Reading someone’s travel wish list can be a lot like listening to a friend’s retelling of a dream. It didn’t really happen, so why should anyone care? One thing that sets travel dreams apart from ridiculous, run-of-the-mill nighttime ones is that you can actually make your travel dreams happen. Dreaming is just the beginning of the travel process. Lots of travel bloggers have been sharing their updated bucket lists in light of the new year. I’ve been thinking about my own a lot lately, so I thought I’d join in and share it. Here are 12 places I’ve been dreaming of, and hope to wake up in someday soon.
China—specifically, The Great Wall—has been on my wish list for a long time. It’s hard for me to fully comprehend its size, as well as the time and number of people its construction required. I’ve longed to walk along it and take it all in for myself. I’m also a sucker for cities, and the mega-city of Hong Kong (top photo) is the one I’d like to visit next.
Wine. What more does a traveler need? I’d love to hit both Mendoza and Buenos Aires on a trip to Argentina. I wonder if rental cars run on Malbec there. If they don’t, I would. Known as the Paris of South America, Buenos Aires is, in my mind, a romantic city with opulent architecture, quaint cafes, and a lively arts scene. Tango, anyone? Afterward, I’d jet down to the Patagonia region for a few days in Torres del Paine national park, another spot on my bucket list.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Any place where mountains meet water makes my chest squeeze a little tighter and the hairs on the back of my neck a little pricklier. Add in the beautiful golden, ribbed sails of junk boats that dot its peaceful waters, and Ha Long Bay goes from simply stunning to something from another world. Or, at least, from another place in time.
If Instagram is any gauge of reality, then everyone and their mother traveled to Bali in 2014, from bloggers to jewelry designers to indie rockers. I’ve never cared much for humid climates, but there’s something alluring about Bali’s lush landscape. It seems like a place where you wouldn’t have to try too hard to find your zen—or a magical moment or two.
Here’s another destination that seems to have gotten some heavy traffic this year. Lots of folks flocked to the fjords, and, a time or two, pictures of the adorable little village of Flam (above) popped into my feeds. It looks like an idyllic little town, and the perfect place to wander, living like the locals.
I first became obsessed with Stockholm as a fifth grader when I was tasked with writing a report on the city and/or country of my choice. Unsure which place to pick, I pulled the heavy “S” volume of my Encyclopedia Britannica set from a shelf in our den and started flipping through its gold-rimmed pages. I eventually found the section devoted to Sweden and fell in love with Stockholm’s colorful facades and stone streets. Back then, Sweden felt a million miles away, and I guess in some ways it still does.
Russia’s a place that intrigues me not because of how much but rather how little I know about it. In my mind, it’s a place shrouded in opulence, secrecy, and mystery, and nearly impervious to outside influence. It’s one of few places that are hard for me to envision as a traveler. A few years ago, I visited the former Soviet states of Estonia and Latvia, and I found Riga, Latvia’s capital, to be especially sad, depressing, and still with an air of oppression. Its architecture alone sent shivers down my spine. (Please chime in if you’ve had a different experience there!) I’m curious to know what present-day Russia is like—especially Moscow, a place where extreme wealth and poverty live side by side and where social freedom still doesn’t fully exist, yet where commerce, industry, business, and politics churn furiously.
As far as natural wonders go, it’s hard to imagine a place more amazing than Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in Brazil. During the rainy season there, rainwater collects, forming lagoons between the park’s powdery white dunes. Swimming is permitted in places where the lagoons are deep enough.
There are a lot of things I’d like to see and do in Japan, like eat my way through Tokyo’s hidden sushi and noodle restaurants, hike to a ryokan in the mountains, soak in a thermal spring, and walk through the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. I’m a big fan of natural attractions, though, and so one experience I covet in particular is strolling along paths and alongside rivers and streams during cherry blossom season. Hard to imagine anything more romantic.
From the Eastern U.S., Spain is one of the easiest countries to reach, though somehow in all my travels I haven’t made it there yet. I keep reading stories about how Barcelona is being overtaken by tourists, but with its architecture, restaurants, museums, and almost-always-sunny weather, it’s with good reason. On another visit, I’d like to work my way around Southern Spain, but for starters I’d combine stays in Barcelona and Mallorca.
Lake Louise, Canada
More mountains and lakes. Big surprise. I just want to hole up here for a week spent taking walks, hikes, canoe rides, and a million pictures around the clock.
Lake Como, Italy
Picking up on the theme here? I’ve been to Italy twice, covering Rome, Florence, Naples, and Ischia, but I haven’t been to the north, to the Lakes Region. Lake Como seems like a destination of pure leisure—long lunches, longer walks, sleepy boat rides, and endless golden sunlight.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Slovenia’s a place whose beauty shocks me every time a photo of the country’s rivers, mountains, and lakes enters my Twitter or Pinterest feed. It wasn’t until recently, though, when a shot of two empty rowboats docked next to a gray and heavily fogged-over Lake Bled popped up on my Instagram feed that I committed it to my official wish list. I plead pure ignorance when it comes to Slovenia. I just never gave the country a second thought when thinking up places to visit. As is often the case with travel, though, the world is just full of dreamy surprises.
What spots are currently on your travel wish list?