Friday Favorites

I like traveling, but I don’t get to do it often. Growing up, my life was full of summer sports, dancing, and school. I played the flute and acted in the play. Even though I took three years of French in high school, a year of Spanish in undergrad, and an intensive French reading course during my master’s, I have yet to put any of those skills to use, beyond saying gracias to the servers at the local Mexican restaurant or talking to one of my BFFs in Franco-Spanglish. 

Several of my friends have traveled or studied abroad, and I have this sneaking feeling that I’m, ya know, really missing out. I’ve been thinking about this a lot more because I’m not getting any younger. I might as well get out there and explore the world while I can, right?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m lucky to have had a family that valued vacations. We just stayed within the US. I did go on a cruise once, traveling to the Grand Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico. But I’d like the opportunity to do some world traveling that is, well, a bit less touristy. So for this Friday, five global places I’d love to visit.

5. Quebec, Canada

This is the most specific one on the list. Even though it would be cool to visit other provinces of Canada, I really want to visit Quebec. Being in the North American continent, it’s not that far away (meaning, I’m pretty sure it would be one hell of a road trip!), but I anticipate it feeling very different. The fusion of English and French cultures–especially since the people of Quebec tend for a purer form of French–would be really fascinating to experience. And this past fall, one of my students wrote about how poutine is. French fries, gravy, and cheese curds? Count me (and my future clogged arteries) in!

Poutine Classique at La Banquise in Montreal. Image by Flickr user yurilong via Wikimedia Commons.

4. Finland

Considering my strong distaste for the cold, this Nordic country being listed is probably surprising. But many moons ago, back when I was 20 or 21, a friend and I almost studied abroad here. Even though that trip never panned out (the courses we needed and the courses we would have been able to take did not match), I still maintain a strange fascination with the country and, more specifically, their education system. It’s also ranked high in happiness, which I think is reason enough to visit.

3. England

A bit typical, perhaps, but who can love as much British TV as I do and not want to visit England? Ever since I first watched Austin Powers, I’ve known I wanted to visit, and that desire has only increased with time. And, really, we all know I just want to go to visit Platform 9 and 3/4.

Image by Sasuz-Stock on DeviantArt. Use under creative commons license.

2. Belize

In seventh grade, I was the only person who had heard of Belize, let alone that was able to point it out on a map. This was not because I was a particularly worldly middle schooler. Actually, I had only heard of the small, tropical country because of Temptation Island, a short-lived reality show that aired when I was in sixth grade and was, clearly, not something I should have been watching. But I thought it was beautiful, and it’s stuck with me all these years later. It’s lovely and romantic. One of these days.

1. France

I recently took Buzzfeed’s “What city should you actually live in?” quiz, and it was no surprise when I got Paris. I honestly don’t know when I fell in love with France. I think it has always been a part of me. I’d love to see the Louvre (I have a great picture my French teacher gave me!), Sacre-Couer, and la Tour Eiffel. But even more I want to go to the beautiful beaches of Nice and visit Versailles and the Bastille. I want to eat crepes and croissants and real champagne. *Le Sigh*

Tour Eiffel - HDR
Eiffel Tower by alfieanni on flickr. Used under creative commons license.

Where do you want to visit?