Hello, there! My name is Stevie, founder of Sapphire & Elm Bespoke Travel Co. There are very few things I think that describe people as well as the destinations we want to experience. For that reason, I wanted to share with you my top 10 travel bucket list destinations as a way for you to get to know me a bit better, and to hopefully inspire your next travel love affair!
Thailand has been the very top of my travel bucket list since I was in high school. I even bought a Rosetta Stone for Thai at a mall kiosk, and during college years later, I took two years of Thai lessons at the Language Door San Diego.
The whole country from the white sand beaches and jungle to the hustling cities and ruins. I’ve never been and have such a fascination with the country, the food, the people, the language.
I want to go to Chiang Mai, Pai, Koh Tao, Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Phi Phi, Phanom Rung, Koh Mak, Phetchaburi, Hua Hin, Ko Lanta Marine National Park, Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park, Chiang Rai, the list goes on and on!
Update: Stephanie visited Morocco in August, 2017.
Morocco is a gateway between Europe, Africa and the Middle East - I just love the mix of cultures! I'm fascinated with the colors, tile, architecture, food, landscape of desert, ocean and lesser known jungles, plus I always love a chance to practice my French!
Update: Stephanie visited Belize in January, 2017.
The jungle on the beach, full of history and good food, plus they speak English and it’s only a 2 hour flight from Miami! I dream about island hopping, cave exploration, snorkeling the Blue Hole, and visiting Mayan ruins!
Update: Stephanie visited Bordeaux in June, 2017.
My love affair with travel truly began when I studied abroad in college. Typical story, with extraordinary feelings for the country. I lived in Paris and traveled to Normandy, Nice, Montpelier, and Nimes. (By the way Nimes is one of my favorite little towns in Europe! So picturesque.) Yet, I have not been to Bordeaux. As a wine lover, Bordeaux is high on the top of my travel bucket list.
Update: Stephanie visited Costa Rica in April, 2017.
A perfect mix of jungle and beach, adventure and relaxation. They’ve got wildlife (sloths, monkeys and birds galore), hiking, volcanoes, river rafting, coffee, hot springs, zip lining through forest canopies, ATVing (which is one of my favorite memories from Santorini, Greece) and so much more!
2. Safari in Tanzania
To go on safari in the Serengeti National Park and climb mount Kilimanjaro.
Update: Stephanie visited Norway in May, 2017.
I want to see, hike and explore the Fjords! Plus all of the towns look so cute and quaint.
Update: Stephanie visited Peru in January - February, 2018.
Machu Picchu. Need I say more? Ok, I'll say more. I hear amazing things about Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Lima, the desert oasis at Huacachina, Colca Canyon and so much more! Plus I'd love to see some adorable llamas up close and drink authentic Pisco Sours.
The Philippines is comprised of over 7,000 islands, ripe for exploration! Beaches, jungles, volcanoes, waterfalls galore, unique Spanish-Filipino colonial architecture, centuries old stone churches, and happy-go-lucky people make this country a must visit for me!
4. Colorado, USA
Colorado in the summer time just screams my name. I'm not a huge fan of snowboarding or skiing, I prefer spring/summer/fall activities like hiking, river rafting, and drinking a glass of beer or wine outside in the sunshine and chatting with locals. I particularly want to go to Denver to do Yoga on the Rocks at the Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Little fact about Stephanie: I’m a yogi, have my 200-hour yoga YRS certification.
5. Kas, Turkey
Kas is a seaside town in the Mediterranean with incredible turquoise waters, amazing history and food.
Greece is one of my all time favorite places in the world, so I am so curious about seeing different parts of the region!
Update: Stephanie visited Colombia in October, 2017 - January, 2018 and again in 2019.
While spending 4.5 months traveling Central America, most of the people I had met while traveling had told me Colombia was their favorite place they had visited on that trip. The first few times I heard this response I was quite surprised, but soon I came to expect it, apparently Colombia was that incredible!
So at the end of 2017, I went to Colombia! Having visited 18 countries in 2017 I decided to slow down and spend 3 months leisurely making my way around Colombia... and I have to say, they were right! Colombia is everything I hoped for and then some! Adventure, leisure, dancing all night, friendly locals, and all the diverse microclimates - beaches, jungles, mountains, and cultured cities. Colombia is my favorite country I’ve been to thus far!
When people talk about Vietnam, the incredible food comes up first. I can't wait to eat Phở for every meal of the day. Plus the chaotic cities, lush jungles, stunning beaches, floating markets, and scootering around the country make Vietnam high on my travel bucket list!
7. New Zealand
Home of the "hobbits", New Zealand is a lush paradise of different climates and landscapes. It's full of beautiful forests, glaciers (which I've never seen before!), mountains, beaches, volcanoes, and wine!
8. South Africa
Wine tasting, wildlife safaris, beaches and hiking, South Africa sounds like the perfect place to spend a few weeks.
I've always enjoyed hiking, but 2017 introduced me to multi-day treks like El Hoyo volcano in Nicaragua and the Lost City in Colombia, and there's no going back for me! So it's only natural that hiking the Himalayas (Everest and Annapurna, anyone?) in Nepal start to creep more and more into my travel brain.
It seems like the more I travel in Latin America, the more I crave the landscapes, culture, and food. I’ve been hearing more and more about Ecuador’s lush jungles, beautiful beaches, charming towns, and incredible hiking opportunities through volcanoes, lakes and mountains. Not to mention it’s home to the Galapagos Islands which Charles Darwin visted in the mid 1800’s and was the inspiration for his theory of evolution. As an Anthropology minor, this absolutely thrills me!
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