Advertising
Advertising

20 Little Known Countries That You Should Visit

20 Little Known Countries That You Should Visit

Many people have heard of countries like France, Spain and Italy, and many dream of going there or have already been. But if you’re looking to blaze your own trail and explore hidden gems, then these are the perfect countries to visit. Some of these countries are difficult to get into, but once you’re in, you will get a totally unique cultural and geographic experience.

1. Kyrgyzstan

    Located in Central Asia, this country sits between China and Kazakhstan and has a stunningly beautiful landscape with a rich nomadic tradition. One of the most beautiful places to visit in the country is Lake Sary-Chelek, which is wedged within a lush green valley. This small landlocked country has a long history of semi-autonomy. They eventually gained their independence in 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR. The best time to visit is between July and September to avoid freezing temperatures and the heaviest rain.

    2. Brunei

      On the island of Borneo sits a small country called Brunei. It is located on the north coast and surrounded by Malaysia. Brunei is ruled by King Hassanal Bolkiah, whose family has ruled the country for the past six centuries. Their cultural apex was between the 15th and 17th centuries when they controlled large coastal areas. Brunei is home to nine mountain peaks that range from 775 feet to 3,772 feet and many forest reserves for the hiker and adventurer. While you’re visiting, you can catch a baseball game at Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium or spend part of your day checking out the Malay Technology Museum. If you’d like to visit the country, the best times to go are between October and February, as the rest of the year is extremely hot and humid.

      3. Vanuatu

        Vanuatu can be found in the South Pacific Ocean. It was settled more than 3,500 years ago and was visited by the legendary explorer James Cook in 1774. If you decide to visit the island like Cook, you can explore beautiful beaches and waterfalls, snorkel or scuba dive shipwrecks, hike Mt. Yasur and eat at exotic and exciting restaurants. The best time to travel to the island is between May and October. There are many festivals and sporting contests going on between these months.

        4. Kiribati

        Advertising

          Located in the Pacific Ocean, Kiribati has an impressive population of over 100,000 people. Kiribati is known for their many WWII Relics along with world class fishing and cultural experiences. The weather is naturally hot year-round. So be sure to bring sunscreen and drink lots of margaritas on the beach to cool yourself down.

          5. Tajikistan

            Tajikistan is a mountainous landlocked region in Central Asia. Surrounded by China, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyztan, it is the perfect destination for trekkers and other adventurous travelers. You can explore Wakhan Valley, Penjikent and the Fan Mountains. For adventure seekers and nature lovers, the best time to go is during the early Spring and summer when the southern part of the country is in full bloom.

            6. Azerbaijan

              Resting between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, but belonging to neither, Azerbaijan is known as a Transcontinental Presidential Republic. The country is very rich in oil and has an imperial history dating back to 4,000 BC. Azerbaijan has many amazing historical sites you can visit, including Maiden’s Tower and Khan’s Palace. The best time to go is between April and June when the flowers are beginning to bloom.

              7. Mayotte

                This Island’ name isn’t even registered in the word processor dictionary it is so unknown. In 1843 France gained control of the Island. It remains under French rule to this day. Mayotte is known to be an expensive place to stay, but if money isn’t your concern, you can have an amazing trip snorkeling, sailing, diving and relaxing on white sand beaches. It’s best to visit between June and November.

                8. Nauru

                Advertising

                  A nautical neighbor of the Island of Kiribati and once known as Pleasant Island, due to the amount of wealth the citizens had, the Island is now called Nauru. The tiny island has a lot to offer when it comes to sites and scenery. There are old phosphate deposits (which made the country rich) and Command Ridge, where Japanese soldiers kept watch during World War Two and, of course, beautiful beaches. The best time to go is after February and before November to avoid the heavy rain falls.

