5 off-the-beaten-path destinations I’m curious about

Curiosity killed the cat, but a good travel still needs a heavy does of curiosity, and I have endless amounts of it. Especially about new places I might one day travel to.

I’m preparing an episode of The Thoughtful Travel Podcast about destinations that aren’t too commonly visited – because I love hearing about them from my guests and am sure my listeners will too. In this case, the podcast talks about Benin, Madagascar, and Bangladesh – places that have never properly crossed my mind to wish to travel, with the slight exception of Madagascar thanks both to the kids’ movies and to a friend of mine visiting last year.

Over the years, I’ve been to quite a few countries that not too many people go – but there are SO many more that I’m really curious about. My son and I often spend time staring at the world map which hangs on my bedroom wall, wondering where else we could go, and along with hearing just snippets about these places or hearing from someone who’s been there, it makes for a lot of places in the world I’d really like to investigate someday. And here are five of them! I’d love to hear yours.

The deserts of Namibia

This Travel + Leisure piece suggests Namibia (as a less-visited alternative to South Africa) and even though I haven’t (yet) been there, I heartily agree. A decade or so ago I very nearly visited Namibia – I had planned a trip there – with my then boyfriend. We split up, and he got the trip.

Off the Beaten Path Destinations Namibia Red Desert

Red dunes of the Namib Desert, Namibia

Namibia fascinates me for lots of reasons, not least of which is some of the German heritage you can find there, but the most impressive photos I’ve seen are always of the Namib Desert and the dunes near Sossusvlei. I just must get there some day.

Armenia, a student’s home country

Back in my ESL teaching days, I met students from many parts of the world, but many came from the same places – Brazil, Japan, Switzerland, and so on. I can only remember one who was from Armenia, but because I knew practically nothing about Armenia, he’s stuck in my mind ever since.

Off the beaten path destinations visiting Armenia

Exploring the landscape of Armenia

Armenia does sound pretty amazing and absolutely my kind of destination – you can explore Armenia through archaeology, medieval fortresses, the Great Silk Road where it passes through and so much more. The landscape is gorgeous and there’s lots of rural areas and villages to explore – very much off the beaten path and just how I like it.

Sentimental yearnings for Bolivia

The South American nation of Bolivia appears on lots of lists of less-visited places, but my reasoning for wanting to some day get to Bolivia has absolutely nothing to do with any of the reasons they give.

Less Visited Destinations Bolivia Llama

A llama in Bolivia

Apart from a general interest in finally seeing some of South America some day, my interest in Bolivia goes back to my early high school days. My best friend’s older sister had finished high school and she headed off to Bolivia for a year on exchange. It seemed incredibly far away and scary to me, but she had a fascinating experience there, and she even brought me back a souvenir, a small llama. I still have it – thirty years later! – and my little piece of Bolivia makes me want to check it out.


Relax and explore in the Cook Islands

Years ago, my friend Maria had a stopover in the Cook Islands en route from the US to Australia, and I’ve been intrigued ever since – Lonely Planet also recommends them as an off-the-beaten-path destination.

Uncommon destinations - visiting the Cook Islands

Exploring a coral island on the Cook Islands (photo courtesy BrianS101)

Given that I’m not really the type of traveller who’s good at sitting by the pool sipping cocktails for days on end – it’s fun for an afternoon here or there, but I get itchy feet fast and if I’m in a foreign country I always want to get out and explore – then the Cook Islands sound fun, because there’s some relaxing to be had but they also have a wilder side to explore.

Oh to go to Oman …

Pardon the sort-of-pun there, but Oman has been on my radar for years. Back in Germany, I knew a guy who went exotic places with his wife each year after leaving their kids with the grandparents. Even then as a non-parent I found this odd, and now with my own very inquisitive and travel-loving son in tow, I can’t imagine why they wanted to deny their kids these experiences, but in any case, one of these trips was to Oman and he raved about it so much that it’s stuck in my head.

Off the beaten path in the desert dunes of Oman

The desert dunes of Oman

I don’t have much experience of the Middle East at all, barring a short stopover in Dubai a few years back, but Oman and its combination of desert and interesting architecture and just the fact that it’s lesser-visited really intrigues me.


5 off the beaten path destinations including Armenia, Namibia, Cook Islands, Bolivia and Oman


  1. Lisa Scott says:

    Wonderful list, When getting to Namibia, you see loads of sand and rocky mountains and everything looks the same. However, spending a little while here, you get to see how the landscape changes and the intricate beauty of animals, plants, and nature. Very peaceful and worth the walk.

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