I’ve led a very lucky life when it comes to travel experiences; my parents have taken my sister and I on family vacations practically every summer of our lives. I was four when I fell in love with Disney World. I’ve been on six cruises. I’ve gone parasailing on Lake George, N.Y. I’ve screamed my lungs out at Stingray City, Grand Cayman and practically cried with joy while swimming with wild dolphins off the coast of Kona, HI. I’ve taken a zip line canopy tour in Antigua and explored the Baths of Virgin Gorda. There is nothing I love more than experiencing another culture, eating new food, and making memories that will last a lifetime. I became a journalist partly because I knew it would maybe someday lend me the opportunity to see the world. Even though I’ve already seen so much, here are five places that are “on my list.”
This has been my number one for as long as I can remember. I can’t quite remember why it started; I think it had something to do with Steve Irwin and a report I did on koala bears in the third grade. Regardless, it’s a very real and intense craving. I want to pet (NOT eat!) a kangaroo, I want to snorkel (or, even better, scuba-dive) the Great Barrier Reef and wave to all the little Nemos, and I want to visit the Irwins’ Australia Zoo. I was dying to study abroad there in college and it didn’t happen; I’ve never quite recovered.
I’m obsessed with Hollywood. Well, maybe not obsessed, more like intrigued. I want to take a tour of L.A. and visit all the studio lots. I want to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame and get my picture taken near the Hollywood sign. I want to see sets from my favorite TV shows. (I want to go to San Fran just to see the Full House house!) Most of all, I want to go to a recording of the Ellen DeGeneres Show. BAD. I adore Ellen. That’s probably number one on my actual bucket list, not just for travel. Scratch that. Number one on my list is to report from a red carpet or at the very least, be part of the screaming throng on the bleacher seats for a major award show. It just seems like everything exciting happens over there, which is a crock, because it should be New York.
This country looks downright gorgeous. All I know about it comes from My Big Fat Greek Wedding and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Mamma Mia, but still. The cut-into-the-mountainside homes are adorable and the views are to die for.
Because you have to see London! How can you not see London at least once in your life? It’s the birthplace of so many of my favorite actors: Tom Hiddleston, Alan Rickman, and Emma Thompson, to name a few (barely a fraction of the brilliant stars from across the pond). Plus, it’s ‘the country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham’s right foot. David Beckham’s left foot, come to that.’ My college roommate studied abroad in Liverpool and had the time of his life. His pictures from London made me seethe with jealousy.
5. Las Vegas
OK, so it’s not exactly a breathtaking vacation spot, but I totally want to visit the world’s biggest cliché eventually. I blame movies like What Happens in Vegas; Sin City looks fun, man. I have this vision of myself pulling a lever and winning three million dollars and the love of my life all in one fell swoop. Hey, a girl can dream.
My loves of writing and travel have always been intertwined. One of the reasons I decided to study journalism was the idea that I might, someday, be able to see the world. When your formative years are spent consuming a steady diet of Hemingway’s dispatches during the Spanish Civil War, Hunter S. Thompson’s reporting from Saigon, and Anthony Shadid’s articles for the New York Times on the Middle East, you begin to develop a romantic notion of the foreign correspondent. This list is just a small sampling of my travel “bucket list.”
I’ve traveled fairly extensively within the borders of the United States, so most of my “bucket list” dream vacation spots are on other continents. I’ve always been enthralled by the splendor of Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park and would love to spend a few days hiking and marveling at the scenery; they are pretty much the real-life equivalent of a Windows “scenic” screensaver from the late ‘90s.
If it didn’t put money into the Russian economy under Vladmir Putin (not a big fan of oppression, “disappearing” journalists, and violently dealing with protesters), I would travel to Moscow and other Russian destinations in a heartbeat. I know it seems like kind of an offbeat choice, but I’m fascinated with Russian history (esp. Cold War stuff), culture, architecture, and have a lot of ancestry that can be traced back to this turbulent country. Before I die, I want to someday take a cruise on the Volga River and ride the Trans-Siberian Railway.
3. South Korea
One of my best friends moved to Seoul to teach English a few years back and fell in love with this country and its culture. She’s since been working on getting a dual citizenship and raves about the delicious Korean cuisine, interesting tourist sites and exciting nightlife of Seoul—a lot of karaoke, apparently. Her fiancé, Min Chul, visited the United States for the first time over the holidays and I had the opportunity to introduce him to some American culture. I hope to someday have him return the favor in his native country.
I love Italian food, wine, and Roman history. It’s really as simple as that. I want to explore Julius Caesar’s old stomping grounds after eating a giant, authentic Italian meal. Then I can die happy. Oh and Roman history buffs, check out the History of Rome podcast, it’s excellent.