10 of the Best Countries For Finding Yourself
The term 'find yourself' has been the subject of much ridicule in recent years thanks to wealthy and maudlin teenagers viewing their lives as nothing more than an existential mess, but that shouldn't take away the beauty of the term itself.
In fact, getting lost then found in an array of remarkable and often phantasmagorical places can help set anyone in this thing we call life on the right path so here are 10 countries we recommend every traveler should visit should they wish to let their inner-self blossom.
Everyone loves the Irish. They're earnest and good-natured and always down for a laugh, so what better way to get acquainted with new faces than by sharing a pint of Guinness with the locals in one of the many pubs dotted around the country? Even if you're alone, you won't find it difficult talking to the locals, and they're more than likely to offer you a warm embrace before you've had a chance to open your mouth!
Better still, Ireland has recently been ranked the 11th most safe country in the world, so if you're a lone traveler, then you shouldn't be concerned. As for the country itself, the bucolic scenery and citified yet charming and town-like communities in the capital, Dublin set a country like Ireland apart from the rest.
Of course, it rains a lot but when you have ample open space to explore, a mini-road trip across the coastal delights of the country, which include historic castles and hilly villages reminiscent of Peter Jackson movies, finding inner peace and beauty won't be hard.
To many, getting to Fiji, a set of sequestered islands amidst the South Pacific, is highly costly, and most are put off by its image as a honeymoon and holidaying destination for the rich and famous when in truth, there are many islands free from luxury tourism and commercialized planning.
Admittedly, getting there (unless you happen to live in Oceana region) isn't cheap, but if you can save up long enough, there are many islands geared towards backpackers, with the breathtaking Yasawa Islands proving popular with those wishing to enjoy a five-star country without the five-star prices.
Going to Australia is a long (and if you're traveling in commercial; painful) trip but one worth taking if you wish to experience all of Earth's natural wonders wrapped into one spellbinding nation. But what's even better than their turquoise waters, pale sands, beaten rural landscapes and beautiful wildlife are the people themselves.
Yes, Aussies are notoriously easy-going and get along with pretty much anyone, and as they're an English speaking nation, you'll have little issues with the everyday things travelers often find stressful like asking for directions and booking ferry and coach transfers etc.
British tourism has become synonymous with the metropolis of London, but venture further North, and you'll discover Scotland, a place just as verdant and idyllic as the more Northern European countries and considerably less expensive.
Most of Scotland's beauty lies in the rural Scottish Highlands, a place that will more than guarantee a chance to gather your inner-most thoughts, but before you escape to the rural wilderness a mini-tour around its ancient capital Edinburgh is a must.
For a small and sparsely populated island in the Northern hemisphere, Iceland hasn't done badly. In fact, it regularly tops the Global Happiness Index and now successfully competes with its Nordic neighbors for tourists. After all, Iceland has everything one could imagine a picturesque island having. Lunar-like landscapes, pastoral countryside, mythical hot springs, enchanting waterfalls, sky-high volcanoes. The list is endless, and most of its charms and delights are located in its sparsely inhabited countryside.
With that said, it's worth noting that Iceland is notoriously expensive, and many tourists can often be taken back by the more reserved nature of the natives, but with Iceland being one of the safest countries on Earth and possessing scenery so beautiful that, if we're totally honest, could make a grown man cry, you shouldn't let that put you off a place which was seemingly made for wanderlust.
South America has become a backpackers' haven in recent years for those seeking a change from the now customary jaunt across the Thai islands, but Chile isn't usually the first Latin American country travelers have in mind.
But it's a great country to travel solo in and a country that should be famed just as much for the diversity that spreads from Patagonia through to the Atacama desert as it is for its gorgeous wines. For those more adventurers than most, there are also ferries that travel to Easter Island, one of the most remote places on Earth.
Aforementioned above, it would be wrong not to include this wonderful country on our list. Steeped in history, and nicknamed The Land of Smiles for its friendly and majority Buddhist population, a backpacking adventure in Thailand is a must, especially for those keen to get away from the stresses and strains of working life and seek a better understanding of themselves as people.
Bearing this in mind, vast areas of the country are increasingly becoming party enclaves, but if you stay off the beaten track and explore the less commercialized islands of Koh Lanta and Koh Chang, you'll adapt to a way of life that will make you feel a palpable state of zen.
8. Costa Rica
If you're looking for adventure as well as inner-answers, then Costa Rica should help you in both regards. Fabled for its appearance, Costa Rica's scenery will likely see you spending the majority of your time outdoors with hot springs, luscious jungles, pristine beaches and various activities like zip-lining and kayaking keeping you entertained.
Best of all, Costa Rica is one of the safest places to visit in Central America and is filled with English speaking expats, most of whom will be happy to help with any queries.
Jack Kerouac arguably wrote the Great American Novel in just three weeks following a succession of road trips across his homeland of America. Aptly titled On The Road, the work would set a precedent for people's views on the American road trip, perhaps each reader and would-be-traveler hoping they could find as much joy, comfort, and solace as Kerouac did.
The best part about venturing across a multifaceted country like America is the breadth of options travelers have. For instance, you could go horseback riding in Texas one day and be drinking bourbon with the locals nestled in a jazz club in the French Quarter of New Orleans the next before hiking through the stunning landscapes in New England days later. Thus, if a fast-paced adventure is what you're after, then America is a must.
Located in Scandinavia, it's no surprise that Norway is ranked 9th on the Global Peace Index, so safety shouldn't be your primary concern when exploring a place as spectacular as Norway. Like Iceland, however, it is one of the most expensive countries on Earth, but with 21 national parks and offering some of the best spots in Northern Europe for witnessing the Northern Lights, your stay in Norway won't be short on natural beauty.
So, if you're prepared to spend big bucks and immerse yourself in a nation steeped in snow dappled pine trees and Narnia-like landscapes, Norway may just be every young backpacker's ideal and slightly unconventional getaway.