It’s time for the new annual rankings, with 10 new countries to add.

It’s been an incredible year of highs and lows- three new spots in the top 10 with South Africa, Antarctica, and the Netherlands- and four in the bottom 10 with Belgium, Uruguay, Chile, and the Falkland Islands.

I ranked the countries based on 14 different categories:

Quality of shopping

Unique and tasty cuisine

Ease of transportation

Historical and cultural depth


No place like it

Cost of living

Woman friendly

# of must see sites

English spoken

Ease of making friends



Pull to visit again

Disclaimer: I am grateful to have visited each of these places and this is a list that is just  based on personal experience.

1) India


india panorama

Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

This country pushes all of my buttons. It’s ancient, it’s diverse, it’s exotic, it’s unique. It’s food is vegetarian-friendly (heck, it wrote the book on vegetarianism.) The clothes are gorgeous, the people are so kind, and wackiness factor means every day is an adventure. If you’re bored of India, you’re bored of life. I can’t stimme zu when people claim it’s not possible to pick just one. No question, India is my favorite country. It opened my eyes to a lot of injustice in the world, and after volunteering with Mother Teresa’s organization, I’ll never be the same. The stereotypes are true. It’s a spiritual reboot.

2) Mexico




We lived in Mexico City for about 9 months during Ryder’s incubation. It has all the conveniences of the States for less expense. It has amazing street food, colorful festivals, happy people, plenty of sunshine and great weather year-round. Mexico feels like home for us more than any other place we’ve been. And it will be for our son as well—he’s a citizen.

3) Guatemala


driving the boat

Driving the boat on Lake Atitlan

This country has been a favorite with travellers for decades and I was no exception. We lived in the nicest place on the most beautiful lake in the world, complete with housekeeping and babysitting, for less money than our typical apartment in a big city with no such services. We met many traveling families there, both I and Ryder had close friends nearby, there were hippies galore and plenty of vegetarian food. I learned Spanish with a tutor who came to the house—who became my friend. We went everywhere by boat and tuk tuk, and the culture was so interesting and the history both tragic and important. The only thing to keep this country from complete paradise is the crime.

4) Austria



An outdoor classical music concert at Schoenbrunn

I have a love affair with the German language and when you can speak the language so many more doors are open to you. I want to teach Ryder this language one day. Well, I’m starting to now. Reading him books in German each night. His first phrase? “Ich weiss nicht.” Not as hot on the food as Italy though. Outdoor music festivals, the comfortable life, unsurpassed public transportation—this place feels like home, and Vienna is ranked every year as the most livable city in the world.

5) South Africa


cape town fish eye

Table Mountain Cable Car

South Africa completely changed my idea of what Africa could possibly be. Cape Town, in particular, has something for everyone. From safaris to museums to history to beaches, from shopping to sports, this far off gem was so livable, we’re planning to live there again for two years soon. It’s the highest quality of life for the lowest cost you’ll find anywhere in the world. The political and economic divisions are immense, and tensions can run high, but there’s much reason to hope that this little country will continue to develop into its full potential. I got to shake Nobel Prize winning Desmond Tutu’s hand here. I experienced Mariah Carey live. We petted a cheetah, and rode an ostrich. And there’s the Garden Route, which is so similar to New Zealand with its hostel scene and stunning landscapes, but it’s much easier on the wallet!

6) Israel and the Palestinian Territories



wailing wall

The Wailing Wall

This place seems to make the world go round. So much of present and past politics revolve around this little country. Ten days was just enough to whet my appetite for more. I love history and I love religious studies. Israel epitomizes all of this. And there’s still so much to see and do there. We were blown away by Palestinian hospitality. We were invited to dinner and walked away with jackets, shoes, and jewelry as gifts from our hosts.

