Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Guest Post: Where in the World Have You Been?


INTRODUCTION

Greetings! It's my pleasure to introduce Donna as my first guest blogger today. I've been following Donna's Retirement Reflections blog for a while. We both live in Canada, only about 3,500 km (2,186 miles) apart. Donna writes about her life after retirement, new chapters, new discoveries and new adventures. Her posts are clearly written and well-researched. She seems to have a knack for connecting warmly to her readers and always leaving concise and thoughtful comments. We share an interest in travel so it seems perfect to have her on my blog today asking the question, "Where in the World Have You Been?".

Without further ado...Here's Donna.

WHERE IN THE WORLD HAVE YOU BEEN?

I first met Natalie virtually when I was hiking The Camino Trail in Spain last summer. Natalie was also in Spain at that time and popped by my blog to ask me a couple of questions about my experience on the trail. I returned the visit by checking out Natalie's blog and was delighted to find kindred travel spirit.

To date, Natalie has traveled to 50 countries. Her extensive planning, keen sense of adventure, and wise tips to stretch travel dollars are practical and captivating.

Inspired by Natalie's list of countries visited (highlighted as a separate section on her blog), I used a free online tool, by Adventure Ally, to map out countries to which I have traveled. My initial guess was that my total number would be 30. As you can see below, it is currently 32 (not including airplane transfer stops).


Countries Visited: Australia, Austria, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vatican City, and Vietnam (32 of 195 countries, 16% explored).

Such a simple exercise has been an incredible travel motivation boost. I am proud of the green areas highlighted on my map. This striking visual image has stirred up fond memories of past adventures taken. But, the grey areas on my map are now calling to me...loudly! So many places left to explore, and whole continents in which I have not yet set foot.

Some places that my husband and I are currently considering for our next big trip include:
  • Hiking in the Rhine Valley - Germany,
  • Machu Picchu - Peru,
  • Everest Base Camp - Nepal,
  • The Trans-Siberian Railway - Russia,
  • Another round (our fourth) on the Camino Trail (this time from Astorga to Seville - Spain),
  • Nunavut - Canada's largest, and northernmost territory (officially separated from the Northwest Territories in 1999), and the only Canadian province/ territory that I have not yet visited!

Which of the above adventures would you choose?

Regardless of your preferred method of travel (including close to home and virtual travel), what has been your favourite destination so far? What's next on your travel wish list?

About Donna: Donna lived in Beijing, China for fourteen years. Leaving international life behind, she and her husband retired to Vancouver Island, Canada, in June 2015. To document this transition, Donna initiated ‘Retirement Reflections.’ Her favorite part of blogging is the interaction with others. You can connect with her in the comment section below, or via the following social media sites. She would love to hear from you.
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Feature Photo Credit: Chris Lawson, Unsplash.

61 comments:

  1. The trans Siberian Railway would be my choice. But then their is Machu Picchu, Nunavat and the base camp in Nepal! My travel juices are starting to act up.

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    1. Hi Fran - I'm inspired by Donna's list, too. Nepal would be my choice. Machu Picchu was amazing even though it took me planes, trains, and automobiles to get there. Thank you for stopping by.

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    2. Hi, Fran - Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. The Trans-Siberian Railway is definitely high on my list. But...that darned Camino keeps calling me back (even when I try not to listen)! BTW - Your new post popped up on my email earlier this week, but when I visited your site, I could not open that post. If you have a new post up, I will try again to get in to read it.

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    3. Hi Donna, I decided to remove it so no worries. Safe journey wherever you decide to go!

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  2. Great series Natalie and an excellent choice having Donna as your first guest. We have been fortunate to travel extensively throughout the world so I'm going to try the exercise using the suggested online tool. I've loved discovering new cultures and we are cruising Japan in October. South America is on our list, Donna so I would select Machu Picchu.

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    1. Hi Sue - Donna inspired me to use the online tool, too. Cruising Japan sounds awesome. I love Japan and Machu Picchu. Thank you for stopping by.

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    2. Hi, Sue - I am happy to hear that you will also check out the on-line travel map. I would love to see what it looks like when you are finished. Your Japan cruise sounds wonderful. Taking a cruise is something that I have never done (yet)!

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    3. Hi Natalie & Donna, I used the online tool and have visited 35 countries. Still many to explore! Thanks for sharing at Midlife Share the Love Party and happy travelling! #MLSTL
      Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

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    4. Hi Sue - Like Donna wrote, the grey areas on my map are calling to me loudly. Thank you for hosting #MLSTL.

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    5. Hi, Sue - 35 countries visited is awesome. Soon to be 36! :)

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  3. What a great exercise to do. We recently did the same at the dinner table the other night & (not counting airline transfers) the total came to around 25...or was it 27? I most want to hear about the Camino though & will duck over to find those posts! #teamlovinlife

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    1. Hi Jo - Donna's posts on the Camino Trail are inspiring and definitely piqued my interest. I've also read some of your informative travel posts, and love your photos. Thank you for stopping by.

