Blogger and adventure photographer Paulina Dao knows that going her own way can result in unexpected, challenging, and beautiful experiences. “I love seeing all the things that nature has to offer. I love being able to push my physical limits,” she says. “You find the most special things when you break away from the crowds.”
Her passion for nature photography and outdoor thrills has led her to explore exciting locations such as Greece, New Zealand, Norway, and Brazil, as well as a host of wild spots in the United States. “A true explorer mentality enriches my life by making me look at things or think about things in a different way,” says Paulina, who looks forward to visiting Patagonia, Greenland, South Africa, and Vietnam in the future. She’s found that connecting with others is one of the best ways to find travel treasures and adventures that no guidebooks are likely to highlight. “Talking to others and inviting in connection is key to going your own way,” she says. “It’s led to pointers on doing things off the beaten path and, of course, many great friendships.”
If you’re ready to set out and embrace the sense of exploration Paulina embodies, her curated list of 12 magical, adventurous destinations will help you get started.