7) Ethiopia


ethiopia boy

Ethiopia is unlike anywhere else in Africa. The cuisine is more unique, the women more exotic-looking, the history more compelling, the people more easily befriended, the sites more diverse than anywhere else we visited on the Dark Continent. Not without its drawbacks—the poverty is not ignorable and there are plenty of problems that accompany that. In some ways we didn’t realize what an amazing experience we were having until after we’d left. Overall Ethiopia was truly an experience that I would recommend to anyone.

8) Antarctica


misty white

Out the window of the Zaandam on Holland America

It may not be a country, but it deserves a top 10 spot nevertheless. It’s the final continent, and thus couldn’t be missed-but the cruise there, the people we met, the lectures attended, the food available, and the alien vistas we witnessed, were unforgettable. It can’t be put into words, merely experienced. Yes, one day I’d love to do it again.

9) The Netherlands



Zaans Schans

It wasn’t until I spent two months in Amsterdam that I learned heaven must be getting everywhere by bike. But I never had to live here during winter. That would be something a bit more difficult, I imagine. I loved the open-mindedness, the way the city constantly reinvents itself, and the fact we had a piano. It’s very family friendly despite any reputation it may have. By train you can be anywhere in the country within three hours. The museum card, which gets you into 400 museums in the country for a year, was my most prized possession while there. And there are towns which cheeses are named after.This city blew away my expectations, and I’ve seen a lot of Europe.

10) (tie)Vanuatu





I couldn’t decide which to kick out of the top 10. And since I couldn’t decide, I just decided to keep both Vanuatu and New Zealand. The people here were unlike anywhere we’ve ever been. As nice or more than Indians, but not as pushy. As cool as the Tahitians, but English speaking and thus more easily befriended. Simple, straightforward, and so so loving to Ryder. Visiting this country reawakened my travel lust and gave me the vision to continue. And we got to stand at the tip of a live volcano.

11) (tie) New Zealand




Campervaning at night

We took a big loss on our camper and so this was probably one of our most expensive destinations—maybe even more than Australia. Yet we often speak nostalgically of our time wandering around the country, free as birds. We love the accents of the New Zealanders, and met several friends, but it’s the landscapes that will probably never compare to anywhere else we’ll ever go. Coupled with the diverse range of outdoor activities, this country felt like God’s own.

12)Turkey and Kurdistan



turkey meal

The feast made for us by Ali’s brother

Wow. This is the most under-rated country for Americans to visit IMHO. So easy to get around—just catch a bus to anywhere in the country. Ancient ruins, beautiful mosques, hospitable people, and plenty of ayran and burek made us stay in Turkey right up to the day our visas expired. We’ve gone back to visit several times since. It’s going through a bit of a rough period currently, causing the drop in ranking. Hoping for stabler times to come soon. I include Turkey and Kurdistan because the two halves of Turkey feel like completely different countries-different culture, language, and even genetic background.

13) Cambodia



Ruins in Siem Reap

This little country was full of surprises and heartbreaking history, but the full impact was realized only after we left… the spider legs consumed, the ruins climbed, the high end hotel for $19/night, the genocide history, the dying man on the side of the road, the fellow travelers met, all left an indelible impression. Somehow, I think Cambodia is where I stopped being a libertarian. Anarchy-which libertarianism approaches– for a country doesn’t resolve issues of privilege, of protecting the people who need it most. Political views can evolve. I guess Cambodia did that for me.

14) Scotland



Carlton Hill, Edinburgh

Scotland, as my genealogical background, was no question a spiritual destination for me, but besides this, Edinburgh is that rare combination of beautiful, ancient, and very comfortable to live. Well, except for the weather. Very kid-friendly, amazing ethnic grocery stores, and English speaking.

15) Japan




Certainly one of the most unique places on the planet-and as I’ve written about before, a country of superlatives. The biggest reason this isn’t higher on the list is the language and cultural barriers that makes it difficult to befriend locals. Nevertheless, in Tokyo, there is a robust expat community and I had my share of book clubs and play groups while there. It’s simply a stunning destination with children and there is a lifetime’s worth of things to do and see there. I feel very fortunate that we got to spend six months.

