My Travel Life List

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The Greek Islands are on my Travel Life List
The Greek Islands are on my Travel Life List

As long as I’ve been traveling and dreaming of travel, it is a surprise to me that I’ve never sat down and written out my travel life list. After all, one of the earliest goals I ever remember setting for myself was to visit Paris before I was 20. As an exchange student to Germany at 17, I accomplished my travel goal of seeing Paris – and a whole lot of Europe – well before my 20th birthday.

I’ve been traveling ever since. But it’s never enough.

As I’m getting older and dealing with more responsibilities in my life, I realize that I may never get to fulfill all of my traveling fantasies. But my life list – or bucket list, if you will – will hopefully be a reminder of  the things I’ve got left to do. Of course, I’ll probably pop in here from time to time and add things, too.

I hope that my list will spark you guys to comment below on some of the things that you’d like to do travel-wise before you die – or get too wrapped up in life to make a travel plan. Also, I should note that I was inspired to finally sit down and write this by one Spencer Spellman, the Traveling Philosopher, who himself is a southerner who dreams of seeing the world. Thanks, Spencer!

The List:

  1. Visit Angkor Wat
  2. Go to Bhutan
  3. Go hang-gliding almost anywhere (strangely, I’m afraid of heights but this has always intrigued)
  4. See the elephant sanctuary in Candy, Sri Lanka
  5. Have my own travel show a la Rick Steves
  6. Surf in Hawaii
  7. Explore the Amazon
  8. Go to a samba school in Rio de Janeiro
  9. Learn to tango in Buenos Aires
  10. Attend the Westminster Dog Show in New York City :-)
  11. Practice yoga in Pune, India, with BKS Iyengar
  12. Drive cross country across the United States
  13. Take a cruise of Alaska
  14. Enjoy a completely debaucherous weekend in Las Vegas – buffets, gambling, spas, shows, the works
  15. See all of the Greek Isles
  16. Attend an opera in the ruins of the Terme di Caracalla in Rome
  17. Visit the Hermitage and St. Petersburg, Russia
  18. Stay in a castle in Scotland (Madonna’s preferably)
  19. Snowboarding in Zermatt, Switzerland
  20. Live in all 20 of Italy’s regions for at least a month per region
  21. Binge on sushi in Tokyo
  22. Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade from the window of someone’s apartment, mimosa and/or bloody mary in hand
  23. Visit the bourbon distilleries of Kentucky
  24. Go to all three Triple Crown races – Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes
  25. Visit all of the historic and/or worth-seeing MLB parks – Fenway, Wrigley Field, etc. (no Arizona, no Tampa Bay)
  26. See the manatees in Florida and meet a koala bear in Australia
  27. Dine with Anthony Bourdain in France
  28. Visit more Native American reservations. I’ve only visited one, that of the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico
  29. Go to the Galapagos Islands
  30. Spend time on a gorilla preserve
  31. Overnight and dine at the Hotel Mamounia in Marrakech
  32. See Jerusalem and the other historical wonders of the Holy Land
  33. Visit Petra in Jordan
  34. See the wonders of ancient Mesopotamia in Iraq (if there are still any to see)
  35. Travel the Silk Road
  36. Eat lobster in Maine
  37. Travel back in time and see the giant Bamiyan Buddhas of Afghanistan
  38. See a volcano erupt (from a safe place, of course)
  39. Go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  40. Sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House
  41. Visit some of America’s great cities that I’ve yet to see: Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, L.A.
  42. Live in Istanbul
  43. See the Great Wall of China
  44. See the Pyramids of Giza
  45. Spend Queen’s Day in Amsterdam (a supposedly great party)
  46. Drive a convertible Ferrari on the Autostrada in Italy while wearing Tod’s driving moccasins and Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses (a girl can dream…)
  47. Learn how to drive a stick shift (my lack of knowledge on this part makes renting a car abroad almost impossible)
  48. Take a guided tour of Rome on the back of a Vespa, preferably with a Gregory Peck look-alike. This tour may take a week or longer as there are *many* sites to see in Rome. LOL
  49. Take a culinary tour of Mexico
  50. See Prague, particularly the Jewish cemetery
  51. Go to an Olympics – at least the opening ceremony

Photo © Wolfgang Staudt


  1. I love your list, especially #20, which is also on mine. I would also add 15,16,27 (but I’d like to dine anywhere with Anthony Bourdain), and 32 to mine along with working as a pizzaiolo in Napoli for at least one day and scooping gelato in any gelateria in Italy.

  2. I’m so there with you on the Greek islands. And this oddly enough is a new thing for me, but all of a sudden I am OBSESSED with getting there. Hopefully next June!

  3. Great list Melanie. I may have to adopt it as my own. As an avid traveller that wishes I the time and money to always travel, I was relieved that I’ve managed to check a few things off your list (#s 1, 12, 19 & 25) and I’m working on #37. The only thing I can think to add at this time would be Tierra del Fuego and maybe even driving there from Alaska.

  4. Your list was great food for thought as I was simply putting together a destination list (and not even the “what I would do when I was there” type like yours — which is great.)

    If you need a tutor for the stick shift driving, I have a great sports car and live in Reston … you have the email address.

  5. re: #38

    Check out – Vanuatu – Island Tanna. The volcano there has been erupting nonstop for the last 10000 years. Its accessible via a very bumpy cross island drive and then a short walk! I went two years ago and sat above the crater filming it erupting as the sun went down. Best holiday I have ever had! Add in the island’s culture, warm people, the feeling of stepping back thousands of years into history…and it’s a safe travel destination! 10/10

  6. Travel with me! We have a lot of the same items on our travel bucket lists – I think we’d have a blast! Check out my list too –

  7. Great list! There are a lot in here that I want to do (Amazon, Great Wall of China, culinary tour of Mexico). I have started to do yearly bucket lists with things to do close to home. In that way, I can also get to know my surroundings better.

  8. That’s a great idea, Ruth! I probably need to update this list, as I think of things all the time that I need to add. But 51 items is probably a good start. ;-)

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