2016: The State of the Bucket List

My bucket list isn't made up of crazy stunts and bizarre experiences.  My main goal for the end of my life is to travel more.  I want to see as much of the world as possible.  In 2013 I made a rather unfocused blog post about my biggest travel priorities.  Since I made that post, I have crossed a few destinations off the list.  I have also made some more focused travel goals for my priority destinations for the next several years.  I thought it would be fun to compare the notes and share my revised lists.

Places that were on my previous list that I have been to since then:

Costa Rica - I saw much more of this beautiful place in 2014 than I saw on that cruise ship 10 years earlier. I explored rain forests, rode a horse on the beach, and swam and snorkeled in the Pacific.   This is a definitely bucket list destination.

Italy - I said I wanted to return there and particularly wanted to return to Venice.  The 2015 cruise took care of some of that.  (I would still go back to Italy 100 more times.)

Croatia - This wasn't a high priority destination, and I didn't go to Dubrovnik, but I did make it to Croatia on the cruise. 

Greek Islands -  I only saw two islands on the cruise, but it was a start

San Francisco - I went there right after posting my last bucket list.

Yosemite - This was part of the San Francisco trip.  

Places on the previous list where I will go in 2016:

Chincoteague - It broke my heart a little to not go Pony Penning last summerI am happy to return in 2016.

Hawaii - (including Volcanoes National Park) - Heading here in February as an early celebration of our 15th anniversary.  Kevin can cross a national park off his bucket list.

Prague - I have a family vacation scheduled in August.  This was another second tier destination, but I am looking forward to seeing what looks like a beautiful city.

European destinations at the top of the list:

Amsterdam and BeNeLux - I was actually planning to go to Amsterdam this year, but lack of money on my part and the offer of free cruise from Dad changed the plans a bit.  I hope to regroup and plan a trip in 2017.  My plan is to stay based in Amsterdam and do day trips to Brussels and Bruges.  If I can conveniently do a Luxembourg day trip, I will definitely consider it.

Danube River Cruise - In my previous list I mentioned a few second-tier priority cities in Europe that I would like to see, but wasn't sure how much time I wanted to devote to them.  This included cities like Prague (which I'll be staying in for a while after all), Budapest, Vienna, and the Bavaria region of Germany.  A river cruise like this one would take care of these nicely.

Loire Valley Barge Cruise - My dream had always been to do a horseback riding tour through the Loire Valley.  Kevin is less enthused about further riding vacations.  They are fun, but they are physically demanding and can be a bit harrowing if your horse isn't on his best behavior. I recently learned about barge cruises.  Old canal barges are made over and fitted out with luxury trappings and high-end cuisine, making them into little floating inns.  A barge cruise can offer me similar advantages to a horseback tour.  I would travel the countryside at a slow pace, visiting the local villages, castles, and wineries. Most barges have bicycles on board too, so if I get tired of sitting for long stretches of time, I can bike alongside the boat as it heads down the canal.  It's not a horse, but it would keep me active.  Some barges have small swimming pools on board too, but I think those are really pricey.  Best of all we could take a day or two in Paris at the start or end of the cruise so I can return to my beloved beautiful city.

Top U.S. City Destinations:

These haven't changed since the last list.  Kevin and I haven't traveled in the U.S. (other than Chincoteague) in almost 3 years.

New Orleans
Salem, MA
Florida Keys 
Santa Fe
Las Vegas - I have to see it once

Top U.S.  National Parks

Acadia - Since this is on the east coast, we could probably see this in a long weekend.  It would be easy to fly out on Friday morning, spend Friday afternoon and all day Saturday and Sunday in the park, and fly back on Monday. 

Glacier - One of the guides from our Grand Canyon tour with leads a tour in Glacier.  She was great at the Grand Canyon, so I would like to travel with her again.  Then again, I have a hard time believing any trip with Natural Habitat Adventures could be bad.

Olympic - The varying ecosystems here would pack a lot of bang for the buck. 

Ultimate Indulgence for a special occasion: 

2021 will be our 20th anniversary and we need to celebrate in style.  How can we possibly top our 10th anniversary where we spent a week at a horse farm in Tuscany?  Anniversary #20 needs to be spectacular.  We first discussed Bora Bora (who wouldn't want to stay in one of those overwater bungalows?)  Then we realized what would be even cooler would be Galapagos.  Once again, nature tours don't get any better than Natural Habitat Adventures.

I think that's a pretty good list.  If I can cross these off in the next ten years, I will be thrilled.  Once I do that though, it will be time again to decide where to go next. It' a big world and life is short.  Let's make the most of it.  


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