A passion for travel runs through my veins. Although I adore my hometown city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, I have always felt that I belong in places outside of the Midwest. I was fortunate to travel across the world to Europe last summer when I studied abroad on the southern coast of France. This was by far the best experience of my life, and there's no way I'm letting Europe be the farthest place I travel away from home. It has always been a dream of mine to take a chunk of time post-grad to travel to Asia and backpack my way through gorgeous, sweeping countries. Deemed a "fearless navigator" in the past by a close friend, finding my way around foreign cities is something I like to do, and something that I'm rather good at.
Here are some of the coolest places in the world I've heard about that I've been dying to experience for myself.
Not far (by airplane) from where I currently reside in the Midwest, Portland, Oregon has always caught my eye. After seeing various features of the city though television shows like "Portlandia" and "The Real World: Portland" (yes, I am unfortunately a reality TV junkie), Portland's unconventional hipster vibes have always stood out to me. Home to the world's first all-vegan mini-mall, striking views of scenic cliffs and a short drive away from the Pacific Coast make Portland out to be a city I have my eye on for a potential future home.
Cambodia's street food, striking green landscape and beautiful historic landmarks make this Southeast Asian country on the top of my travel bucket list. The capital of Phnom Penh has amazing royal palaces, as well as the city of Anghor Thom, which has one of the coolest looking temples I've seen on the internet.
3. Cape Town
I've always wanted to travel to South Africa, and Cape Town seems like the obvious touristic choice. Cape Town's colorful architecture, the beautiful Table Mountain and view of the Atlantic Ocean make this multicultural city catch my eye. Equipped with Robben Island, luscious views of rolling greens and rocky beaches, Cape Town has so much to offer.
The photographic aesthetics of the island of Santorini, Greece is enough to calm me down (and enough to rival any Windows background). If this is the case, I can't imagine how gorgeous the island is in-person. Greece has been on the top of my travel bucket-list ever since I was little. The simplistic white architecture situated on steep hills is something I'm not used to and want to experience for my own. The turquoise water is seemingly eternally sparkling. Oh, and of course Greek food--the quintessential food type for for vegans.
The hustle and bustle of the city of Tokyo is incredible. The city's sea of skyscrapers are something I'm used to seeing in a video game. The vibrant lights and crowed atmosphere make this global fashion capital look perfect for exploring.
The turquoise blue lakes in Banff, Canada are jaw-drop worthy. I love hiking, but these scenic views are no where close to what I've experienced. The photos of Banff look enhanced but the waters are really this color of blue to the naked eye. The star-filled skies at night, monstrous cliffs and tranquil waters are incredible.
The second Southeast Asian country on my list, the country of Vietnam has always caught my attention. The tragic Vietnam War was always my favorite to learn about in History class. Aside from that, the culture and beauty of Vietnam makes me want to experience it for myself. The water, vegetation and communities of this country are incredible.
There you have it! The top seven places I need to experience for myself.