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    2. Hi, Jo - Hiking the Camino has been my absolute favourite trip so far. If staying in hostels, it is a very affordable trip -- filled with amazing history and adventure. It is a great place to meet interesting people of all nationalities and all ages. It is also the only trip where I come home in better physical shape/health than before I left!

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  4. Wow, Donna! You have really traveled the world! You are very fortunate to do so! And Natalie, you have a few under your belt as well! Thanks for hosting Donna today!

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    1. Thank you, Terri, for stopping by. It's my pleasure to host Donna today. As you know she's a well sought after blogger.

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    2. Hi, Terri - Thank you for commenting both here and on my site. Natalie's 'country-count' definitely has mine beat. I love reading her travel posts to get new inspiration!

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  5. Gosh, I can pick just one! Thanks for hosting Donna, Natalie, she's one of my favorite bloggers!

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    1. Thank you, Jill, for stopping by. Donna is one of my favourite bloggers, too. Her list of travel adventures is fantastic.

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    2. Hi, Jill - Thank you for this awesome compliment. It is a true honour!

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  6. Siem Reap was life changing for me. So it has to be up there as my favourite. Paris was my first stop in Europe and it holds a very special place in my heart. But I fall slightly in love with everywhere I visit. I get easily swept up in the charms of a place...as for your choices, Trans Siberian would be my pick. Looks pretty spectacular...

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    1. Hi, Lydia - I also fall slightly in love with every place that I visit (and sometimes, I fall head over heels)! Thanks for voting. As the Trans-Siberian is high on my list, this gives me good data to present to my travel partner (aka my husband)!

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    2. Thanks, Lydia, for sharing the places that are special to your heart. I have fond memories of the places that I've visited, too. Nepal would be my pick. However, you just gave me an idea to see how I can take the Trans-Siberian rail to get to Mongolia and Nepal!

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  7. Machu Picchu definitely! Been on my list for years.

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    1. Hi, Anabel - I love reading your travel adventures and greatly respect your opinion!

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    2. Hi Anabel - I highly recommend Machu Picchu. Its location was harder to get to than I had thought but Machu Picchu is magical. Thank you for stopping by.

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    3. One day I will get there, for sure. We even bought a guide book one year then changed our minds and went somewhere else!

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    4. Hi, Anabel - We did the same thing with Tibet. We bought the guidebook, made a plan....and changed our minds at the last minute. It's still on our list!

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  8. Hi Donna - wow so many countries you've visited! I have been to very few. Hopefully I'll get to add more to my list eventually. Of your list of next places to visit - hiking in the Rhine Valley in Germany would be my first pick. It'd be beautiful and the photography opportunities immense. The other choices look fab too though. Hopefully you'll get to them all! #TeamLovinLife

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    1. Thanks, Min, for dropping by. I'm excited thinking about so many places to explore and take pictures.

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    2. Hi, Min - Hiking in the Rhine Valley is something that I really want to do. With so many great choices, it is hard to decide which bucket list trip to select first. Thank you so much for stopping by. I greatly appreciate it.

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  9. Well done Donna. 32 countries is very impressive. I'm going to use that app to map out the countries I've visited. It's good to see that you have been to Australia (my favourite!) I would love to do some of the Camino Trail in Portugal.

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    1. Hi Kathy - Australia is on my list even though the long flights from Canada to get there tend to make me change my mind. Thank you for stopping by.

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    2. Hi, Kathy - For our first Camino, my husband and I did the last eight days of the Portuguese Trail (from Tui to Santiago de Compostela). After completing last year's Camino, we chilled out in Porto for a few days. We loved our time there.

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  10. Hi Donna - well you certainly get around! I've really only done the Asian countries near Australia and several in Europe. I'd love to do the Lake District walk where you hike from B&B to B&B. One of my friends is currently doing the UK coast to coast walk and that looks fabulous too.

    Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I've shared this on my SM xx
    Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au

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    1. Thanks, Leanne, for stopping by and sharing this on your SM.

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    2. Hi, Leanne - Now you've went and added another trip to my list! Immediately after reading your comment, I did a Google search of Lake District B&B to B&B hiking (e.g. http://www.explorebritain.com/across-england-hike-wainwrights-coast-to-coast/t357). That is definitely a trip that I would love to do!

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  11. I immediately went to the map app and was sad to see how few countries I have visited. Most of my travel has been in North America, as well as several trips to Europe. I need to travel more! As for your five travel choices, I’d say ALL of them, one after another.

    Jude

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    1. Hi Jude - Donna's five travel choices are all wonderful. I'd be thrilled to go one after another. Thank you for stopping by.

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    2. Hi, Jude - Although I like that Map App, it is a bit deceptive. It gives no recognition for diverse travel taken throughout a single country. When I finally make it to Nunavut, my map on that app will sadly not change or celebrate with me. Your comment has inspired me to search for a more inclusive travel map app. Will you and Kate be at the Muttley Crew Walk today?

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  12. Hi Donna and you've certainly been to some interesting places. My travel used to be a bit weird as I worked in international development so spent time in developing countries (Africa, Asia etc) but since leaving that field I've barely travelled. And.... it means I've not done much travel to the usual places - like the US / Europe. #teamlovinlife

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    1. Hi Deborah - I imagine it must be challenging and rewarding to work in international development in Africa and Asia. I'd like to visit more countries in Africa. Thank you for stopping by.

