Journalists are used to making a home anywhere. They often stay for days, weeks, or months in a place to cover a story. They stay in hotels, homes, or occasionally in conditions they’d rather forget. They get to know language and locals. They walk the landscapes, eat the food, and learn the transportation systems, becoming as fully immersed as a foreigner can get.

But what are the places that have so utterly captured them that they return — again and again, even when there’s no story going to report on? Here are a few locations, highlighted in a Guardian article.

Hiking and Camping the Jalori Pass

If you’re the adventurous trekking type, consider the lesser-known but breathtaking mountains of the Jalori Pass in India. You can book a fully-accompanied mountain treks — complete with air mattresses and ponies that carry all your gear — and costs include equipment, food, lodges, and expert guides. Take in the mountain vistas, forests, high meadow lakes, and centuries-old temples where pilgrims pray. It is a place, as journalist Emma Graham-Harrison says, that is “surprising, always beautiful, and entirely special.” In the vast landscape, taking it all in, passing few people along the way, she said she and her fellow travelers “were happy to be out of contact and suspended in time.”

Lesser-known African Paradise Islands

The Seychelles are probably the most widely known African islands for romantic beach vacation. But like a sweet little secret in the Atlantic, the tiny twin-island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe sits peacefully tucked in the Gulf of Guinea. Known for its cocoa production, this place also attracts outdoor enthusiasts who come to enjoy the pristine bays and beaches, the heart-stopping beauty, the amazing cuisine, and the unique populations of rare birds and butterflies.

São Tomé and Príncipe beaches are worth the journey to this relatively unknown African paradise. Photo: Chuck Moravec via Flickr

Very sparsely populated, the islands still boast a number of luxury hotels. With the interesting mix of African and Portuguese histories (the islands were formerly a Portuguese colony, and they are dotted with many now-defunct cocoa plantations), there’s an ease to the pace of life, and a fantastic, rich culture to enjoy. As a honeymoon destination, it rivals many of the more well-known islands — and it has the added advantage of not being overcrowded. As one traveler put it: “Between lunches of grilled red snapper on the jetty, I passed my days snorkeling amid shoals of tigery-looking fish, kayaking to distant beaches and falling asleep to the ebb of the tide on my own private beach. I was in danger of setting up shop here…”

Cuban Day Trips

Now that Cuba is on more people’s travel radars, it’s a great time to explore this lush, extraordinary place. Stephen Gibbs, a correspondent for the Guardian, writes of Playa Bacunayagua, Cuba, which sits quietly along the northern coast of Cuba. From any larger hotel in Havana, it’s easy to hire a guided car to take you to Bacunayagua. Along the way, you can stop by any number of roadside piña colada stands and enjoy a leisurely cocktail made from palm-fresh coconuts, cream, and pineapple.

On the way to the playa, you’ll cross the tallest bridge in Cuba — the Puente de Bacunayagua — which at over 1,000 feet long and over 300 feet above sea level, is rightly considered a marvel of civil engineering. The coastline, once a well-known pick-up point for boats smuggling Cubans to Florida, now holds plenty of undisturbed beaches that look out onto pristine, azure waters. It’s a perfect day trip and a wonderful way to see all that Cuba has to offer.

Serenity in Chiang Mai

No longer an unheard of destination, the Northern Thailand hotspot of Chiang Mai still offers quiet serenity if you know where to look for it. Photographer Steve McCurry found just that at the The Dhara Dhevi Resort which he considers living in a dream – the type of resort where you don’t ever have to leave the grounds to experience the culture, hospitality, and get a deeper feeling for the country. We certainly don’t think it hurts to book yourself into a room with a private plunge pool. But the villas with vegetable garden views overlooking rice paddies are lovely too.

“I have spent many hours exploring its classical Thai architecture, exotic trees and working rice paddies. I’ve always had a passion for art and Buddhist iconography from south-east Asia, and the Dhara Dhevi’s collection is museum-quality,” says McCurry of the Dhara Dhevi.

Of course outside of the resort lies incredible street food, night markets, elephant sanctuaries, temples, and jungle trekking if you feel like getting out for the day.

Ready to Find Your Repeat Vacation Spot?

Are you looking for a perfect vacation that has all the thrill of a popular tourist destination, but that feels like a secret hideaway just for you? If that’s what you’re craving, I can help you get there! Together we can discover a place that you’ll want to return to again and again. Just click here to get in touch with me today.

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