Garrett's was in the Harajuku district in Tokyo.
Garrett’s Popcorn in Japan. Taste just as delicious as the original in Chicago! *This Garrett’s was in the Harajuku district in Tokyo.

japan

Best solo travel trip (independence/planning wise) – Thailand
A country I grossly underestimated (in a good way) – China
Most magical country – Costa Rica
Dirtiest country – China

Temple hopping in Bangkok.
Temple hopping in Bangkok.
At 798 Art Zone in Beijing.
At 798 Art Zone in Beijing.

One country I’d wet my pants to go to – Cuba
Countries I’m surprised I haven’t been to yet (based on location)- Canada & Mexico
Countries I’m surprised I haven’t been to yet (based on desire) – Italy, France & England (And when I say “England”, I mean London. 😛 )

There are three countries I’ll soon add to the list that are already in the works – I’ll give you a few hints:

1) The first country is one I’ll be traveling to next month, and is officially known as the Republic of China.

2) The second country I will visit in January (which is also the best time to visit), and has two really cool facts about it: a) It’s the only nation-continent in the world, and b) It has the largest Greek population, outside of Greece.

3) The third country is a coveted one on many people’s list, and is the only country I was afraid to travel to alone (thank goodness I won’t have to). It is also where Buddhism originated.

Can you guess what they are?

Wow… that was fun!
Any of you have a best & worst, first time ever, cried-then-laughing-now disaster, or ultimate memorable moment in travel that you’d like to share (cities & countries included)?

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12 comments

  1. Excellent blog and I can’t wait to read more. It’s good to see African Americans who are well traveled and I believe you definitely have a great deal of travel experience in Asia.
    1. Taiwan
    2. Australia
    3. India

    • Hi Jamal, thanks for your comment! And you are correct on all three answers! I’m especially looking forward to the last two: Australia & India. I have noticed, the more I travel, the more I meet other African-Americans who share a love and/or curiosity for travel as I do, so we’re definitely out here. 😉 *Thanks again for stopping by and reading my blog.

    • Hey Ms. Black expat! Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed my blog! 🙂 I checked yours out as well – very cool! So you live in the Middle East? For how long, and how do you like it? I teach in South Korea, and have been enjoying my time here so far. *Thanks for visiting. 😉

    • Thank you, Elle. *What is stopping you from traveling? Sometimes people’s biggest road block is money, for others it’s time, and for a lot more it is them telling themselves they can’t – a mental block you have to overcome.

      But if any of those are an issue, I would start small. Start discovering new places and things in your city and state. Travel the States, or at least the North American continent for starters. There are a lot of ways to travel cost-effectively like sleeping in hostels and guesthouses instead of hotels. There is also coach-surfing. 😛 And if you search online, there are always deals out there from places like Expedia to LivingSocial and Groupon!

      Anyway, if you have any questions, I’d be happy to share what I know. *Happy Travels!

  2. Judging by that pic, Ghana def. is beautiful. I agree, China is the dirtiest country, but I had such a great time there. I recently visited London, tons of places in France and Barcelona. France now has my heart.

    • I can’t wait to make it to France and Itlay, I know they have a lot of amazing places to see beyond their most popular cities. China was great, I’d love to go back. And yes, beautiful, beautiful Ghana! 😀

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