1. Istanbul, Turkey
See the intersection of East and West right before your very eyes. Experience how these opposite ends of the Earth have interwoven themselves in food, culture, and business in order to better understand the globalization occurring right now around the world. No matter which culture you hail from, Istanbul will show you the other side. Go, and become a citizen of the world.
2. Hanoi, Vietnam
Despite its communist government, the country of Vietnam is an exciting, vibrant, entrepreneurial place--full of energy and life. Food and lodging is very inexpensive (and excellent), and you will find that your cash goes a very long way. The ancient and modern co-exist peacefully, coupled with a distinct French flair. Book your trip for twice as long as you think necessary, and enjoy unplugging from the world as you know it--if just for a short while.
3. Cape Town, South Africa
For those who are unafraid of stepping out of their comfort zone, Cape Town is the way to go. The hours-long journey is absolutely worth the wait. Take in the rich cultures of South Africa, and take a deep dive into the history of its racial struggles. In a climate of challenge and change, question your own cultural role and identity. Lose yourself for a little bit--only to emerge surer than ever before of who you are.
4. Grindavík, Iceland
Follow in the footsteps of all great literary giants and sequester yourself somewhere peaceful and undisturbed. Just like Thoreau's Walden, Grindavík's giant Blue Lagoon is a haven for the mind. Immerse your body in the silica and sulfur to find clarity in both your pores and your thoughts. In this relaxing setting, you can finally indulge in introspection--and maybe even learn things about yourself you never knew.
5. San Francisco
Perhaps the most Bohemian city in the United States, San Francisco is also one of the best for personal growth. As pointed out in a recent Prevention magazine article, "When it comes to big-city charm, San Francisco has all the usual urban offerings. But when it comes to nourishing the soul, the city's vibrant arts, entertainment, and recreational offerings set it apart." If you haven't spent some quality time in San Francisco, then what are you waiting for?
6. Beirut, Lebanon
In all of the Middle East's turmoil, Beirut continues to stand as an untouched haven of calm. The Lebanese city has been called the "Paris of the Middle East," a bastion of culture and light. Walk in the footsteps of the Romans and Ottomans, who once stalked the land. Chat with the street vendors on the Corniche's four-kilometer-long seafront. Eat the food. Definitely eat the food. Abandon your preconceptions of the Middle East, and find beauty where you've never looked before.
7. Kyoto, Japan
Japan's capital for more than 1,000 years, Kyoto is full of the country's undiscovered treasures. Wander through the stunning UNESCO World Heritage sites and the still-running geisha district. Find solace in the quiet stone gardens and steal strolls through the leafy Japanese trees for a chance at uninterrupted meditation. With locals who are extremely appreciative of tourists and foreign visitors, Kyoto is the perfect place to submerge yourself in a new environment and learn, through all the change, how to feel right at home.