A few weeks ago I contacted a number of travel bloggers with this question.
If you had two weeks to go anywhere in the world and money was no object where would you go? And why?
Read on to see where travel bloggers dream of going. Some of the answers might surprise you.
If I had two weeks to go anywhere in the world and money was no object, I would head to Mozambique. I’ve never been there but I’ve heard many amazing stories; from the charming colonial architecture in Maputo, to its pristine beaches, and from its spectacular wildlife parks to its unique cuisine. Swimming with whale sharks in Tofu Bay would be at the top of my list. I would also like to visit Ilha de Mozambique, a coral island that’s a living museum (and a World Heritage site), then spend my last few days indulging myself at the super luxurious Vamizi Island.
I’d go to Libya, a place that has been on my travel list for so long it’s become almost a fantasy. A free trip might be the special occasion that would be perfect for a place I know little about. I would find a way to get my hands on a motorcycle and drive across the north coast and see many of the Roman ruins along the way – in particular Leptis Magna. I keep imagining what riding up to it might be like and want to compare the vision in my mind with the sight in my eyes.
I’m Greece obsessed, and I have been ever since I started taking Classics courses on a whim back in my university days. Most people praise the Romans for their genius, not realizing most of their ideas were built on those of the Greeks. I want to LIVE in Greece – to be a part of their world – but I would happily take two weeks in the islands, rent a yacht, and sail around. I’d spend some time on the beaches, swing by the Palace of Knossos and check out the monuments on Delos. Then, if I had time, I’d head back to the mainland to visit Mycenae, the birthplace of heroic Agamemnon.
My dream trip would be a voyage to the Antarctica’s Cape Denison, to explore Douglas Mawson’s Huts Historic Site. Not sure if two weeks would be long enough but it IS a dream! Sir Douglas Mawson is Australia’s most famous Antarctic Explorer, who led an expedition from 1911 – 1914. The huts were used as their base and some are still standing, being renovated and protected in the last few years by the Mawson’s Hut’s Foundation on seven conservation expeditions. The main hut is approx 50 sq meters and provided sleeping, kitchen, dining, laundry, storage and darkroom facilities for the 18 men who were on the expedition. There is an adjoining hut measuring 25 sq meters which was equipped as a workshop including wireless equipment and a generator. Of course, just visiting Antarctica would be a huge bonus and a lifelong dream fulfilled. Getting to visit Mawson’s Huts and understanding life on a 1900’s expedition a special treat. Heritage Expeditions have a 26 day trip leaving soon and I would love to join it and stay in the Heritage Suite on their vessel the Spirit of Enderby. It only costs around $US20,000 per person. Great value to explore this fascinating and isolated part of the world!
With our digital nomad lifestyle we pretty much can go anywhere we want in 2011, but of course money is always an issue, so we’d choose the Galapagos Islands. We are travelling around South America at the moment so it would be easy for us to get there but unfortunately we just can’t afford the expensive week long cruises. We’d love to have the opportunity to snorkel and scuba dive with dolphins, sea lions, and sharks, and get up close and personal with giant turtles, iguanas, penguins and the huge array of birdlife found in the islands.
Just two weeks? I’m thinking of two different destinations right away. No actually three! I’m thinking of the Australian Outback, probably the Kimberley region, where I already had an amazing time. Another thought would be an incredible self-drive safari through Botswana or Zimbabwe. We did a self-drive trip through Tanzania and it was marvelous to explore the country with its culture and wildlife. But I think I would go to realize my biggest travel wish, being on every continent at least once. So I would love to go to the Antarctica. But that would be with a small expedition ship! These trips cost quite a lot, but you said that money was no object. But best would be to get there with Greenpeace or Sea Shepherd. It’s somehow a stupid goal to get there, as I see trips to the Antartica quite critically myself. But I have seen amazing photos of the ice and whales and it is the last continent missing. And if I would have the chance to be a part of the crew of Greenpeace or Sea Shepherd, I would be able to do something good… or naughty-good, depends on which ship I would get on! ;-)
Antarctic mountains, pack ice and ice floes (Photo Credit: Jason Auch)
Andrew Hayes from Sharing Travel Experiences
So, since money is no object… I would fly into South Africa into Cape Town. Spend a few days exploring the city. Then I’d hop on the Blue Train, one of the world’s most luxurious trains that traverses across the country to Pretoria. From there I’d make the short hop north to make my way to Victoria Falls, the largest curtain of water in the world. It’s all a long trip, but well worth it.