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    2. Hi, Deborah - I can totally relate to your comment. I lived and worked in Beijing, China for fourteen years (thus the heavy representation of Asian countries on my Travel Map). When my husband and I returned to Canada in 2015, I did not want to get back on an airplane at all! I agree with Natalie, your work in International Development sounds fascinating!

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  13. Hi Natalie and Donna,

    Boy, I have some catching up to do, travel-wise, I see... Way to go, ladies! I'd go to any of the places on your list, Donna.

    Rock on,

    Deb

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    1. Hi, Deb - Thank you for stopping by and commenting. One of the (many) great things about blogging is that it helps to get our intentions out there. I had written this post in early May, and then forgot about our travel list for a while. With my list now back in full (public) view, I have some planning to do!

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    2. Hi Deb - Thank you for your visit and comment. Like Donna, I have some planning to do!

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  14. What a great visual, Donna, and I'm impressed by your many adventures. So far, I've only been to a limited number of countries outside of the U.S., where I live. I've been to Mexico, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, and France. I see a trend--most are warm and near the ocean. We've stopped briefly other places as cruise stops, but we didn't stay for more than a few hours, so I'm not counting them yet. Once I retire, my husband and I want to travel all of the states we haven't visited in our own country, and then I would love to visit Australia and Italy after that. From there, we'll see...

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    1. Your list of destinations visited and to be visited is all awesome. Thank you, Christie, for stopping by.

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  15. Hi, Christie - Visiting warm places, with oceans, makes perfect sense to me. Actually, that describes our community...in the summer. If you haven't been out this way already, you should definitely add Vancouver Island to your list! I agree that Australia and France and Italy are also awesome places to visit!

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  16. Thank you, Donna, for your inspiring guest post that introduced me to the online tool and gave me great travel ideas. Have a wonderful summer with your family and friends, and safe travels! I look forward to reading your updates once you have your well-earned blogging break!

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  17. Hi Donna! I had to smile reading your list of future destinations. The Trans-Siberian railroad has been on my “list” since I was sixteen. My mom bought me the guidebook for that trip for my birthday that year. The reason I never did it (yet), is because the trip I have in mind (from Moscow to Bejing, via Mongolia) ain’t cheap. :-)

    And the other destination that I’m “familiar” with is Nunavut. Ever since I discovered that territory on a map, I’ve been wanting to visit. Once I saw a house sit there over the summer. Tempting. But, without a road there, flying is expensive. One day, I’ll get to those destinations. In the meantime, I have many great memories worldwide, and I’ll discover the places closer to “home”.

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    1. Thank you, Liesbet, for stopping by. Trans-Siberian railway, Russia and Nunavut both seem to be very interesting adventures. You and Donna have got me thinking about them.

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  18. Hi, Liesbet - You are the only commenter (so far) who has mentioned Nunavut as one of their top choices. :) This trip is definitely calling to me -- but it is not an easy (or cheap) trip to plan. I have a friend who grew up there (before it became Nunavut). She has recently offered to check into flight and accommodations for me as she still has connections there. I will keep you posted.

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  19. Hi Natalie and Donna,
    Nothing can be so invigorating and refreshing like seeing new places and meeting people.
    I haven't been so many countries as you both have. I have been to the US, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and Russia. Once I am retired, I hope to travel to more places.

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    1. Thank you, B Pradeep, for your visit and comment. Seeing new places and meeting new people sure can be invigorating. I haven't been to Russia, just learn about the country through books and photos.

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    2. Hi, Pradeep - I have only ever been to the airport in Russia but definitely plan to change that. My youngest son lives in Singapore...it is one of my favorite places to be!

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  20. Hi Donna. I've been to Innuvik which is, I think, quite similar to Nunavut. Interesting, yes, but fairly limited in terms of what there is to see and do. I've also been to Yellowknife and Whitehorse twice each. I loved Whitehorse. Tons of outdoor activities, an easy drive to the lakes Robert Service wrote about in his poems, and a creative and vibrant downtown.

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    1. Thank you, Karen, for stopping by. I haven't been to Yellowknife or Whitehorse but have talked to other travellers about them. They all seem to love Whitehorse so it's on my list.

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    2. Hi, Karen - I have been to Yellowknife and Whitehorse and agree that they are vibrant and fascinating places. My appeal with Nunavut is severalfold - learning more about Inuit culture, seeing the Northern Lights and witnessing a dog-sled team in action. My primary reason is to experience Canada’s largest, northernmost territory...the only Canadian province/territory that I have not yet seen. Unfortunately, Nunavut does not hold the same appeal for Richard....so negotiation is in order. :)

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  21. Hi Donna and Natalie. WOW Donna, you traveled a lot, huh? I'd have to think about it to come up with a fav destination. Where did you travel to here in the United States? Shared this post x 4 ♥

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    1. Hi Grammy Dee - Thank you for your visit and comment. I greatly appreciate it. I've been to most major cities in the US. I'll hop over to your blog soon.

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