My Travel Bucket-List: 7 Places to See in my Lifetime

photo creds: my sister

Do you have a bucket list? I have a one-hundred-and-one-item bucket list on which is an item saying, “Make a one-hundred-and-one-item bucket list.” What can I say? It felt good to scratch something off right away. So when Carmel created a travel bucket-list following in the steps of other bloggers, I decided to join the group. Who gets tired of traveling? Perhaps some of you are homebodies and prefer the comfort of familiar surroundings to those of a new place. I respect and somewhat understand that. I’m a happy balance of contented-at-home and always-wanting-to-move-about. Hence, my spastic, urgent cravings to be someplace new that hit at random. Wanderlust can be a beast. I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to travel to Romania three times, traveling thence by a different route each trip, which means I have set foot in (the airports of) Istanbul, Paris, and Moscow.  I actually count myself as having “been to Moscow” because we spent the night huddled under the airport benches and then had to walk across the tarmac to get to our plane. I really have “set foot” on Russian soil…er…asphalt. Budapest, likewise. We end every trip in the Budapest airport and then are driven to Arad, where we stay with pastor friends of ours. A group is returning for a fourth trip to Romania this year and as much as I want to go, I’m having a slight hesitation which has never before been the case. The idea of not going (we plan to tour the beautiful monasteries all over the country and the Romanian people are dear, dear friends) sounds unbearable. The idea of going leaves me unsettled. We will see. But for now, I’m looking forward to the many, many more places there are to see in the world. Here are seven places I will, God willing, experience in my lifetime. Of course they aren’t the only places I want to see, but they are the ones that, if I could only choose seven, would find me within their bounds.

obligatory airplane selfie with the sisters

London, England. I want to tour the whole country, including and especially the Lakes District (and Ireland. And Scotland), but London is a feasible dream. London seems like the logical starting point if you love England as I love England. As the nation’s capital, it’s like a foreigner visiting DC. Sure, there are many other better places in the country, but you’ve got to do it. I have friends elsewhere in England. Courtney Adamo (see me dropping names? She doesn’t know I exist, it was just a nice segue) is a London-based mommy-blogger I have followed for over a year now on Instagram. Her little family actually just launched on a gap-year of traveling the world and are now bopping around someplace in South America. But anyway, London. I’ve been saving out of every paycheck in a glass pickle jar in my walk-in closet (I should open a savings account) and plan to travel to London in 2017 with the dearest girl in the whole world: my best friend, Katie. London is our friendship’s version of “Paradise Falls.” To experience it with Katie will be the fulfillment of so many girlish prophecies. Here’s to wandering through Notting Hill (my architectural equivalent), having tea at Harrods, strolling through Hyde Park, and riding as many elevators as possible in hopes of meeting Tom Hiddleston. Don’t ask.

Austria. I want to see Vienna. I want to see Salzburg. Obviously for reasons relating to The Sound of Music, but also because my uncle and grandmother have been and the scenery is breathtaking. We flew over the Alps once and I was smitten, if so light a word can be used for the stabs of joy that ran through me, as I watched the peaks pierce the clouds and show themselves to the nobodies traveling via airplane above their crowns.

Italy. I badly want to see Venice. I want to see beautiful, flighty Florence, and Naples, and Rome. I want to see Tuscany. I want to stop in an obscure town which probably doesn’t have a Google Maps location and try to speak with the villagers. One of my favorite Instagrammers, History in High Heels, has only fed this urge like weeds on a brush-fire. One good friend’s fiancé insisted he take her to Italy on their honeymoon. She said it’s just as wonderful as they make it out to be. Manalive. I can’t watch Letters to Juliet or The Tourist or The Man From U.N.C.L.E. or The Italian Job or really anything set in Italy without wanting to flee responsibility and go NOW. What a beautiful country. Also, I want to try really good, authentic paella.

Northland, New Zealand. My dear friend-through-correspondence, artist Felicity Deverell, is a native of this breathtaking country and is getting married January 9th in a place named (no lie) Sherwood Forest. Guests will hike in to the wedding and reception. Hike in.  I received a wedding invitation complete with hand-drawn map of the surrounding land and I assure you, the only thing that kept me from purchasing a ticket that night was the fact that it would strip me of my life savings (our winter is their peak season) and I probably wouldn’t get much of a chance to visit with Lissy, it being her own wedding and all.  But I will make it to all the wild places she has told me so much about, and I will meet her and experience the delight of a country mostly unmarred by Man’s hand, probably via sailing with her seafaring family.

Prince Edward Island, Canada. I’ve always thought this would be the ideal place to honeymoon. Far enough away from home to count as exotic, far enough north to not be exotic at all. I’m sure I would adore an exotic place once I ended up there, but I’ve never felt drawn to them. I would so much rather go to, say, Sweden than the Bahamas. Continuing in “Reasons A  P.E.I. Honeymoon Would be Idea,” I point to the fact that there is plenty to see if you want to see anything but each other and the beautiful countryside , but there is also not so much to see (think Venice) that you feel as if you’d wasted a spectacular trip caring about nothing but your new husband. Anne of Green Gables is one of my heart-stories and for as long as I’ve known about Prince Edward Island, I have wanted to visit. I think going to P.E. I. would be a bit like coming home. The red roads. The orchards. The blue, blue sea. The green, green fields and darker green forests. The farm-houses. The sea-grass. Mmmmm….

