Clarice’s Travel Bucket List
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New year, new decade, new blog, new goals. Hello, 2020! I’m so excited to be sharing this journey with you and grateful to have you here reading about my Travel Bucket List. Thank you for joining me!
After almost 9 years of marriage, I am still so in love with my husband and excited for the adventures that lay before us. I hope to have many years exploring other countries and learning other languages and cultures with him. Sometimes I fear that even if we live to be 90, we may not have enough years to explore everywhere we hope to.
I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list!Susan Sontag
I figure the first step in making a goal become our reality is to dream. And so dream away, I will. And what better way to collect those dreams than in a Travel Bucket List? So here it goes.
Top 25 Countries in my Travel Bucket List
Ok, starting out super basic. Here’s a straight forward list of places I want to go, countries I hope to visit.
It will be interesting to see how many of these countries we will check off our Travel Bucket List by the end of this decade. Now moving on to slightly more specific destinations…
The complete list, maybe not in one trip.
All 50 United States of America
There’s actually a club you can join for this one – The All Fifty Club! There are different tiers for the membership, depending on if you’ve visited just the 48 contiguous states or all 50. Or you can become an associate once you’ve visited at least 35 states. They’ve got a newsletter, a pin, and even a t-shirt. They do not require proof of your visit; they will take you on your honor. Can I say #couplegoals?!
The 7 World Wonders
Visiting the 7 World Wonders isn’t as straight forward as it might seem. There are actually two lists of 7 World Wonders: the original list and a new updated list.
-The Original 7 World Wonders
- Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt
- Hanging Garden of Babylon
- Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Greece
- Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
- Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
- Colossus of Rhodes
- Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt
Unfortunately, only one of the original 7 World Wonders is still standing today. And that’s the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. But a new, updated list of 7 World Wonders was just announced in 2000.
-The New 7 World Wonders
- Great Wall of China
- Christ the Redeemer Statue, Rio de Janeiro
- Machu Picchu, Peru
- Chichen Itza, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico
- Roman Coliseum, Rome
- Taj Mahal, Agra India
- Petra, Jordan
One of the things I love about traveling and experiencing new cultures is the perspective it gives you. I feel so small in the grand scale of the world, but it is also awe-inspiring to see what beauty humankind is capable of. I imagine seeking out these World Wonders will lead to some humbling and amazing experiences.
US Road trips
As much as I want to explore other countries, I cannot ignore what variety my own, vast country has to offer. Here’s a few of my favorite US road trip ideas for my travel bucket list.
The Birth of Jazz Road Trip
It’s the ‘20s again! Let’s live it up like it’s 1920. Are there any other big Trad Jazz fans out there, or is it just me? It would be amazing to visit some of the cities that birthed and nurtured this genre of music. During the early days of jazz, there were three major hot spots in our country that influenced it’s growth:
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- Chicago, Illinois
- Harlem, New York
Jazz was born in New Orleans, and it migrated across the country from there. New Orleans boasts Louie Armstrong as one of its own, and a must-see destination would include Preservation Hall.
Chicago developed its own style of jazz, and it was King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton who dominated the early Chicago Jazz scene. Chicago hosts a Jazz Festival in July, and there are several jazz clubs you can visit for live music year round.
New York claims Thomas “Fats” Waller as theirs, and this is where you can visit the National Jazz Museum. This is where the Harlem Renaissance occurred, giving rise to a new genre of literature as well as nurturing the jazz movement.
Route 66 Road Trip
Route 66 was a symbol of hope during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. It was supposed to lead people out of poverty and despair to a better life, although this was not necessarily reality.
Route 66 starts in Chicago, Illinois, and ends in Santa Monica, California. It takes about 2 weeks to travel and passes through 8 states, including Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
Unfortunately, the route is no longer completely intact, but there are many sections you can still travel, and in some places the route runs parallel to current freeways in use.
Re-reading John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath would of course be a must! In this American classic, John Steinbeck tells the painfully stark story of a family’s struggle during the Dust Bowl, their search for prosperity, and what they find instead.
Halloween road trip
Ok, this may be a little macabre, but a Halloween road trip would be super unique and so fun! To be honest, there are a few books that inspired my interest in a Halloween-themed road trip.
Six Women of Salem by Marilynne K. Roach and The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff are both excellent books that explore the social, political, and religious influences that made the horror of the Salem Witch trials possible.
Dr. Mutter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is on my to-read list. But what I’ve read so far about Dr. Mutter’s Museum in Pennsylvania, it reminds me some what of American Horror Story’s 4th season – Freak Show.
Another story on my to-read list is an American classic, Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. These books all inspire a perfect Halloween road trip, including the following locations:
- Sleepy Hollow, New York
- Salem, Massachusetts
- Dr Mutter’s Museum, Pennsylvania
Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip
I absolutely love lighthouses and the ocean, so a road trip following along the Pacific Coast Highway sounds like a dream. Washington has 18 lighthouses open to the public, Oregon has 7, and California has 16, for a total of 41 lighthouses you can visit along the Pacific Ocean.
However, be sure to do your research before you go. Some of these lighthouses are open year round, whereas others have seasonal hours. Some of these lighthouses can only be viewed by appointment. Certain ones only allow public access to the grounds surrounding the lighthouse, whereas others offer access to the tower and/or the dwellings. Some lighthouses even operate as a Bed and Breakfast, like the Heceta Head Lighthouse outside of Florence, Oregon!
A Pacific Coast Highway road trip would run from Olympia, Washington, through Oregon, and end in San Diego, California. That’s 1,675 miles, which adds up to 35-40 hours worth of driving! The trip could be made in about a week, give or take a couple of days depending on how much sightseeing you want to do.
Travel with a Purpose
A travel bucket list can be so much more than just locations on a map. What motivates you to pack up your bags and leave the comfort of home? These are a few reasons that motivate me to explore the deeper corners of our planet.
Travel is a an excellent way to improve your foreign language skills. I studied a year abroad and became fluent in German. It was an amazing experience.
Since then, I’ve tried to improve my Spanish as much as possible. But I’ve found it much more difficult to become fluent in a language without full immersion. I would love to spend some extended time in a Spanish-speaking country improving my fluency. For me, it’s proved to be the most efficient way to gain fluency.
I believe knowing where you came from helps you understand who you are and where you’re going. I’m pretty much your basic American mutt – little bit of everything. I can’t help but wonder if it’s our mixed and vastly variable heritage in the US that drives us to search for our individual back stories. Do people from other countries feel as drawn to their ancestry as people from the US do?
In any case, I would love to explore some of the countries and towns my ancestors were from. Instead of planning a trip to visit all the touristy and popular sites around a country, I would love to hunker down in one of my ancestor’s towns, no matter how small or large. And just get to know it intimately, from the bakeries to the churches and cemeteries.
From close to home to the other side of the planet, that sums up the majority of the dreams I’ve collected in my Travel Bucket List. I’m sure this will only be a beginning, and I can’t wait to explore “the roads left in both of our shoes.” But dreams amount to nothing without some careful planning and action. So please stay tuned for updates on our travel plans! In the mean time, let’s play a game.
Travel Bucket List Bingo
Game time! Shout out in the comments below if you got a Bingo and mention what you did to win a Bingo! And sharing is caring, so tag a friend.
So tell me, what motivates you to travel? And what’s on your travel bucket list? Please let me know if there’s somewhere you’ve been that I really need to add to my list!