Don't watch an "Oprah" episode about the happiest places on earth when you're stuck at home. Between seeing the Danes' tiny but comfortable flats -- "less space, less stuff, more happy" -- the bustling markets of Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro's sun-soaked beaches, my travel itch is going crazy right now.
Copenhagen has always been somewhere I've wanted to visit, especially after seeing my Mom's pictures when she visited during the spring. Denmark is consistently rated the happiest country in the world and with its universal health care, free university (they pay YOU) and other social benefits, it's easy to see why. Plus their attitude about things really rings true with me; we don't need so much stuff. I'd love to live in one of their cozy, uncluttered flats.
One of the most inspiring books I read over the past year was Eric Weiner's The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World. He visited both the happiest (Iceland, Bhutan) and unhappiest (Moldova) countries to discover what makes them this way.
Many of his conclusions are obvious -- Danes are happy because they have so many social benefits and a healthy lifestyle. Moldova suffers from many of the economic and social problems you might expect from a discarded member of the Soviet Union.
My travel list is constantly being updated. While Costa Rica is chronologically next (followed by Australia and New Zealand in February), I'm always thinking about what's after.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? I'm dying to see Egypt, Turkey and Argentina.