My Top 40 Country Bucket List

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A typical day in the life of Ryder

I want to go everywhere.

There’s no country so small or historically insignificant that I wouldn’t like to visit.

But it’s true that some countries have more allure than others.

The following are countries that I am especially excited to visit. It may seem like a long list, but leaving out 130 or so countries is pretty hard! (We’ve been to over 30 already.)

I feel a stronger pull to Asia and Europe than I do to Latin America, the Caribbean, or the South Pacific.

What’s on YOUR country bucket list?

IMG_2268  Asia (7 countries)

Philippines

Supposedly some of the nicest folks in the world, dirt cheap, beaches and big city right next to each other, and many of our outsourcers live here.

Japan

One of the cultural hubs of the world. So many reasons to come here. The festivals, the history, the unique religion, the temples and shrines, the FOOD. I grew up hearing about Japan since my dad lived there. Could definitely stay here a while. Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Kyoto are all must-sees.

Indonesia

Something very mystical about this place that draws me. Gorgeous statues and exotic animals like komodo dragons, and the gamelan orchestras. Eat, Love, Pray helped to encourage this one too. Cheap enough to live like a king.

Cambodia

Angkor Wat would be enough to visit this country, but the people are supposedly some of the nicest in Asia and I’m drawn to their tragic history.

Vietnam

Everybody loves to weigh in on this country—seems like you love it or you hate it. The food would be enough reason to visit, but America’s involvement in the war is a big pull too.

Bangladesh

Something seems tragic and beautiful about the overcrowded metropolises of this impoverished little country.

Nepal

Kathmandu is said to be one of the most spiritual cities on the planet. This country is a backpacker’s favorite.

englandcove Europe (7 countries)

Ireland

Lots of cultural references in literature including Gone With the Wind (my favorite book), the history, Giant’s Causeway, someone in India telling me Ireland is a very spiritual destination.

Scotland

I would love to go visit or even live in the city my ancestors hail from.

Denmark

I want to know what the people are like since I have Danish ancestors on both sides. We visited Germany and parts of Jacob’s personality make so much more sense now (he loves ORDNUNG!) and it would be fun to get the same insight for me.

Netherlands

I’ve long been a big fan of Anne Frank and van Gogh.

Romania

Supposedly the nicest Europeans and the most hospitable. I worked on a culture guide for this country at an internship in college. I like Dracula. And several travelers I know of list this country at the top.

Poland

I’m a World War II history buff, and Poland along with Germany is a must-visit country for that reason.

Portugal

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Vegetarian Portuguese paella

It’s had surprising influence around the world—you can tell by the random far-flung corners that speak Portuguese. This relatively inexpensive European country is supposed to be very beautiful, as well.

GolfCourseHotel Africa (7 countries)

Tanzania

Several famous sites here: Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti, and Zanzibar. All tantalizing and exotic exciting sounding names…

Benin

I’m very, very excited to visit the voodoo festival here one day. It’s the only country in the world with voodoo as the national religion.

Mali

Besides Timbuktu, there are some very exotic and colorful places in this country that look quite unique.

Senegal

We’ve made some really terrific friends from this country. I think we would make many more if we visited.

Burkina Faso

Again, this country is known for being very peaceful and very friendly. Would just need to gear up a bit on the French.

Namibia

The only German speaking country in Africa naturally has a draw for me, and the desert landscapes look breathtaking.

South Africa

I’m a bit afraid of this place because of the crime, but it can’t be so many people’s favorite country in Africa for nothing. I would love to learn more about the history of Nelson Mandela and apartheid here.

macedonia ski Central Asia/Eastern Europe (6 countries)

Ukraine

Several cities of Ukraine are world-class yet inexpensive. I’m interested in Kiev, Lviv, and Odessa. Potentially interested to learn Russian here.

Moldova

The poorest, least visited, and unhappiest country in Europe–makes me curious why.

Russia

The ballet, the literature, the music, the clothing…Russia has had such an impact on the world. It doesn’t have a great reputation for welcoming tourists, and it’s very expensive, but I feel very drawn to come here…even if the weather, language, and government are unforgiving.

Georgia

Some of the most hospitable people in the world, as evidenced by their tourist visa: 360 days free. Maybe we’ll set up roots here just for that reason one day.

Turkmenistan

I had a crazy outing with some folks from here detailed here. The country is supposed to be bonkier than North Korea. Some amazingly unique landmarks here as well.

Uzbekistan

For its rich historical and architectural heritage.

buenosairestower South America (4 countries)

Brazil

As one of the world’s emerging economies and one of the largest countries on Earth, I won’t feel my traveling cred is complete until we have visited here. It’s a potential choice for our next longer term stay.

Peru

Macchu Picchu is one of those places *everyone* goes to. I’d like to go when Ry is a little older so we can study Incan history.

Bolivia

The landscapes, and the least developed country in Latin America both are compelling.

Venezuela

One of my very good friends lives here, and I know she could show us a good time and help us get in depth with the culture.

bulgariasynagogue Middle East (3 countries)

Iran

I’ve heard the people here are the most hospitable in the world. The history is among some of the oldest and most exotic.

Yemen

The architecture of its old city and the landscape of Socottra Island are supposed to be otherworldly.

Lebanon

Lebanese cuisine is a worldwide favorite. The ancient cities here I’ve learned about since I was a child from the Bible. A lot of interesting history both ancient and modern.

hiking guadeloupe  Caribbean/Central America (3 countries)

Guatemala

Of all the countries in Central America, this one seems to me to have the most depth culturally. We know several people who have connections there and love it. Jacob has also been there before and we’d like to go back to visit.

Cuba

Many people who visit this country seem to adore it. Its relationship with the US makes it very intriguing.

Haiti

This country sounds the most interesting, and the most sad, of any in North America.

DSC01705 Pacific Islands (2 countries)

Palau

As soon as I heard about swimming in the jellyfish lake, I knew I had to go.

Tonga

I grew up around the area with the highest population of Tongans outside of Tonga in Euless, Texas. I’d love to visit the island that is almost 95% Mormon.

Antarctica

Even if it were a dead zero in the interesting department, I’d probably want to go here so I could say I’d been to all seven continents. But it so happens that it’s supposed to be unbelievably beautiful and unforgettable.

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 364 awesome articles for us.

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