Some people count the number of countries they’ve visited.
Some have a bucket list.
Me, I have no idea how many countries I’ve been to nor do I have a list that drives my travel plans. Sure, there are places I really want to go. But not all travel I do is determined by them. Often I end up in places that I’ve never considered and I’m so happy I do.
It was only because it was the starting point of a cruise, that I went to Nuremberg. There, I visited the Memorium Nuremberg Trials where I was so moved that I sat down in the museum and wrote So Sad.
St. Andrews, Scotland
It was because I was looking for a weekend getaway from London that I went to St. Andrews, Scotland. I’m not a golfer so I wouldn’t have gone without the kind invitation I received from the people at St. Andrews. What I discovered was a small town that’s perfect for solo travelers. Totally safe. Lovely beaches. And the golf course is open on Sundays for walking.
Porto and the Douro Valley, Portugal
It was because I was going to speak at a conference in Porto, Portugal that I went on a tour up the Douro Valley. It was stunning. I wrote about it in this post Olive Oil Rivers and Almonds in Port. It has lots of photos.
There are times to trash the travel checklist and go where life takes you. But don’t just go. Go and explore. If you’re traveling for work, tack on a few extra days to discover what the destination has to offer. Some of my best memories come from small towns and places that I had never considered going until something unexpected took me there.