Initially, when asked where I would choose to travel for two weeks in 2011, if I could go anywhere, I thought it was a tough question. I still would love to go to Turkey, make a trip to South America, and maybe soak up the sun at an exotic beach locale. But, since money is no object, that makes my decision quite easy! I would set off for Bhutan. I remember a friend showing me a magazine article about Bhutan back in 2005. I had never even heard of the place and knew nothing about the country. However, from the photos alone, I knew I wanted to go. The breathtaking scenery and green mountains contrasted with the orange robes of monks were incredible. Upon further reading, I discovered that its culture is deeply tied to Buddhism and the phrase “Gross National Happiness” was coined by a former Bhutanese king. It is a very small country, and I had to search to find it on a map (hint: its east of Nepal). Visitors must travel to Bhutan with a government approved tour agency and pay a minimum of $200 per day. Because it is cost-prohibitive, many travelers never step foot in Bhutan. I hope I get the chance to one day.
When I first read this question, my initial response was India, a country I have been obsessed with since childhood, but have not yet had the opportunity to visit. But when I saw the limitation for’ two weeks’ I reconsidered. There is just too much I want to see and do in India to limit myself to two weeks. In fact what I would really like is two weeks of utter relaxation and to surround myself with natural beauty. So my choice is Bali. Ever since I first saw a photo of a Balinese hotel with huts on stilts over crystal clear water, I’ve been itching to go. I grew up near the ocean in Canada and now that I am in land-locked Brussels I long for seaside destinations. Reading Eat, Pray, Love fueled the fires to visit this tiny island of kind, happy people and looking out my window into the dark, grey Belgian winter sky, I can think of nowhere else that sounds more appealing.
Keith Savage at Traveling Savage
If I have two weeks to travel and money is no object, I’m roaming the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. An epic Scottish breakfast kicks off each morning with a running start. The days would be filled with ferry rides to Mull, Iona, and Islay for view of beautiful villages like Tobermory and the historic ruins of centuries past, bike rides around Tiree, Coll, and Jura, and jaunts to the hallowed halls of Islay’s smoky single malt whiskies: Laphroaig, Bowmore, Lagavulin, and Caol Ila just to name a few. In the summer evenings, when the day light stretches close to midnight, I would haunt the local pubs and take in my fill of Scottish traditional music on the iodine and salt scents of seaweed and sea before retiring to a cozy B&B.
A couple of years ago, we (me, wife, kid) went on a whistle-stop tour of the Western U.S.A. (10 days to see Las Vegas, Arizona and Southern California!) and had allocated – generously, as we thought at the time – a full day for the Grand Canyon. As it turned out, all that this gave us time for was a two-hour shuttle bus ride and a short stroll on the Canyon’s rim. That is what the caricature American tourists are meant do in Europe – Paris for a quick tour to see the sights then off to London or Venice or whatever else may be next on their itinerary. Looking back, I feel we short-changed ourselves. Ever since, I have been plotting to return, and that’s what I would do with my two weeks. I would definitely want to hike to the bottom of the Canyon this time to feel and touch the Colorado river, even if this means (as it apparently does) that I would have to camp overnight in the back-country . Apart from that, I would concentrate on doing a few of the day hikes on offer – you don’t require a permit for those, and all you need to bring in your backpack is enough food and water for the day. And if there is still time, I would love to go on a white water rafting trip down the Colorado.