16) Vietnam



Motorcycles in Hanoi

This country was easy. Easy to get around, easy to meet people, easy to find amazing food. I’d love to come back and stay a while some day… Vietnam is a love it or hate it place, and I loved it. Its maniacal pace reminded me of India.

17) China



crowded china


I almost gave up dating Jacob to go teach English in China. My obsession was not satisfied. I want to see so much more of this amazing and diverse country. It’s like an alternative universe. Nothing is the same as the US. The biggest drawback is the language. It’s very difficult to communicate. We managed by taking photos of everything and showing it to people.

18) South Korea



Kimchi and more

We had the good fortune to know three separate people living in Seoul, so our week here was full of reunions. We got a great introduction to the incredible cuisine from our friend we met in Sydney. This country is quirky, and as one of the only countries in the world to never be colonized by a western power, full of discoveries for the average backpacker. The skin care products here can’t be beat.

19) Bolivia



Lake Titicaca

Regretfully, Ryder and I only spent five days here since we were on our way to the Antarctic cruise. But I was blown away like I haven’t really been elsewhere in South America. It was so raw, colorful, and authentic. Of all the places I’ve been in that continent, this one is the one I’d like to return to the most. La Paz took me by surprise: to address overpopulation, the city began using cable cars to get around and it’s stunning.

20) Italy



Pizza in Rome

Pizza, pasta, and gelato sold on every corner. Opera, stunning architecture and a gorgeous language. I love every minute I’m in Italy. I’ve heard it described as “Disneyland for adults” and I agree. Sometimes the people are a little grumpy; tourism can take its toll, but hey, at least they’re easy on the eyes! Italy has dropped out of the top 10 this year, mostly because we’ve seen so much of it already that there are now greener pastures to explore.

21) Spain




I was surprised at how much I liked Spain. The people are easy-going and good-looking, the weather is great year-round. Beautiful beaches, weekly festivals, and tons of big cities, and plenty to see all over the whole country. I’d really like to visit the north. The food is supposed to be great there.

22) United States



Listening to Bernie Sanders preach in SLC

This is completely ignoring the fact that we have all of our family here (otherwise it would be at the top of the list.) Besides that fact, the US is a very intriguing destination. Despite having road tripped all over it since my childhood, there are so many places I’d still like to see. Mount Rushmore tops the list, but I’ve never visited Santa Fe, Philadelphia, or Nashville (I can now check Portland off the list). I love to get a trip in to a new area of the country whenever we can. I think of the US as the greatest food destination in the world—you can get anything and everything there. It gives me a crick in my back when Jacob calls the US “boring”-that is one thing it is not. It’s diverse, massive, and with endless variety.

23) Macedonia



macedonia far


Another surprise, and not a country I completely appreciated while we were there, I look back very fondly on our experience. Utterly unique—music, food, and lifestyle. Extra points because we had Jacob’s brother to show us around and make us feel at home. The second go round, we really got to know our in-law’s family, and Ryder spent time with cousins. I do believe it is his favorite country.

24) Ghana


ghana visa


The people here were so kind and friendly. And the place we stayed was one of our favorites. Phoenix Rising Magic Resort. I got called to be a Rastafarian here, made friends with a prostitute, visited football stadiums full of people cheering for preachers, and got introduced to black Africa. It made me ready for more.

25) Rwanda


rwanda hut

On our way to visit the gorillas

Pristine. Beautiful. Haunting. I don’t regret visiting here for a moment. The people still seemed shell shocked to me nearly two decades after the genocide. Not so much to do here. There aren’t even shops to buy a drink half the time if you’re out on a casual walk. It was uncomfortable to have so many armed guards everywhere (including in the bushes) and as for the bombs in public places—well, we didn’t want to stay here long. We saw the gorillas face to face here too.

