In the past 20 years of my life, I have been blessed to be able to travel the world, exploring countries and cultures very different from mine. There is so much to be learned through experience, lessons that are so valuable and irreplaceable when it comes to relationships, lifestyles, and appreciating blessings. I want to share my top 21 places in the world this far, and hope it sparks some wanderlust in you. (The order of this list may vary upon my mood).
- Toronto, ON
First things first, home is my favourite place in the world. Canada is such a beautiful country. The weather may be cold for 10 months out of the year, but summer in Toronto is unbeatable. From the high-rise buildings to buzz the city creates at night… Did I forget to mention the beautiful women? If there’s anything everyone needs to experience, it’s Caribana in Toronto. Remember I told ya.
2. Abu Dhabi, UAE
This place is the future. It’s amazing how you can go from sleeping in a tent in the desert one night, to walking on marble floors with gold detailing in the world’s most elaborate Mosque. From Masdar City, the small city run entirely on eco-friendly energy, to the Formula 1 race track on Yas Island, the experiences are unforgettable.
3. Los Angeles, California
The first time I went to LA, I fell in love. I fell in love because The Grove at night is like stepping into a different world. I fell in love because Venice beach in the day is a cumulation of every picture, movie, or song that you would imagine LA to be like. I fell in love because you can get a chicken leg out of a drive-through window at El Pollo Loco. But mostly, I fell in love because of the smothered chicken and waffles at Roscoes.
4. Santorini, Greece
The sunsets I witnessed on this island are far beyond anything I have ever seen in my life. We paid about 25 Euros to rent a car for the day, and drove from beach to beach, chasing the sunset from the Akrotiri Red Beach to the village of Oia on the opposite side of the island.
5. Rome, Italy
Can I just say pasta, pizza and wine? I surprisingly didn’t gain any weight from eating as many carbs as humanly possible. Not to mention the gelato and cannoli’s. From (rome)ing the colosseum, to the clubs, to the food, Italy has a culture I definitely felt immersed in. I stayed just steps away from the trevi fountain, lit a candle in a catholic church, and stopped at as many wine shops as possible to expand my palette (if you know what I’m saying).
6. Paris, France
I think I ate a crêpe each day the first time I went to Paris. I was about 16, not yet the legal drinking age in Canada, but I was definitely drinking red wine like I was. The city is so romantic, and so scenic. There are people playing accordions and singing french music on every street. The louvre is an amazing combination or art and history, their shopping is ahead of it’s time, and floating past the Eiffel tower on a cruise will make you fall in love the same way I did.
7. Ochos Rios, Jamaica & 8. Kingston, Jamaica
Jamaica is on this list twice, don’t question me. By blood I’m an island gyal. This country has the most beautiful beaches, the most delicious food, and the happiest people. It’s impossible not to be relaxed by the crashing waves, reggae music and Jamaican sunshine. Whether you’re partying in the city of Kingston, or out by the beaches in Ochi, the feeling of having your belly full on mangoes and jerk chicken, sipping out of a coconut will put you in the best mood.
9. Dubai, UAE
Dubai, just like Abu Dhabi, is very futuristic. I mean, where else can you find a whole aquarium in a mall thats connected to the largest building in the world?!
10. Barcelona, Spain
I truly wish that I had spent more time in Spain, and definitely want to go back in the summertime. The architecture is incredible, from the graffiti on the streets to the Sagrada Familia to the Park Guell, art is so important in Spain. From sitting on the highest hill looking down on the city to eating paella and churros, sipping on sangria, I loved every minute.
11. Athens, Greece
History was always one of my favourite subjects, but no textbook can do justice to the aesthetic of this ruined city. The hike up to the top of the Acropolis was stunning. Standing in empty stadiums and theatres, you can almost envision the people standing there all those years ago, preparing for the show of a lifetime. It’s amazing how someplace so broken can still be so gorgeous.
12. London, UK
Every visit to London is different for me. Sure, it’s the same Big Ben and the same Buckingham Palace, and the same London Eye, and the same Harrods, but the culture is always new and up-to-date. From the music to the fashion and technology, I’m always put on to something new in the UK.
13. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
From ATVing, to jumping off of cliffs into water 30 feet deep, there is so much adventure to be had in this country. The beaches are beautiful, and the nightlife both on and off of the resort was entertaining. And all that sunshine, the tan I got from the Dominican sun had me glowing like a goddess.
14. Atlanta, Georgia
That southern hospitality. I don’t know what you may have heard, but young people in Atlanta sure know how to have a good time. The biggest club I’ve ever gone to was in Atlanta, and it was packed. Pool parties and kick backs, shopping at Lennox, and stopping at Waffle house at 4 a.m. is the only way to experience ATL.
15. New York City, New York
I think of New York as my second home. I would go there every summer to visit my grandmother. In New York, you’re always on the move, everyone has some place else to be, and a small window of time to get there. It’s true that this is where dreams are made of. Ambition sneaks up on you in NY.
16. San Francisco, California
Driving down the coast of California from Oregon to LA was the best road trip I’ve ever been on. Stopping in San Francisco was like being thrown into an episode of That’s So Raven. The hills were so fun to drive up and down and driving across the Golden Gate bridge was post-card worthy. Another gorgeous city with beautiful people.
17. Miami, Florida
I had to put Miami on this list because duh! It’s Miami! The fast cars, pretty women, fun night life, beaches, malls, restaurants… It’s every 20-something year old’s dream.Walk down Lincoln Road on a Saturday, go shopping at Aventura mall, stop in the Wynwood district and check out the wall. And please, please if you do anything at all, go to south beach and lay out in the sun.
18. Heidelberg, Germany
Never had I ever imagined myself traveling to Germany. This little city was lit up like a christmas tree when I visited in January. The quaint little souvenir shops and humming of people walking along the alleys into restaurants and bars made me feel like I was on the set of the perfect holiday movie.
19. Banff, Alberta
I’m not one who loves snow or the cold, but this pretty little snow globe of a city seems too perfect to be real. From the cute little boutiques and souvenir shops, to the château-style hotels, it is one place I don’t mind to see covered in fluffy white flakes. And if you do get a chance to see the town from a ski-lift, you’ll never want to come down.
20. Portland, Oregon
Oregon was so interesting to me. Although it is still very much a North American city with the movie theatres and the malls, restaurants and shops, it has a very relaxed atmosphere. You could be driving in warm, sunny weather while looking out at snow-covered mountains. Here, I had the chance to explore the Nike headquarters, go shopping in the Tualatin Valley (shopping in Oregon is tax-free), and eat at my favourite restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory.
21. Montreal, Quebec
Old Montreal is like a mini Paris, walking down the cobblestoned streets to stop for poutine or ice cream. I had gone for a wedding at the Notre-Dame Basilica, the intricate detailing in this church, monuments and stained glass windows, were so beautiful it could make anybody want to stand up and say “I do.” The reception of the wedding was held at the Montreal Science Centre, (cause where else would the reception be for a neurologist and an engineer?) the full glass windows make for an amazing view of the old port, looking out into the lights of the city.