DailyPost: Countries I’d Like to Visit

My chosen DailyPost prompt for this week is:

List three countries you’d like to visit, and why you want to go.

Oh, there are all sorts of places I’d like to go! Unfortunately, traveling takes time and money—and although it may seem like I travel fairly frequently, I generally only tend to go places where other people will pay to send me. Which means that I go to Japan a lot. :) But if the opportunity were to arise, here are the places I would like to go:

1. China

Photo: “Gateway to the Temple of Heaven” by Stuck in Customs

Without a doubt, China is the first place that I would head, if I had the time and the money. Its place on the list is rather overdetermined, as social scientists like to say—there are tons of reasons why I want to go there. First of all, I’ve never been to China. Second, given that I am a student of East Asian politics, it seems like a professional obligation to visit the country that is so quickly changing the dynamics of the region. (Plus, I always feel kind of funny about acting as an “authority” on a place that I’ve never actually visited.) Third, whenever I travel, taking pictures is the thing I most enjoy, and China would seem to have plenty of photographic fodder. Whenever I think about going to China, I pretty much just picture myself hidden behind my DSLR frantically snapping pictures of people and sights and scenery. Fourth, China is fairly fascinating culturally, historically, politically, socially… you name it. It would be great to be able to witness these things first-hand instead of just reading about them endlessly. Finally, I’d like to see what all the hype is about. As much as I resent China for stealing the spotlight away from my beloved Japan (which, to be fair, was quite overhyped in its day as well), I’d like to see what all the fuss is about and assess for myself how I feel about it all.

2. Italy

Photo: “Ancient Roman Forum By Night” by Stuck In Customs

Unlike China, I have actually been to Italy before. After I graduated from high school, I embarked on a three-week seven-country tour of Europe with a band/choir group called the Washington Ambassadors of Music. It was a great introduction to Europe—we played concerts and toured around England, France, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Italy, Austria and Germany. But our visit to Italy was only a day trip, and the only place I really got to see was Venice. So, I would still really like to see all of the other famous sites—Rome most of all. Ideally, I’d spend several weeks just working my way around the country. Again, the photo ops are a big incentive, as well as the tremendous culture and history of the place. Since I generally spend most of my time in Asia, it would be nice to get back to Europe and to soak up some Western culture for a while. Moreover, I actually have family in Italy (in Trieste) that I’ve never met, so it would give me the opportunity to do so. And it would give me a chance to brush up on my probably now non-existent Italian skills.

3. Egypt

Photo: “Pyramids and Mule” by Ivan Marcialis

Doesn’t everybody want to go to Egypt? Pyramids and mummies and all sorts of incredible history—Egypt just seems like a (perhaps stereotypically) exotic place. I have to confess that I don’t really know much about the country, besides what I learned in high school and what I’ve seen on television (half of which is probably totally fictional). But that would be part of the appeal of going—it would be fantastic to go somewhere that I know relatively little about, that way it would give me the excuse to learn new things. New things that I wasn’t even obligated to know professionally. :)

I might make it to China or even Italy in the not too distant future, but Egypt is probably going to have to wait a while. But that just gives me more to look forward to!

Where would you go?