26) Germany


berlin street


Now that Austria’s on the list, Germany has dropped a fair bit. But it’s risen a bit again this year. The truth is, we visit here every couple of years. The people are more cold, and although there are still plenty of sites to see in the country, I do think we’ve seen a lot. The history, the cleanliness, the alternative culture of Berlin are all big draws. And Heiligenhaus is where this whole trip began so there’s some nostalgia to be sure.

27) Russia



St Petersburg

The brief stint we had here only made me more confident that a summer needs to be spent in St Petersburg. Not more though. The weather would kill me. Having inherited my dad’s love of literature and my mom’s love of classical music, this is the city of Pushkin, Dostovesky, Shostakovich, and Tchaikovsky. Absolutely gorgeous, and as the country with the most time zones in the world, a lot to explore. Top of my list yet to visit: the ballet in Moscow and the Hermitage.

28) North Korea


north korea soldier

He never moved

It goes without saying that my curiosity is beyond piqued after visiting the DMZ. Although there are guided tours through the rest of the country, I’d rather wait until it’s possible to go independently.

29) Sweden



In front of the Nobel museum

Sweden is just so dang civilized. Home of the Nobel Peace Prize museum, the Astrid Lingren themepark, and smorgasbords, Stockholm has the prettiest vistas you will ever see. No wonder it costs and arm and a leg just to exist here.

30) Morocco


guard Morocco

The capital of Morocco, Rabat

This country deserves a spot in the middle for its complex mix: it drove us crazy and made us love it at the same time. The hassle, the unsanitary conditions, the downright rudeness we experienced here was unparalleled (except for in Egypt.) Yet the food, architecture, and culture are utterly unique, and we made friends here that we’d like to see again.

31) Lesotho




It was only a day trip we got to spend here, but talk about an isolated, rural, and impoverished nation. It was a way of life I’d never quite seen before: people who wander the landscape-the highest lowest point in the world-herding sheep and wrapped in blankets. It would be quite the opportunity to get off the beaten path, here.

32) Poland



Polish bread

I really liked Poland. It has a distinct cuisine, lots of tragic history which I’m drawn to, and funky, interesting, friendly people. We couchsurfed here, and Ryder made a few friends. It’s definitely a place I’d like to return to. The people seemed endearingly quirky.

33) Egypt



At the pyramids

Not an easy place to live or to visit, especially when we went (immediately after the revolution.) Lots of hassle, confrontation, and traffic. Yet there’s still so much more to explore and see, with so much important history here I’m sure we’ll return.

34) Greece




Again, we visited locals here which much improved our experience. Athens was a bit of a let-down otherwise: polluted and full of shady characters. The Meteora, Santorini, and Rhodes were all travel highlights for their beauty. It was overall an all-around pleasant experience: the weather, the people, the sights.


35) Great Britain


church leeds

Cathedral in Leeds

This ranks relatively highly despite its high expense and similarity to the US because of having friends here and getting experience some of the culture up close, like hen parties, curry houses and Yorkshire puddings. I love the accents and the literary history. And who doesn’t love London?

36) New Caledonia



Noumea from above

This wouldn’t rank as highly if Jacob hadn’t lived here for two years on his mission. We really got a local experience by going back to visit his old friends. I loved the gift bags created by his friends from Wallis and Futuna, including a baby t shirt for Ryder. It is the most developed of the Pacific Islands, and the most French. Those aren’t necessarily my favorites, normally. We’ll almost definitely come back here for the nostalgia though. In retrospect, I’ve moved this up on the list. What a cool experience to get to go back to Jacob’s mission 10 years later.

37) Kyrgyzstan



Lake Issyk-kul

Surprisingly kid friendly, and so hospitable, it was like mixing The Middle East with Asia. Not much not to like about that! Well, except for the food took some getting used to…meat from every part of the animal’s body is a given here. We finally slept in a yurt-a goal of mine-and drank mare’s milk-much tastier than I expected! Our hotel owner literally gave us a spot in his resort for free. The lake Issyk-kul is really beautiful. The language barrier here is immense but it’s still worth it.

