Sitting in quarantine for almost a month now got me thinking. Where would I rather be right now? I’ve seen some pretty amazing places over the years, and having a lot of time to reminisce every day made me remember a lot of them. It’s fun to think that maybe I’ll come back there one day – and who knows, maybe after reading this you will want to go, too?
1. Boracay Island in The Philippines.
Boracay Island is where I started my travels and where I met Micah. After a 6-month closure and with no travelers coming these days because of COVID-19, Boracay’s white-sand beaches are probably more pristine than ever. But Boracay has a lot more going for it than just the beaches. Micah and I met at Legacy Gym, where Micah was staving off urges to go on murderous rampages doing Muay Thai, while I just went for Boxing to try out something new. If martial arts are not your thing there was also dragon boat racing, beach fitness and yoga everywhere, incredible restaurants, infamous Exit bar where fighters, backpackers and holidaymakers met, as well as a really nice fish market where I had the best tuna of my life. Neither Micah nor I have been back there since, so maybe it is finally time?
2. Thakhek in Laos.
Last time I was in Laos I mainly saw the north. Vientiane does not offer much, but Vang Vieng is backpacker central with amazing nature to boot, Luang Prabang is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, but my favorite was Nong Khiaw, which is even north of that. Next to the beautiful nature, it offered that unique mix between some infrastructure but not too many backpackers that can make a place super enjoyable. After Nong Khiaw, though, I realized I was running out of time and pretty much b-lined it to the southern border in 30 hours or so. This meant that I missed out on the famous Thakhek Loop, which is a must if you are comfortable on a scooter or motorbike. So, I have technically been there, but not really – high time to do something about it, and I enjoy driving Micah around anyway.
3. Phuket in Thailand.
Time to fight again, this time Krabi Krabong. You know, since I was a child, I always wanted to do stick fighting. Just because it looked so cool in the movies. And this was my time to do it. So I searched for ‘stick fighting Asia’ and eventually found out about Tiger Gym in Phuket. I loved the excellent coaches and the intense training sessions, but more than that I liked meeting Micah for the second time, completely by accident. Now, Phuket can be nice if you avoid the touristy areas, but I would mainly like to come back there with Micah so we can reminisce about what it was like back in the day and then go and hit each other with sticks for a few weeks.
4. Soulac-sur-Mer in France.
I love camping, and that love started in France. More specifically, it started at the Atlantic coast around Soulac-sur-Mer, where my family and I used to holiday every summer. Now, I’m really looking forward to bringing Micah there, because not only are the beaches incredible, but the French food, markets and little towns are just something that you cannot find anywhere else in the world.
5. Hội An in Vietnam.
Another place I only saw for a day, because my visa was running out and I spent too much time dawdling around in the north of Vietnam. Historic Hội An, a UNESCO world heritage site, is a Southeast Asian trading port and Mediterranean village all at the same time. The city has cafés, tailored clothes (kind of a huge thing there), cheap beer and just a really nice feel that is hard to put your finger on. It would be amazing to come back and spend more than a few rushed hours there.
These are the places I have been thinking about, anyway. They probably have a strong connotation with freedom for me, which makes them extra appealing right now. Always happy to hear recommendations for other places though! I know the internet is full of travelers, who must all be reminiscing about freer times right about now. So, if you have a story of an amazing place that you would really like to come back to, I’d love to hear it!