“Not all those who wander are lost.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien
With the New Year commencing and the focus on resolutions at the forefront of everyone’s mind, I decided to take a slightly different approach. Looking back at the map from my previous post, I wanted to set goals to accomplish in my quest to see the world. This is not my bucket list, but perhaps much of the travel portion of the list as of now. While there are many goals (and this post will be divided into two parts), I am still looking for new inspirations and ideas, so feedback is requested and appreciated. So here it goes…
Visit all of the continents (except Antarctica).
So far, I have hit North America (obv), South America, and Europe. Three down, three to go, but I also need to explore more of the three continents I have already checked off the list more thoroughly. There are so many places to go and see, and so much diversity that I want to be sure to visit multiple countries on each continent. But let me be unequivocally clear: I have zero compelling desire to ever visit Antarctica. None whatsoever. Not ever. I see no need or logical reason to subject myself to that experience in the least.
Completed: 5 of 6: North America, South America, Europe, Australia, Asia.
Dream Trip: Italy and Greece.
Like so many people, I long to go to Italy and Greece for an extended getaway. I want to see the Coliseum in Rome, take in the Tuscan sun, eat pizza in its birthplace in Naples, and relax on Capri. And the Greek Isles are a must visually and photographically. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I need the pasta, the vino, the pizza. It speaks to me.
Stand in two places at once.
I want this experience to be on a grand scale. I am not talking standing on the border of two states; I’m talking straddling the Equator. Visiting the Greenwich Prime Meridian (separating the Eastern and Western Hemispheres). Or maybe standing on that spot at the Four Corners Monument that is located where Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah meet to accomplish a standing on a whopping four places at once. Other unique suggestions welcome!
See the Northern Lights.
The lights are a photographer’s dream. The Aurora Borealis (or Aurora Austrialis in the southern hemi), which are caused by electrically charged particles from the Sun interacting with Earth’s atmosphere, appear to be simply stunning by all accounts. Generally, the lights are best viewed and most vibrant in winter. And given that I, as mentioned in #1, have zero intention of traveling to Antarctica (and especially not in the winter), my best bet to view this color display is either far northern Canada or Alaska, or northern Europe, like Sweden, Finland or Iceland, for example. I know, kind of the same climate as Antarctica, but certainly not as extreme, and at least there is civilization.
Visit one new state and one new country each year for the next five years.
This is a goal I am immediately commencing. I think this will be a great way to expand my horizons, both at home and abroad. This year, my new state is Texas and the new country is in the works for this year. Stay tuned.
2015 Complete: New State= Texas. New Countries: Panama, Turks & Caicos Islands
2016 Complete: New State= New Mexico. New Countries: Martinique, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia.
2017: Incomplete New State. New Countries: Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates.
Witness the Great Pyramids and the Great Sphinx.
Does this even need explanation? It is the last standing Wonder of the Ancient/Classic World. It is an architectural phenomenon of ancient Africa that is a marvel to modern man. And the Great Sphinx of Giza, with its African-shaped features missing the nose that was blown off, stands as a testament to a proud and intellectually advanced people. I simply cannot miss seeing it in my lifetime.
Travel on a solo, non-business, international trip.
This is a tough one for me. Sans business trips, I haven’t done any solo pleasure travel. The idea of it makes me a bit nervous. What if I’m bored? What about safety? What about feeling lonely? However, I know more and more women my age making solo travel not just a priority but a lifestyle, and they swear by it. Admittedly, I am somewhat intrigued by the prospect. So I am putting this on my list as encouragement to get up the gumption to take my first international, solo, pleasure trip.
Completed: Panama AND Vancouver, solo international trips
Attend a music festival.
Coachella. South by Southwest. Electric Daisy Carnival. New Orleans Jazz Festival. I Heart Radio. Lollapalooza. There are certainly no shortage of music festivals occurring every year, mixing music and travel. But I have never been to any of them, even though Coachella is but a mere two hours away. So in the near future, I want to both attend and write on a music festival. Which one? Well, that is the question.
Take a spontaneous trip.
Anyone who knows me knows I am a planner. I spend a large fair amount of time looking for the best deal and the best accommodations and doing at least some research before arriving at my destination. This is not to say that I am a person who has to plan every moment of every trip; it is actually quite the contrary. But I am not the most spontaneous person when it comes to booking a trip on a whim just because I feel like it. I admire the people that can just book an international trip on a dime when one of those “mistake” (read: PR stunt) airfare deals pop up for a few hours to exotic places like Abu Dhabi or South Africa, but that’s not my nature. But I am going to change that. At some point, I am just going to see a good deal and book the flight. As one of my buddies stated during the last airline flash sale “Book Now, Plan Later.”
Completed: New Zealand glitch, 2016.
Shoot (photos) on Safari in Africa.
Carolyn E. Wright/www.vividwildlife.com
This may sound cliché but I really want to do a safari in Africa. I want to shoot (photos of) wild animals in their habitat. But again, I am not crazy, so I would like to do a day safari. Not some sleep-in-open-air-where-the-animals-can-come-sniff-your-face overnight safari. Nope, just a jeep, some armed guards, some natural habitat, and some great shots are sufficient for me.
Visit 2 or 3 of the Great Falls.
Waterfalls are mystical, powerful, gorgeous forces of nature. I have already seen one of what I refer to as the “Great” falls, the Niagara Falls, straddling the US-Canada border. The others on my list are the Iguaçu Falls (border of Argentina and Brazil), the Angel Falls (Venezuela) and the Victoria Falls (border of Zambia and Zimbabwe).
Completed: 1 of 3. Niagara Falls- Visited Summer 2004.
Attend Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City.
I had to include this even though it has been completed because it was pretty awesome. This was accomplished last year thanks to my buddy Leah Frazier, one of the most successful and well-known fashion editors and bloggers in Dallas. Check out my post and gallery regarding my experience at fashion’s biggest event in the USA. Next stop: Paris?
Completed: September 2014.
See 3 world-renowned religious churches/monuments.
Along with the Great Pyramids, I am interested in visiting various religious monuments or churches. I was fortunate to go to Corcovado Mountain in Parque Nacional da Tijuca (Tijuca Forest National Park) in Rio and view the Christ the Redeemer statute. It was absolutely stunning and the scale is so much larger than you can imagine. The intricacy and detail—even down to the nail piercings in Jesus’ hands—was exquisite. And from other parts of Rio, the statute appears to be hovering over the clouds as the fog rolled out, as if watching over the city.
Completed: 1 of 3. Cristo Redentor, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil- September 2008.
Completed: 2 of 3. Westminster Abbey, London, Great Britain- July 2016.
Completed 3 of 3: Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE- October 2017.
Volunteer/do a service project abroad.
This is very important to me. I am a strong believer in “Unto whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48). Thus, on an upcoming trip to a “third world” or less-fortunate country or city, I want to do something to help the local people in some way. I have no idea what that means or where, but I am open to suggestions.
Submit and have a travel article published in print form.
As a classically trained and former practicing print journalist, I have had many a story published in national and local outlets, including newspapers, magazines, and even the wire. But I have not had a travel article published, and I would like to accomplish that sooner rather than later.
Completed: World Bride Magazine, Summer 2015 Edition
Completed: Featured in Essence Magazine, June 2017
Check out Part 2 of this List here.
The copyrights in all photos without attribution above are owned by Tyra Hughley Smith. Main Photo Credit: Jag_cz/Shutterstock.