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5 Places I’ve Never Been (And Why I Want To Go)

I detail the five destinations I have yet to discover that light my travel fire.

The Traveling Brown Girls Blog Carnival, piloted by travel writer and advocate Tracey Friley, has asked various bloggers of colour to write blog posts on designated travel topics. On this go-round, the theme relates to the five places we’ve never been and implores us to explain why we want to go.  See the rest of the posts by other bloggers on this fabulous topic on Brown Girls Fly.

As an avid traveller who always appears to be on the go, I am frequently solicited for travel advice.  A fair amount of these conversations begin with the question, “What’s the ‘best’ country you’ve ever been to?”.  I put the word best in quotations simply because it’s a relative term, so distinct and personal to different people, and also because I’m not really good at itemizing my travels and putting them into ‘best’ and ‘worst’ boxes.

 

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I love different places for wildly different reasons; reasons that aren’t only limited to the tangible aspects of that particular place. So I try to refrain from using the words ‘best’ or ‘top’ wherever I can when talking about the places I have particularly enjoyed — and instead attempt to use the term ‘memorable’. I often cite a rail and boat trip I took through Spain, Portugal, and Morocco in 2004 as one of my most memorable trips ever, but I realize now that it wasn’t really due to the physical geography or cultural features of those countries.  Rather, the trip was an incredible experience mostly due to the feeling of independence  I felt (it was the first big trip I planned without anyone’s aid) and the company  I had (I travelled with a friend… and then two strangers we met on our first stop in Lisbon ended up travelling with us for the duration of our two week trip).

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All that said, however, I can definitely list the five yet-travelled to destinations that stir me and incite feelings of wonder and longing.  While I sometimes suffer from travel fatigue that can make me feel ambivalent about seeing the world, there are at least five places I haven’t been to that  make me excited about travelling. I can’t really rank them from 1 to 5 so instead I’ve put them in alphabetical order.

Bolivia

In October 2011 I travelled solo to Chile and visited the Atacama Desert.  The landscapes were straight out of a science fiction novel: rugged, barren, piercing, and intergalactic.  I heard that the landscapes were even more impressive just across the border in northern Bolivia.  Even though I was within an hour of the border, I just didn’t have the time to go, and ever since I feel like I missed out on a great opportunity.  In the very near future I want to go deep into the Bolivian desert and see the famous Uyuni salt flats — if nothing else the perspective-bending barren fields provide wicked photo ops.

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Brazil

I’ve always been drawn to Brazil because of the culture, beaches, and samba, but it wasn’t until I saw a friend’s Facebook album of Rio Carnival, in full costume because she was participating in the parade with a Carioca samba school, that I realized I really want to go.  I got suited up for Toronto’s Caribana festival a few years back and would love to do the same thing in Rio.
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Colombia

The language and diverse physical geography of the country appeal to me greatly. There are mountains and Caribbean seas and colonial cities and jungles and mud baths and volcanos.  Liebling and I originally planned to go two summers ago but the country is so huge and rich that we knew that two weeks wouldn’t suffice.  Instead, we went to Guatemala and had a great time (it is also very topographically diverse).  Colombia is still very much on my radar, however.
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Japan

Neon and harajuku, sushi and kimono, my love for Japan is frivolous and stylistic.  I got my fill of Asia after living in Hong Kong for two years but I never made it to Japan and I regret it.  I’m hoping to get there later this year.

South Africa

The history and beauty are haunting.  I want to see the difficult past and rejoice in the positive. I want to stand before Mandela’s jail cell on Robben Island, visit the townships in Johannesburg, seek out the prosperous black families in the country and ask them how they have overcome apartheid. And maybe paraglide off of Table Mountain.

Which places do you have an intense desire to see with your own eyes? Why?

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56 Comments

  • Reply
    MzansiGirl
    April 9, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Great list. I would love to go to all of them, bar South Africa because I’m lucky enough to live there 🙂 Its also easy to travel here independently. If you’re planning a trip to SA, give me a shout, happy to advise!

