The Top 10 Countries I’d Revisit
In a heartbeat
In the interview section of this website, Everyday People, (which is temporarily down and under reconstruction) one of the questions that I ask is, “If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would that place be and why?” So, when the editor of Dave’s Travel Corner, Teh-Chin Liang, interviewed me last summer, Christopher Birt, Actor and Traveler, he asked me the question. My answer is always the same:
“Any place I’ve never been to before, because I’ve never been there.”
Ironically, I was interviewing for a tour director job on zoom recently and I was asked, ” Of all the places you’ve been, what’s the one place you would like to go back to?” I froze. With an inability to name only one place, I quickly made a joke for diversion purposes.
“Only one? That’s like naming my favorite chip! Impossible! Haha!
The interviewer pressed further.
“Ok, India. And Cuba. Also Japan and Chile….”
The truth is, like Will Rogers, I’ve never been to a country I didn’t like. Although travel, for me, has always been a passion, above all it’s the people who make each country so special. Like Manu, from Rapa Nui, who saved me from the perils of the Andes mountains, Chile-How the Andes almost claimed me. Valeri, our intrepid tour guide, who told me how welcomed I would be if I ever decided to move to Havana, Hola Cuba. Certainly, if I could, I’d revisit everywhere I’ve been. They all hold a special place in me and a gratitude for their welcoming spirit. A smile goes a long way and translates with ease. No Google needed.
The top 10 countries I’d revisit in a heartbeat
All things considered, Japan may be the most fascinating country I’ve ever visited. As a result of spending just a week exploring only Tokyo, I long to see the entire country. In order to see Sakura, or the cherry blossoms, one should travel there in spring, which I was fortunate to do. Equally spectacular is the food and, of course, the people. I’ve never felt safer, It’s also strikingly clean. Black in Tokyo. In particular, I’d love to spend quality time there, travelling by Bullet train, from Osaka to Hokkaido, eating my way through. Japan.
“For centuries, Cuba’s greatest resource has been its people.” British essayist and travel writer Pico Iyer, crystalized the facts of that statement perfectly. There’s an other-worldliness to the Cuban people, making interactions with them forever memorable. Not to mention the jaw-dropping beauty of that magical island just 90 miles off the coast of the United States. However, without reservation, a complete world away. Cuba.
Given that I’ve revisited this country more than any other, it would naturally make the list. William Shakespeare wrote,
O England! model to thy inward greatness,
Like little body with a mighty heart,
What might’st thou do, that honour would thee do,
Were all thy children kind and natural!
But see thy fault!
Memorizing that, from Henry V, for acting class as a drama student in London in the eighties would always prove challenging for this young American. However, being there and adopting the ‘when in Rome’ attitude exposed me to the brilliance of not only his writing, but the meaning in that prologue as it pertains to his birthplace. As far as European countries go, with the history and the people, and the respect for the acting profession, England will always be in my heart. There’re a few pubs there, too. England.
Due to the fact that one of my favorite roles was Gilbert, the villain who threw Steve Urkel from the 3rd stage of The Eiffel Tower, on the ABC hit Family Matters, Paris Vacation, means I’m biased. Therefore, as someone who’s had the honor of spending a fair amount of time there over the years, please go. Like England, France is way more than just Paris, the country itself is diverse and spectacular. Additionally, the people and french cuisine are one hundred. Bonjour, Merci, Pardon and Ca Va, go a very long way over there, trust. Plus de vin s’il vous plait! (more wine please!) France
Emphatically, India is one of the best visual palettes on planet Earth. The assault on all the senses is unimaginable prior to arrival and afterwards, unforgettable for life. We did the golden triangle, (Delhi, Jaipur, Agra). Also adding Varanasi was a smart move. Located along the banks of the Ganges River, and reputed to be one of the worlds oldest cities, in fact, I think it’s the most fascinating and overwhelming place I’ve ever been. Likewise, the people of that amazing country are as unique and diverse as the country itself. Obviously, as the Indians swear they invented cooking, the food is beyond. Varanasi, India.
6. New Zealand
By the time I found out I had landed the role of Lt. Mitchell Sanders opposite Kiefer Sutherland in the movie, Sweetheart of the song Tra Bong, and that it was filming in New Zealand, I was thrilled. But, I had already gotten another part in a TV pilot, Melanie Darrow, and was in Toronto shooting that. Thankfully, schedules were rearranged, I found favor and was blessed to see one of the most breathtakingly stunning countries in the world. Discovering the culture of the Indigenous people, the Maori, makes that place even more inspiring. I’m forever an All Blacks fan. The Haka, baby! New Zealand
The Chilean motto, por la razon o la fuerza. (By reason or by force), exemplifies Chile, the longest country in the world. The mountain range, the Andes, borders the country on one side, the Pacific Ocean on the other. I visited Santiago, Valparaiso and the surrounding area, which were central. Next time I’d love to see both the north, the Atacama Desert, and the south, close to Antarctica, and Easter Island.(Rapa Nui) Master chef, Cristian, taught me to make Ceviche-Chile Style, I still love it and make it often. Chile.
“To begin at the beginning..” Those words by Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, commence his radio play, Under Milkwood, which I had the privilege of appearing in upon my return from studying in the UK. While there, my roommates Jake, Brad and I, took the train from London to Cardiff for a weekend getaway. The humor, generosity and welcoming of the Welsh people far extended our weekend. So much so, that we returned back to London, like Wednesday, with a pierced ear that I didn’t completely remember getting. By the way, the countryside is stunning. Wales
Toronto is one of the great international cities of the world. Likewise, Vancouver. But, I’ve never been to Montreal, Quebec City, Nova Scotia, Calgary, Winnipeg and so many others. The second largest country in the world has 10 provinces and 3 territories and only 38 million people. Exactly the same population as Tokyo. Despite being far north enough to experience extreme weather conditions, my times in Canada have always been ‘a rocking good time, eh’. By the way, Niagara Falls is way better from the Canadian side. Banff, Alberta
An island-country and a city-state, Singapore, located at the southern tip of the Malay peninsula, sparks memories of luxury and chill. Multi-cultural influences from India, Malaysia and China make Singapore an eaters utopia. High-end hotels, like the Raffles, creator of the Singapore sling, and where Michael Jackson stayed, decorate the island like a futuristic movie location. Additionally, the shopping on Orchard Road is legendary. I’d go back just to visit the most amazing airport I’ve seen, Changi airport. Singapore.
Shout-out and apologies to Mexico. Lo siento mi amor. Next blog, I promise.
Thank you so much for bearing with me. Since the website was taken over by a virus and completely crashed last summer, recovery has been challenging. I was browsing the other day and discovered that all 22 Everyday People interviews were deleted. Thankfully, I have all the back-ups so I just need time to learn how to restore them. Also, I have new interviews that I’m anxious to post. At first, all these website issues were depressing. Now, I’m just more determined than ever to figure it out. It might take this remedial dinosaur a while, but, hang on, I just gotta find my glasses. I know I put them somewhere….
If you could, which country would you visit or revisit?
photos licensed from Adobe Stock