I have a bucket list a mile long related to travel, ranging from visiting world heritage sites to sampling crazy foods and participating in new adventures. I know I’ll make a good dent in that list within my lifetime, but for the most part, I add two new items to the list for every one I cross off.
However, I’ve got a shorter list of travel dreams: some really big adventures that I know I want to accomplish and that will take a fair amount of time, money, and planning to make happen. Here are my five travel dreams in no particular order; now I just need to work on making them a reality.
Study Spanish in Central America
When I was a freshman in college, I spent some time in a homestay in Quito and I learned more Spanish than I had in four years of high school classes. Immersion is by far the best way to get comfortable speaking a language, and a blend of immersion with structured lessons is the balance I need. I’m partial to studying in Central America since it offers a great combination of reputable schools, low prices, and cultures I find fascinating. I honestly believe a week or two would improve anyone’s conversational skills greatly, but the more time practicing, the better.
UPDATE: I spent 4 weeks taking Spanish classes in Guatemala and 1 more in Mexico!
Roadtrip through the American West
I’ve been to some really cool places in the USA, but I really love the national parks out west. The ones I’ve been to have been gorgeous and I’m ashamed to say there are some amazing parks I haven’t yet been to (Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon, and Glacier National Parks are high on my list). Give me a few months and a car I can throw my camping gear into, and I’d have the time of my life. While I could obviously see one park at a time on standard week-long vacations, I really think having a few months to take note in the country’s varied terrain would bring a new light to things. I also would love to have the time to finish up some longer, backcountry trips.
Live in a Foreign Country
Although I sometimes try to get a feel for how locals really live in different locations, I don’t think you can get a full grasp on the little things that make thing different (for better or for worse) unless you settle down for awhile. Is the magic amount of time six months, a year, or longer? I have no idea, but I’d like to stay long enough to get a job of some sort, make local friends, rent an apartment, and do my own grocery shopping. I don’t know if this one even counts as “traveling”, but since I’d probably spend my weekends and free time on regional getaways, there would definitely be a travel aspect. Now to figure out work visas and find employment…
Yes, there are plenty of cruises to Antarctica that are within a manageable budget and timeframe, but they literally tend to only explore the tip of the continent, if they land at all. I’d love to see this relatively unvisited area with time to kayak, snowshoe, observe wildlife, and camp. I’m not hardcore and I’m always cold (even in Virginia in summer!), so maybe I wouldn’t like it, but I’d love to give it a shot. Just three weeks is all I think I’d need, but adventuring with a recommended operator is way out of my price range. Someday I like to think I’ll have my funds saved up and I’m just hoping it’s before Antarctica takes off as a huge tourist destination.
I really like to hike as a way to get to otherwise inaccessible places. The scenery, solitude, and physical activity all draw me in. Some truly extraordinary treks are ones that simply take days (or weeks) on the trail, not to mention plenty of time getting into shape. As a round-the-world adventure, I can think of no better plan for myself than to string some world-class hikes into a long adventure. Starting with the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim, I’d continue on to the Inca Trail and other hikes in Peru, the W Circuit of Torres del Paine, climbing Kilimanjaro via the Lemosho route, and ending in Nepal to tackle Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna Circuit. Timing these for decent weather conditions may be tricky, but I think an October through April timeframe would work.
UPDATE: I did a short trek in Nepal — but still not Everest or Annapurna!
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Share your travel dreams!
I’m guessing everyone here has travel dreams of their own and I’d love to hear what they are — or if you’ve already made them a reality!