Everyone daydreams. What I daydream about is traveling the world. Right now, I’m sharing with you something very exclusive. It’s my list of Places I Have to Go. Yes, that’s right: have to. I will get to all of them, some day.
(A side note: I am fully aware I romanticize all these places. Don’t mock me or ruin my daydreams about them, please; comments not ruining my visions are welcome.)
Greek Isles. I became fascinated with the Greek Isles when I read Frances Mayes’ A Year in the World (I’m sorry; I know I talk about her constantly). She travels to the Lycian coast, and described it so beautifully, I fell in love without ever seeing a picture. Obsessively looking at pictures of it later confirmed my obsession. I still remember a description of one of her evenings. It was something about “golden pools” of water at sunset. That image grabbed hold of me, and has yet to let go.
Spain. I speak Spanish, and have taken so many Spanish classes, I know far too much about Spanish history for a college girl in the Midwest pursing an occupation that isn’t Spanish history. What I found compelling about their history was the tumultuousness of it all. Warring races fought tooth and nail over the land, and every so often they achieved brief periods of harmonic diversity, when the Catholics, Jews, and Moors lived in peace. Anyway, all the fortresses and monuments and mosques/churches are still there, and they are beautiful. I’d love nothing more than to explore them. Oh, and then to hop in the Mediterranean for a swim.
Italy. For me, Venice seems the most romantic city in the world. I mean, the buildings are lined with waterways, for Pete’s sake. Though Paris does take the cake, I think Italy must be a close second, with its literally romantic language, the food, the wine, and its countryside.
Portugal. Frances Mayes also got me hooked on Portugal. The food is unique, she wrote. I remember the food she described including pumpkin and other unexpected ingredients. I also remember her descriptions of the tiny countryside towns, with white churches and lost stories. I’d love to visit. Plus, I think Portuguese is the coolest language. It sounds loopy and romantic all at once. I’m learning it now, in fact.
Ireland. I’m Irish, along with a lot of other things. Though the rain doesn’t do it for me, I like relating to my Irish (read: fiery) side. They were a strong, tough, people throughout history, and I’m proud to have the country in my history. Plus, I want to be there on St. Patrick’s Day.
Australia. Australia to me seems like the last frontier, one that’s been unconquerable. I remember in the movie Australia everything seemed wild, untamed. And as few people live on the majority of the continent, I like to imagine it still is. I also want to see the settled side of the continent though. I’d love to visit Sydney. Plus, I’ve heard Australia has prime surfing, which I want to check out.
Bermuda. I watched a documentary on PBS with my family a while back about the island. It’s a somewhat odd mix. Though it looks like any Caribbean island (yes, I know it’s in the Atlantic), it’s distinctly British. And it has rum, and lots of it. I’d like to check it out.
British Columbia. I learned to downhill ski last year, and now I want to ski around the world. During the Olympics it hosted, British Columbia looked gorgeous. I’d like to ski it. You get the best view that way, anyway.
Chile. I first got hooked on Chile while perusing Flickr. I found some photos of Santiago, then some from Valparaiso, and by that point, I was hooked. It’s one of the most developed countries of South America, and has a lot to offer. I want to make use of my Spanish and drink Chilean wine with expatriates. Is that too much to ask?
Cuba. As I babbled endless on about in my post about the second Dirty Dancing movie, I’ve always been entranced by the exoticism of Cuba. I love the music, the dancing, the language, and the tumultuous history has always intrigued me. They just opened up Cuba to some academic groups. It’s one of my biggest wishes that the US and Cuba sort things out entirely, so I can visit.
The Whitsunday Islands. The sand of these Islands is whiter than anywhere else in the world, I think. And the water is bluer. Ergo, I want to travel there. I’ve always envisioned luxury as staying on these islands at a spa, reading at the beach, and then getting a massage there as well. I have to see if that’s what it’s really like, right?
Safari. My grandmother went on a few safaris when she was young, and brought back so many African blankets and pieces of jewelry, that I’ve spent my life fascinated by them. I want to see what she saw, then bring back my own trinkets and stories for the people that I love.
Azores. The Azores are something of an anomaly. They don’t seem to belong to any continent in particular, but still have their own allure. I think it’s because of how they don’t quite fit in with either Europe or Africa that I want to see them for myself.
The Seychelles/Zanzibar. There’s a line in a Jimmy Buffet song that I always think of: “Oh, I remember that night in Africa, my daughter and my little guitar, straddling the equator, the king of Zanzibar.” It’s a great line. And these locales have some of the best beaches in the world. I’m sold.