  • Reply
    Arianwen
    April 9, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    You won’t be disappointed with the first three! Rio Carnaval was one of the highlights of my whole 7 months in South America, and Bolivia was probably my favourite country. Don’t stop at the salt flats though. There’s so much to see and do in and around La Paz, and Potosi was an eye opener. Colombia is beautiful and the people really are the most friendly in the world. I say you get yourself over there and do all three countries in one go! 🙂

  • Reply
    OneBrownGirl
    April 9, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Thanks for being a part of the Carnival, Oneika!
    Awesome list and great photos. Isn’t it amazing that no matter how many places we’ve been, there are always more places to go?!?! Happy travels!

  • Reply
    Lynda
    April 9, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Love reading everyone’s wishlists. We share Japan! Brazil is incredible – I’m sure you’ll get there.

  • Reply
    InsideJourneys
    April 9, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Great reading about these places and seeing why you they’ve touched your heart.
    Love, love, love South Africa. I still have a fare watch alert on Trip Advisor! Robben Island made me weep uncontrollably but it was so worth it.

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    April 9, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Nice list! I want to go to all of those places too!!!!

    New Zealand is my number one, then Japan, Argentina, Chile, Brazil. Morocco and Turkey and Jordan are all next in line, as are Mozambique, Thailand, and Greenland. So many places, Oneika!!! 🙂

  • Reply
    TammyOnTheMove
    April 9, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    All of these are on my list too. Apart from Brazil, as I have been. It’s an amazing country. You should really go if you get the chance.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    April 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Every single one of these is on my list, too – especially South Africa and Colombia!

  • Reply
    Emily in Chile
    April 9, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    I want to see the Uyuni salt flats too! That’s one of my big “must do before every leaving Chile” trips. I can see you LOVING Brazil, so I hope you get there soon.

  • Reply
    Catalina
    April 9, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Im happy to see Colombia in that list. Let me know if you need help 🙂 two weeks is tight but you can cover the best places (coffee region, beaches, and jungle)

  • Reply
    Dorothy
    April 9, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Hard to pick just 5!! New Zealand, Antarctica, Croatia, Chile, Alaska…but the list goes on and on and on!!

  • Reply
    Not Just Another Milla
    April 9, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Oneika, I will see you in Japan this summer. It’s a date!

  • Reply
    Andi
    April 9, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    All 5 I have been to and are ranked amongst my favorite!!!!! Brasil is hands down the best.

  • Reply
    Adeola @ Mane Captain
    April 9, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    I can’t believe you’ve been to over 60 countries and have never been to those countries! I would assume they were your first set of destinations! I have most of those countries on my list, with brazil being on the top. I got discouraged from going to South Africa because of high prevalence of rape in the country. Which makes it not safe for a female solo traveller. Amazing you know a lot about those countries! I hope to read your travel blogs about those countries sometime in the near future.

  • Reply
    Soul Pretty
    April 9, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    I would love to visit each and every one of these countries…very inspiring.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      April 11, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      Thanks!

  • Reply
    Monique
    April 9, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    It seems as though you’ve been everywhere, so I was very curious to see what made your list. And let me just say that I’m gloating a little because I’ve been someplace you haven’t (South Africa). I hope you get to Brazil soon, because you’ve got to be able to wear that carnival outfit again. 🙂

    Great list and thanks for participating in the carnival.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      April 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      I still have tons of places to see, particularly in Africa and South America! Will be hitting you up for S.A. tips. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kimvan
    April 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    Great list, let me know when you will come to Japan. I would love to meet up with you.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      April 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      Yay! I’m thinking sometime in autumn!

