Below you'll find a list of all the countries I've explored thus far accompanied by what I thought of them based on my experiences. Out of the 195 countries on this wonderful planet of ours, I've just barely scratched the surface. Regularly check this page to see where I've gone and where I'm going next. Feel free to ask me any questions about these places if you're planning a trip!
I spent just under a month in the north of Thailand exploring the mountains and jungles of the region. I stayed in Chiang Mai for the majority of my trip and took a few days to go even further up north to a small town called Pai. I did everything from bathing elephants in a river to Muay Thai trainings with an Olympian. I had the time of my life in Thailand, I left a piece of my heart there so I'll be returning very soon. Ask me about the food, the adventures, the juxtaposition between the cities in the north and south, the vibe, the people, the massages, the elephants, the activities or how I almost set myself on fire and I'll talk forever.
I spent nearly a week here on a backpacking trip through Europe and Northern Africa. All of my time outside the desert was spent in Marrakesh, but majority of my time was spent in transit to the Sahara and in the Sahara. After spending a little time in Zagora, I climbed onto the back of a camel and trekked for two hours to a campsite in the dunes. I dragged my mattress to the center of the campsite and spent the night outside under the stars with some really incredible people watching countless shooting stars. I'd never experienced a sky like that, no city would ever allow it. Ask me about how we danced to the sounds of drums and sang Arabic songs all night after dinner, how painful camel rides are, how much water I drank, how delicious the food is or what it's like to get waken up by a sand storm.
I've been to Mexico seven times and the kicker is— I've only flown once. Living 20 minutes away affords me the luxury of being able to grab my passport and drive over, I'm beyond grateful for that. So far, I've been to Cancun, Rosarito, Ensenada and Tijuana. I return so often because I love the culture and the people but I can't lie, I've gone down for nothing else but tacos before and I'm not ashamed. Most people don't know that the first time I visited Mexico, I drove in by accident and spent an hour sobbing in absolute panic because I couldn't find my way back. It's one of my favorite stories, ask me about that one or read about it here.
I legit almost stayed in Portugal.
I loved Portugal so much, I actually contemplated my life there. I explored Sintra, Cascais and Lisbon. I was mesmerized by everything from the architecture, to the graffiti, to the magical palaces and castles. The language was beautiful, the history was captivating and the people were so pleasant. Portugal almost had me, it's on the return list for sure. Ask me about how every single meal I ordered while here was wrong, how I was homeless for a night and got rescued by a group of men having a stag party, how I got around or how I found these cliffs by getting off at the wrong bus stop.
I visited Spain twice a few weeks apart. I first explored Barcelona, then came back and explored Madrid. These cities are so strikingly different but so captivating in their own ways. Barcelona was lit, there wasn't a dull moment! From nude beaches to pub crawls, I felt like I was going nonstop. The city is alive. Madrid was more chill, it's inland and I'd describe it as classier and less touristy. I spent most of my days lounging with friends and eating, there was a lot of eating. The vibe there was a lot more relaxed. Ask me how many tapas I ate, how I floated naked in the Mediterranean, how I found some incredible views, what I thought of la Sagrada Família or how I almost passed out in a palace.
I flew into France by way of Beauvais and was meant to take a bus to Paris but upon arrival I saw that La Cathédrale Saint-Pierre, France's largest cathedral and the fifth largest in the world, was just a few minutes away so I went there instead. I explored Beauvais for a few hours then boarded my bus to Paris. I spent the rest of my week lost in a dream. Paris was like meeting your favorite childhood celebrity and not believing it's actually happening. I'd dreamt of Paris for years, it's so glamorized in pop culture so when I finally got to go, I was dazed. I spent my days walking around Paris taking in the architecture and the sights. Ask me how I got into The Louvre for free, how many times I went to the Eiffel Tower, what it was like celebrating their national holiday Bastille Day under the Eiffel Tower with thousands of people then finding out about the Bastille Day Terror Attack, how I cried in the Cathedral because it was so beautiful or how many miles I walked around the city.
When I was 12 years old, my father sent me to live in London for three months. It was the first time I flew solo internationally and I like to believe it was the precedent to my current travel habits. I binge watched too many seasons of Lost and learned to Dutty Wine at a party I probably shouldn't have been at. Since then, I've revisited for friends and family. London is a melting pot of cultures and I'm always excited to go back. Last time I was in London, I explored 17 miles by foot and then a couple more by bike just playing tourist with my friends. Ask me how I navigate the tube, how to save money, my favorite museums, or my favorite meal at Nando's.
