First on the list is Ireland. The fact that there are eighteen feature articles about it on GoNOMAD should say something about it’s popularity. Even the articles focused on landscape can’t help but talk about the people. In The West of Ireland: Stories in Stone, Stephen Hartshorne writes about the history of Ireland through it’s stone structures but also mentions “Ireland is free and at peace, jobs are plentiful, the crime rate is low, everyone has health care and the government is committed to protecting the environment. To many Americans that starts to sound like the Land of Oz.” It appears that at least Hartshorne would agree with Lonely Planet’s pick here.
Second is U.S.A. which I was surprised by. I suppose I’m jaded by the every day interactions with people that aren’t always so friendly, but I do remember coming back from Thailand (also on this list) and experiencing reverse culture shock when I landed in L.A. and was bossed around by angry, rude employees. However, I suppose when traveling to different states, I do often find many people to be hospitable and friendly, especially when the weather is nice! GoNOMAD provides articles for nearly every state, some states having more articles than others. I wonder who Lonely Planet would pick as the friendliest state? According to Today on MSNBC the top 5 friendliest cities are San Antonio, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Davis, California;Nashville, Tennessee; and Madison, Wisconsin.
Malawi is next on the list, and although we don’t have an article strictly about Malawi, in the story Cairo to Capetown: Biking Through the Heart of Africa, Daniel Gold provides several pictures of the smiling children as he bikes through.
Next up: Fiji. GoNOMAD again has multiple articles on this country, but the best fit to describe the people is Drinking the Kava: A Visit to the Real Fiji by Tony Adams who describes the natives as “living the same simple, yet happy lives of their grandfathers and great grandfathers.”
Fifth on the list is Thailand, and although I’m biased (and have not been to the other countries on the list) I have to fully agree with this choice. I lived with a host family for three months and they were the most hospitable, wonderful people I have met in my life. Along with all the other incredibly friendly locals I met along the way. Check out several features about the Land of Smiles on the GoNOMAD Thailand page, and the article on my favorite Thai holiday Loi’s Lights: Thailand’s Beautiful Loi Krathong Festival
Continue reading the second part of this blog post next!