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I have literally spent my entire adult life traveling around the world (maybe 50 countries?) with combinations of business and pleasure. Here are my thoughts about where to visit and what to see when you retire based on my past experiences.

 

  • USA: The Gulf Coast has the best sand anywhere in the world, including any island in the Caribbean or South Pacific. I am not much of a fan of Florida’s Atlantic coast: it is too crowded and too expensive for my tastes and I don’t care for driving on the beach. Although the Poconos, Cat Skills, and New England mountains are beautiful, they don’t compare to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. New Orleans is worth a look if you like beautiful homes and great restaurants. In Texas, Galveston, San Antonio, and Austin are worth a peek. I love the Great Lakes, Rocky Mountains, and Arizona deserts. Lake Tahoe, the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone are also must-sees. Southern California is beautiful, but pricey and congested. I prefer Northern California, Oregon, and Washington. Nothing beats Montana or Utah if you like fishing and mountains. The snow in all the skiing resorts around Salt Lake City is the best in the world.  Another must-do would be to take the Trans Cross Continental railway from Montreal to Vancouver. Take the ferry to Vancouver Island and then a cruise up the Alaskan Highway to lovely fishing villages of Juneau and Anchorage. Other must-see U.S. spots are Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and any island in Hawaii

 

  • Central America: Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful countries on earth, followed by Belize (mountains, jungles, volcanoes, beaches, crystal clear water, great food, etc.). Panama and Nicaragua are nice as well.

 

  • South America: The most beautiful country in South America is Columbia. It has everything that Costa Rica has and it is less expensive. Argentina and Chile are great if you like red meat and wine and snow covered mountains and salmon streams.

 

  • Asia: China deserves two weeks. Must-sees are Beijing (need 5 days to see Tiananmen Square, Southern Palace, Zoo, Forbidden City, Great Wall), Terracotta Solders, Shanghai, and Hong KongJapan and Taiwan are very modern and pricey. Other countries worth seeing in the South Pacific would be Tahiti, Fiji, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Bora Bora is a great place to see. My favorite is Thailand (jungles, Buddhist temples, beaches). Maybe the most beautiful beaches in the world are in southern Thailand. India is a real paradox. There are beautiful ancient and modern cities with the incredibly wealthy and incredibly poor people living next to each other. Be careful what you eat and drink and stay in the car, because the beggars will strip you of your belongings.

 

  • Australia: Australia and New Zealand are two of the most beautiful countries in the world and, yes, it helps that they speak English, although with a funky accent. In Australia you need to see the Great Barrier Reef, do the crock safari, go to the outback, Tasmania, Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. That will take at least 14 days. You will need one week to see the North and South island of New Zealand. Of my nearly 60 countries, I would put this one at the top, followed closely by Costa Rica, Australia, and Thailand.

 

  • Middle East: I would recommend Turkey as number one, followed by Morocco, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.  You might want to hold off on seeing the pyramids until things settle down: They will be there for another 4,000 years.

 

  • Europe: It is an easy flight to London and from there you can go to Bath, Dover, Britten Beach, etc. The French countryside and wine country are more romantic to me than Paris. The Netherlands and Belgium are also lovely and you must see Amsterdam. The museums, streets and canals are so wonderful. However, remember the Dutch are very liberal and on the streets and in the bars “anything goes.” Spain is also a very beautiful country with great food and people. Madrid, Barcelona, and the beaches are all worth a look. Germany, Poland, and Hungary are interesting, as well. I love Frankfurt’s rivers and ancient castles. Budapest and the Rhine River are also romantic. Make sure you get a Turkish bath. They will wipe your skin off with towels in a sauna bath and everyone is naked except for one or 2 towel around their privates.

 

I hope you enjoyed my sojourn and I know I left out a lot of great places. So please share your experiences or must-see places.