Jun 7, 2024 6 min read

The Traveler, part 9: The Top 10 Most AMAZING and Memorable places we have been

From the top of the Tallest Building in the World
From the top of the Tallest Building in the World

As I reflected on the start of our nomadic journey in 2019, and visiting 43 countries, I came across an article I wrote several years ago, a chapter in my book, Nomadic Life for All Ages, which covers some of the most amazing and memorable places we have been. Trying to pare that down to just TEN was tough when I wrote it in 2020, and that was with just a year of travel behind us!

Here is my list from back then:

1. Transfagarasan Highway, Romania: 90 km (56 miles) of the most jaw dropping scenery I have ever seen. It reaches an elevation of 6700 ft (2042 meters), then enters a very dark 2900 foot long tunnel with barely enough light to see. The scope and panorama I will never forget. And we did that on a motorcycle. Twice.

With a cable car running through the valley, no less!

2. La Sagrada Familia (Anton Gaudi cathedral, Barcelona): This was man-made, but surely God inspired, as Anton Gaudi started construction in 1882 and it’s almost done, ETA next year!

This was the view of the Sagrada from our $55 per night bedroom when we first starting considering making our move. Scenes like this helped us decide.

Imagine spirals and colors and staircases from an MC Escher picture, and that is what you see. Add gargoyles, Biblical figurines, and mind blowing stained glass and you have maybe a hint of this place.

3. Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore: We landed at 0300 New Year’s Day (2020) and wandered the streets of high rise buildings and architecture that took my breath away. The city was pristine, almost deserted, and felt personal. The hotel (the one with the “ship” on top), was magnificent in its’ opulence, and from the roof, the boats in the harbor looked like toys.

4. Ponta da Piedade cliffs in Lagos, Portugal: We hit Spain and Portugal in Aug-Sept 2018 when we were questioning if we could make the move overseas. The cliffs were spectacular, and knowing we could visit them any time made that possibility all pretty enticing. The town itself was (and is) a contender for places we might want to live for a spell, too.

5. Monaco, very man-made, very artificial, but jaw dropping. On a motorbike, mid-January, the town was eerily quiet, like a vacant movie set. The streets, buildings, everything, was pristine and felt SOOO fake. The Land of Royalty, Grand Prix street races, casinos visited by multi-gazillionaires—and James Bond-- had to be surreal—and amazing, and it was.

6. Las Fallas event, Valencia, Spain: The beginning of spring in this city and the noisiest 30 days I ever experienced! Daily fireworks and constant turmoil. You can read more about it in chapter two of this series in The Traveler.

The final night of Las Fallas in Valencia--pure chaotic noise

7. Sicily, Italy: Our second stay in Italy, in a beautiful place with the waves crashing across the street. Add in the farmer’s market with fresh salmon several days a week, fantastic and cheap wine every night, and a very walkable town with restaurants and coffee shops galore. Plus the visited cities of Ragusa, Taormina, and Agrigento and even the crazy driving town of Palermo; yup, all amazing.

8. Getting back from Southeast Asia via Cambodia, Bangkok, Singapore, Taipei to Los Angeles. Five major flights over four days, with each one in jeopardy of being cancelled! We could have been stranded in Bangkok or Singapore, but made it back to the US, then MEXICO, as the only passengers on a Delta flight from Ohio to Cancun, Mexico. Scary and amazing!

9. The Amalfi Coast, Italy: We were back seat passengers while someone drove, so I could focus on the views instead of the road. We spent two days in Positano and Sorrento and were awed by how those buildings were constructed on the vertical cliff faces. It wasn’t beach weather, but the water was incredible, and also amazing all the way!

It's everything you can imagine

10. Hungary was Amazing since my Mother was born there and during her whole life she wanted me to join her to visit her hometown and Budapest. Hearing Hungarian spoken around me our first morning brought tears—and regrets—for not accepting her invite. Even so, the town, the buildings, and the bridges were spectacular.

I decided to keep that list intact, even though some could/ would be superseded if I had to limit myself to just ten. So with that said, I am adding some places we have been since then, and these are more than just Honorable Mentions!

- Peru and the Vertical Hotel: This will be covered in more detail as I get to the South America portion, but as a teaser, Kat and I slept in a clear plastic geodesic dome about 90 minutes from Machu Picchu in 2021. The views were breathtaking at 11,000 feet elevation, and even in summer, it was cold enough to see our breaths!

Our "home" for the night

- Dubai and the Burj Kalifa: This was an unexpected business trip when I was invited to speak at an event in Dubai. How could I NOT visit the tallest building in the world? Everything in Dubai is SO over the top, from the Burj, to the world’s largest mall, to the INDOORS ski lifts (in the desert, mind you), to the world’s biggest Ferris Wheel. The architecture of that city is like something out of a sci fi movie.

- In the summer of 2022 we were invited to tour northern Greece and visit 15 different cities over 30 days. We traveled the world’s FIRST interstate highway on the back of a rented BMW motorcycle, and we walked the paths of Alexander the Great and Aristotle. It still chills me to write that!

- The Israel, Jordan and Egypt journey was a quick side trip from our stay in Albania at the beginning of 2023, and like Greece, it was humbling to see real ancient history before our eyes. The Great Pyramid? Check. Real live (?) mummies? Check, check. Taking our first hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings in Luxor? Triple check.

The Real Deal in Egypt

-Australia in 11 days, after finishing an 18 day repositioning cruise across the Pacific. Not only was our cruise from Hawaii our first “real” cruise ever, it also entailed 2.5 weeks of magnificent, accented by stops in Moorea and Tahiti. And our Aussie leg kept the adventure going as we spent three days in Sydney (loved it), two in the capital of Canberra, and a night at a wild animal park with two live giraffes hanging right outside our room!

We walked to the TOP Of the Sydney Harbor Bridge

In February of 2024 we celebrated five years of nomadic travel. As I write this, we are about halfway through our intended one year stay in Southeast Asia, and have been to Bali (loved it!), Malaysia (ditto), Vietnam (hat trick), and the Philippines (not so much). Those stories will be covered in much more detail in future installments, so if you are enjoying our journey, please send me a note!

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