This is not a post about my “Bucket List.” Oh how I hate the use of this term by travel bloggers*. You guys do know what it means, right? Things to do before you “kick the bucket.” Before YOU DIE. Which, barring a tragic accident, is about half a century away for most of you. Let’s look back to what has transpired in the world over the last 50 years. Now think about your travel “bucket list.” I guarantee that 50 years from now at least one of the countries on it won’t exist in its present form, and at least one natural habitat would have fallen victim to climate change. Sorry for the buzzkill.
How about… a Quest?! Now that’s a pretty awesome term. Or: “Things I want to do and places I want to visit before I die.” Sure, it’s more prosaic, but also honest. Or just a “Travel Wish-List.” See how nice it all sounds without [not nearly] impending death looming over you?
My travel wish list is without an expiration date. It’s also just as much about how I want to travel as it is about where. For years, traveling meant getting up at the crack of dawn and hitting up half a dozen landmarks in a day every day of the trip, but lately this kind of pace has started to feel increasingly exhausting. So, I want to travel slower. I also have resolved to get back to my over-planning roots, because recent attempts at “winging it” and going with the flow have left me stressed, frustrated, and missing out on amazing experiences (like the East End Food Tour). Lastly, I decided that I need to eat better when I travel – more veggies, less deep-fried-everything that leaves me sick and sluggish and unable to make the most of a destination or activity. I need to adjust to the fact that my body isn’t 21 anymore… 😉
Without further ado, here is my new and improved Travel Wish List, in order of preference, starting with dreamiest of dream trips:
I want to spend a month roaming around the rolling hills and open glens. I’d start out in Cotswolds, with it’s ridiculously picturesque, anachronistic villages like Lacock and Shaftsbury, and then slowly make my way up north through Yorkshire to the Scottish Highlands. What would I do all day? Ride horses, go fishing, and hang out at pubs drinking perry.
In-between bumming around medieval towns like San Gimignano and my beloved Florence I want to go on every single food tour/tasting excursion imaginable: cheese, wine, truffles, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh veggies, marzipan – you name it!
It has been my “maybe someday” destination for a when I’d finally get my fill of Eurotrips, but ever since the Montgomerys went there on vacation and blogged about it, Morocco has moved up my wish list in a giant leap.
I want an uber-safari: lions and elephants, crocodiles and hippos, whales and walruses, flamingoes and penguins. I want to travel into the mountains and through the jungle. South African has some of the most diverse landscape, flora and fauna in the world, and I want to see all of it.
From southern Portugal along the coast to Verdon National Park in France, through every cute mountain and fishing hamlet of Spain – Casares, Ronda, Mijas, Cadaqués – and France – Collioure, Carcassonne, Roussilon, Cordes Sur Ciel, Simiane la Rotonde…eating, drinking wine, hiking for miles and taking a million photos.
Image credit: Mike’s Travel Guide**
Rhine Valley Cruise
What’s more magical than fairy-tale German towns? Fairy-tale German castles!
Having visited several inland parts of the country I now want to get on a boat and cruise along in crystal clear waters from Rovinji to Dubrovnik.
Dijon, France for a gluttonous weekend of gougere pastries, coq au vin, beef bourguignon and epoisses cheese.
American Pacific North West – starting with a week of hiking in Mt. Rainier and Olympic National Parks near Seattle, then relaxing with stunning views of Canadian Rockies aboard the Rockies Mountaineer train. If anyone wants to throw in an Alaska cruise in there, I wont say no either… why can’t life be an all-expense-paid vacation?
Giza, Egypt – because the Pyramids seems like the kind of thing one should make an effort to see.
China’s Huangshan Mountains, and Shanghai, especially its canals, look incredibly cool.
So do Norwegian fiords – I would love to take a short cruise.
In Japan, I want to visit Kyoto and Osaka, for maximum Asian madness.
Ha Long Bay in Vietnam is one of those landscape formations that does not seem real.
Speaking of landscape formations, I spent almost 2 decades on and off in the US and never visited the Grand Canyon and Monuments Valley. I need to fix that.
I also want to go back to Paris (for a bit of a post-college, I now have means! do-over) and Budapest (of which I didn’t get nearly enough on my last trip).
Lastly, though I generally prefer rather “active” vacations, I would like to get away to somewhere properly tropical, with clear turquoise waters, silky white sand, perfect palm trees, impeccable service and no cell phone reception – if only for a few days!
So, who’s with me? Which of those destinations have you visited? Any pro tips?
*No offense to any of my blog friends who use the term Bucket List. I still love you *sigh*.
**Other photos taken from public domains such as Wiki.