Want to go where everybody else is NOT going? Discover things for yourself? Have an adventure? Eat well? No high fiving bros, oligarchs in Speedos, binge drinking soccer fans, tour buses filled with ugly ass leisure wear? These spots, in my experience, offer hope:
  1. URUGUAY.
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    Montevideo is beautiful and uncrowded. The coast--once you get away from the resort areas, is wild and magnificent. The food is generally superb--though not exactly vegetarian friendly. I recommend the excellent morcilla sausages cooked on a "parilla".
  2. MARSEILLE.
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    The French may be ambivalent about their second largest city, but I am not. Eat bouillabaise, Corsican charcuterie, cous-cous, swim in the sea, take a day trip through Provence, drink a whole lot of Pastis. It's laid back, spicy, mixed up, multi-ethnic, attitude free, working class and wildly under appreciated.
  3. LAOS.
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    Okay, Luang Prebang and Vientiane are not exactly parts unknown any more, but take a road trip through the mountains around the PLAIN OF JARS and step back into another century. You want to get lost? Do it here. Absolutely gorgeous, tons of history that you are probably unfamiliar with, amazing food traditions.
  4. SARDINIA.
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    NOT the coast! That's where Italian soccer stars go to pose in the surf with their "Velena" girlfriends of the moment. The interior is another planet. A tasty, tasty planet. Malloredus, roasted baby goat, incredible hams, lobster "Catalan", fantastic cheeses and spaghetti a la bottarga.
  5. BEIRUT.
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    Don't be afraid. Beirut is a magical, magical place. It may suffer from all the world's problems simultaneously, but it's also got everything you want and expect of the one time "Paris of the Orient": it's a quick education on how complicated the world can be. It's beautiful, maddening, heartbreaking, exciting, confusing...the food is fantastic and diverse. To go there is usually a joy and an education. Go. The more people who do--who go and see first hand? The better the world will be.