We’ve all traveled somewhere – to a new city or a new country, but we’re always hungry for more to see and do. Traveling has proven itself to enrich personal views and experiences. And I always urge people to travel whenever they can. Although I’m not a travel expert (yet), I’ve been to 13 countries since I was a kid and I feel like these are some places that curious, like-minded women should visit in their lifetimes.
The view from an ancient castle in Ravello, Italy.
Italy is a country full of historical monuments and stunning views. It was one of the first countries I visited, and also one of the most recent. From the unique architecture and preservation of cities like Rome and Florence to the natural beauty of the Amalfi coast and Dolomites, Italy has millions of opportunities to share with its visitors. When I was younger, I was able to visit various historical locations like the Roman Colosseum and Venetian canals, along with the fresh gelato found on every street. Most recently, my family and I spent several weeks in Praiano, a small town built into the mountainous coast of western Italy. We spent time at local beaches and visited neighboring towns like the popular Positano and Ravello. Local buses will drop travelers off near the beaches and don’t cost much, which makes it easy and cost-effective to use. We also chartered a boat for the day and explored inaccessible beaches and shallow swimming areas. My family dedicated a day to exploring the famous and neighboring island of Capri, which was easily reached by a daily ferry ride.
The view from our house in Oía, Greece.
In addition to Italy, Greece is another amazing place to visit because it has so much to offer. On the same trip to Italy, my family and I traveled to Greece and stayed in Athens and the island of Thira, more famously referred to as Santorini. While in Athens, I explored the cobblestone streets and visited the original Parthenon, an architectural marvel built on the highest point in the city. Be warned, there is no shade and extremely hot in the summer – bring water and a hat. After a few days in the capital, we took a huge ferry to the island of Thira and stayed in the northernmost town of Oía. Fun fact, scenes from the movie “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” was shot in this town! My sisters and I loved that. I fell in love with a local bookstore called Atlantis Books, which was built into the rock of the town and felt otherworldly. We chartered a boat to sail around the inner part of the island and located in the center is an active volcano. However, it isn’t deemed dangerous and you can even swim between the canals naturally formed and heated by underwater gases – it may smell like rotten eggs, but the rich minerals in the water create a safe swimming experience.
Elena at an interactive mosaic art installation in Havana, Cuba
Although it isn’t easy to visit, I was lucky enough to visit the capital city of Cuba with my family for several weeks and explore everything the city had to offer. Cars from the 1960s were abundant in bright colors around the city, and one of the main incomes for many of Havana’s residents; the taxis were also relatively cheap for the distance traveled and available in any part of the city. I visited local museums, relics, and even Ernest Hemingway’s villa, which was only a short taxi ride from the main city. We spent nights at restaurants and even became friends with locals, many of whom were thrilled that travelers were beginning to visit the country again. There aren’t many beaches in the capital, but you can ask a taxi to drive you to beaches as close as 45 minutes away from the city! My family and I spent a day there and the crystalline water was a perfect temperature to swim in.
Elena visiting the Montenegrin National Park, Biogradska Gora.
My grandfather was born and raised in Montenegro until his immigration to the United States in the late 1950s. I have some family that still live there, and so I’ve visited the small fishing and tourist town of Petrovac Na Moru. There are local beaches that are either in walking distance or a short and easy hike. During one trip, my grandfather brought me and much of my extended family to a national park, named as Biogradska Gora, which he had traveled through in his youth. The park is dense with giant trees and a huge lake in the middle, and there are various hiking trails that visitors can walk on.
Who I Am
I have been incredibly lucky to travel to so many places, including the ones mentioned above. Although I wish I could write about all the countries I’ve visited, these were the ones that stuck with me the most – whether it was because of memories and experience or because of the people living there. I strongly recommend traveling as much as you can, as many times as you can, because I have become more open-minded and independent as a result of my traveling days. I’m sure there are many more countries I’ll visit, but I’ll always look fondly back on the places I’ve been to. Go explore!
Xx, Elena Golubovich
Ohio University, Alpha Delta Pi