When you’re scrolling through Instagram, it seems that all your friends and their cousins are travelling the world while you’re just happy that it’s warm enough to go for a swim at the beach. My social media feeds have recently received an upsurge in photos of Japan and inspired by my worldly friends, rather than fixating on my lack of overseas adventures, I’m focusing on my own wanderlust dreams no matter how far in the future they may be. Here are the countries I’ve been wanting to visit ever since I’d heard of their existence:
My interest in South Korea began when I started listening to K-Pop and it continued to grow as I absorbed more knowledge about its culture. I’ve managed to learn how to read hangul since then and my aim is to be able to speak casual Korean before I travel to the country. As a foodie, South Korea is the perfect destination for satisfying my taste-buds by exploring quirky cafes featuring cake served in flower pots, monster themed cupcakes and immaculate latte art. Away from its bustling cities, South Korea has a more natural side which includes sweeping landscapes, island escapes and plenty of hikes for the adventurous type.
New Zealand may be my country’s neighbour, but I still haven’t made the trek across the Tasman Sea to reach the land of sheep. Whether you’re adventurous, a bit of a foodie, or just want to geek out on some Lord of the Rings, New Zealand is pretty extensive when it comes to activities. A road-trip navigating both islands would be the dream and even though I’m not quite the adrenaline junkie, zip lining through Queenstown and exploring caves in Waitomo would be essential stops along the way. Apart from the enchanting landscapes, New Zealand holds its societal charms through the country’s indigenous custodians, the Maori. Learning about traditional tattoos, watching the haka and listening to legends of the indigenous people, New Zealand is bursting with culture.
The ‘land of the rising sun’ is the country I’ve been craving to visit for the longest amount of time and was the reason I opted to study Japanese for two terms during university. However, I’ve reached a minor problem with my dreams of cherry blossoms, endless ramen, and cycling down pathways with Mt Fuji in the background; Japan has distinct seasons with each bringing their own unique backdrops and set of attractions to visit. Kitakyushu’s wisteria tunnel is best viewed in late April or early May, while winter-time is optimal when visiting the Japanese Macaques at Jigokudani hot springs. I suppose the positive spin on Japan’s ever-changing landscape is that it means multiple trips to my dream destination and I’ll be discovering new places every time I visit.
Maybe I’m cheating by saying Scandinavia, but my plan is to visit all these countries in one fell swoop so it makes sense to place it into one encompassing term, right? Ignoring those semantics, when Scandinavia is involved, most would think of the aurora borealis and sweeping landscapes of snow. Seeing the northern lights is definitely one of my top priorities, and even though I’m susceptible to the cold, watching snow fall in winter is exhilarating. However, warmer months are not to be forgotten with magnificent fjords waiting to be explored, national parks ready to be hiked, and castles welcoming guests from around the world. You’re spoilt with choice when it comes to Scandinavia, but on the bright side that also means a longer trip.
Although I have travelled to Singapore on the final leg of a group tour, my time spent exploring was limited to 36 hours. Now Singapore may be a small country, but I’d prefer seeing the sites on feet rather than on four wheels and after three weeks of being on-the-go, having an easy day strolling around was precisely what I had in mind. This meant that I didn’t have enough time to see everything I wanted and that’s why I’m determined to return to Singapore once again. Still left on my list is Universal Studios, Adventure Cove Waterpark, the Singapore Flyer, and Merlion Park, just to name a few. With a reliable public transport system and everything located in close range, Singapore was a delight to explore and sometime in the future I’ll visit its shores once again.