  • Reply
    5 Places I've Never Been And Why I HAVE To Go | This Diva Travels
    April 9, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    […]   Blog:  Oneika The Traveller (Oneika Raymond) Twitter:  @oneikatraveller Carnival Post:  5 Places I’ve Never Been (And Why I Want To Go) […]

  • Reply
    Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans
    April 10, 2013 at 12:06 am

    I have to agree with Colombia – I absolutely have to go! In 2015, my family and I are planning a family reunion of sorts in Panama where I used to live as a kid, and I definitely want to go to Colombia while there. Chile, Croatia, Japan, and New Zealand are also way up there on my list. And while I’ve been to Brazil, I really really want to go back to see Salvador, Ilha Grande (I was there, but not long enough), and to the Amazon. Oh, and Zambia! The list goes on and on…

    • Reply
      Oneika
      April 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      So many places go see!!! It can be overwhelming at times!

  • Reply
    Eva Jordan-Johnson
    April 10, 2013 at 1:10 am

    We share Brazil in common.Great photos! I have enjoyed following your blog.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      April 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      Thanks Eva!

  • Reply
    5 Places I've Never Been (And Why I Want To Go)
    April 10, 2013 at 1:46 am

    […]   Blog:  Oneika The Traveller (Oneika Raymond) Twitter:  @oneikatraveller Carnival Post:  5 Places I’ve Never Been (And Why I Want To Go) […]

  • Reply
    Juliana
    April 10, 2013 at 4:05 am

    So sad I will be leaving Asia and you’re returning! We could have gone to Japan together! Make sure you get there at some point. It’s wonderful. I can’t think my top 5 right this second, but definitely two of them have got to be Jordan (to see Petra), and Zambia (to see Victoria Falls).

    • Reply
      Oneika
      April 11, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      I know! 🙁 I don’t know anything about Zambia other than that’s where you would go to see Vic Falls. What else is there to see/do?

  • Reply
    Kaylee MR
    April 10, 2013 at 6:55 am

    Sigh travel inspiration indeed! Great list of places to make your way to. I hope to do the same soon with my own list of places 😉

  • Reply
    This Battered Suitcase
    April 10, 2013 at 11:52 am

    This is a great idea for a post – I might do the same on my blog (with due credit, of course!). I’m also really interested in South Africa, and I’m dying to see Bhutan.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      April 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      Yes please do!

  • Reply
    Lola
    April 10, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Love your list (and you in that Samba attire, fierce!) and would like to explore Bolivia as well! I also love your anecdote about the feeling of independence you felt while traveling through Iberia/Morocco in 2004. Travel is the gift that keeps on giving to us all in so many different ways.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      April 11, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      Thanks, Lola! The Bolivian tundra would LOVE your lens, we should go together. 🙂

  • Reply
    Chelle Roberts
    April 10, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Hey Oneika…. Thanks for joining the blog carnival. I love your list — Bolivia, Colombia, Brazil, South Africa and Japan!

    I had a couple near misses (airline folded canceling Colombia, almost went to Japan to see friends but they moved back before I could go) do I definitely need to make those happen. And, I had a couple it-was-too-short experiences (3 days in JoBurg and 5 days in Sao Paulo for a business trip). So, I feel like I haven’t really visited these places either. Thanks for the reminder that these places are waiting for me! I say, let’s go asap!

    Well, I hope you get to experience these places soon!! Happy Travels!

    • Reply
      Oneika
      April 11, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      We should take our travelling brown girl crew to these places!

  • Reply
    Starla
    April 11, 2013 at 1:16 am

    When are you going to The Netherlands?

    • Reply
      Oneika
      April 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm

      Mid-June!

      • Reply
        Dorothy
        April 11, 2013 at 5:49 pm

        I live in the Netherlands. Feel free to stop by!

  • Reply
    Chanelle
    April 11, 2013 at 1:43 am

    Brazil is at the top of my list, strangely enough for the exact same reasons have. I would love to make it for either the World Cup or Olympics. Learning to Samba would be awesome too!

    • Reply
      Oneika
      April 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm

      I really want to learn to samba! I signed up for a class a couple of years ago but it ended up being cancelled.

  • Reply
    Crystal
    April 11, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Great list! Japan is at the top of my “Places I Want to Visit Before I Die” list, along with all the provinces in Canada I haven’t seen yet, Australia, Bali (or Bora Bora), and Russia!

