Imagine A World. . .
My travel blog has been on a little hiatus since I began substitute teaching. The plan was to combine two things I love: teaching and travel. With the school breaks that teachers get, I could plan many trips to many destinations and then share my adventures with my students.
I don't have to remind everyone what we are going through. Normally an early extended summer vacation would be great but I can’t go anywhere and so can’t a lot of the world’s population unless you want to get sick.
The silver lining - at least I do have a job I can go back to, which has been not the same case for many people that might have lost their jobs. We know school will begin again because kids need everything that it provides: meals, friends, structured environment; not to mention the loving parents that are gonna need time away from trying to home school their kids. We love 'em but mommy and daddy need a break too!
Like everyone else on the planet, the idea of travel right now is, well, not even a concept. The need is there, for sure, especially now being quarantined away, not even able to go outside except to walk, bike or search for toilet paper. So, I am doing my best to look toward the future, which might be a little different then we are used to. Rules and regulations in travel will be interesting.
What am I doing right now?
Working on many home projects, that novel that I have been talking about for years, and finishing up my author website which I will link to, so stay tuned for all that.
I am thinking about travel. I hope it is sooner than later but right now I can dream. Here is my top ten list of places I want to go. Half of them are return trips because now the thought is, what if I am unable to return for some reason?
I’ll start off with the new.
The Gothic alleyways of medieval masterpieces of the Czech Republic, the Baroque excess of Salzburg, Austria and the mountain escape of the Swiss Alps offers a combination of mountain rusticity with old-world style. On mornings when the mists lie heavy and crowds are few, you might imagine yourself in an earlier century. This was my next big planned trip this year but is now put off for at least a year if not more. I have been all over Europe but this Eastern region I have yet to explore.
Medieval castles, cobblestone villages, captivating cities and golden beaches encapsulates Portugal. Gaze upon 20,000-year-old stone carvings in the Vila Nova de Foz Côa or watch the sunset over mysterious megaliths outside Évora are just two things to enjoy. The Portuguese have perfected the art of simple cooking like freshly baked bread, olives, cheese, red wine and seafood stew. Drink, dance and feast your way through all-night revelries while you look out over tall cliffs and dune-covered beaches that showcase calm blue seas.
I recently paid a brief visit to Cartagena, Columbia, my only foray into South America and loved every inch of it. Now I want to go back and see what more the continent as to offer. From the snow-capped peaks of the Andes to the undulating waterways of the Amazon, South America spreads a dazzling array of natural wonders. This is a continent of lush rainforests, towering volcanoes, misty cloud forests, bone-dry deserts, red-rock canyons and ice-blue glaciers.
Antarctica’s surreal remoteness, extreme cold, enormous ice shelves and mountain ranges, and myriad exotic life forms invariably challenge you to embrace life fully. Preserved by the Antarctic Treaty, Antarctica is home to some of the world’s most extraordinary species. Renowned explorers from Cook to Amundsen and Scott all tried to penetrate this vast, mysterious land: each with varying degrees of success. Antarctica possesses an unnameable quality.
Already been across the pond a few times but I love visiting and leaning over the Thames river of London; always a beautiful site. I miss my Red Lion Pub in Westminster and hanging out with the locals. In Scotland, the Scotch Whiskey Trail needs my full attention, with a stop at the hill top fortress at Edinburgh. Then a quick jump over to Ireland where I must remember to order a whiskey and not a scotch -- Big difference. And before I forget, visit Wales which I have yet to discover.
You might start noticing how some of my choices are, well, just plain remote. Iceland definitely fits the bill. Maybe being stuck at home and in one place for so long, I just want to go as far as I can but luckily there are plenty of people in the world where I won't feel lonely. I was on Christmas Holiday when I went to Iceland a couple of years back and loved every cold minute of it. The holiday made it extra special but the beauty took my breath away. The colors are amazing. Maybe this time, I can catch the Aurora Borealis.
In my first trip overseas, a cruise stop and excursion was the little country of Malta and it only took that one day to fall in love with it. Malta packs glorious variety into its small archipelago like prehistoric temples, fossil-studded cliffs, hidden coves, thrilling scuba diving and a history of remarkable intensity. Lonely Planet calls it a "A Mediterranean Cocktail" and that description is as apt as any. Malta is home to a beguiling mix of cultures that has stewed together over generations. I almost never returned to the ship that day.
Australia is the unexpected: Whether you’re tracing outlines of rock art more than 20,000 years old in Kakadu National Park, floating in the azure waters of Rottnest Island or admiring the iconic sites of Sydney Harbour where the Eora Nation traded for centuries, you are on Indigenous land. Nowhere builds cities quite like Australia: each is a homage to magnificent waterways or beachfronts, while offering different experiences across different geographies. Grab a bicycle from one of Melbourne’s bike-share racks and tour the city’s fashion districts and cafe-lined laneways. You only have to travel a stone’s throw from any of Australia’s capital cities before you’ve landed somewhere truly out of this world.
New Zealand is epic and wild. The sublime forests, mountains, lakes, beaches and fjords that have made NZ one of the best hiking (locals call it 'tramping') destinations on the planet.
"Not all who wander are lost." - J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings)
I did wander and I did get lost once just outside of Auckland. The quote makes me feel better about getting lost. And if I did get lost again, the roads, transportation and the people can get you where you want to go without a fuss. And there are no snakes, and only one poisonous spider – the endangered katipo. This decent nation is a place where you can relax and enjoy (rather than endure) your travels.
Hong Kong welcomes with an iconic skyline, a legendary kitchen, and lush, protected nature where rare birds and colorful traditions thrive. Hong Kong's enchanting neighborhoods and islands offer a sensory feast. What most visitors don't immediately realize is that over 70% of Hong Kong is mountains and sprawling country parks, some also home to geological and historical gems. Escape the city limits on one of the world’s smoothest transport systems and spend your day wandering in a Song dynasty village, hiking on a deserted island or kayaking among volcanic sea arches.
Stay tuned for my Hong Kong adventure I took right before all hell broke loose.
Here is hoping that being closed off from the world temporarily, Zoom just doesn't cut if for me, prioritizes a lot of programs for nations to think about like slowing climate change, limiting overtoursim, and being friendly to everyone so we can get back to meeting new friends and exploring again. We only have one world and we can't be screwing around with it anymore. In a perfect world, everyone should enjoy what it has to offer.