I've noticed that people tend to have that one place they want to go. For some, it's Paris. For others, the life dream has been the Italian countryside. Then, there is another, smaller subset of individuals. Our problem is that we want to go everywhere. Sure, we love the idea of Paris and Italy. But, there's also Shanghai, Croatia, and Dubai. And what about Vietnam or Slovenia? We'd be happy going from the safety of London to the beaches in Cape Town to the unknown in Afghanistan to the even more unknown in North Korea, if we could.
My travel "bucket list" (I hate the term, by the way) is comically long. But, here are ten of the places toward the top of the list, at least for the time being!
Admittedly, I don't know very much about Annecy other than the fact that it is a beautiful alpine lake town with lots of flowers and pastel houses. It reminds me a bit of Wes Anderson and fairy tales, which should explain the draw. It seems like the perfect place for refreshing air, mountain hikes, and Savoyard cooking which, to me, is heaven on earth.
I've had Banff on the mind for years now after seeing it somewhere on TV. Lake Louise is bright blue, almost Tiffany blue in certain light, and surrounded by steep, sugar topped mountains. I'm dreaming of a room at the Fairmont Banff Springs, ski days, and a lot of time spent in local cafes.
If you haven't noticed, I have a proclivity for all things alpine. I want to go to Neuschwanstein, pretend to be Sleeping Beauty, and ponder the mystery that is Mad King Ludwig. Honestly, the whole Bavaria trip would likely consist of my visiting castles.
I don't remember how it came about, but Edinburgh has long been at the top of my list. There's something magical about the dark stone buildings and medieval architecture. I personally get the feeling that Edinburgh is a great town for books with perfect places like Old Town Bookshop and the Writer's Museum. Edinburgh seems cozy and, yes, cozy is my thing.
Oh, Mykonos. You have been haunting my dreams all winter. I can't tell you all how badly I have been wanting to run away to Greece. I want to stay in one of those beautiful, clean white villas and sit outside all day eating stuffed grape leaves in a caftan.
There are so many wonderful things to list about Istanbul. I think it's fascinating to see a city where the world's cultures meet and sort of blend into something unique. My dream to visit Istanbul began after seeing Ciragan Palace somewhere. Apparently they serve a $1000 cake made with Mediterranean fruits soaked in rum for two years and topped with 24k gold leafing and black truffles. Sounds great, but what draws me in is the thought of buying saffron threads at fragrant markets, eating sweets in the afternoon, and having a treatment at the hamam. Of course, as a former art history student, I'm also obsessed with Hagia Sophia.
Tokyo, of course, with the abundance of good ramen, $1 sheet masks, bath houses, and beautiful streets. But also: Kyoto for the temples, Nara for the cute little doe, Nachi Fall in Wakayama, and the nature park in Kagoshima. There are so many beautiful places in Japan, it will be difficult to come up with a time sensitive itinerary.
This trip would be an easy one. Pick a resort, book a little ocean pavilion with its own pool, pack your best caftan, go crazy with the sandals, and load up on books. Swim all day, make a neverending batch of prosecco pops, and eat acai bowls for breakfast every morning. Sleep outside in the afternoon (use this) and go for long bike rides.
This is another destination to feed the art history love. Petra, settlement of the former Nabataean Kingdom, showcases an incredible blend of art and architecture in the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Roman, and Byzantine styles. The empires which claimed Petra left their mark aesthetically through relief images and inscriptions in Nabataean, Greek, and Latin. The perfect trip would include a packed lunch, camel ride to the UNESCO Heritage Site, and a full day of exploring to make Lara Croft proud.
I always joke that I plan to take my future children to Russia instead of Disney. Really, you can replace "Russia" with just about any location in that sentence but it's true that I think it would be a magnificent place to travel as a child. My hope is to see the Bolshoi perform again (this time at their home theatre in Moscow), to see Catherine the Great's summer palace in St. Petersburg (love her), and to successfully navigate the gorgeous subway system. While we're at it, I'd go to the VDNKH and also try some interesting Georgian food.
Which destinations are on the top of your travel list?