Tajikistan may not be on your 2020 list, but maybe it's on your "know the world" list
. This smallest of Central Asian nations is completely landlocked, mostly mountains, and after shedding Soviet rule, is still struggling with autocrats and widespread corruption.
Dushanbe, the capital, was once a prominent example of Soviet architecture. In French Revolution style, the president is now funneling most of the country's funds into building a palace, leaving roads to crumble and citizens underpaid. Thus, the Soviet era was also Tajikistan's golden days, leaving many pining for the days of Gorbachev.
But should you get here despite all this, be prepared for the most beautiful mountain views of your entire life. Tajikistan's got peaks in spades.