wanderlust wish list

Dakar, Senegal

(Dakar photo: André Thiel)

Yesterday was a day of bad news and angst, and I really need something to lift my spirits today. Strange as it may seem to non-A-types, sometimes all it takes is the exercise of making a list to give me a little pick-me-up. Ordering the bullet points of my life and aspirations on one neat, scannable page is deeply satisfying. And when I create a wish list specifically, it lets me visualize everything I aspire to all at once. Which makes me happy.

So, today’s list of choice: the top 10 places I would like to visit.

1. Senegal

Dakar, Senegal

(Photo: Kalyan Neelamraju)

I have wanted to go since I first learned about this country in eighth grade French. Something about the culture and climate of Francophone West Africa calls to me, and the prospect of going to Dakar has been the carrot on a stick to keep me interested in French for more than 20 years now. I haven’t yet made it out there because I only ever had one or two of the requirements for the trip concurrently: enough time off, enough money to spend, the right travel partner, and/or the right frame of mind to visit alone. But mark my words – conditions are ripening and I’m committing to make 2016 my year!

2. Patagonia


(Photo: Chris Ford)

I saw a photo like the one above, and I was sold.

3. Cuba

Havana, Cuba

(Photo: Nathan Laurell)

For many reasons – cultural, architectural, temporal, geographical, linguistic.

4. Ukraine (my mother’s mother’s motherland), along with St. Petersburg and Moscow – once things simmer down…


(Photo: Peter Fenďa)

5. Azerbaijan


(Photo: Pierre)

Don’t know why exactly. Maybe something about East meeting West appeals to me. And Azerbaijan is one of the most beautiful names I’ve ever heard. Which is a terrible reason to visit a country, but sometimes a place just gets into your head for all the wrong reasons and then sticks around.

6. Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah and Athens, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

(Photo: Jen Goellnitz)

I would eventually like to visit all 50 states and Georgia is the only one on the Eastern seaboard I haven’t been to (unless you count the Atlanta airport). Charleston and Savannah are supposed to be charming Southern cities and Athens sounds like a cute college town and I would love to road trip between them all.

7. Australia and New Zealand

near Perth, Australia

(Photo: Kenny Teo)

I can’t get more specific because I want to see all of it, from Sydney to Melbourne to the Outback to the West, to Aukland to Wellington to Christchurch to the mountains in between. Which means I will probably never see any of it. My fatal flaw is I get too ambitious and then end up doing nothing when I realize I can’t do everything.

8. Kenya and Tanzania


(Photo: David Berkowitz)

Again, overambitious. I want to see Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti and Masai Mara park and Lake Victoria and Nairobi and Zanzibar. This is actually a scaled down version of my original plan, which had been to visit Mozambique in the same trip.

9. Norway and Sweden

Lofoten Islands, Norway

(Photo: Henrik Johansson)

For midnight sun and the fjords. I was thisclose to using my miles on a Scandinavia vacation a couple of years ago but thankfully, I looked up the prices for hostels first and was rudely awakened to the fact that Norway has one of the highest costs of living in the world. Hostels were the price of hotels. So this one will probably stay on the wish list awhile.

10. Mexico City

Mexico City

(Photo: Boris G.)

Mexico’s got thousands of years of history and I’ve only ever been to the tourist strip in Tijuana. I need to cleanse my brain’s Mexico palate with something more representative.

Honorable mentions: Mali (not the best time to visit…), South Africa, South Korea, Montana and Wyoming.

Ahhh, that was fun. Which places are on your wish list?

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