I didn't do much in Amsterdam to be completely honest, I just walked around the canals, rode my bike anywhere that seemed interesting enough and sat around in parks journaling. Amsterdam is a beautiful city with the most peaceful vibe. I thought of staying here too, I was ready to ditch my car for a bike almost immediately after renting one. The city is the bicycle capital of the world for good reason, over a million bikes are on the roads here. There are bicycle traffic lights and bicycle parking garage structures! I coasted on the simplicity and effortless beauty of Amsterdam until I left. Ask me what juice I became addicted to, what coffee shops are like, how I managed to not get a single picture of myself in the city, how horrified I was by the Red Light District or how I rented a bike.
I spent all of my time in Berlin, I intended on going down to Munich but I nixed it last minute. I spent most of my time in museums learning as much as I could about Germany's history. At one point, I got off the train looking for food and ended up at the Brandenburg Gate, I learned about what it was on a free walking tour after seeing it on practically every post card. I walked around the East Side Gallery for a few hours looking at every single installation and then on the walk back I came across War on Wall, an incredible art exhibition displaying countless stories and pictures of refugees from Syria. If I could sum Berlin up, I'd say it was art, history and hipsters. Ask me about how to find free walking tours, how to figure out the Berlin train system or cool places to hang out.
I want to say nice things about Prague but I hated it and as of now, I'm not returning. If I had to say something positive about Prague, I'd say Trdelník is to die for, the swans are magical and the architecture is stunning. I also met a great friend here and that's really all I could enjoy for the few days I endured before just leaving early. If you're a history buff, Prague does have enough history to fill a dozen history books, I learned a lot on a walking tour. If you're planning on visiting Prague, Old Town Square is a tourist death trap in the day and a really chill spot in the night. At night, the tourists clear out for the most part and everyone chills on the floor with a bottle, a blunt, both or more and it's a dope atmosphere. Ask me why I hated Prague, how I almost fell in the river or how I discovered and became addicted to Milka chocolate bars here.
I flew into Italy with a mission— see as much as possible. I studied Italian in college so I was already obsessed with the culture and excited to use what little Italian I did have stored. I started in Milan, then I traveled to Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Naples, Capri and Bari. I hit the ground running, with gelato in hand. I had the time of my life in Italy, it is a beautiful country with so much to experience. I fell in love over and over again and I cannot wait to go back. Ask me about that time I got so flustered when a man said hi to me that I said "hola" back, how much gelato I ate, how much pasta can one Olivia eat, how many trains I rode in this one country, and how I took an 18 hour boat ride from Italy to Greece.
First off, I see Puerto Rico as its own country, I don't care. This entire island is a vibe! I was nothing but happy in Puerto Rico. The people are incredible, the food is to die for, the beaches are pristine, the culture is amazing and the cities are beautiful. There's also so much to do! I rented a car for almost nothing and drove about 45 minutes out to the Northeast side of the island to check out El Yunque National Forest and then on another day used the port of Fajardo to take a boat to this secluded island. Ask me where I stayed, what some of my favorite restaurants were, how Puerto Ricans can be so nice outside of their cars but super aggressive on the road or how to get to the secluded island.
When I added Greece to my European itinerary, all I knew was I wanted to see Athens and Santorini. Turns out Santorini is 9 hours away from Athens by boat and the flight was unreasonable the day I wanted to go so I just decided to spend the time I had in Greece in Athens. Athens is magical! Even though I was raised Christian, I always believed in Greek mythology so to be in Athens was surreal. I sat on a huge rock for hours looking over all of Athens at least 2 of the nights I was there. The Parthenon sitting royally atop the city made me really feel like the gods walked the same streets I did. The energy was just right. Ask me how I fell in love with the Chinese revolutionary Ai Weiwei and spent a few hours crying in a museum learning about the refugee crisis in Greece, how I tried to sneak onto a private beach with my friends, how I almost died and how I ate gyros 3 times a day for like 4 days.
My mother is from May Pen so I spent many childhood summers in Clarendon living with family members. My sister Paige and I were biological travel buddies, we were inseparable! And judging by all the pictures, we were always down for matching outfits and a fly photoshoot. We were four and six in this shot, we haven't changed. Ask me about my family, the favorite foods I've been eating all my life, why my sister and I stopped going every year, to see more pictures of us with no behavior or when I plan on returning!
I was taken on a propaganda trip to showcase all the good things about Israel in an attempt to undercut the media's portrayal of the country and bring that force-fed narrative back to the states. Luckily for me, I'm headstrong and I like to formulate my own opinions. I learned about the short history of Israel, the plight of native Palestinians, and some of the major religions— Islam, Christianity and Judaism. I made some incredible friends on the trip, had some strong debates, bonded with some locals, saw some breathtaking historic sights and fell in love with Middle Eastern food. Ask me what it was like traveling there with the political climate, how it snowed there for the first time in years on my 11 day trip, what it was like off roading in a Jeep through the mountains and how much wine I drank.