                  9. Burkina Faso

                    Burkina Faso is a landlocked country located in West Africa between six different countries and is known for the charming and easygoing personalities of the Burkinabe people. While Burkina Faso doesn’t have the traditional tourist atmosphere, if you decide to visit, the country and its people are more than invigorating for travelers interested in other cultures. The best times to go are between mid-October and December to avoid the wet season.

                    10. Ivory Coast

                      Another West African country, the Ivory Coast borders Burkina Faso. The coast was once an important trade route between 1,000 and 1,500 AD, when many kingdoms and cultures emerged. Much later, the Ivory Coast was a trade port used by European nations and was claimed by France in 1893. The native inhabitants eventually gained their independence in 1961. The Ivory Coast is home to dense rain forests and white beaches, which are sure to add fun and excitement to your visit. The best times to visit are between November and to early March.

                      11. Tuvalu

                        This Polynesian Island, formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is halfway between Australia and Hawaii and was once a British protectorate between 1892 and 1916. The land is just barely above the water level, making the current global warming crisis a very serious threat for the longevity of the island. The highest point is just 16 feet above water level. The best time to visit Tuvalu is between May and October to avoid the wettest season and to make the most out of the tropical climate.

                        12. Andorra

                        Advertising

                          Andorra is a landlocked micro-state nestled in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain, providing excellent scenery and hiking opportunities. Andorra, like most European countries, was once ruled by Kings and other ruling families in a feudalistic society and is home to many ancient sites like the Casa de la Val, a manor and tower defense constructed in 1580. Andorra is also known for its excellent culinary culture, restaurants and drinks. It’s best to visit between April and October.

                          13. Liechtenstein

                            Liechtenstein is also a landlocked country located in Central Europe between Austria and Switzerland. If the name isn’t indication enough, their primary language is German. Once a member of the German Confederation, it left to become independent in 1866, shortly after it abolished its army in 1968 and has remained neutral since then. What’s truly amazing is that the micro-state is only 62 square miles or 160 square kilometers! If you want to go snowboarding and skiing in the winter, Liechtenstein is world renown for its slopes, or you can enjoy hiking and mountain biking in the summer.

                            14. Palau

                              Located in the Western Pacific Ocean, the island country is spattered with beautiful smaller islands. Many countries have claimed Palau as their own, including Spain, Germany and Japan. Palau is considered one of the top diving and snorkeling destinations in the world with a number of coral reefs, ship wrecks from the many wars that were fought off its coast, hidden caves and tunnels, dozens of vertical drop offs and an amazing diversity of water life. The best time to explore what Palau has to offer is February and March.

                              15. South Ossetia

                                Found in the South Caucasus, this Russian speaking micro-state is so unknown that even Google doesn’t have many entries for it. Of all the countries in this list, South Ossetia may prove to be the hardest one to travel to, as it is a contested Autonomous Oblast of Georgia. It offers the political explorer much in the way of  interesting stories and intrigue.

                                16. Futuna

                                Advertising

                                  The tiny island of Futuna has 5,000 residents and spans just 50 square miles or 80 square kilometers. The country is in the middle of Polynesia and is paired with an equally unknown country called Wallis. The culture of Futuna hasn’t changed much over the years as the modern world has seemingly forgotten to corrupt it. If you want to take a step back in time, the best times to go are between April and October, but expect to see a good amount of rain no matter when you go.

                                  17. Nagorno Karabakh

                                    Another landlocked region in the South Caucasus,  Nagorno Karabakh is surrounded by Azerbaijan, Armenia and Iran. The region is very mountainous and is covered in beautiful forests. There are many museums you can visit that detail the history of the country, which include a war with Armenian. Nagorno Karabakh is perfect for the history traveler.

                                    18. Federated States of Micronesia

                                      The Federated States of Micronesia consist of the four states Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae in the Western Pacific Ocean. Each state has it’s own culture and identity to explore and the surrounding waters are rich in coral life. Each island has a different climate, Yap, for instance, is very dry, while Pohnpei is one of the rainiest places on earth. Having a long history of switching allegiances between many countries, Micronesia is now under the trust of the United States.