  • Reply
    Janice Temple
    April 12, 2013 at 1:12 am

    Carnival in Brazil would be so awesome!

  • Reply
    April @ AbsoluteTravelAddict.com
    April 13, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    I’ve been to all of your list except Bolivia and they all warrant a return trip! Still haven’t made it to a “real” carnival yet. Must change that soon!

  • Reply
    Andreas Moser
    April 14, 2013 at 11:46 am

    You look sexy in the carnival dress!

  • Reply
    Carol
    April 15, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Your photos are KILLER! Love your carnival photos!!

  • Reply
    Sharee Washington
    April 15, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Great list Oneika. This world is very big, it’s not possible to go everywhere, even if you have visited over 60 countries. Each area is so diverse, just like each of the 50 states in the US are so different. Anyways, I definitely feel you about Brazil. While attending Carnival doesn’t interest me, the culture (and food) does!! I want to go to S. Africa for the very same reasons!! My top 5 would be- Madrid; London; Paris; Dubai; and Maldives. Madrid- culture and language; London- top attractions; met a few nice Black brits; Paris- who doesn’t want to go, whether single or coupled up; Dubai- attraction to skyscrapers and beautiful water. I don’t know much about Maldives, but my twin sister wants to go. Just before her recent surgery she shared that Maldives was a place she most want to visit along with the ones I’ve mentioned. Thankfully her surgery was successful and nothing happened to her, but for that reason it catapulted and remains in my top 5 list. Brazil was right behind, though I could of easily said the same about S. Africa and dozens of other destinations.

  • Reply
    Thembalee
    April 16, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    South Africa is a must!! You will definitely love it!

  • Reply
    Beth
    April 21, 2013 at 11:39 am

    I have never been to SA, and would absolutely love to! Especially for Rio Carnival.

    But you definitely need to go to Japan! I lived there for half a year and just got back from a short trip last week that made me decide to move back once I’m done in Hong Kong. It’s truly an amazing country– so different from anywhere else in Asia.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      April 22, 2013 at 11:22 pm

      Nice!! I’m hoping to make it to Japan before the end of this year! Where do you live in HK? How do you like it?

  • Reply
    Katie
    April 23, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Columbia, Brazil and Bolivia are on the top of my travel list as well! Something about South America is so appealing to me. I love the culture, the language the food- everything! Great post! Cheers

  • Reply
    OCDemon
    May 14, 2013 at 1:29 am

    The best experiences have as much to do with the serendipity of meeting interesting people or finding yourself in funny situations. Sometimes the country’s features kinda make that happen, but other times it’s just a matter of things happening in interesting ways. Colombia is pretty cool, by the way. A not-so-visited country that feels modern and very livable. Very easy to get stuck there.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      May 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      I have heard amazing things about Colombia — currently have a friend working in Medellin and her experiences and photos are drool-inducing! Yes, totally agree that the people you meet can greatly impact your trip!

  • Reply
    weekendroady
    May 17, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    I’ve always had a fascination with Greenland, so if I had to pick only five – Greenland has to top this list. Easter Island was one, but I made it there last year. Outside of that Antarctica, Faroe Islands (might go this year), American Samoa and, well, any country in Africa (as long as I’m finally on the continent!)

  • Reply
    5 places I’ve never been (and want to go to now)
    June 12, 2013 at 5:53 am

    […]   Blog:  Oneika The Traveller (Oneika Raymond) Twitter:  @oneikatraveller Carnival Post:  5 Places I’ve Never Been (And Why I Want To Go) […]

  • Reply
    Lavina
    October 6, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Finally read the latest article(loved every word of it) and this popped up in the sidebar.
    Looks like you’re finally ticking off SA next year!
    🙂

    I have been only to Morocco and I don’t think I can rightfully say ‘I’ve been to Africa!’
    I have Tanzania/Gambia/Namibia/Botswana..heck everywhere on my mind and I hope I get there soon 🙂

    • Reply
      Oneika
      October 6, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      Hey hey thank you!
      I actually went to SA earlier on this year, spent about 10 days there and loved it! Great place!

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