35 Places You Never Knew You Wanted To Visit

35 Places You Never Knew You Wanted To Visit

Whether you're a total adventure geek or too lazy to get off the beach.
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It's the middle of the winter, and I keep finding myself thinking of anywhere else in the world I could be right now. There are the typical places that all tourists flock to, but I've always been one to search for rare and underrated places. For those of you who are adventurous, an art or architecture buff, or just enjoy laying around in beautiful scenery, here are 35 unique places you never knew you wanted to visit.

1. Marquette, Michigan, USA

Presque Isle Park is a beautiful lookout and hiking spot seated on the edge of Lake Superior. Not to leave out the Superior Dome for sporting events and downtown shopping and nightlife.

2. Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Take in a beautiful view from Blue Ridge Parkway, visit the historical Biltmore Estate or Biltmore Gardens, take a food tour, or view a number of art galleries. And do you see those gorgeous mountains?

3. Avalanche Lake, Montana, USA

Two miles off of the trailhead of the Trail of the Cedars, this gorgeous view is really an indescribable reward for a hike. I know I would be floating around for the rest of the day.

4. Tamul Falls, Mexico

Miles down from the historic site Tamtoc, tours are available through the falls in addition to kayaking and swimming.

5. Granada, Nicaragua

Visit the islets off of Granada, see a number of beautifully constructed cathedrals and churches, or take a day trip to Mombacho Volcano nearby.

6. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

The moment I heard of this place it made my "GO TO THIS PLACE ASAP" list. Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat, composed of salt and brine (lithium) which gives it such reflective properties.

7. Angel Falls, Venezuela

If you've seen Up you've seen this picture before and yes, it is a real place! It is the world's highest uninterrupted waterfall. Definitely somewhere I would spend my life aspiring to visit.

8. Cusco, Peru

A city so rich in culture that also happens to be not too far from the Inca site of Machu Picchu.

9. Belfast, Ireland

If you're a fan of the Titanic, you can relive the story at the largest Titanic visitor experience in the world. There's also a museum with dinosaurs and Egyptian mummies. Or if you would like to pretend you are royalty go visit the Belfast Castle.

10. Budapest, Hungary

The Parliament is a must-see, you can take a Danube cruise, or experience the view from the Fisherman's Bastion.

11. Split, Croatia

See Diocletian's Palace or take in the scenery from Marjan hill.

12. Tallinn, Estonia

Visit Old Town, take in history at the national museum, or climb Toompea Hill to be able to see this beautiful view.

13. Sopot, Poland

Spend time on the beach right on the coast of the Baltic Sea or go downtown to indulge in the nightlife. Don't forget to see the Crooked House which is literally what it sounds like.

14. Paros, Greece

Parika Town has plenty of photo opportunities complete with gardens, beaches, food, and cats.

15. Lofoten, Norway

Northern beaches, an aquarium, a city surrounded by this view...I cannot even fathom a more beautiful edge of the Earth.

16. Fjords, Norway

Western Norway is filled with mountains surrounding stunning fjords and importantly--unique local cuisine.

17. Johannesburg, South Africa

Take a wildlife tour or delight in a city full of history from the Apartheid Museum to the Lesedi Cultural Village.

18. Grand Baie, Mauritius

A coastal village straight out of your vacation dreams.

19. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Climb this snow-covered, dormant volcano in the middle of beautiful Africa. And hopefully see this cute giraffe.

20. Cyprus

Explore the Tombs of the Kings or visit Europe's leading water park attraction, Fasouri Watermania. Cyprus is a hub of beaches and history.

21. Doha, Qatar

There are thousands of things to do in Qatar, but be sure to see the Museum of Islamic Art, Aspire Park, and be a part of the nightlife.

22. Petra, Jordan

Explore Petra and make your way up to the Royal Tombs and the High Place of Sacrifice--both aspects of the ancient city.

23. Sapa, Vietnam

Hike through mountains and waterfalls for this breathtaking view.

24. Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

This historic temple overlooks the Paro Valley, translating to "The Tiger's Nest" and is truly a gem hidden in the mountains.

25. The Kiso Valley, Japan

Take a historic day hike from Kyoto and indulge in pure Japanese culture.

26. Okinawa, Japan

Another island of tropical paradise, it has become a highly-visited island off of Japan since the years of World War II.

27. Sukothai, Thailand

A peaceful historical site.

28. Udaipur, India

Admire the City Palace, the central garden palace Badi Mahal, visit the numerous lakes and temples, and see a cultural show.

29. Bandhavgarh National Park, India

Wildlife Sanctuary. Do you see this tiger? I want to see this tiger.

30. Changbaishan, China

Do you see this view?

31. Li River, China

What about this one?

32. Kadaku Park, Northern Territory Australia

But really, why would you not want to experience this?

33. Blue Mountains National Park, Australia

Stand high upon these mountains and take in the nature of Australia.

34. Rotorua, New Zealand

Thermal pools, a cultural village, a redwood forest-- another unbelievable destination that shows the true beauty of the world.

35. Vanua Levu, Fiji

Please convince me you don't want to plant yourself on these beaches. Forever. Also a hotspot for island society and culture.


Adventure is out there. You just have to go find it.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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4 Breakfast Spots Near The University of Kentucky That Will Actually Get You Out Of Bed In The Morning

These places will satisfy all of your breakfast cravings.

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If you're a breakfast foodie like I am, you know that is an absolute priority to find the most popular breakfast spots despite the city you may be in. You don't want to visit the touristy and basic restaurants that everyone else goes to, but instead, you are determined to uncover the locations that are the best of the best. Most foodies will go to great lengths to discover these places. As a University of Kentucky student and major foodie, I have searched all over Lexington to find my favorite places to visit on Saturday and Sunday mornings. This took my entire first semester and many trips to the ATM, but today, I am now blessed to say that I am a regular at all 4 of these incredible breakfast spots.

1. The Great Bagel

The Great Bagel is one of my all-time favorite restaurants to visit on Sunday mornings. The restaurant offers a variety of bagel sandwiches and freshly squeezed orange juice, and it makes for the perfect early morning start to a day filled with homework or relaxation.

2. Chocolate Holler

Though not a true restaurant, Chocolate Holler is one of the most popular coffee shops near the University of Kentucky. Because it is only a 3-minute drive from campus, Chocolate Holler is always buzzing with UK students who come to socialize or study. The coffee shop is most well known for its chocolaty drinks and the music is great there, too!

3. Stir Krazy

Stir Krazy is a local smoothie bar down the street that serves protein shakes, smoothies, and tea. Though It only consists of these three beverages, the shakes at Stir Krazy are enough to fill you up for breakfast or lunch. Each shake or smoothies range from 200 to 250 calories and serves as the perfect energizer before a workout or a filling recovery drink after a workout.

4. La Madeleine

La Madeleine is a French breakfast and lunch cafe conveniently located on campus (and only a 30-second walk from my dorm). Their breakfast is served all day long and their croissants are to die for. I highly recommend building your own omelet for the most fulfilling experience. Not to mention, their iced caramel macchiatos are a great refresher on the side.

No matter which city, state, or country I am currently in, I make it my mission to eat as a local would. In Lexington, Kentucky, these four breakfast spots are guaranteed provide you with a plethora of different types of food to get you through even the worst cases of morning hunger. Though these places are my current favorites, I am now looking forward to containing the search for more breakfast restaurants, cafes, and juice bars throughout my next four years in this city.

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