The Most Exotic Destinations I’ve Visited

Even before I was a blogger, I had an enormous passion for traveling, but there were times when exotic and faraway destinations were beyond my reach. My family has always lead a normal life, but that life didn’t include holidays outside Australia, so once I came into my own and became financially independent, I made a vow to myself that I would visit as many countries and get to know as many different cultures as I can during my lifetime. Of course, traveling with friends is amazing, but at the risk of sounding trite, my journeys became an entirely different experience when I met my husband. We’re like two peas in a pod – we like the same music and books and we share the same views as to what constitutes a rocking trip to a different country. So here they are, my top four exotic destinations – all of which I got to experience with the love of my life, but even if you go at it alone, you are guaranteed to have the time of your life.

Honeymoon, take 1

Yes, we had two honeymoons. Why? Because my husband had secretly booked a trip to Barcelona and told me he couldn’t get time off work so I would be surprised when he handed me the plane tickets. Because of that, I decided to surprise him with a short getaway, which is how we ended up going to two completely different places, and Barcelona was the first. I was always mesmerized by the spirit of Barcelona – the people always seemed so chill and up for anything. In my mind, people were constantly dancing in the streets without a care in the world. Well, in reality, it’s a crowded tourist destination, but we still managed to get the most of it. The spirit of the city did not disappoint, and neither did the unique architecture. We walked everywhere because we didn’t want to miss a thing. We got to explore the city on foot, saw all of Gaudi’s quirkily majestic architectural accomplishments - the Sagrada Família, the fairytale Park Güell, from which you can see the entire city, as well Palau Güell, Casa Batlló, Torre Bellesguard, Casa Vicens. We were constantly tired from walking to such places as the lush gardens of the Teatre Grec the Fundació Joan Miró, one of the largest museums in the world, eating in local restaurants. It was like a field trip that never stops, and we were exhausted, but it was totally worth it because this is not a place you come to chill – this is a place where you want to soak up every corner.

Honeymoon, take 2

While he was busy arranging the trip to Spain, I was booking something far more exotic – a real honeymoon experience in the Maldives. Now, there are plenty of upscale resorts in the smaller islands, but since we wanted to experience as much of the culture as we possibly could, I decided that we should go to a local-populated island of Thulusdhodo. We stayed in one of the locally-built ‘on the budget’ but amazing hotels, called Canopus Retreat. I don’t know what they mean by fancy on other islands, because our suite was gorgeous! However, the accommodation was less important – we were here to veg out, lay on the white sand and be transported by the indescribable color of the sea. I love our beaches and wouldn’t trade them for anything, but these were heavenly as well. The island is pretty small, so you’ll bump into locals frequently. They have a mosque there, and the call to prayer was super interesting and exotic for us. This island also boasts some of the best surfing beaches, and since my husband loves surfing, while I read my books, he indulged in his favorite sport. There are also activities such as night fishing and snorkeling – which was absolutely incredible, and even though it was somewhat action-packed, we still got our fair share of resting and being hypnotized by the surreal color of the sea. All you need is some great designer swimwear – you’ve got to shine on your honeymoon pics, a great hat, a kimono, and you’re good to go. Don’t bother packing overly elegant clothes – you don’t need them. All it takes is a few playsuits, flat sandals, a couple of tees and you can get away with nothing but carry-on luggage.

Spur of the moment

We had already made peace with the fact that we wouldn’t be going anywhere for New Year’s, and just three days before January 1st I got a call from a great friend who had moved to Turkey to teach English there and he insisted that we visit him and be his houseguests. I booked the tickets while still chatting with him, and in two days, we set sail to Istanbul. I don’t know what you’ve heard of the city, but if I had to describe it in one sentence, it would be the perfect merger of east and west – the Aya Sofya mosque being the perfect example of this description. We got to know more about Islam and their customs, we heard the call to prayer and visited the breathtaking mosque, which is truly an architectural marvel. Of course, we couldn’t miss the ‘window shopping’ at Kapali Carsi (the Grand Bazaar) and the uniqueness of the little stores, the haggling – this is always fascinating to me. We also tried original Turkish doner and almost died and gone to heaven when we tasted the signature Turkish Baklava with pistachios and krem at this little cake shop called Medo. If you ever find yourself in Istanbul, you have to go and try this, it will change your life. Of course, as real tourists, we couldn’t miss the Bosphorus ferry ride. It was freezing in Istanbul, but we couldn’t miss seeing the city this way, surrounded by seagulls and the warm Turkish Chai in our hands. Even though we could have stayed home in the warmth of our beds, we wanted to see all we ever desired to, and we did.

There are wonderful cities all over the world, but Istanbul and Barcelona will always have a special place in my heart, because there’s a soul to them, like they’re this warm and affectionate person who hug and welcome you at all times.

Mia Taylor is a fashion and beauty enthusiast from Sydney and writer for She loves writing about her life experiences. Traveling and enjoying other cultures and their food with her husband is a big part of her life. She is always on the lookout for new trends in fashion and beauty and considers herself an expert when it comes to lifestyle tips.
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