We now know that experiences bring people more happiness than material goods.
And there are simply some experiences that will blow your mind more than others.
If you are putting together a travel bucket list, consider adding the true Wonders of the World that will inspire you and make you feel alive.
Of course when we think about the Wonders of the World, there can be many different things that come to mind.
Even if you google it, the idea of the Wonders of the World has been broken up into numerous categories: Ancient, old, natural, man-made, modern, etc.
There isn’t truly a definitive list, at this stage in human history.
However, they’re called “Wonders” for a reason, which is that each one represents something truly spectacular in human achievement, natural phenomenon, or simply beauty.
In this sense - that something is so extraordinary as to be called a “Wonder” - there is not necessarily much difference between the Great Barrier Reef, the Parthenon, and the Large Hadron Collider.
Altogether the whole concept is a testament to how impressive our world, and the human race that has long inhabited it, truly is.
But even if there’s a sort of unique indescribable quality that ties all of the Wonders together, there are some that are more inspiring than others.
This is a subjective idea, but one worth exploring for yourself if you’re interested not only in traveling, but in enriching yourself through the experience.
For my money, these are five of the Wonders that are the most breathtaking and inspirational:
1. Amazon Rainforest
We often refer to the Amazon in vague terms, and if we’re honest, many of us probably couldn’t even say which countries it is in, or really name any interesting facts about it!
It has simply entered global public understanding as a large, dense forest, and sadly its gradual diminishment is typically one of the pieces of evidence cited when we talk about the decline of the environment.
The details of the Amazon, however, make it one of the most wondrous places on Earth. This forest is a vast region that spans across eight countries in South America, and is home to one in ten known animal species on Earth.
It’s comprised of 1.4 billion acres of forests and over 4,000 miles of river. It’s not as if you can see it all, but encountering the Amazon in person can be a humbling, almost spiritual experience.
You can’t get a much better glimpse of what the world might look like without us.
2. The Colosseum
There are perhaps several ancient structures that can match the Roman Colosseum in terms of overall grandeur.
And there are other lost monuments and buildings from the ancient world that may have been even more spectacular.
However, seeing this arena in person - even in its partial ruin - is perhaps the best way to fully grasp the concept of the Roman Empire, and beyond that the scope of human history.
It is one thing to know the Colosseum exists; it’s another to see it and imagine throngs of Roman citizens 2,000 years ago flooding into it to see the pure spectacle of gladiator battles.
3. Victoria Falls
There is something about a powerful waterfall that transcends just about anything else you can find in nature.
And while there are a few waterfalls in the same category, Victoria Falls is arguably the most impressive one on the planet.
Located on the Zambezi River, at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe (but generally thought of as being “in” Zambia), the Falls are a little over 100m high at its peak.
But it’s really the width of the breathtaking cascade that captures most people’s attention. It’s as if, from certain angles, a great wide river simply plummets off the edge of the Earth, in such volume that you can still see the spray from whatever lies below.
As with the Amazon, it’s a humbling and inspiring example of the pure wonder of the Earth.
4. Great Pyramid of Giza
The shame about the Egyptian pyramids is that they’re so iconic that they’ve been exploited in popular culture - by filmmakers, game designers, artists, and more.
We see them in the background of fantasy adventure films every few years. Video games with ancient Egyptian themes emerge online regularly. And whether through a film like X-Men: Apocalypse or an online slot machine with pyramid backgrounds, the seriousness of the real structures is trivialized.
The reality is that the Great Pyramid at Giza is so spectacular it is almost unfathomable. Towering out of the desert across the Nile from Cairo, it’s an astounding old world achievement not to mention a mysterious relic of times past. It’s hard to take a long look at it and not feel inspired about the scope and potential of human achievement.
5. Great Wall of China
Much of what was just said about the pyramids could be applied to the Great Wall of China as well.
Consider for example that the most recent major film to feature the wall prominently - Great Wall starring Matt Damon - was referred to by Rolling Stone as a B-level creature feature with delusions of grandeur. Not exactly a serious interpretation.
As with the pyramids, however, the actual Great Wall will stop you in your tracks and make you consider just what a civilization can achieve when it is focused and determined.
It might not pack the mystery of the pyramids (which still baffle experts as to how they were built with the limited equipment of the time), but in its own way it is every bit as impressive.
There you have it – five Wonders of the World that will take your breath away.
Add these five Wonders of the World to your future travel list, and see for yourself what makes them so awe-inspiring.
What others would you add to the list?