Paris, France. There is much to see in France beyond Paris, and I would entirely not mind exploring the length and breadth of the whole country. But Paris is one of those places of which I feel immediately possessive. Someone has been to my Paris?  I want to eat at an over-priced Michelin Star restaurant. I want to drink coffee outside a pretty café. I want to go bread-shopping and cheese-shopping and clothes-shopping and sketch while people-watching  and go to all the best museums and walk on the Champ de Elysees and stay in an apartment overlooking the Eiffel Tower and walk through the Palace of Versailles. I want to stand on the top of the Eiffel Tower at eleven o’clock at night and experience the pulsating magic in the air that is Paris…and, if possible, kiss someone really special…

Iceland. Now, this place is absolutely gorgeous, but I’m not yet certain of what there is to do there besides take hipster pictures in the stunning landscape and be the envy of your Instagram friends forever and ever amen. I’ve seen The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Iceland beckons for no reason beyond its beauty. I think a trip there would be a majestic, worshipful waste of a plane ticket. If, by wasting, you mean filling your soul with beauty and purity and leaving with little cultural experience.  Which I don’t consider a waste at all.

Ohhhhh, it pains me to cite only seven places. I could add Alaska to this. Someone’s private island (okay, who am I kidding? Neal Caffrey’s private island. Complete with Neal Caffrey. Don’t judge.). The Pacific Northwest. New York City. Boston, Charleston, New Orleans (which is happening for me next month. Eep!). I could add Amsterdam and all of Greece, Capadocia (have you seen the Seussical landscapes?) and Norway, Germany and Rio and Israel. And maybe, if you begged and pleaded, some part of Africa that isn’t too hot or mosquito-ridden or filled with Ebola. I’m even certain I would like China or Japan pretty well, once you got me there. Maybe even India, but I’m a little terrified of India. Everyone I know who has been there has gotten quite ill or comes home with terrible stories of the heat. That Taj Mahal, tho. Suffice it to say, “the world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” We will never run out of places to go or wonders to see and each time I go someplace new, I am overwhelmed by the careful artistry and creativity of the great God I serve. His skill and imagination are beyond measure. I am grateful and blessed to go wherever I am able and cannot wait to see whatever part of the world He sees fit to send me. Even if I do end up in India instead of Iceland. “Sorry, darling, slight mix-up in the alphabetization of the plane tickets.”

May we all have the chance to travel to the places our hearts long for! For instant wander-lust activation, I recommend reading Kate Spade New York: Places To Go, People ToSee. I sent a copy to Katie for her birthday, but not before reading it through myself. I still haven’t got over it.  Every time wanderlust hits, I want to bury my face in that beautiful book.


  1. I tell people it's my desire to basically travel the world. I seriously enjoy every place I've been, the desert, the jungle, high society in Victoria, B.C. I'm always trying to contrive ways to travel the world while not going broke. :)

    And I'm definitely with you on New Zealand, London, and oh my goodness, Prince Edward Island. <3

    1. You've been to the JUNGLE and HIGH SOCIETY? I need a post about this.

    2. ;) Jungle: When I was 14, we went to Belize, Central America to visit my sister who was living there. It was very much a jungle and we would hear incredible animal noises outside at night. Probably jaguars and howler monkeys. It was pretty neat.

      Victoria B.C. - 4 years ago I went on a trip with my Aunt to British Columbia. We visited this old, ritzy hotel that is super expensive, where all the dignitaries/etc. stay when they come (kings/queens, etc.) It's a beautiful, picturesque hotel with lots of history. They have a $50 a person high tea and my aunt paid for us to eat there. It was pretty amazing. Now I just need to have high tea in London and my heart will be complete. haha.

  2. I want to go to London too!!!! And the rest of England. And Ireland. And Scotland.

    I'd also LOVE to visit Germany, Italy, Poland, and Lithuania (the last two cause my family's originally from there). I want to go to Rome and see the Pope. Oh, and I want to go to Belgium and meet Naomi (you know her? Wonderland Creek Blog?)

    Yeah . . . travelling is fun :)

    1. I am not familiar with Wonderland Creek Blog! I will have to check it out. :) Belgium. <3

    2. Do! I think you'd enjoy it :)

  3. I want to go to London! My sister is living there right now and I'm so jealous. Especially, with all the pictures she's sending home.

    1. Oh my! That would certainly cause me to DOUBLY want to go!

  4. I liked your references to Singing in the Rain and Up! sister and I have always considered P.E.I to be the ideal honeymoon location----since, of course, we grew up with Anne in the books and Anne in the movies--hahahaha! Love reading your are truly a gifted writer. Tess