I’ve been to Tokyo. London. Paris. New York. Miami. But still, I want a gondolier to inform me about the ancient waterways of Venice as we float along the Grand Canal and attempt to navigate the bustle of Delhi in a rickshaw, party until dawn taking in the nightlife of Rio de Janeiro and reveling in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. I want to see my reflection in the Taj Mahal fountain, watch the grand Everest peak peek out of the clouds and the northern-lights light-up Iceland, and explore everywhere possible in northern Italy. Yes, there are plenty of places to sail, fly, drive, pedal or walk to, and all those comprise my life list.
I journeyed on the Golden Pass up the Alps, the Irish Rail from Dublin across to Galway, the Eurostar under the Channel from London to Paris, a comfy train from Paris to Tübingen, a fast train from Tokyo to Nikko and the slow Amtrak from northern Vermont to Washington DC. But I dream of traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railroad with nothing to see but the vast steppe for days on end and experience the legendary Orient Express crossing Europe to arrive in Istanbul at dawn.
Visited the White House and the Downton Abbey set, viewed the Golden Gate Bridge, jetted inside Disney Land’s Space Mountain, tramped around Montreal’s old port, gone punting on the River Thames in Oxford, went parasailing in Maui, rock-climbed in the Colorado Rockies, played the slots in Nevada, poker in Los Angeles, drank too many margaritas in Taos and an old-fashioned or two in Louisville. Been on tugboats and ferryboats, sailboats and motorboats, paddled canoes and kayaks, but would love to cruise out of New York City in the dead of winter to arrive days later in the Caribbean heat, as well as take a meandering Elbe River cruise from Berlin to Prague.
I’ve had thousands of memorable dips in the Atlantic along the Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, South Carolina and Florida coastlines, swam across dozens of lakes and hiked all over New York and Vermont to find hidden watering holes, enjoyed the Pacific beaches up and down California, and snorkeled in the warm Caribbean surrounding St. Thomas and St. Martin. But I want to swim in the dusky blue waters of Bora Bora as the sunset crashes the whole scene crimson. Actually, I want to swim everywhere that alligators don’t.
Rode my bike hundreds of miles, up and down hills in the middle of rural nowhere, along the boardwalks of Fire Island and Santa Monica, from the Bourne Bridge to Provincetown, and from downtown Boston to Time Square in New York City. But I would love to cycle past tulip farms in Holland, into the Châlons en Champagne region of France, and explore my maternal ancestors’ birthplace, Cushendall, in Northern Ireland.
Been transfixed by exhibitions at the MOMA, the MET, the Whitney and the Guggenheim, the National Gallery, Victoria & Albert and the British Museum, the Musee d’Orsay and the Louvre, and still want to admire sculpture and drawings and paintings and street art in every possible corner of our planet. I’ve heard Rene Fleming at the Metropolitan Opera, the Rolling Stones in a Montreal arena, Bonnie Raitt under the Vermont stars and Stephane Grappelli from his wheelchair, but still look forward to symphonies and quartets and solo shows of every musicality yet to come. I’ve read Dickens and Woolf, Alice Walker and the Bronte sisters, Shakespeare and Miller, and still, can’t wait to enter into the fictional world of the next work of literature. Music, stories and art feed me, always.
Climbed St. Peter’s tower in Geneva and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, rode the elevator up the Eiffel tower and the Empire State building, and rejoiced in the city-scapes down below. Stood at the top of Pike’s Peak, Whiteface and Mt. Mansfield after hours of hiking. Happily rode the London Eye fresh off a red eye. Dined splendidly on the 50th floor in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. But want to ride in a hot air balloon across summery green hills and speed past traffic in a helicopter over sprawling urban gridlock.
Did research in Oxford’s Bodleian. Yes, this experience stands alone. Extraordinary to write a paper of substance on Queen Elisabeth I. Only in my ideological youth would I have attempted it. Thankfully I did. Received the first of two advanced degrees as a result of such audacity, endless hours and serious effort. Challenging myself intellectually will always have a place on my life list.
Had a Guinness in a Connemara pub and a Blue Moon at a fish stand on Sullivan’s Island, ate a ripe mango along side the road to Hana and grilled river trout while camping near Lake Placid, picked strawberries and blueberries and blackberries fresh from farm fields, sipped coffee on the Champs-Elysees, devoured multiple gelato delights in Rome, but oh my, there are still so many culinary treats to be had, here, there, and everywhere, and for those I will continue to venture further. Sancerre vineyards? Yes!
Living each day, to my fullest, wherever I am, is my life list. And when I can travel for exploration and experience and knowledge. What isn’t possible in our fabulously diverse world?
But how about you? What do you have in mind for your next adventure? Do let me know!