Your Quirky ’n’ Cute 2023 Travel Destinations 

Your Quirky ’n’ Cute 2023 Travel Destinations 

Illustration Credit: Arba Bardhi

Places you never thought to add to your bucket list, until now

Aramayah Ocol, Staff Writer

Unsure about this summer’s travel plans? Why not try something new and be adventurous? You’re only a U of T student once, right? Below, I would highly recommend these student-friendly places. They’ll allow you to find yourself via travel while testing your boundaries. You’ll learn something new about yourself; these travel suggestions will lead down the road of self-discovery. Forget Paris – they don’t even pick up garbage there anymore – and go down the road less travelled. 

To Be or Not To Be A Country, That is the Question:

Turkmenistan: Authoritarianism 

Any country that has large gas reserves must be extremely safe to go to. Want proof? All the great powers will protect your gas for you. They’ll even tell you who will buy it from you for the best price. Doesn’t this guarantee stability? Regardless of your opinions, Turkmenistan is what they call an “isolated” country; hence, it is quite clear that they could never be at war with bordering countries. You can basically consider Turkmenistan like your introverted besties: non-confrontational. Although the Government of Canada reports that you need a letter of invitation along with a visa, once obtained, the lack of cell-phone service will guarantee an uninterrupted vacation.

South Ossetia: The De Facto State

Considered by the United Nation to be a part of Georgia, but more closely affiliated with Russia and also the use of the Russian ruble, South Ossetia is definitely an easily accessible place to visit for the average Westerner. Pay no heed, you might not be able to officially fly into South Ossetia. However, long borders provide not too legal entry flexibility. You’ve heard of illegal immigration… well, now we could try a similar process for entry with illegal tourism! Scared of deportation? Not to worry. Where there is a capital city there is always a Canadian embassy. This is most definitely always a tried and true statement, is it not? Just flash that Canadian passport, and authorities will definitely let you off the hook. After all, Canada is known to be the nicest nation in the world. You’ll be fine. Go and adventure, maybe just make sure your mom has a photocopy of your passport at home just in case she has to report a case to international affairs.  

Somaliland: Economics Students Can Prove That It’s SAFE

Considered a breakaway territory that declared its independence in 1991 after the overthrow of Somali military dictator Siad Barre, why wouldn’t Somaliland be the ultimate beach destination? Scared of the pirates that made the film, Captain Phillips, such a hit? Well my friend, let me tell you this: Somalia and Somaliland are definitely two separate territories. Why would the Somalian pirates all the way on the shores of Somalia be interested in nautical cargo from Somaliland? Besides, there really isn’t much need to stress about the safety concerns your parents are bringing up. Even BBC News reports that “Somaliland has a working political system, government institutions, a police force and its own currency.” Are these not all the components of a well functioning and stable country? Just ask your Economics friends, I promise your parents are wrong. 

The Islands Edition: 


Sakhalin IslandAn Appeal to U of T Engineering Students

Known as one of the great Russian writers, Anton Chekhov was also a practicing doctor who went to the Russian penal colonies of Russia’s most eastern remote island of Sakhalin. To the U of T Engineering students who don’t think they have their lives together, I recommend that you take a trip to Sakhalin and mirror Chekhov’s journey while reading Sakhalin Island. Spend your time descending into Chekhov’s logistical hell: Imperial Russia’s penal colonies are easily replaced by what CNN reports as the “exploitation of its offshore oil and gas fields…” For a U of T Engineering student, wouldn’t this trip just be another day in a life?


Vozrozhdeniye IslandGot an Itch for Biological-Warfare?

The New York Times reports that Vozrozhdeniye was the place in which Stalin implemented the testing of biological weapons before being abandoned in the 1940s. Not far from the ghost town Kanutbek, check out the delightful infrastructure that monitored the health of animals before being tested on by nuclear weapons. Owned by Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan since 1992, this destination would be a real blast to the Soviet past. Guaranteed, you won’t mutate an extra arm or toe, or start a whole blown anthrax endemic. Apply a little sunscreen every two to three hours and you might just get that hot girl summer beach tan under Vozrozhgeniye’s scorching sun. 

If you’re feeling wanderlust and want to come back to school with an exciting couple of stories, these top travel destinations are perfect for you. Your intuition is normally right, and if it’s asking you to travel to places unknown, you’ll definitely feel the thrill by visiting these locations. Happy travels!