38) Kazahkstan



The Russian Orthodox Ascension Cathedral

Our stay here was almost entirely made by our apartment owners, who mimed their way through our 10 day stay with charming antics. I couldn’t believe they gave us a going away gift and personally saw us off at the bus station. Without a single shared word in common, we still got along famously. Lots of kids things here: amusement parks and playgrounds. For a first glimpse of Central Asia, it was pleasant and relatively easy due to the metro and to honest taxi drivers.

39) Serbia



Tesla’s ashes

First place I had culture shock in a while, this is definitely the happening place of the Balkans, with really interesting cuisine, history, and cafe culture. And the museum of Nikola Tesla, who I previously knew nothing about but who is just about the most important person who ever lived, is here.

41) Denmark



Givskud Zoo

Denmark was a pleasant and just overall enjoyable experience. I did a road trip around the country and got to see many cities from which the Hansen side of the family descends. Ryder adored this place. There was a massive dinosaur park and Legoland and so many other kid friendly activities to do. It doesn’t rank higher because it was a little tame for me—as one kebab maker immigrant said, “boring” and of course expensive but very clean and reminded me of Magna, Utah with its red bricked and orderly neighborhoods. Plus, Avis totally upgraded me to the nicest car I think I’ve ever driven with amazing acceleration. I was so relieved that it wasn’t the stick shift that I’d booked. Because it was the first time I’d rented a car alone. With the GPS, it was easy as pie to get around.

42) Slovenia




The food here was incredible. We were only here a couple days, but the country really made a positive impression on me, in terms of beauty, food, and friendliness. Okay, so no one said it was HEALTHY food. This is all cream and cheese: polenta.

43) Uganda


ugandan market

Kampala Market

I feel like we gave Uganda a good run and have no need to go back. Although the people were less friendly than other places in Africa, and it was as corrupt or more than any place we’ve been, the amazingly budget safari we were able to go on was a plus, and white water rafting the Nile was probably a top five experience—ever.

44) Vatican City


vatican city fountain

Loved it here. Saw the Pope. It’s just not the sort of place you normally visit more than once in a lifetime.

45) Argentina



Buenos Aires

It puzzles me a bit why Buenos Aires is such a favorite for so many travelers. The crime is quite bad. The food is steak and pasta—not a foodie’s dream necessarily. The people are self-admittedly a bit stuck up compared to the rest of Latin America. But Iguazu Falls—worth it all and more. The cost of living here is amazing too—an apartment downtown was only $600/month. And, our second visit bumped this up a bit. It’s cosmopolitan for a low price tag-and I love the coffee shop culture. The Christian amusement park is one of a kind, too.




Llamas in Cusco

The food, the prices, and the people make living here comfortably easy. The main downside is the sl-o-o-w internet, and the climate: very cold at night, and so dry. After all, we’re living on top of a mountain. This is the first place I’ve ever been where I’ve had daily interaction and visits with a neighbor. Not as much privacy, but it’s really been very pleasant and homey. I’ve dropped it a bit after a long time in Cusco. It was wonderful to get visits from families and friends to see Macchu Picchu, but it got a little isolating in the mean time here, and I was more than ready to leave after 5 months.

47) Indonesia




I was ready to love Indonesia more than I actually ended up doing. To be fair, we only really visited Bali, which for me was far too touristic and polluted and crowded. If I looked at it from another perspective, however, it really is unique as a traveling entrepreneur hub and a great place for creative energy, with its classes and music and dancing and holistic healing available.


48) Australia


9344033239_e1520cff98_z (1)

Sydney opera house

For me, New Zealand outranks Australia in just about every way. It’s more beautiful, the people are friendlier, it’s cheaper. But in at least one thing Australia has New Zealand beat: its healthcare. I had a difficult breathing problem fixed here that I wouldn’t have trusted a New Zealand doctor to address. The country is just too small. Sydney hasn’t been an extreme (good or bad) from our travels. It’s very comfortable, convenient, and cosmopolitan. Australia is perhaps the country most similar to the US other than Canada that we have visited. Which is ironic, since it seems every German and American I know dreams of coming here.

