Italy is finally lightening restrictions after COVID-19. It’s still going to be a while before travel resumes, especially on an international level, but I’m already dreaming of trips I want to take. Here’s my travel bucket list, featuring all of the places I’m most excited about and the biggest draw for me.
This will probably be the first trip on my travel bucket list that I’ll take, partly due to convenience. I want to visit Eastern Europe, and here in Southern Italy, I’ve been looking at Albania across the water for months. Tirana has a lot of history, dating back to the Ottoman empire, and is a great central location to explore the country. I absolutely intend to visit the Cave of Pellumbas and go hiking in the mountains in the Eastern part of the country.
I’m not normally a big fan of touristy areas, and I’ve never had a major interest in East Asian islands, but I do actually want to visit Sentosa. The island has Universal Studios, a massive aquarium, and Dolphin Island, where you get some one-on-one time with the mammals. Really, though, the big draw for me is staying in the underwater suite, where the top level features a jacuzzi and lounge area, and then you head downstairs to sleep in a glass-walled room watching the fish swim by.
I very much want to visit Greece, and if I’m heading to Greece, I’m staying on an island – it just gives off that mediterranean vibe. This is actually a country where I very much want to stay in an all-inclusive resort, where I can make a couple of trips to see local historic sites, but can also just relax with no worries. The Ikos Aria resort in Kos fits the bill – food, drinks, and activities are included, and since it’s right off the Turkish coast, I could also spend a day or two in Turkey, exploring ancient villages. After a few relaxing days there, I’d head to mainland Greece and visit Athens, delving into millenia of history. I love Greek mythology so I’d really want to explore that as fully as possible.
The Alps, Switzerland
Do you know, I haven’t gone skiing since I was about 15? I used to like it, particularly since I’ve always been a fan of winter more than summer. Club Med has a resort in Haute Engadine, which means I can ski all day and then enjoy great cocktails all evening (I like to drink on vacation). But really, you can go skiing in a lot of countries – I want to do a ski vacation in Switzerland because you can have dinner in a cable car over the Alps – there is no way to beat those views!
This will be a three-part trip – maybe next year. Part one – London, where I will be fulfilling my historic fantasies and visiting the Tower of London, and seeing a play at the Globe Theatre – it will be Shakespeare and it will be one of the good ones, not Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet. From there, I want to do a day or two at Hever Castle, home of Anne Boleyn, the most fascinating of Henry VIII’s wives. And then, I’d like to enjoy a little writer’s retreat – rent a historic cottage in Stratford-Upon-Avon (might as well be inspired by the best!), set up a writing space in the cottage garden, and head down to the neighborhood pub in the evenings. I can only imagine how inspired I’d be to write in the same area Shakespeare wrote, during a vacation dedicated to doing so.
I am dying to visit Iceland. Reasons are…they have puffins. Nesting season overlaps the summer, and the puffins are everywhere. I got to see nesting season for the fairy penguins in Australia and loved it, so I see no reason why I’d be less excited to see life at the other side of the globe.
i also want to see the Northern Lights, and the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi promises a unique and amazing experience. Nearby Kiruna is widely considered to be the best place in the world to see Aurora Borealis, and the hotel even offers the chance to see them on horseback! I’m not sure there is an experience out there that is better designed to fit me. You can also enjoy and relax in a sauna, meet reindeer, and ride with sled dogs…let’s be honest, I’d be coming home with a puppy.
There’s a few volunteer vacations I’d love to do. One is to work with pandas at Chengdu in China. The two-week experience allows for some cultural activities and allows volunteers to interact with baby pandas, as well as see and help pandas in the “wild”. I’d love to head to Zimbabwe to volunteer at an elephant reserve, where you also have the chance to teach at the local village school a couple of times a week. And, my favorite, something I’ve wanted to do for years, is volunteer at the Ambue Ari location of Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi in Bolivia. The animal sanctuary has a variety of rainforest animals to work with, but I intend to stay a full month because, drumroll please, that makes you eligible to walk the jaguar. Yeah, part of your respnsibilities are to take a jaguar on a walk through the rainforest. “Sorry, can’t hang out, I’m walking the jaguar.” That is a sentence I want to say. Of the big cats, jaguars are actually my favorite so the chance to spend time up close and personal with one would be amazing. Plus, I want to see the rainforest, but my interest centers around the wildlife there, so the chance to work with and help the animals is just amazing.
Where are you dreaming of going when you start traveling again? What’s first on your travel bucket list?