by D.J. Wilson
“The world is a great book, of which they who never stir from home read only one page.” – St. Augustine
The above quote was from the Latin philosopher and theologian, St. Augustine, who is considered one of the greatest Christian thinkers of all times. His comparison of the world to a great book causes us to reflect upon the magnitude of the earth and the endless boundaries we have to explore. It would seem a shame to have a whole book, yet only read one page. If you’ve ever experienced a sudden urge to travel and see the world, perhaps it’s because you share the same sentiment as St. Augustine. There is much to discover in our great and beautiful world. Here are three amazing and adventurous places to consider as you turn the pages of your great book and discover the world.
BORA BORA – If you dream of blue lagoons, lush jungles and quiescent volcanoes, this French Polynesian island is calling your name. Known as “the pearl of the Pacific”, the island is surprisingly only six miles long and 2.5 miles wide. Bora Bora provides the perfect tropical getaway experience and offers an abundance of luxurious resorts, including upscale bungalows over water and thatched-roof villas. Explore the charming downtown of Vaitape, complete with a marina and wharf. From the coastal village of Vaitape, you’ll see a view of Bora Bora’s tallest mountain, Mont Otemanu. The scenery on the island is spectacular. Lush warm waters, exotic coconut trees, coral reefs, soaring vaults of handsome topaz sky and pristine white sand beaches create the perfect playground for your dream vacation. Bora Bora possesses glamour, charm and romance amidst sparkling rays of sunshine and dreamy lagoons. From sunbathing to snorkeling, there is much to do in the warm, enjoyable climate. Polynesian Summer in Bora Bora typically runs from November to April, with an average high temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the wet-season, with more humidity and rainfall expected, and is considered “off season”. During the dry winter months, from May to October, it is slightly cooler, with an average high temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit. This is considered “tourist season”. There is usually a refreshing pacific breeze on a hot day, which is quite agreeable. This trip, for many, is a once in a life-time experience as Bora Bora is a distant and pricey destination. However, visitors claim it is well worth the cost to vacation on this tropical island paradise.
MACHU PICCHU, PERU – History and beauty converge in the Cusco Region of Peru, South America. If you’re drawn to dramatic beauty of mountain ridges, tropical mountain forest land and the mystery of the “Lost Cities”, the majestic city of Machu Picchu is your ideal travel destination. It is one of the new seven wonders in the modern world. Located an amazing 7,000 feet above sea level and nestled into the Andean Mountain Range rests the “City of the Incas”. A relatively new discovery to present civilization, discovered in 1911, archaeologists believe it was likely a retreat for Incan rulers. It is a place where hikers and tourists are struck by sentiments of beauty of the remains of sacred structures which overlook the lush Urubamba Valley. The walls, terraces and ramps of this “urban creation” are seamlessly cut into cliffs and buffs and blend naturally into the hillside, its peak surrounded in sheer mountain beauty. Man and nature join together to create a mystical experience fit for exploration. One may walk the Inca Trail or take a bus to the entrance of Machu Picchu to climb the ruins and explore and absorb the beauty of the stunning city. To avoid disturbance of the ruins, the number of visitors per day may be limited. One may wish avoid travel to the region during rainy season, typically from November to March, though expect the dry season from April to October to be more crowded with tourists. Dangers can arise from traveling during the rainy season due to landslides and flooding. The Inca trail is closed during the month of February due to hazards. On average, the temperature fluctuates from 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but high above sea level may be extremely cold. While a trip to this far and distant land is bound to be a most memorable experience, one must be in decent physical shape and enjoy high altitudes and adventure amidst a sub-tropical jungle environment.
REYKJAVIK, ICELAND – Discoverable by air or sea, Reykjavik is the capital and largest city in Iceland. Though the city of Reykjavik spreads out into sprawling suburbs, the charming old town center is rather concentrated. The variety of colorful metal sidings of the homes creates an eclectic yet picturesque cityscape. There are museums, art galleries, shops and restaurants in town. Reykjavik hosts many annual festivals where artists, musicians, writers and designers generate an atmosphere rich in culture. Reykjavik boasts a scenic pathway for walking and biking which wraps around the city and passes a sandy beach, a swimming pool, a golf course and a river rich with salmon. It is in this Nordic European island country where the North Atlantic meets the Artic Oceans, along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This geologically and volcanically active region offers dramatic landscapes born by volcanoes and carved by glaciers, creating the perfect environment for those who love outdoor activities. Hikers, mountain bikers, and those possessing souls for adventure will enjoy the challenges of sports amongst stunning landscape. From bird and whale watching, it is a wonderful place to discover and appreciate nature. To truly experience Icelandic culture, spoil yourself in one of Iceland’s many geothermal pools, known for its natural hot springs and spa culture. Warmed by the Gulf Stream, Iceland has a temperate climate for its high latitude. Though the temperature rarely goes over 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the hottest months, the average low is 28 degrees in its coldest. There’s always a surprise as the weather is considered unpredictable. Since the city is open to seas, outdoor exposure may feel freezing. It’s best to prepare for unexpected weather when journeying to this fascinating destination.
Reflecting upon the magnificence of the world, it is remarkable to explore its inherent beauty, from plush lagoons, majestic mountains and land carved by volcanos and glaciers. I leave you with the important words of another great philosopher, Dr. Seuss, from Oh, the Places You’ll Go! “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”