To sort-of follow through on the travel theme of my last few weeks of blogs, and before I move on to other topics, I thought I’d blog a little about my travel wishlist.  I’ve maintained a similar list for years, never calling it a “bucket list” in that I think of them more as things I want to do rather than things that I have some need to do.  Hence, some things come and go on the list as my moods change (for example, India alternatively appears on my list from time to time and then I will remove it as my mood changes; at the moment India is off the list owing to a pretty scary story from a friend who visited lately).

So my travel wishlist is more of an aspirations list, one that I slowly and methodically chip away at.  I’ve learned that career-wise if you have goals and objectives, you should write them down and (here’s the key) share them with colleagues.  Now you’ve got peer pressure to help drive you to achieve your goals.  With that in mind, I’ll blog about my travel desires and perhaps from here out I’ll feel obligated to achieve them.  But keep in mind, I do reserve the right to tweak my list!

Also, I’ve found that planning is an important part of the enjoyment of a trip and obviously can last a lot longer than the trip itself, not to mention be a tremendous educational experience.  For our recent trip to Europe, for example, we started planning a year in advance, bought airfare 6 months in advance, bought some of the tour tickets 6 months in advance (like the Vatican Scavi tour), and researched and reserved hotels for 3 to 6 months before we left.  In some cases my travel wishlist has had items that have been there for years, so in a way I’m planning some trips decades in advance.

Okay so perhaps I’m a bit OCD, but as my list is pretty long I’ve categorized and organized the destinations on my list.  Which, conveniently, will make it easy for me to write a series of blogs over the next couple of weeks.  Here’s how I have my list organized:

  • US – long weekends
  • US – full vacations
  • US – skiing (snow)
  • Abroad – Europe
  • Abroad – Elsewhere

I’ll elaborate on the above categories in subsequent blogs.  There’s also another category that’s not necessarily geographic-specific but instead more oriented toward things I’d like to do, perhaps geographically oriented but the point is the activity, not the destination.  It’s this category I’ll write about in this blog, but here’s an example that’s already come off the list: “stay in a cottage on a beach with no outside communications, disconnected from society”.  The objective was the activity, and it could have been on any beach, it just so happens we found a perfect island in the Bahamas and we are actually returning for our 3rd visit next month; there’s no rule that says items on the list can only be conducted once!

So here’s Chuck’s current list of “Travel Things To Do”:

Freighter Cruise – Lori and I took a cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines for our 20th anniversary and we loved it.  We highly recommend NCL and will one day return, but I’ve always thought “hopping a freighter” would be cool, at least for me to experience by myself.  Lori says she wants to go, but in my vision I’m staying in a tiny bunk cabin with a tiny desk, typing away at a novel or something while the ship pitches and heaves, strolling and reading on the deck among mysterious crates and containers, then eating mediocre food with the officers, chugging whiskey straight from the bottle while they regale me of their harrowing tales at sea.  I have no idea why this has any appeal, but it doesn’t seem like a place for my wife.  So when it’s time to do it, I think I’ll suggest a quick 4-day trip and arrange for Lori to fly in and meet me at the arrival port, then we spend another few days together in the city.  Perhaps this will appease her.  Oh and if you’re wondering how one goes about hopping a freighter, check out this site:

Transatlantic Cruise – maybe I have a need to be at sea or something.  When we took the NCL cruise for our 20th anniversary, the marketing department of course makes upcoming cruise schedules readily available for us.  We had never cruised before so it was a (very slight) surprise to learn that transatlantic cruises, often “repositioning” cruises as they move ships to or from Europe for the season, are still regularly offered by most of the cruise lines.  I’m not sure why this is appealing either, being locked away on a (albeit luxurious) ship for a week, but at least in this case there would be hot tubs and good food and activities other than getting lost among dangerous freight containers and getting drunk with the crew.  Lori can definitely go with me on this one.

Grand Canyon Hike – this one by nature is geo-specific, but I put it in the to-do category because the point of the trip is to take the hike to the bottom of the canyon.  In other words if we were to just go to the Grand Canyon and didn’t do the hike, this item would be unaccomplished and would have to stay on my wishlist.  We took the family to the Grand Canyon back in 2003 and thoroughly enjoyed it.  We did all the normal stuff, stayed in a park lodge, went to nature talks and went horseback riding.  While there I learned about the Phantom Ranch, a rustic lodge at the bottom of the canyon.  You can only reach it by hiking, by riding a mule, or by rafting the Colorado River.  I would love to hike down, spend a few days at the Phantom Ranch exploring the canyon floor, then hike back out.  Lori isn’t interested so I’ve been trying to convince my brother-in-law Randy (he and Susan went to Europe with us) to go with me; my persistence will eventually pay off.  The 4 of us would fly out, spend a couple of days together on the south rim, then Randy and I would spend a couple of days on the canyon floor while the girls stayed up on the rim comfortably sipping umbrella drinks in the lodge, and Randy and I would hike back up to spend another couple of days wrapping up the trip.  Then we would chug whiskey straight from the bottle and regale the ladies with harrowing tales of survival during our wilderness adventures on the canyon floor.  Chugging whiskey from the bottle favors heavily in my to-dos.

There are a few other to-dos that come and go from my list, but this is the to-do list as it stands today.  Next blog: my list of long weekend trips, aka mini-vacations, in the US.