5 places to vagabond this summer

On June 10th, 2015

Warm sunshine and the open road never fail to ignite wanderlust. Long days stretch ahead, beckoning to be filled with adventure and explorations. Distant points on the map are ripe with possibility.

Before you, the entire world opens up. And it’s waiting for you to find it — to “tramp a perpetual journey” as Walt Whitman says. The imagined prospects thrill your blood. You have to hit the road and, by vagabonding, find yourself. But where should you go? Perhaps a few of the corners less traveled.

1. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Home to one of the 10 best preserved medieval walled cities in the world, Dubrovnik will charm you with its ancient, narrow streets and scenic outlook on the Adriatic Sea.

This city, with origins dating back to the 7th century, has the taste of old-world Europe, but still tastes undiscovered. I love its history, and legend has it that Richard the Lionheart landed on the wooded island in Dubrovnik’s bay after being shipwrecked in 1192.

But what intrigues me most are the abandoned hotels along its coast. Travis Sherry of Extra Pack of Peanuts says,

“Take an abandoned hotel tour. Croatia was fighting for it’s independence from 1991-1995. During this time many five star hotels were destroyed and then abandoned after the war and fell into even more disrepair. However, they make for a very fun day of exploration. We went to two different hotels: the Belvedere and the Kupari resort.”

2. North-Western USA

Welcome to the land where Big Foot still roams, mountain goats clamber up steep rocky cliffs, and the Big Sky yawns overhead. This area of Montana, Idaho and Washington are ripe for slow travel and discovering hidden nooks around the next bend.

Soak in the serenity of Chico Hot Springs outside Bozeman, Montana. Or explore the remnants of the red light district of one of the largest and most infamous boomtowns in the West: Butte, Montana. This small town tucked in the nook of three mountains thrived during the late 19th century mining boom.

Wind up the twisting roads into Yellowstone National Park to watch for Old Faithful’s geyser.  Try to time your visit during the week to avoid the majority of the crowds and enjoy wolf-watching in seclusion.

Wander west through Idaho’s white-capped mountains, and Washington’s flat prairies before hitting her lush green mountains. If you get thirsty during your vagabonding, check out Butte’s Quarry Brewery (try Galena Gold).

3. Nicaragua, Central America

Meander through this beautiful country that was once hardly visited due to its frequent earthquakes and political unrest. But the shakes have settled, and Nicaragua is open for business, explore to your heart’s content.

Check out Nicaragua’s three distinct regions to find out what life feels like in each:

–Pacific lowlands: heavily populated, Managua (the capital), was 90% destroyed by a volcano in 1972

–North-central lowlands: explore agriculture of this county and coffee farms in this area

–Caribbean lowlands: mostly rainforest, English is widely spoken in the city of Bluefields

Matt of Nomadicmatt.com recommends volcano boarding as a different activity:

“Cerro Negro, a young and active volcano, offers tourists a chance to board down its gravely slopes through an organized tour. You will have to hike up to the top, which takes around an hour, so be prepared for a climb and to get dirty!”

4. Australian outback

Brilliant blue sky stretches over arid red soil stretching for miles and occasionally dotted with meteor impact craters.

Welcome to the Outback. It’s a beautiful world that’s dangerous for the ill-prepared. (Don’t travel in rainy season.)

Check out Ayers Rock Climb, hike Kings Canyon inside Watarrka National Park, and canoe down Katherine Gorge. Wait for the sunset to paint the red sandstone cliffs in golds. Or rent a 4W and set out for the bush.

5. Romania

Ah, the country of craggy castles perched on jagged cliffs, murky forests, and this darkly romantic allure it cannot shake.

This is the county that Bran Castle (a.k.a. Dracula’s Castle) calls home. No evidence exists that Bram Stoker knew about this castle, and some say he placed Dracula’s castle on an empty mountain top in the Transylvanian Alps. But that shouldn’t stop you from climbing its turrets, imagining a woman held in chains in the dank basement.

Laura Lopuch waxes philosophical about books and travel on Waiting To Be Read blog, and she’s always plotting her next trip.