This is hard for me. I have many places I want to visit. I cannot count them on my two hands. But I have narrowed my list to the top three places I want to visit by 2022. This was a recent question to make me prioritize future destinations. But I am going to take the opportunity to dream a little. Maybe they will become a reality. I have an App on my phone called “Visited.” According to this app, I have visited only 25% of the world, some 64 countries. What I am excited about is what’s ahead. I still have 45.6 percent of the world on my remaining bucket list. That’s 103 countries. I got to start since who knows how much more time I have.
COVID-19 hinders my life goals—at least some, and only for now. Learning about other cultures, food, people, and languages is part of my raison d’être to understand human beings better. See my other blog about learning another language and working internationally and the benefits of taking that leap. Being in one place without exploring the world can also hinder mental understanding of the “whys,” “hows,” and “whats” of other people. That’s why I always encourage my family, friends, and colleagues to travel, explore, and try new things that may lead them to an unchartered path in life. Besides, it would help if you learned something in life that may be useful later.
Ghana & Senegal
I am cheating here because even though I had three countries in mind, I could not decide, and someone gave me the idea to try some regional traveling. I would therefore start with the West Coast of Africa, namely Ghana, and Senegal. If time and finances permit, I would also lump Nigeria into the first batch. I had connected to this coast so much that when I visited Liberia in 2020 (my last pre-COVID trip), I felt quite at home with the friends I made there. Some associates in Ghana have already indicated they are ready to set up my visit.
Ghana is beautiful. I believe so only from my research and the people I have met from there. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is the largest Free trade area outside the WTO, with 54 countries and 1.2 billion people. In less than 30 years, this continent will have over a quarter of the world’s working-age population and 2.5 billion people. Ghana will become the headquarters for the Secretariat of AfCFTA. Ghana, I enjoy following their present President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on social media. His policies of letting Ghana produce more along the value chain of raw materials it produces intrigues me. This region is where some people from Antigua & Barbuda originated—European pilferage and the resulting enslavement having triggered forced underdevelopment. I will conduct one of those DNA tests to determine when I am ready to organize the trip.
Tanzania and Ethiopia
I have some friends from Ethiopia that I will lean on to help me organize that trip when I am ready. However, I have not stayed in touch with the one person I know in Tanzania, so likely, I will follow the tourist’s path. Some people like group tours. I feel herded in these tours and prefer to do my own thing or explore with a trusted local. Freelance tourism provides more cultural exposure than a typical song and dance available in curated group tours. However, I fear it when visiting Tanzania, I shall have to succumb. Many islands, beaches, rivers, lakes, national parks, and world heritage sites exist. A safari with a few days in a national park must be in order.
Ethiopia and its neighbor Eritrea seem to have some fascinating food and history. I recently learned about the churches carved out of the rock at Lalibela, a must-see. They are a UNESCO Heritage site. I am especially eager to try the food from Ethiopia and Eritrea after seeing a friend of mine return to her homeland and showcase her food culture in social media posts. I was fascinated, and even now, I am getting hungry thinking about it. Try a local restaurant with your destination's cuisine first to ensure it meets your palate. Traveling and feeling like you can’t eat the food because you are unaccustomed can make the trip dreary since you would always be hungry. Then decide on the dishes that are most appealing to you before you go and remember their names.
I have been to Australia but want to visit New Zealand. Again, I admire their leader, which I mentioned in another blog. She seems firm, level-headed, and cares for her people, even as a politician. Apart from that, there are some fantastic landscapes to see and hikes eager old hiking boots. In New Zealand, you can visit the wilderness and enjoy the rich conglomeration of cultures, including the Māori. They have snow-capped mountains, mist-cloaked fjords, and southern islands that remind me of the Caribbean. Then you can sunbathe in serenity on golden beaches.
Of course, many places in Europe, Asia, and Latin America are still on my list, but these “three” are my big-ticket bucket list items. The timing is yet to be worked out. These will require much time away from the general grind of work. So, planning will have to be a key and sights priorities. Visiting the world outside your everyday surroundings opens your mind to such beauty of people from everywhere. You learn of different values and calmer societies where their values may differ. Some societies, like the Māori, have been around for thousands of years. They are linked to indigenous Taiwanese people. Migration will always occur as the world evolves. Can I get a job to travel and eat?