49) Canada


Vancouver-Acquarium 085


There are some other places I’d like to go to in Canada: like Montreal, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island. Otherwise, Canada is pretty much like being in the States so it’s not exotic enough for me. It’s beautiful, but no me gusta the cold!

50) Northern Ireland



Giant’s Causeway

We loved the Giant’s Causeway and driving through this beautiful country, but I don’t imagine we’ll end up spending much more time here.

51) Hungary


 dancing budapest


My time here was brief—but memorable. Cold fruit soup, outdoor Turkish bath, beautiful views—and a hilarious night of dancing, Budapest was a perfect little trip with friends.

52) Czech Republic


 prague pic


I actually quite liked Prague this time around, but I feel like I’ve seen a fair bit of the country and feel no strong pull to return, especially considering the language barrier and the amount of tourists–the country is in vogue right now. I did get to meet my roommate’s family, and go clubbing. It was definitely a fun time.

53) Latvia




This little country had pizzazz, and it was surprisingly German-esque in its architecture. Plenty of street music and green spaces, and Riga as a UNESCO world heritage site old city definitely charmed us.

54) The Philippines




I went in wanting to like the Philippines more than I did. Maybe because I was feeling isolated and missing family, but I didn’t click with this country. I think to give it another shot, I’d need to go somewhere a bit bigger than Iloilo, where the only thing to do here was go to the mall: which, to be fair, really was a nice mall, with kids activities galore and beauty treatments a tenth of the price from back home. Filipinos are overwhelmingly nice folks, almost unbelievably so.

55) Finland



Suomenlinna Fort

Beautiful city of Helsinski, very cultured, very educated, and chilly. Stockholm charmed me more, hence the lower spot on the list.

56) France


night empty france

Road trip through France

I prefer the passion of the Spaniards, the soft-spokenness of the British, and even the abruptness of the Germans to the snooty sophisticated stereotype of the French. Of course by now, I have met enough French to know this is just a stereotype. I have little interest in the rest of the country compared to other parts of Europe, but Paris—yes, Paris is a city of dreams. Raises the country up single-handedly. Also—don’t get why French food is considered the top cuisine. I find it boring. Sorry, I know that’s shocking. I can’t help it, I just don’t get the allure.

57) Tahiti



Friends in Tahiti

The people here were so lovely. I mean just down-to-earth, easy-going folks. The food was different and unique. But there were a couple drawbacks. First, it’s a French island. This means there’s not much to do, and it’s quite expensive. We also were not anywhere near a beach and there was no way for me to get around but walk. It was a long two and a half months. I would still love to visit Bora Bora.

58) Malaysia



Kuala Lumpur

Ryder and I were lucky enough to meet with another traveling family here and do lots of kid-friendly things together. Malaysia doesn’t have the historical depth or draw for me that Cambodia and Vietnam have, and I think we managed to hit all the main spots in Kuala Lumpur in just 4 days, so I don’t feel a huge need to return.

59) Hong Kong


hong kong view

Victoria Peak

After living in Tokyo for six months, Hong Kong seemed like a second place substitute. It was more beautiful and clean than I was expecting, the food was amazing, and English was spoken-making it like China Lite. Plus, Wednesday is free museum day-I’d be sure to make use of that. Still, the historical depth can’t compare to Tokyo, causing the low ranking on this list.

60) Croatia




I liked Zagreb, it was just a little on the touristy side for me, and it was darn near impossible to find a decent restaurant.  I’ve no doubt there’s much more to be discovered here, but like the Czech Republic, it feels like it’s very in vogue right now, thus crowded, and consequently has less interest for me.

