Travel: Must-see destinations on Planet Earth (Part 1)

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I have been blessed with the opportunity to visit six of the seven continents and 100 of the 195 countries on our planet. They all have merit, but if I had to pick the very best of the best here are my suggestions

Brooklyn Diner

New York City I first visited New York City a very, very long time ago with my mom. Since then I have been back many times and one of the most memorable was with my family in September 0f 2001. We visited all of the usual sites including the United Nations building, Park Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Times Square, Central Park, China Town, Little Italy, Greenwich Village and yes even the World Trade Center which had the very famous and highly enjoyable restaurant Windows on the World.

But our time was limited and we needed to leave to return to our home on the other side of the country in Burbank, California. So one on departure day I simply said “We will go to Windows on the World next time.” That was September 8, 2001. Needless to say we never did get go to Windows on the World even though we did get back to New York City a few years later.

New York City is magnetic and powerful. There is 30 Rockefeller Plaza home to NBC and The Tonight Show and oh so much more including a magnificent open air observation deck high above the city. You can see it all from there, Manhattan, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island and Brooklyn.  Then, of course there is Broadway the world epicenter for musical theatre at its finest. There are the many restaurants, most offering delicious food with great variety.

Kari at world famous Sardi’s

Often when people think of New York City and its inhabitants they think of people can often be a little sharp in dealing with others. Yes, that does exist. One sign I found stereotypical of the New York attitude was at the checkout counter of a restaurant in the hotel my daughter and I stayed in on one trip. It said: “In case of an emergency — pay your bill then leave.” That attitude is fairly common but it is merely on the surface. Scratch beneath that and most New Yorkers are genuinely warm and friendly.

On that same trip with my daughter, which happened to be in the dead of winter she, a born and raised California girl, was lightly dressed. I, a guy born and raised in Chicago, was wearing a parka. Finally, she just couldn’t take it anymore and she ran through the first open door she could find. Once inside we discovered that she just popped in to the Harvard Club as a very much uninvited guest. The security guard instantly saw the problem and offered a place to warm up albeit away from the main club area.  Once again comfortable we continued our walk, but without the kind help of that security guard it could have been much worse.

Times Square

And this is but one of many reasons I am such an advocate of travel. Not only do you get to see amazing things, but you get to see and understand other people with their own unique perspective on life and that can teach invaluable lessons on the human experience. Clearly New York City offers a wide range of sights, sounds and experiences. It is extremely diverse in every way and so for the curious and adventurous New York City is one of the most enjoyable places on earth, And then there is this radically different experience equally as much fun in its own special way.

Phuket, Thailand: Situated just a bit over 500 miles south of Bangkok, Phuket, is in the Andaman Sea. It is a mountainous and rainforest saturated area, home to about 400,000 Thai citizens and numerous resorts from the glorious to the somewhat modest. Phuket is truly lush and tropical and impossible to not thoroughly enjoy.

Phuket, Thailand

There is surfing, swimming and boating, including to neighboring islands and caves. It is a place of pure beauty and relaxation. Then, of course the food is Thai and to my palate that is some of the best food on earth.

My many experience throughout Thailand have convinced me that the Thai people or some of the friendliest people of earth. All of this adds up to a great place to visit — Great beauty, great food — warm and friendly people. What more could anyone ask for? Well maybe this.

One day of our visit (with my family) we were wading around in the warm sea when to our great surprise we were joined by a few elephants. They also like a little swim. They were under the control of their handlers, but when is the last time you went swimming with elephants? This just doesn’t happen in Santa Monica.

The other great benefit of Phuket, Thailand is that is is nearly certain you will need to pass through Bangkok, which is itself a genuinely awesome place to visit with many magnificent temples, fantastic shops and a China Town area where you can buy solid gold jewelry at the lowest prices on earth. Then fly off to Phuket and swim with the elephants. It is all about fun and adventure and this is some of the best on earth,

A resort in Phuket, Thailand

That’s it for today but there will be more to come soon. Should you have any interest in possibly joining me on future adventures simply send an email to There is absolutely zero pressure. All I do is keep you on my mailing list to let you know of any upcoming trips you might want to join. That’s it, I guarantee. You might also enjoy exploring  There you will find stories of other travel adventures and even a digital book store where you will see several good reads and again with zero pressure, simple information and an opportunity for fun. We are blessed to live in a vast and diverse world. Let’s fully enjoy it.

Photos provided by Ron Irwin
Top photo: Times Square in New York City