Travel News

The countries we most want to see

Derweze has been burning for nearly 50 years

Seven years after their original list, Kia and Peter revisit the countries they most want to see

In 2017, during a long trip through Asia, I asked Peter a question: if you could see only five countries before you die, what would they be?

My rule was that he couldn’t choose countries he had already visited, nor stateless territories (e.g. Antarctica). Fast forward seven years and he has seen four out of five countries on his original list, so I asked him to come up with a new one. Given that he has been to 100 countries and all seven continents, it wasn’t easy – but he managed it.

It was markedly easier for me as I’ve seen only one country on my original list, with the remaining four unchanged.

Our new list offers solid inspiration for our future travels. If the countries weren’t scattered across all corners of the world, we may have been tempted to make one big trip of it. Sadly, the economics don’t make sense, but we can dream…

Kia’s choices


I have been eager to see Derweze in Turkmenistan for several years now. Known as the ‘door to hell’, this roiling chasm of fire has been burning for nearly 50 years.

Derweze has been burning for nearly 50 years
Iwanami Photos/Shutterstock Derweze has been burning for nearly 50 years

In 1971, while drilling in the gas-rich area of Derweze, Soviet geologists cut into a cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the rig collapsed, leaving a crater of approximately 70 metres in diameter. Experts decided to burn off the gas to avoid poisonous discharge. They lit a fire expecting the fuel to be consumed in a matter of days.

Decades later, Derweze is still burning. To stand on the rim of this surreal crater is at the top of my travel wishlist.


Canada is one of those countries everyone thinks I’ve seen – but I haven’t. Its sophisticated infrastructure makes it one of those places you can travel to when you’re a bit older and accustomed to creature comforts.

The fantastical Mt Asgard is one of the most beautiful mountains in the worldThe fantastical Mt Asgard is one of the most beautiful mountains in the world
Arthur Stanisz/Used with permission Mount Asgard in Canada

That said, I would be crushed if I never got to see Canada. I desperately want to see Baffin Island with its wild and expansive landscapes. The twin peaks of Mount Thor and Mount Asgard are especially dramatic.

Notably, Mount Thor features Earth’s greatest vertical drop at 1,250m. To put that into context, the Shard in London is 306m high, the Eiffel Tower is 324m, the Empire State Building is 443m and the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Atlas & Boots…