Photo Credit: Craig Henry
Craig Henry aka The Travel Junkee Shares His Top 10 Favorite Countries
Craig Henry is on a quest to conquer the map, and having been to 62 countries and nearly all of the United States, he’s well on his way. His moniker, “The Travel Junkee,” was born when a friend jokingly called him a junkie for planning a new trip right on the heels of the last one.
Craig decided to change the spelling and fused the words together on his social media platforms. Thus, thetraveljunkee came to be.
Born in Chicago, Craig has acquired quite an education through travel, and his thirst for more knowledge is never quenched. He has photo albums dedicated to several of the countries he’s visited. Whether he’s profiling at Prague Castle or smiling in front of the Egyptian pyramids, it’s obvious he’s living his best travel life. He hopes to inspire others to follow in his footsteps, particularly Black men, so they can broaden their horizons.
“I think it’s important for Black men to travel, so we can see things for ourselves versus someone telling us what the world is like,” Craig told Travel Noire. “Traveling is the greatest education, in my personal opinion. I love to watch other people in their natural space and learn about different cultures, old and new. Every time I’m on a plane headed out of the US, I feel a certain sense of adventure and calm. The first time I went to Tanzania, I never felt so at home in my life.”
Craig reads travel publications and other materials to help him decide where to jet off to next. If a destination calls out to him, he adds it to the list.
To date, here are Craig’s top 10 favorite countries.
Nepal was a complete departure from what Craig was used to as an American, but from the culture shock came growth.
“This was a whole different level in terms of culture for me,” he said. “I learned about how the mind and body are so connected, and how to access your best self through meditation.”
This landlocked country boasts so much beauty, including the majestic Himalayas and Mount Everest, the tallest peak on Earth.
“I’ve been all over Spain, but Segovia and Barcelona really spoke to me,” Craig said.
“Segovia is home to Alcazar Castle, which is what Disney used to model Magic Kingdom. As an architectural enthusiast, Barcelona is like a dream. The city is basically a tribute to my favorite architect, Antoni Gaudí.”
Segovia is also home to the famous aqueduct, used to supply and transport water during antiquity.
Barcelona, the second-largest city in Spain, does indeed have many nods to Gaudí. His two most famous works, Sagrada Família and Park Güell, are popular with tourists.
Craig had some good times in France, especially Paris. Some of the top tourist destinations include the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées and for something more colorful, Moulin Rouge.
“This city is so full of history and culture, not to mention the style is unbeatable.”
There’s Black history to be found here, too. Both James Baldwin and Josephine Baker took up residence in Paris.
Baldwin first arrived in his early twenties, and spent time writing and debating with other creatives at Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore, which are still around today.
In her heyday, Baker was a household name, famous not only for her work as a performer, but a humanitarian and activist.
In 2021, she became the first Black woman and only the sixth woman ever to be inducted into the Panthéon, the highest honor in France.
5. Costa Rica
Craig joins the chorus of Black folks singing Costa Rica’s praises.
“I’ve spent so much time in Costa Rica,” he said. “In my opinion, it’s one of the best places to live. The food is fresh, people are nice and the terrain is amazing. Not to mention, the Nicoya region is one of the seven known blue zones on earth.”
As noted by Travel Noire, “nearly 24 percent of the community in Límon consists of Black people.”
6. South Africa
South Africa offers some incredible scenery and plenty to do and see including hiking, safaris and wineries.
There are also sites of cultural significance, such as the Apartheid Museum, which left an indelible impact on Craig.
“In my opinion, Johannesburg and Cape Town are two of the best places in Africa,” he said. “The love I have for Jo-burg is indescribable. Just to be at the very bottom of the continent is jaw dropping in itself.”
For Craig, visiting Japan was an electrifying. If you’re a Blerd who enjoys video games, anime and manga, you’ll find your stride here.
“I know people say New York never sleeps, but that’s probably because they’ve never been to Japan. In addition to being able to stay up all night if that’s your flavor, you can take a train ride out to Kyoto and see some authentic Japanese culture.”
“And no,” Craig added jokingly, “Godzilla isn’t in Tokyo either.”
Craig can’t recommend this East African nation enough, home to the Serengeti and Mount Kilimanjaro. What struck him was the kindness of the people.
“As soon as you land, you realize this is home,” he said. “Everyone greets you by saying welcome home. To see mostly Black people doing so well was refreshing.”
“I also loved being able to visit the famous Serengeti. Seeing animals in their natural habitat and watching kills in the wild was exhilarating.”
9. New Zealand
If you’re into adventure tourism, New Zealand may be for you. Hiking, zip-lining and bungy-jumping are just a fraction of the activities.
“It’s nothing short of amazing!” Craig gushed. “The landscape between North and South Island is fantastic. Learning about the Māori people was very enlightening. Some migrated to New Zealand from surrounding islands like Fiji. Also, I had no idea that there were redwoods there!”
Jordan is full of archaeological and tourist sites— over 100,000, in fact. With Israel nearby, Craig also ventured to Jerusalem to see the birth site of Jesus.
“Jordan was one of my most life changing trips,” he said. “I was able to float in the Dead Sea and stand on the spot in Bethany where Jesus was baptized. I could also wash my feet in the Jordan River, visit Mount Nebo where Moses stood, and look out over the Promised Land.”