My sister, Paige, is half Guyanese so one summer we flew down to visit her side of the family. I remember absolutely nothing. I don't even have any pictures of myself there. Don't ask me anything, you'll have to ask my sister for recommendations on this one— sorry!
I visited Toronto when I was 9 or 10 with my sister and my grandmother. We took a Greyhound bus from NYC to visit one of my grandma's friends and we stayed there for a little over a week. I remember this trip vividly even though I can't recover any photos from it. I was given one of my favorite childhood books The Secret Garden by my grandma's friend on this trip and I remember how it affected my imagination. When walking around downtown Toronto, I forced my sister to come into the Ripley's Believe It or Not store with me because I used to collect their books and a dinosaur was bought for me. We rode the "Maid of the Mist" up to the falls and I dropped that dinosaur overboard, I cried. I also remember leaving my favorite Scooby Doo movie on the Greyhound back, I was obsessed with it (so obsessed I couldn't leave it home in DC) so I cried again but for days this time. It was a well rounded emotional trip and I haven't returned to Toronto since. Hopefully when I go back, I'll have myself together.
I visited Kunming and Shanghai on my way to Chiang Mai, Thailand. I chose long layovers to give me time to explore these cities but I was let down repeatedly. I found China to be as drab as the respect the people I encountered showed me. I was also somewhat surprised to see how polluted the areas I attempted to explore were. I've yet to experience a country where the people smoke as much as the Chinese do and there were some European cities I was certain I'd develop lung cancer in. I tried with China because this was a country I'd added to my 'must visit' list but I was exhausted by how I was treated by the people and it's just not a place I can see myself visiting again any time soon. I just couldn't wait to leave both cities and that country. Ask me about some of the specific encounters, how the one thing that made me happy in the entire country was a puppy or how I gave up and chose to catch up on sleep in my hotel room instead of exploring the city of Kunming any further.
I visited the States for the first time back in November 1992 (I'm always this corny, I promise). I was born in the nations capital of Washington DC and since then I've lived in Clinton and Silver Spring, Maryland, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and San Diego, California. I currently live in San Diego, for now! I've visited just over half of the 50 states and I plan on visiting them all eventually. Every state is like another country with their own values, cultures and seemingly their own languages. I love experiencing all of the differences. Another goal of mine is to visit all of the national parks because they are breathtaking! Ask me about some of my favorite road trips, which national parks I've already been to, what it's like living here and if I plan on living here for the rest of my life.
United Arab Emirates
I visited two out of the seven Emirates when I went back to the Middle East, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. I spent majority of my time in Dubai with one of my closest friends. I found the UAE very interesting, comprised of nearly 90% expatriates, it is truly a melting pot of cultures! I met incredible people from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nigeria and The Philippines just to name a few. The extravagance of Dubai is unmatched, I have never seen another city match such luxury! It’s also one of the most futuristic cities I’ve ever seen, looking at the architecture was like watching an episode of The Jetsons but from 2030. I enjoyed my time here, ask me about how I struggled to find food that wasn’t processed, how easy it is to navigate the city by metro, how simple it was to get to Abu Dhabi from Dubai or where a great spot to watch luxury cars is!
I went on what many would call a “spiritual journey” for two months at the start of 2019. I started in Rishikesh training to become a certified Yoga instructor and then I traveled further and further south until I reached the southernmost state of Kerala. I had the time of my life traveling through this beautiful, chaotic, dirty, and colorful chunk of land. India is the most dynamic country I’ve ever visited, unlike anywhere else in the world. I met some of the kindest people I’ve ever encountered, I drank chai everyday, I sweat curries, I took the trains, I had accidents, I participated in cultural ceremonies and festivals, I played with cows, I went to a wedding, I danced, I sang, I found new depths of my Self here— and I guess that’s the definition of a spiritual journey. I left a piece of my heart in India and I’ll return to it periodically for the rest of my life. Ask me what it was like living here for 2 months and how I survived that long with no income.
The funniest thing about visiting Sri Lanka is it was the furthest thing from planned. I mean, from the moment I graduated and left Rishikesh in India I winged my entire trip. But I thought of Sri Lanka midway through March, checked the Visa and ticket prices and made up my mind a week later to actually go. I’m SO glad I did, Sri Lanka is a gem of an island and I didn’t give myself enough time to explore it but the time I did have was full of joy and great experiences. I met some fantastic people here, swam at the beach and on my rooftop pool, learned the subtle but major differences between Indian and Sri Lankan meals, took the train inland to spend time at an elephant orphanage, danced to Sri Lankan music, took walks with no destination and found my new favorite candy in a market. I will absolutely be back to explore, you need at least 3 weeks here to soak it up. Ask me what my favorite dish was here and how it was so good, I barely chewed it.