That cold, lovely island across the pond. Home of meat-pies, cask-ale, and amazing breakfasts. Oh yeah, and home of my mother tongue, the stomping-grounds of Shakespeare, and the birthplace of many of American traditions. (like giant greasy breakfasts)
The place where the West perfected its cuisine. Land of art and culture, railroad strikes, and excellent wine. The whole place has... as the French say... and certain "I don't know what". I could spend a long time there, and not feel like I was missing anything.
The ends of the Earth for many, Mongolia is one of those far-off places that beckons to all travelers. With incredible hospitality, Mongolian people are some of the nicest I've ever met, and with beautiful landscapes, striking cultural traditions, and terrible food... this is one of my favorite countries on the planet.
One of the most difficult places I've ever traveled, China was not easy. I was often sick, confused, swindled, and frustrated... but I was completely amazed by the place. The food was delicious, the people were driven and friendly, and I got the feeling that in many ways... Americans and Chinese are very similar types of folks.
A jewel of the sub-Sahara, this recently independent nation is one of my favorites. Massive sand dunes, one-of-a-kind desert plants, and a vibrant tourist culture... are all things I didn't manage to see while there. I stuck to the out-of-the-way places, and met some people who I'll remember for the rest of my days.
The "Red Island", the island of baobab trees, lemurs, and vanilla. Just off the coast of Africa, yet with a strangely European / Asian subtext... it is a truly unique place. Its much more than a place where zoo animals from New York City wish they were, and much more than dancing ring-tailed lemurs. Though I did see dancing lemurs.
The most distant shore, only 90 miles off the Florida coast, Cuba is one of the most unique countries in the world. Once the U.S.'s preferred trade partner, then its sworn enemy, this island is full of magical contradictions.
I never wanted to go to India. But in 2010, I wound up spending over two months there. Before that, I thought I was a seasoned traveler. I thought I knew what the world was all about. But India blew my mind. The place has everything; billion-dollar mansions and thatched roofs, high-powered celebrities and naked gurus. To see India is to see the human experience.