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Happy feet ... will travel

There is nothing as amazing as experiencing a culture that is foreign to your own. This kind of exposure changes one's perspective for the better and in this world of constant connection, is a pleasant respite from artificial experiences.

Many people, though, are sometimes hesitant to travel to new countries as they are wary of the unknown. They think that visiting someplace 'known' would make for a better, more enjoyable vacation. The expense of traveling out of the country (visa, tickets etc.), language barriers, lack of knowledge of local customs, and not knowing the landscape seems intimidating. However the results could be worth it.

One way to minimize the stress of travel is to choose a tour to go with. There are so many amazing companies offering tours to places all over the world where you just have to sign up and pay - and they take care of the rest. If you are more adventurous though, planning your own trip to another part of the world is a great way to learn about a country's culture, historical sites, food, and language.

Some of the more bucket list items that I have seen people mark off their checklist range from simple excursions to the extraordinary. However, depending on availability and expense, some things are easier to achieve than others.

Here's a short travel list of places to visit to get you started, from the easiest to the craziest…

  1. Canada - From where I am located, this is the safest and easiest travel option. Tickets, if booked in advance, are not more than domestic cities and language is no barrier. However, if Vancouver or Montreal are chosen as the destination, you can experience French influence, European food, and history. Also taking the train from one city to another will cover scenic views through high mountains and would make for a great journey.

  2. Mexico - Beautiful beaches, great food, and short flights make this a favorite tourist spot for many North Americans and even Europeans. However, try to experience the world outside resorts to get the real taste of the country. Some things you can do outside the resort include finding a reputable restaurant outside the resort to go to, going to one of the weekend markets that pop up here and there or renting a car and driving down the coast to see turtles or snorkel near the shore.

  3. UK, Ireland, or Scotland - Language will not be a barrier (mostly) and you can experience amazing history, rolling pastures, and delicious food as these European destinations pack a punch in terms of things to experience. Tickets to these countries can be found for a decent deal if you start watching early enough.

  4. Italy - Architectural ruins, Italian food, and gorgeous coasts. What more could you ask for?

  5. Middle East - Contrary to erroneous public perspective, countries like Qatar, UAE (Dubai being the main city), Jordan are amazing places to visit. Language is not a problem as English is widely spoken, food is delicious and cheap, and there are tons of things to do and see there including Dune Bashing, Camel races, Desert safaris etc.

  6. Far East - Indonesia, China, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam - the list is endless for countries that have surprisingly good food, ancient history, and beautiful beaches. Language may be a slight issue but that is part of the fun.

  7. Australia, New Zealand or Tasmania - farthest corners of the world for unique natural wonders and topography. Language is not an issue though long flights are. Food is mouthwatering and there is plenty to do including going on cruises, snorkeling, diving, beaches or natural scenery.

Ordinary life is focused on the mundane and it helps to break away from the grind. Try out a new culture or two and see how you view your life when you get back.

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