Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My Travel Bucket List

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to travel.

I don't necessarily desire to see the world (although that may become a future dream), but I do have several places I want to visit in an intimate way.

When I travel, I like to immerse myself in the culture, meet the people, and adopt their lifestyle for as long as I stay.

Within the next five years, my husband and I will both retire and (hopefully) have the time and resources to begin our travel adventure.

Some of these locations we will visit before Spring, 2021... and others we will wait until we have more time and money to invest. Some of the locations we have visited before, but many will be first time excursions.

In developing a timeline, we are trying to consider whether some may have a specific age requirement, that is, would it be better to visit while younger and more energetic, rather than older and not as flexible. We also must consider which ones we could visit in a two week timeframe (vacation limitations enforced by job) and which places we would like to spend a month or more.

Without further ado... here is the list.


  • New York City (Christmas) - we lived in NYC for four years back in the early 80s, and there is no place like the city during the holidays. High on the bucket list is to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in person (albeit, inside a hotel or restaurant along the route) and attend the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular one last time.
  • New York City (summer) - One of my favorite NYC memories was attending the various Italian street festivals throughout the summer months. In fact, I'm fairly certain I ate my weight in Zepoles when I was pregnant with my eldest. My mouth is salivating now just thinking of savoring one of those deep fried delights. 
  • Boston - I know it's hard to believe, but as many years as I lived in Connecticut and New York, I never visited Boston. I would love to walk the Freedom Trail as well as Harvard's campus. And enjoy some great seafood!
  • South Walton, Florida - we are entertaining the idea of someday retiring near the water. My parents had a lake house in Bella Vista, Arkansas, but we are drawn more to the beach. We have visited the Atlantic side of Florida several times, but have never experienced the Gulf side. I understand this is a wonderful place to retire (or at least set up residence during the hard winter months).
  • Napa Valley, California - I don't have many vices in life, but I do enjoy pairing a nice glass of wine with a good meal. I would love to visit several California wineries and learn their story. A picnic in a vineyard sounds exquisite, and taking the wine train through the lush green countryside sounds like Disney World for grown ups.
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico - I have a good friend who adores New Mexico, and she has inspired me to add it to the list. I would love to go when the Hot Air Balloon Festival is in full swing. The magic of flying, the beauty of colorful balloons against the azure sky... sounds like a photographer's dream.
  • Colorado (winter) - I don't ski, but I adore snow. I would love to visit one of the ski resort towns (I understand Breckenridge is thoroughly quaint) and walk along Main Street while the soft flakes fall. I would be more than happy to cook for the outdoor adventurers and then snuggle in front of the fireplace with a good book.
  • Colorado (summer) -  When I was in elementary school, my family would vacation at the Estes Park YMCA camp. At the time, I could care less about the beautiful scenery; I just wanted to meet up with new friends. But I would love to return to Estes Park and Pike's Peak and Colorado Springs. This time I am ready to appreciate the peace and beauty nature has to offer.
  • Yellowstone National Park - I am a suburban girl, but as I grow older, I find myself drawn to the open land and natural settings. And while I am not a camper, I feel this is the true way to experience Yellowstone (albeit, I would rent a nice camper rather than pitching a canvas tent).
  • Alaskan Cruise - the ultimate of open spaces and natural settings... in a luxurious setting. 
  • San Antonio River Walk - my dad's family lived in San Antonio so we would visit every other year when I was younger. San Antonio in the 1960s however, through the eyes of an 8-year-old girl, was nothing but a dusty small city. I would like to return to visit this new landmark - and perhaps do a bit of genealogical research.
  • The Cotswolds - while I don't imagine walking all 150 miles of this English countryside, I would love to walk for a few days along the back roads and back yards of these quintessential English villages. I would love to have dinner at local pubs, and stay the night at small bed and breakfasts. 
  • British Literature tour - I taught Brit Lit for eight years and I would love to visit the homes of some of my favorite authors: Shakespeare (Stratford-on-the-Avon) - Bronte sisters (Haworth) - Jane Austen (Chawton).
  • Paris - this is a no-brainer. I can always visit Paris. But I would like to take some time and show my husband all the places that I enjoy - and discover a few new ones. I would try to stay at the same apartment in Montmartre as I did in 2011; it is, after all "my" apartment.
  • Lyon, France - home of Beaujolais wine, my absolute favorite. Ideally, I would like to visit during the harvest, and witness the collection of grapes that I will be drinking in November.
  • Mediterranean Cruise - Southern France, Italy and Greece.... how could this NOT be the greatest vacation ever. There is the outside possibility we will celebrate our 35th anniversary in this way.... (June, 2017)
  • Holy Land - I can't imagine seeing in person Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Sea of Galilee ... all the places I have heard about and read about since I was a little girl. I must confess, however, I would like to wait until the climate is a bit more settled...
  • Venice, Italy - I had the pleasure of going to Venice last year. Unfortunately we only spent two days in the city and I was deathly sick for one of them. Even then... it was the most beautiful, enchanted cities I have ever visited, and I can hardly wait to return for a longer period of time (and this time, I will wear my sea bands on the gondola).
  • Tuscany region of Italy - in March, 2015, we stayed about 24 hours in Florence, but it was a magical day. The food was delectable, the architecture spectacular, and the history captivating. I would love to tour the entire Tuscany region - visit the vineyards, the villas, and the olive orchards. Perhaps we could even take a cooking class...
  • Calabria, Italy - my mother-in-law's homeland. We would love to spend several weeks in this area, doing some genealogy research and following in the footsteps of her ancestors.
As I said before, the list is rather limited to places we would like to immerse ourselves and become a part of the culture, if only for a short while.

I have a feeling when we start traveling, the list will grow exponentially.

If you have any suggestions for must-see locals... we would love to hear them!


  1. You have some wonderful destinations on your list, many of which I have actually visited and I live very close to Napa Valley. Which is why I would actually say, scratch Napa and go to Sonoma County instead. Great wine, wonderful scenery and a wild coast. We did tent-camp in Yellowstone and I hope to do it again. I love camping, the more primitive the better. The campground we stayed in for several days was in the heart of the park, very primitive, but we could hear the wolves in the night and occasionally a bison would walk through our site. It was gorgeous! I also love the Cotswolds, it's such a beautiful part of England - and you can easily combine it with Shakespeare's Stratford since it is so close. However, when I was in the Cotswolds two years ago I was very disappointed how very touristy, crowded and extremely expensive this area has become. It certainly isn't as quaint and quiet anymore as it used to be in the late 80's and early 90's when I was there almost every summer. Big sigh. Oh, and you will love the Holy Land! Admittedly it's a long time ago that I was there - 21 years - but just today I looked at pictures of my trip again. It was such a wonderful, colorful trip and I especially loved the Arabian parts of towns and cities. Will it ever calm down in that part of the world? I very much hope so. There are so many countries in the Middle East I would like to visit.

  2. Oh Carola.... such wonderful travels you have had, and such great tips you have shared. THANK YOU so very much! I have taken note and will refer to them again and again.

    Perhaps as the time draws closer and we begin to plan in more detail, I can pick your brain a little (?)

  3. Great list Molly. Yes I would like to return to Tuscany too; spent a couple of weeks there 3 years ago, which was bliss. I have spent years living in Colorado, San Antonio, and California so would highly recommend those on your list. Wonderful places. Same with New Mexico. And I think I'd like to travel by boat to Alaska. So many places to go on my future bucket list. I would return to Norway and Africa again for a visit. You have me thinking now ...

    1. Oh... I would love to visit Africa, but right now that sounds like a pipe dream :)


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