Travelling Your Own Backyard – Rest of the World

Travelling Your Own Backyard

This year, one of my Travel Resolutions is to explore more of the UK and really get to know my home country. I’m still formulating some really exciting plans for later on in the year, but having started 2016 in Scotland with the #blogmanay gang I think I’m off to a pretty good start.

Planning to see more of my own country made we wonder how much others around the world do the same. I think that as travellers, we often overlook what’s nearest to us in favour of what seems more exotic or exciting – but there’s so much to see in our own backyards that we really should try to explore more! So, I asked some travel bloggers around the world where they’d love to visit in their own countries this year. The first post was all about Europe – don’t miss that one – while in this post I’ve spoken to six travel bloggers from the rest of the world. Enjoy…

Batanes Islands, Philippines

Aileen Adalid, from the islands of Batanes, Philippines.

Called as the ‘Home of the Winds’, the islands of Batanes would have to be the #1 destination that I would LOVE to visit next year! It’s actually the place where I was born and raised, but I haven’t been back there for over more than 10 years — naturally, you could imagine how I yearn for it so dearly.

Travelling Your Own Backyard

Sabtang, Batanes Islands

Nevertheless, even if it weren’t my hometown, I bet that I would have still declared it as the destination that I will be aiming for in 2016 because the beauty of Batanes is truly unrivalled. I say this because after traveling through various places around the world for over 2 years, this northern group of islands in the Philippines remains to be a serene hidden paradise that can instantly capture my heart — and anyone’s heart for that matter. With is dramatic coastline, white sandy beaches, lush forests, and picturesque hills, I am surely looking forward to re-experiencing the tranquility and magical allure of these islands. Besides, there are still parts of this place that I haven’t explored yet and I aim to correct that!

Banff, Canada

Courtney Jones, from Hampton, New Brunswick in Canada.

When I first started travelling, the rest of the world seemed so fascinating to me when compared to my home country of Canada. Now that I’m living on the other side of the world, I’m finding myself drawn to all the Canadian destinations that I haven’t managed to experience. Banff tops this list.

From photos, Banff looks like one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is a ski-resort village situated right in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. Friends that have been rave about the culture: it’s quaint and picturesque, but there are also plenty of restaurants, cafes and pubs to explore.

Travelling Your Own Backyard

Banff in winter

There’s also plenty to do, regardless of season. In the summer, you can go hiking, cycling or swimming in one of the gorgeous blue lakes. In the winter, skiing and snowboarding are the main activities, after which you can chill out in the hot springs and take in the awe-inspiring view of the Rocky Mountain range. It all sounds amazing.

Do you travel much in your home country? 

I’ve barely explored Canada (sadly!). I’m from a tiny town on the east coast, and travel wasn’t really on my mind growing up. When I did plan a trip, it was always to somewhere in America or the Caribbean, as they just seemed so much more interesting back then. I got the travel bug when I was 22, and decided to head to Australia for a backpacking adventure. Over the past 5 years, I’ve predominately travelled Oceania and Asia, as those areas are geographically closest to me at the moment. I plan on moving back to North America in the short-medium term, so I’ve almost been ‘saving’ Canada until I’m back on that side of the world. I feel pretty foolish when people ask me about Canada and I have to admit that I’ve never set foot outside the Toronto airport and have only spent a day in Vancouver! awkward

Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, India

Sandy and Vyjay from Bangalore, India. imvoyager

Rann of Kutch, the name itself conjures up an image of miles and miles of white sand, as far as the eye can see and a gigantic full moon literally touching the silvery sands on the horizon. This is a place you would most probably find in dreams, but such a dream exists and can be realized. That is why it is my dream to visit the Rann of Kutch in early 2016 which also marks the annual Rann Utsav which literally means Desert Festival. The desert transforms into a carnival of dance and music against the backdrop of silvery sands, shimmering moonlight and lazy camels as the locals gyrate in rhythmic abandon to the beat of enthralling music in their colourful costumes.

The Rann of Kutch is the largest salt desert in the world and is situated in the state of Gujarat, India. A visit to this enchanting place especially during the winter when the desert festival is held is a must.

Travelling Your Own Backyard

Camel Safari in Rann Utsav

Do you travel much in your own home country?

We have extensively travelled in India and have covered almost all of India. But we have not limited our wanderlust to just India. We travel to other countries too. Travelling has been our passion and we love exploring world cultures, seas, mountains, nature, food, art, history and urban places.

Sagada, Philippines

Shayne Zalameda, from the Philippines.

Travelling Your Own Backyard

Sagada. Photo by
Shayne Zalameda.

Located 12 hours away from Manila is Sagada, a cold, chilly place with a breathtaking view of sunrise amidst a bed of clouds. Aside from that, it also has other activities such as trekking, swimming in the waterfalls, spelunking, and orange-picking, to name a few. This is my favourite getaway because the food and accommodation are cheap but the views – priceless.

Zion National Park, Utah – USA

Cathy Merrifield, from New England, USA.

Zion National Park in Utah is the top of my US list! Gorgeous views and endless hiking opportunities make this park a dream come true for me. The challenging Angels Landing hike would be a little scary but well worth it for the sense of accomplishment.

Travelling Your Own Backyard

Zion National Park, Utah

Do you travel much in your own home country?

I travel mostly locally in my home country due to lack of vacation time and funds. I have found terrain in my home state that rivals other parts of the country and even the world. I drove cross country years ago and was impressed with the variety found here in the US.

Sutherland, Karoo Desert, South Africa

Annika Ziehen, a German expat in Cape Town, South Africa.

My adopted home, Cape Town, is as cosmopolitan as it gets and that is one of the reasons I love the city. However, when I travel through the rest of South Africa the main draw is the openess and vastness of the countryside. One of the places I want to go back to this year is Sutherland, a small town about 400km from Cape Town. While the town itself is not much to look at, it lies within the stunning desert scenery of the Karoo: gravel roads, endless fields of nothing, and a sky like no other. The sky is the reason why the area claimed some fame, because with little light and air pollution and high above sealevel Sutherland provides the perfect backdrop for nightly stargazing. Here you can visit SALT, the largest single optical telescope in the southern hemisphere as well as partake in one of the stargazing sessions organized in town.

Travelling Your Own Backyard

Stargazing in Sutherland

Perfect places for a romantic weekend for two or for some solitude. While to some the area may feel isolated and sparse, to me it feels spacious and wonderfully disconnected from the rest of the world. By day or at night, sometimes it is actually nice to feel small and enjoy the silence that the desert brings.

Do you travel much in your own home country?

No, I don’t travel as much in South Africa as I should. I think when you live here you take a lot for granted and I follow the call to the other, the greener side of the fence. So when I plan longer trips I usually tend to think other places are more appealing. For short term and weekend trips South Africa for me is simply too big. While road trips are fun here, it will usually involve too much driving for just a weekend or even a plane ride and a drive. Having said that, all not good enough reason to not take more advantage of this beautiful country!

Do you have plans to see more of your own country this year – or would you rather explore the rest of the world? I want to hear your opinions, so leave a comment and let me know! 


An award-winning writer and travel blogger on a mission to explore the world through deeper, more intelligent travel. Seeking out adventure, cultural exchanges, food experiences and more as she attempts to get to know the world. Lover of the great outdoors, sunsets, good food, and the odd bit of luxury!

One Comment

  1. An inspiring set of places! Thanks for sharing

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