Now that I’m officially in my 30s (well, I have been ever since June), I thought I would make a list of 10 travel experiences I’d like to have before I turn 40. I know that the more popular thing is 40 before 40 (as in you visit 40 countries before you’re 40), but I know that save for giving up everything to travel the world and be a nomad who lives out of a backpack (never been interested in that lifestyle at all) or getting ridiculously rich where I don’t have to work and can just flit about the world in supreme luxury, the odds of me making it to 19 countries in the next 10 years are slim…very slim. But I’m fine with that because I’m traveling in the manner I want and not what the full-time traveling backpacking society seems to unofficially dictate.
So for something different, here are 10 travel experiences I’d like to have before I turn 40.
1) Spend a week in Paris (ideally even more)
I’ve mentioned this before but my three visits to Paris have all been on the shorter side (my “longest” was four nights). So you can imagine with a city like Paris there is still so much I need to see, especially since new things seem to be added to my Paris bucket list all the time. The Picasso Museum, Pere La Chaise Cemetery, strolling through the streets of the Marais district. Oh, and the food adventures I would have-buying items for a picnic along the Seine, food tours, food purchases. You can see why I need at least a week.
2) An Alaska cruise
Out of the 10 things I list here, this is probably the most realistic one (Disney Cruise in 2017-just saying). I loved my cruise to Norway-sailing through the famous fjords was an unbelievable experience and I know that in a place like Alaska where there are fjords AND glaciers that the ships sail through, it would be utterly incredible. As I get older, I love traveling to places where the scenery and natural landscapes are like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
3) Return to Asia
My only experience with the Asian continent was when I studied abroad in South Korea during college and sadly, I haven’t been back since. However, I damn well better return there before I turn 40. My ideal dream would be a trip that included Hong Kong (logistically it makes the most sense since I can fly direct to there from countless American cities) and a couple of Southeast Asian nations (Thailand, Cambodia). However, if you dangled a trip to Japan in front of me I certainly wouldn’t turn that down either. But I really would like to have more experience with the unique and fascinating cultures that make up this vast continent.
4) Go on a mother-daughter trip
I’ve been saying this for a long time but due to schedules and limited vacation time (on my part, my mom has been a retiree for a couple of years now), it hasn’t happened yet. Top idea contenders include somewhere in Central America, since that’s a region that’s never been and never will be on my dad’s radar, or Quebec City. However, I’ve been having a lot of Mexico wanderlust pangs of late and would love to visit a new colonial city there. Vamos a ver.
5) Visit a World War I site in commemoration of the Great War’s centennial
I’ve always been extremely fascinated by the Great War (World War I to my American readers); I even took a class on it in college. And while I’ve seen countless memorials to the dead of this horrific war in both big cities and small towns throughout Western Europe, I’ve never been to a battlefield. I have less than three years to make it to one and I know the clock is ticking. Ypres in Belgium would probably be the easiest to do although I also have interest in French ones since my great-grandfather was a “dough boy” and fought there. And of course, Gallipoli in Turkey is also a place I’m interested in visiting. I’d love to see all of these places one day but it would mean the most to make it to one before November 2018 comes (this will mark 100 years since the end of the war).
6) Return to my study abroad haunts
So this would be either Costa Rica or Spain. I’m not counting South Korea in this since I was only there for a month, not to mention I lived in a dormitory with foreign students so I don’t feel it was the same type of cultural experience I got in Spain and Costa Rica. In Spain I’d love to walk through the streets of Seville’s Barrio de Santa Cruz again, journey across the Guadalquivir River to my host family’s house in Triana, and I’d love to sample the food. When I lived there I was kinda meh on Spanish food (I attribute this to being on a student budget and my host mom was only okay in the cooking department), so now that I adore Spanish food, I’d want to hit up as many tapas bars as possible. In Costa Rica I’d love to make it to the beaches and national parks I once visited but also try out new ones and more importantly, just be around that lovely pura vida spirit.
7) Have an “animal” experience
Before you wonder what the heck I’m talking about, I’m referring to a trip solely centered on animal watching and interactions. Location wise I’m keeping it vague since a trip to the Galapagos Islands AND a safari in Africa are both high on my list of travel must do experiences. Although I know they’re drastically different from one another, they both would be trips of a lifetime. Travel wise, the Galapagos would be a lot easier to do but actually journeying to Sub-Saharan Africa is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now (my only experience with Africa was a quick jaunt to a port city in Northern Morocco-so it hardly counts).
8) Vacation in Barbados
Even though I live ridiculously close, my experience with the Caribbean is limited to the Bahamas that is (thankfully that will change next year when I go on a Western Caribbean cruise). Although there are countless islands to visit, Barbados is one that’s always intrigued me the most. During colonial times, it was an important colony of the British Empire and today numerous colonial era buildings still exist thanks to preservation efforts. It’s also quite the foodie paradise from what I read, which for me is the makings of a good time.
9) Have a Christmas holiday experience
I have mentioned this before but I’d love to be somewhere during the Christmas season that is known for its amazing holiday offerings. While I’d love to visit the famous Christmas markets in Europe (i.e. Nuremberg, Germany or Prague, Czech Republic), I’d also be quite pleased with traveling to Quebec City during this time. Although Christmas markets are becoming more of a thing now in the United States, nothing compares to the place of origin.
10) Go on a river cruise
I’ve become somewhat addicted to cruising although my cruise trips have always been on major ocean liners. I think traveling via river would offer such a great comparison especially since a major benefit of river cruises is that the boats can dock literally “right there.” I have no doubt that I would love the ones in Europe I’m also majorly intrigued by ones that sail to places like the Nile in Egypt or the Mekong or Irrawaddy Rivers in Southeast Asia.
So there you have it, the 10 things I hope to see before I turn 40. Here’s to hoping they all happen.