If I had two weeks of unencumbered time and all the resources I needed, I would go to Kerala, in Southern India, to explore the roots of Ayurvedic medicine. I visited Kerala, a misty and mystical land of rivers, canals, and reedy islands, more than twenty years ago. I was in India at the time as a fledgling reporter and made a detour to Kerala’s main city, Cochin, in hopes of exploring the remnants of Jewish culture left over from settlements that flourished under Dutch rule in the 1600s. While I was there, I noticed the many small herbal apothecary shops tucked into Cochin’s narrow alleys and wondered about the mysterious signs that promised cures for a host of ailments. Years later, as a health writer specializing in alternative medicine, I learned much more about the roots of Ayurvedic medicine in Kerala, and vowed to return. From the Sanskrit meaning – the science of life, Ayurveda is a system of health care several thousand years old that many believe Western medicine can learn from. There are numerous centers of Ayurvedic medicine throughout Kerala, both treatment facilities and schools for those who wish to study the traditions. Ayurveda isn’t simple, and a full course of study can take up to four years, but I’d spend my two weeks getting my toes wet with the Ayurveda Panchakarma training course offered by Kerala Ayurvedic Healthcare in Trivandrum.
Do we dare to dream? Where would we go in the world if money were no object? We have been lucky enough to see most of the places on our wish list with very little money. We travel the world on a tight budget and manage to witness sites that people only dream of seeing. But there are so many more countries that we would love to see if we had more money. There are the Gorillas in Rwanda, a sailing expedition to Antarctica, a climb in Patagonia and of course the many adventures in New Zealand.
But at the top of our list is a trek in the Kingdom of Bhutan. We almost booked a few days while in Nepal last March but decided against it when we found out that you have to spend $200 per person per day to be in the country. We would have been able to manage maybe four days in the country. We would have really felt the dent in our pocket books, but at least we would have stepped foot in our dream destination. The problem was, we wouldn’t have been able to do anything there. All we would be able to see is the main city and a few temples before having to fly back to Kathmandu. There is so much to see and do in Bhutan, that to stay in the country for only a few days would do it a grave disservice. What we have always wanted to do is the Snowman Trek in Bhutan. It is a 24-day trek high in the Himalayas. Considered the most difficult trek in the world, climbers spend every day above 4000 meters. It is the most beautiful scenery on earth in the Himalayas and to spend time in Bhutan where very few tourists dare to go would be a magical experience. It hasn’t been overrun with trekkers and backpackers corrupting the local culture. It is an untouched paradise.
However, look at what that would cost us! A 24-day trek in Bhutan would cost us a whopping $9,600 just for the privilege of being there for 24 days. Let’s not even talk about permits, camping, guide fees, food, accommodation and sightseeing. For a bare bones basic month in Bhutan we would expect to pay nearly $20,000. If money were no object however, we would do it up right. We would hire private transportation to take us to every corner of the country. We would employ several local guides and porters, we would stay in the most comfortable accommodation to recover from our ordeal and we would make sure to have state of the art equipment and camping gear. Don’t forget amazing gourmet comfort food for our time on the mountain. Bhutan has been our dream destination for several years. Maybe one day we will find ourselves a sponsor and our dream of money being no object will come true. For now, we will keep exploring the world on our backpacker budget and add to our long list of must see destinations.
I would spend a week in New Zealand skiing with my Dad followed by a week of sport climbing in Thailand. My Dad has always wanted to travel somewhere he could ski in the summer so we’d hit up Tongariro National Park first and then spend a few days skiing the South Island’s Remarkables. I would then fly on over to Thailand for a week of amazing limestone sport climbing and Thai street food gorging.
I’ve given considerable thought to the question I posed. Antarctica is on my list for later in life – maybe in my seventies. A trip to Bhutan and the Snowman Trek is also right up there but I want a solid month to visit. Hiking the Dolomites in Italy or the Haute Route in France and Switzerland figure prominently but because money is not an issue I’d choose to head to Iceland and Greenland. They are expensive places to visit because of their remoteness. I have flown over both countries on flights to London and have marveled at the geography from above. I want to see Iceland by bike and spend a week cycling the dramatic north country with its long fjords and big river valleys. I’d head there in June or July when the sun barely sets and spend at least one night at The 101 Hotel in Reykjavik, one of the world’s top 100 hotels – at least according to Conde Nast.
In the second week I’d trade my bike for a kayak and head to Greenland. It’s easily accessed via a two hour flight from Iceland. Many people just go over for the day but I want a full week to explore a small part of eastern Greenland and immerse myself in Inuit culture. I’ll be looking out for muskoxen, the occasional polar bear and narwhals. At times this will be a complete wilderness experience – just how I like it every so often!