61) Estonia



Patarei Prison

Estonia is the most (self-professed) secular country in the world, and the people are among the coldest that I’ve met. I don’t know if those two facts are related. Jacob would play a game when he went out of just trying to get people to smile.  It was tiresome, and the cold and rainy weather was too. Plenty to do and see, and we had a cozy apartment with a fantastic kitchen (though we never even met the owner). Jacob would probably rate the country higher: lots of entrepreneur friends to go clubbing with. After all, it’s why we chose Estonia: it’s one of the most digital friendly in the world.

62) Belgium




Waffles and fries, beautiful architecture…but what does it have that the Netherlands doesn’t? After only two days here, I couldn’t tell you, hence the low ranking on the list. But such a wonderful hotel we stayed at, best hospitality I’ve received in Europe. His twin sons gifted Ryder two Star Wars toys that he now sleeps with at night.

63) Thailand



Chiang Mai

Seldom has a country been such a let-down as Thailand was. It is because we spent nearly all of our time in Phuket, known as the sex tourism capital of the world. And then in Bangkok, we stayed in backpacker central. So much of what I saw just seemed…tacky. Admittedly, it’s wonderfully cheap, easy to get around, and I didn’t try the street food which is supposed to be the best in the world. I just got the worst food poisoning ever there-I was bedridden for days- and was too afraid to try anything else. I think Chiang Mai would be a good go next time: lots of traveling families go through there and we’d be sure to have a like-minded community. Edited to add, we went to Chiang Mai, but we did not find the like minded community. It was awesome to bathe the elephants, and the people there were sweet, and the temples awe-inspiring…but traffic congestion, pollution, and tourist traps leave me wondering why this is such a perennial favorite. Time to accept that for some reason, my soul just does not vibrate here.

64) Guadeloupe



Island sunset

The people we met had such a chip on their shoulder. We got kicked out of our apartment (that was a first). It’s not easy to learn French here compared to other places and there’s not a whole lot to do. Two and half months was difficult. But the water is unbelievably blue, and always warm. There were some unique Caribbean dishes to experiment making. And it’s where Ryder first came into being, and we made a friend or two there. So maybe we will go back one day.  There are some nostalgic ties here to be sure.


65) Slovakia


train trip to bratislava

Train to Bratislava

I was only here for a day—it’s just an hour’s train ride from Vienna– but the people made an impression on me, as did the state of the schools–surprisingly poor seeming for Europe. I liked the vibe of Bratislava.

66) Bulgaria


sofia church


Look, we only spent a day here so this isn’t a fair ranking. But what I saw didn’t make me want to see more. What I remember: It had some great churches and horrible traffic. Three different transgendered men hit on Jacob within 24 hours. And one taxi driver completely scammed us and he and Jacob had it out in the parking lot. But now I’ve met enough people who love it to realize: Bulgaria, you deserve another chance.

67) Singapore


marina bay sands

Marina Bay Sands

Sorry Singapore. A lot of people love you. I was not one of them. My experience? Bland, soulless, rigid…nothing here won me over. Except this hotel. Marina Bay Sands, one day I will visit this pool legally rather than sneaking up the customer-only elevator to the top.

68) St Lucia


One man cussed me out to my face here. I felt there was a lot of animosity towards the tourists. An island, there isn’t much to do. One day was enough. But that day was very fun! Natural hot springs, the grand Pitons and easy getting out with a local ferry. Even with a last place mention, I’m still happy to have visited this Caribbean island. But unfortunately, I don’t even have a single picture to share of our stay.

69) Uruguay


museum montevideo

The Andes Museum in Montevideo

This was a quick, cruise visit so take this with a grain of salt…but the country came across bland in comparison to other parts of Latin America, and I’m in no hurry to go back. I got to visit the museum which showcased the soccer team that crashed in the mountains and had to survive 72 days in the winter.

