I’m a little embarrassed to say I only made it to 10 countries in 2017, the same as in 2016, and only six were new. I’m wondering if I’ll be able to get back up to 35 countries as I did in 2015. To get started, here are the first countries I have on my 2018 itinerary. For this list, I’m just putting down the countries I’ve yet to visit. Countries I plan to return to or live in, such as Scotland and Thailand, are a given.
Living in Edinburgh, I’m starting to appreciate my trips to sunny climates more and more. As I write this, the snow outside is billowing down. While I love snow, I wouldn’t mind a walk along a beach right now. I don’t think there are many countries in Europe at the moment which are warm enough for that. Instead I have Morocco on my itinerary to kick things off. I don’t know if it will be the first country I visit, but I’ve heard some amazing things about the country I want to see for myself, like the extensive forests where I thought there was only desert. I also ran across a website for luxury Marrakech villas which I’m interested to check out.
Moroccan food has also always been some of my favorite. I’m looking forward to trying it in the country of its origin, sitting on the ground around a low table and eating delicious lamb and couscous with my fingers.
The next countries on my 2018 itinerary are the remaining ten I have yet to visit in Europe. I’ll start the list with Norway. To be honest, I’m dreading my visit to the country with the northernmost point in Europe. I nearly went broke in Iceland, and I hear Norway is even more expensive (the most expensive in the world). I’ll either have to read some really savvy blog posts on how to save money in the country, or keep my visit quite short.
I’ve dreamed of visiting Pulpit Rock near Lysefjord. I’m not afraid of heights, but I still think this might challenge my comfort zone. Besides, I have to make it before the rock falls down or something else prevents me from enjoying the experience. Besides that, I wouldn’t mind a cruise through the fjords or a visit to that northernmost point.
For years, I mistakenly thought my grandmother was from Switzerland. Not sure where I got that from – she’s from the Netherlands. But I still want to see the land of the Alps, even if it is the other most expensive country in the world.
One of the challenges I want to accomplish in Switzerland is skiing in the alps. I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was 8 years old, but sadly I haven’t made it down a piste since I broke my knee before leaving the US. I’ve participated in plenty of strenuous and adventurous activities around the world, including a 110 km bike ride in Lithuania and jumping off a 50-foot cliff into the water in Thailand, but nothing would please me more than to ski again. What better way to prove the medical community in the US wrong?
I keep hearing Lake Bled is the most beautiful lake in Europe (Plitvice Lakes are in their own category), and Ljubljiana seems to be one of the most beautiful cities on the continent too. Beyond that, I can’t say I know many attractions in the country I should visit; only that general region is quite nice, considering I’ve been to the four countries surrounding it. I’m curious if their food is more Italian or Austrian based.
I almost made it to a housesit in Luxembourg last year, but the trip fell through at the last minute due to scheduling conflicts. I’ve been told I can explore Luxembourg City in a couple days, but I wouldn’t mind some trips out into the countryside too. I’ll have to do some more research to see what else is worth visiting in the country.
Lichtenstein, San Marino, Andorra, Monaco, Malta
These five are some of the smallest countries in the world. They each have their own attractions, including the beautiful fortified towns in San Marino and Lichtenstein, the casino in Monaco and mountain monasteries in Andorra. I’m slightly devastated that the rock bridge in Malta that was featured in Game of Thrones came down in early 2017 during a bad storm. All the more reason to get to some of these hidden gems before they’re gone.
This is the only country completely in Europe that I need a visa for with both my passports (Russia and Turkey are mostly in Asia). I do have the option of a visa-less three-day visit if I fly in, but there seems to be more than three days worth of adventures in the country. I have a friend in Brest who invited me to see the country back in 2015. I’ve also been told it’s cheaper and possibly more beautiful than Ukraine, which I fell in love with last year. Maybe I will just stick to the three days, but I’m open to suggestions for what else to see in the country.
After getting to my last countries in Europe (not that I don’t plan to revisit many of them over and over), it will be time to return to SE Asia. I hope to rent my condo in Chiang Mai again, and from there take some trips to new countries. The first is Vietnam, which has some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve seen. My friend Juliano Cottito did a two-month road trip through the country last year, and every day his posts on my Facebook newsfeed make me want to drop everything and join him.
Ban Gioc Waterfalls just might be the most beautiful falls in the world. Their coffee is world-famous. The cities look more cultural than Thailand and spelunking through Paradise Cave is definitely on my bucket list. Ooh, and Halong Bay is one of the world’s phosphorescent beaches! That’s a must!
Unfortunately I no longer get a visa-less entry with my UK passport, but I really can’t complain about how many countries I do get to enter without a visa with my two passports.
I’ve had plenty of Filipino friends invite me to see their beautiful country, and I can’t wait to do so. While I’ve read a few blogs about it over the years, I don’t actually know any specific attractions I need to see, beyond endless beautiful beaches. I’ve also been particularly interested in visiting the country after reading Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. Maybe I’ll find some buried gold!
And lastly, there’s Indonesia. Where to start? I think I’ve read more blogs about Bali than any other place in the world, and Ubud seems to be the new Influencer haven. I’m guessing I’ll be wanting to create another home base there once I visit, following in the steps of so many of my fellow bloggers.
2018 Itinerary Summary
I’ve now established Edinburgh as my official home base, having rented a flat with a minimum six-month lease. It’s so nice to have my own place with all the possessions I’ve picked up through my travels in one place. It’s not a big room, but I’d be happy to host any of my friends passing through Edinburgh and show them my favorite city.
For my travels, I’m looking forward to some shorter trips, rather than living out of my backpack all year. Having my home base will help with that, but I’m also looking at some different ways of travel, such as working with tours and cruises, finding some boutique hotels to visit and joining some more food tours to learn new cuisines.
What do you think? Have you been to any of these countries/ Do you have any recommendations for me for any of these destinations? Anyone interested in traveling with me or meeting me in any of the countries on my 2018 itinerary? If you can’t make it, I’ll be writing lots of articles so you can live vicariously through me. Let’s have an adventure together! Feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.