We’re passionate about travel, and certain destinations pierce our heart like Cupid’s arrow. So when we asked our readers on Facebook and Twitter where they were when they first fell in love with travel, we nodded in agreement at many answers, added a few more places (and experiences — like riding an Arabian horse under a full moon in the Sahara!) to our bucket lists, and audibly sighed while silently planning our next adventure. And we will never again pooh-pooh puppy love — we couldn’t believe how many of you fell in love with travel as children and teens, or even in the womb. It must be true love.
Read on to see where your heart lies.
India, as diverse in terrain as it is in culture, provides endless variety to the smitten traveler.
“I was in India when I first fell in love with travel just weeks after I finished high school. I … traveled to India with Girl Guides. Such an inspiring country. I spent most of the time in Pune, visited Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and lots of other places on the way.” — @k8ejenkin on Twitter
Is Russia, with its golden onion domes, famous art museums and plentiful vodka, a natural cure for the wandering heart? These tweets say “Da!”
“School trip to U.S.S.R., 1989. Historic sites, great art, friendly people and a chance to explore a different culture.” — @RagazzaDelTreno on Twitter
“Red Square in the snow.” — @emmacdance on Twitter
Utah proves to be the promised land for some travel lovers, such as Dalia and Cara.
“First time I traveled for a summer program. Went to Utah. After that I’ve never stopped.” — Dalia G. on Facebook
“Zion National Park on the way to Grand Canyon after randomly asking, ‘Who wants to see sunrise @ GC?’ Boyfriend said okay and we took off!” — @CaraLopezLee on Twitter
Chinatown, Los Angeles, introduced one reader to sights, sounds and smells that differ from those in America’s heartland.
“As a 5-year-old girl from Kansas [I] fell in love with everything exotic while visiting Chinatown in L.A. The incense, the tinkling of the wind chimes, the dreamy music, the scent of roasted duck, it all overtook me and my course was set.” — Sara Jane C. on Facebook
Berchtesgaden, Germany, surely attracts lovers with its gorgeous views of the Bavarian Alps and its raucous beer gardens. When you’re young, salt mines and schnitzel are splendid too, as one reader told us.
“I was 8, Berchtesgaden, Germany. Stayed at a WWII-era hotel, ate schnitzel, explored salt mines, played Ping-Pong.” — @Kelley_Myers on Twitter
Bali, the romantic chapter of “Eat, Pray, Love,” provides an idyllic setting for centering too, tweets one reader.
“Bali and all these years later it still remains a special place for me. Going back Monday! Bali expects my head and heart be fully integrated AND present in every moment. Helps me heal and BE happy.” — @bronwynclee on Twitter
Tsitsikamma, South Africa, where the mountains meet the Indian Ocean, is perfect for lovers of adventure — from ziplining to kloofing (a local term for canyoning).
“Tsitsikamma, South Africa, during the freefall of the world’s highest bungy jump!” — @WanderfulWorld1 on Twitter
Thailand is home to more than just intensely spicy food. These tweets explain why this beautiful country is so popular.
“First fell in love with travel in Thailand in 2001.” — @JenPaylor on Twitter
“Temples, beaches, and mountains made Thailand the perfect spot for our honeymoon!” — @chrisgrayfaust on Twitter
This tweet about Oaxaca, Mexico, proves that even flawed romances hold a special place in our heart.
“A small village west of Oaxaca, getting fired via TelCel while a donkey chewed my sandal and a kid picked my pocket.” — @Mobile_Laureate on Twitter
Paris, the City of Lights, ignites a fire in many hearts, particularly for teenagers. Or so it seems for these romantic lovers of the Left Bank who answered on Twitter.
“Age 15, a boat ride down the Seine, passing Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower … Ooh la la!” — @adilanzo on Twitter
“Paris, age 18, my first non-family trip and my first time outside the country.” — @elizabethdehoff on Twitter
“It was in Paris and it was like a fairy tale. This magnificent city charmed me forever.” — @theskyiswild on Twitter
Alaska tugs at the adventurous heart. These tweets recount affection for the U.S.’s 49th state.
“In a Winnebago traveling from Ohio to Alaska. My brave dad … he ferried 12-year-old me, three sisters and my mom. ‘Alaska Or Bust’ taped on the side.” — @Heatherdugan on Twitter
“On Alaska/Canadian highway in minibus — for the third time…” — @Torrie_Lee on Twitter
On the Rails
Train travel has long inspired romance.
“In 1950 my family moved from NYC to San Francisco on the California Zephyr. I remember falling asleep to the stars seen from the Vistadome, and in the morning dreaming as the power lines rose and fell across the prairie. … I’ve been traveling since then, sometimes only in my head, but always traveling.” — Anthony M. on Facebook
“It all began for me every night as a young boy in a small Kansas town. While awaiting sleep atop humid bedsheets, I’d listen to the Kansas City-bound Santa Fe break the city limits as it rumbled across the river trestle. That’s when my imagination had its first serious love affair with travel. I knew … someday … and I was correct!” — Willis C.S. on Facebook
–written by Jodi Thompson