                                      19. Falklands

                                        A British territory and a favorite of many travelers, the Falklands are an archipelago in the Southern Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf. The Falklands are home to penguins, seals, albatrosses and other interesting antarctic creatures. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy from museums to war memorials. Pack warm clothing as the weather year-round rarely gets above 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 24 degrees Celsius.

                                        20. Ascension

                                          An isolated volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean, Ascension is truly unique and one of a kind. Getting to the island may prove extremely difficult as there are not many amenities or travelers who venture there. This is a perfect spot to blaze your own trail The island has 880 permanent residents living in their capital of Georgetown. The island is near the more well-known St. Helena Island.

                                          Featured photo credit: Jeff Laitila via flickr.com

                                          More by this author

                                          20 Little Known Countries That You Should Visit 50 Most Stunning Lesser-Known Places in Asia You’d Love To Go World’s 30 Coolest And Most Unusual Hostels You Definitely Need To Visit Become A Travel Expert With These 40 Must-See Tips What To Do With $30/Day? Visit These 30 Exotic And Cheap Cities Around The World

                                          Trending in Leisure

                                          1 How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World After 40 2 The 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are 3 25 Truly Amazing Places To Visit Before You Die 4 30 Fun Things to Do at Home 5 10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day

                                          Read Next

                                          Advertising
                                          Advertising

                                          Published on November 14, 2018

                                          Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                          Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                          With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                                          For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                                          In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                                          Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                                          Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                                          It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                                          For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                                          Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                                          Symptoms of Fatigue

                                          Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                                          • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                                          • mental blocks
                                          • lack of motivation
                                          • headache
                                          • dizziness
                                          • muscle weakness
                                          • slowed reflexes and responses
                                          • impaired decision-making and judgement
                                          • moodiness, such as irritability
                                          • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                                          • reduced immune system function
                                          • blurry vision
                                          • short-term memory problems
                                          • poor concentration
                                          • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                                          Causes of Fatigue

                                          The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                                          • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                                          • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                                          • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                                          • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                                          Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                                          Medical Causes of Fatigue

                                          If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                                          Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                                          Anemia

                                          Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                                          Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                                          There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                                          Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                                          Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

                                          Advertising

                                          This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                                          Diabetes

                                          Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                                          Sleep Apnea

                                          Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                                          Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                                          Thyroid disease

                                          An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                                          Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                                          • Lack of sleep
                                          • Too much sleep 
                                          • Alcohol and drugs 
                                          • Sleep disturbances 
                                          • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                                          • Poor diet 

                                          Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                                          • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                                          • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                                          • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                                          • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                                          Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                                          Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                                          • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                                          • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                                          • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                                          How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                                          Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                                          1. Tell The Truth

                                          Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                                          To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                                          Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                                          The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                                          One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                                          • How you feel
                                          • What time of day it is
                                          • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                                          • How your mind and body reacts

                                          This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                                          2. Reduce Your Commitments

                                          When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

                                          Advertising

                                          If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                                          When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                                          Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                                          3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                                          If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                                          Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                                          If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                                          Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                                          Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                                          4. Express More Gratitude

                                          Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                                          It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                                          Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                                          5. Focus On Yourself

                                          Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                                          There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                                          But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                                          We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                                          6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                                          Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

                                          Advertising

                                          Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                                          The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                                          Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                                          7. Take a Power Nap

                                          When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                                          Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                                          This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                          8. Take More Exercise

                                          The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                                          Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                                          The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                                          You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                                          9. Get More Quality Sleep

                                          To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                                          Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                                          My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                                          10. Improve Your Diet

                                          Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                                          Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                                          On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

                                          Advertising

                                          To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                                          Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                                          Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                                          11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                                          Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                                          When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                                          Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                                          My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                                          12. Get Hydrated

                                          Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                                          Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                                          If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                                          The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                                          If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                                          Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

                                          [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                                          [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                                          [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                                          [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                                          [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                                          [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

                                          Read Next