70) Chile



Tierra del Fuego National Park

There are online folks who love Chile—like Simon Black for example—but this ranking comes from the simple fact that I had two cell phones stolen here within two days. I met a lovely girl who has stayed my friend on Facebook through that ordeal, and insurance covered one of the phones—nevertheless, I’m in no rush to return to Land of the Pickpockets. Don’t let me stop you though: it’s a gorgeous country.

71) Macau



Shark scrambled eggs

This was a great day trip. There’s just actually zero reason to return. It’s a Chinese Las Vegas, all casinos and mobs of tourists. Still got to see UNESCO world heritage listed Portuguese architecture and try some amazing shark-and scrambled eggs.

72) Falkland Islands


falkland islands

Penguins below

I hesitated to even include this because is it really a country? However, it had its own currency, and it has its own history and gets its own stop with cruises, so on the list it goes. We saw penguins and learned some of the history of the war that happened here. It was a cool little day trip.


I’ve Arrived to My Idea of Heaven

August 29, 2016 Read the full article →

Am I in heaven? Really if I could close my eyes and conjure up what life after death entails, Amsterdam is almost IT. And I never even knew until I arrived… THE FOOD It’s fresh, it’s organic, it’s everywhere. It’s expensive, so often I just get one meal a day but it’s something to daydream […]


Chiang Mai, Why?

August 19, 2016 Read the full article →

(Warning: This is kind of a hater post. Sorry.) Thailand is beloved among travellers and I wanted so much to like it, that despite it failing to thoroughly impress the first go round, I booked us a trip there again just to give it a second chance. This time to Chiang Mai, top digital nomad […]


In Search of A Yurt in Kyrgyzstan

August 16, 2016 Read the full article →

Central Asia, the final destination… In the last eight years, I’ve given a decent amount of time to as many areas of the world as possible, because I had the idea that within each area of the world, neighboring countries are somewhat similar. But I wanted to get an idea of what each area of […]


Conversations from Cape Town

July 22, 2016 Read the full article →

The guy next to me at the Mariah Carey concert “Let me tell you something about Africa. Nigeria will steal your money. South Africa, it’ll steal your life, just for the sake of a penny. But Benin? It’ll steal your soul.” This was in reference to the voodoo that’s the national religion of Benin-which I […]


34 Days to a Better Quality of Life in Cape Town

June 7, 2016 Read the full article →

No matter how much time you have here, it won’t be enough. Take a glimpse at what you can do and see in this paradise… 1. Tour UNESCO World Heritage site Robben Island. The reviews on TripAdvisor are unjustly harsh. I felt it was a special experience to see where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated. 2. […]


San Diego or Cape Town?

April 24, 2016 Read the full article →
mormon battalion

Jacob and I like to banter about which area of the United States could possibly have the ideal set up. As I always say, home is where your friends and family are, but taking that out of the equation…What city in the United States has it all? In the month of March, we visited at […]


Second Impressions of Buenos Aires

March 28, 2016 Read the full article →

  It was COMPLETELY different this time around.   Last time in 2009 the following happened: 1- An attempted mugging on first day, 2- We lived in Congreso which is a dirty and dark area of town. 3-The food seemed to be for the most part very bland.   This time around we stayed in […]


The Best Cruise Line to Visit Antarctica With Kids

February 15, 2016 Read the full article →

When we were in Cusco, Peru, it occurred to me: We were in South America already, the gateway to Antarctica– and it would make our 7th continent in 7 years of full time travel. Why not? I started to get discouraged after emailing a lot of cruise companies. Most would not consider taking a three […]


2015 Highlights

February 7, 2016 Read the full article →
mickey mouse

Also Known as the Year Called: Someone Please Save Me From Myself, I Am Out of Control January USA   Family vacay to Disneyland Samantha let Ryder open all of her bridal shower gifts Regan and Samantha’s Wedding Reunion with best buds from Study Abroad. Where’s my baby?…He’s too big now. Thai Ruby’s: Our original […]