Africa,  Asia,  Caribbean,  Europe,  Life,  Oceania,  SCUBA diving,  South America

My Crazy Christmas Travel Wish List

I’ve seen quite a few Christmas travel wish lists out there. Some are practical and realistic with a hint of whimsy, like Lance’s or Stephanie’s. Others are completely outlandish and outright hilarious., like the one over on The Flying Pinto. I’m leaning towards the outrageous, and we’ll see what Santa’s got up his sleeves. Maybe I can entice you to add some of these to your list too! Here goes!

travel wish list

Photo credit: Kenneth Lu

  1. A trip to outer space on Virgin Galactic.  I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut- ever since I can remember wanting to do anything. I’m dead serious. I was a total astronomy nerd when I was younger. I went to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama in the 4th grade. Dad and I would go to the LSU observatory to check out any major astronomical event, like when Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with Jupiter in 1994. He even took me to see an actual launch in Cape Canaveral, FL. I’ll never forget the flames lighting up the early morning, still-dark sky, and the delayed but deafening sound of the exploding engines. So, yea, I’ve always wanted to go to space. Maybe one day, when I’m sixty-something, it will cost a little less than $250,000 for a trip!!
  2. The great Scandinavian adventure. I’ve been fawning over Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark for over a decade. Friends and family have returned with enviable photos and stories. I’d hit the major cities and sites: Helsinki, Oslo, and Stockholm. Also on the agenda: cruising the fjords of Norway, mushing and visiting Santa Claus Village in Lapland, staying in Jukkasjärvi’s Ice Hotel, and experiencing the Northern Lights, of course. Plus, I have some serious Danish heritage I’d like to explore.
  3. Iceland photo tour. OK, so yes, it’s technically also Scandinavian (according to the extended definition), but I’ll treat the island-nation separately. Many years ago, my sister had an idea to take a photo-road trip with my dad (who is a very talented amateur photographer), and it’s been stuck in my head ever since.
  4. Philippines. Donsal Bay’s whale sharks are possibly the largest school in the world. Although there are other places to spot the massive fish, this is one of the better known sites. Borocay and Palawan Islands beckon.
  5. Eastern Europe extravaganza (and the Baltics). I’ve only been to eastern Europe once, and only to two of the major cities: Budapest and Prague. Cheaper and more remote than their western Europe counterparts, the non-EU countries have long peaked my need to  explore quaint, historical cities and villages. Check out Intrepid Travel’s Baltic Experience tour. Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia are high on the list. Bring on Dracula’s Castle!
  6. Cruising the Lesser Antilles with friends I’m a sucker for the Caribbean and have always had my eyes set on St. Vincent & the Grenadines (especially Mustique), Martinique, St. Maarten, St. Barths, Antigua, and Anguilla…. These exotic French, Dutch, British- and private(!) islands would be the perfect destination for an island hop with friends. Why not?
  7. Palau and Yap, Micronesia. SCUBA diving is my favorite hobby; I’ve been certified since I was 12. My favorite dives have been in the Pacific region: Fiji, Wakatobi in Sulawesi Indonesia, and Australia’s Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef. Palau and Yap are known for having some of the best diving in the world. I’ve always wanted to jump into Jellyfish Lake on Palau and explore the WWII wrecks around Yap.

    travel wish list

    Longing for Palau’s Rock Island ever since seeing the conservation posters at former job with The Nature Conservancy

  8. Bhutan and Nepal. Dying to go. Period. Tiger’s Nest Monastery, climbing to Everest Base Camp? Forever on my list! Naturally spiritual.

    travel wish list

    Tiger’s Nest Bhutan

  9. Guilin and Yangtze River China. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to Beijing, but I’ve always wanted to see the more rural south. Ever since first visiting the country in 1999, the gum drop hills in Guilin have captivated me.
  10. Samoa- Vanuatu- Tonga. Culture, volcanoes and swimming with humpback whales! What more can I say? These were on our original honeymoon itinerary but had to be scrapped for time and cost reasons (we stuck with 6 weeks in French Polynesia, New Zealand and Fiji).  You can actually get a cheap island air pass on Fiji airways, if you are there long enough and have some flexibility with your schedule.

    travel wish list

    Photo credit: Andre Pinho

  11. Indonesia inclusive. A year ago, I got a tantalizing taste of Indonesia on a dive trip to Sulawesi and Bali. I’d love to spend a month exploring Sumatra, Java, Lombok & Gili Islands and maybe even more of Bali. Time permitting, also more diving in different areas of Sulawesi or even Komodo National Park.
  12. The Voodoo Trail in Western Africa. G Adventures has an enticing tour. There’s a personal connection, being from Louisiana (U.S. voodoo hub), and the cultures in this region of Africa seem so unique and fascinating.
  13. More South Africa. It’s one of my favorite countries on Earth. I’d love to go back to explore Durban, St. Lucia, Lesotho and Swaziland (noted- the later are different countries). While in the area, I’d love to check out Mozambique and Malawai. Let’s throw Madagascar in there too, although that would likely be a separate trip.

    travel wish list

    South Africa, one of my favorite countries

  14. Myanmar and Halong Bay. I’m interested in Burma for historical, cultural, and political reasons. Aung San Suu Kyi has long been one of my personal heroes. I’m interested in the conflict there, as well as the humanitarian issues, specifically the trafficking of young girls. I’ve also heard the beautiful temple sites aren’t nearly as touristy as other parts of SE Asia. Halong Bay: When I went to Vietnam in 1999, I missed this World Heritage Site and have been dreaming about it ever since.
  15. Maldives and Seychelles. Exotic. Beautiful. Hard to reach. Great diving.



  16. Sri Lanka and Seychelles. This seems a more likely pairing, considering their proximity. Sri Lanka is making waves in the travel industry as one of the up-and coming destinations (if it’s not already there). Alan has family friends there as well and has always wanted to go. Then there’s that conflict component that always draws me to a location.
  17. Banff, Lake Louise, Jaspar- Canada. Like the Alps of North America, I’ve had my heart set on this locale since my parents went twenty years ago and shared their gorgeous photos and amazing tales.

    travel wish list


  18. Chile, Argentina, Bolivia– Patagonia, wine region, desert and salt flats. Yes, please.
  19. Nicaragua, Belize. Not necessarily at the same time, but these are the two Central American countries that I’ve never visited and always wanted to. Volcanoes and jungle in Nicaragua entice, while diving the Great Blue Hole and tubing through caves draw me to Belize.
  20. Colombia and Venezuela. Again, not necessarily together, but these northern South American countries have been calling my name for a long time. Bogota has turned into quite the food mecca, as noted in Conde Nast’s 14 of 2014 list, and friends who’ve visited the tropical, chilled-out Cartagena on the Caribbean can’t say enough about the place.
  21. Antarctica. Penguins and ice. How many people can say they’ve been to the seventh continent?

Yea, so my “Christmas list” could be called something a little more conventional…but the term bucket list leaves a bad taste in my mouth. So, lets call it what it is, plain and simple: a travel wish list. Other than the space flight, I don’t think it’s actually too outrageous, if you think of it as a life-long quest.  A more comprehensive version would include U.S. spots like Maine, Montana and Arizona and more exotic locales like the Marquesas, Kiribati, Easter Island, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. This is just my die happy top 21. So c’mon Santa, whatchya got in that sack?

What’s on your Christmas travel wish list?

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