An aspirational guide to achieving your bucket list goals

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April 28, 2015 by JL Walker

I made my travel dreams come true and you can too!

Many moons ago (in January 2012) I took the time to write a travel bucket list. After completely forgetting about it, I recently found my list. And I’m happy to say that I can already cross off 4 trips! How did I do it? Other than feeling very lucky for traveling as much as I do, I generally make it a priority purchase. Some people invest a lot of money in their homes, wardrobe or an expensive hobby. I choose travel.

Collage from various tripsHere are my 4 travel experiences from the past 3 years:

  • Hot air balloon ride
  • Alaska cruise
  • Puglia
  • Amsterdam

They were all wonderful experiences, little dreams I had that I actually got to realize. And, you know how, after looking forward to some things for such a long time (I’m looking at you, new year’s eve parties), they don’t always live up to their expectations? Well, that definitely wasn’t the case for these bucket list items. They were amazing! Not just the places I got to see and the memories and pictures I will always treasure, but especially the people I shared those experiences with.

What’s left? Ok, so there’s a LOT left on my list from January 2012. What can I say, I really like to travel and there are so many cool places around the world! So, for brevity’s sake, here are just 3 trips on my bucket list that I’d love to take in the near future:

  • Greek islands: With frequent visits to the US, I’ve been able to travel to several beautiful Caribbean islands, most featuring powdery white sandy beaches, rolling cobalt waves and umbrella-embellished cocktails. I even took a trip to tropical Oahu and Kauai, experienced a luau and wore a lei with a hibiscus behind my ear. After all these great vacations, there’s still an incredible pull to go to the Cyclades islands in Greece. I’ve always wanted to see those iconic blue and white buildings, like blue-capped marshmallows, overlooking an azure sea below, not to mention learn first-hand about the rich history of events that has occurred in the area. I’ve been in Milan for over 10 years and Greece seems so close… but I’ve never been!
    The right time to head to the Cyclades seems to be anytime from June to September, to be able to enjoy nature walks and sunny afternoons at the beach. Late July and most of August is probably best avoided to miss the huge crowds that come for the seaside and nightlife. The most famous islands in the Cyclades are Santorini and Mykonos, but other good stops for landscape, beaches and cutting loose are Paros, Naxos and Ios.
    How to make it happen
    Sprinkle hints into daily conversations with your significant other about your dream trip. Make a budget. Save money into your travel fund until you’ve saved enough to cover the trip’s budget. Convince your traveling companions to use some vacation time for a cruise or a trip that includes ferrying between a few different islands. Enjoy!
  • London (with significant other): I went to the city on the Thames a few times when I was much younger, before I met my husband. I’d love to go back and show him around! Not to mention see some sights that I missed the first times. (I even wrote a post about my dream to go back for a travel contest!) And besides, I need to go back for a few important reasons: Harry Potter World is located just outside the city (and it didn’t exist when I was there), I’ve never gotten to take a ride on the London Eye, it’s not too far from the Cliffs of Dover, another iconic spot and… I didn’t become a Sherlock Holmes fan until recently, so I need to see all his haunts while I’m there!
    London is very well-connected, so flights are available from around Europe and North America. It’s not known for its sunny climate, so the best times to visit are generally the non-winter months. The city can be pretty expensive, though, so you should make sure you can find a hotel or other accommodation that meets your budget that’s close enough to the action for you to get your tourist on.
    How to make it happen
    If your travel contest attempt fails like mine did, find a week or so when you can get away. Budget for the flight, accommodation, a few trains, food and miscellaneous expenses. And a good guidebook to orient yourself! Maybe read up on the royal family a little bit (who doesn’t love royal weddings and royal newborns, amiright?).
  • Aurora borealis: This natural phenomenon is caused by charged particles in the atmosphere caused by geomagnetic storms. But more important than the cause of the phenomenon is the result: streaks of colorful light that is visible against the dark night sky. Just imagine experiencing this unique spectacle, staring in awe of the world and everything nature can do.
    Such an amazing display of lights is not easy to come by, though. The range of the aurora borealis changes daily based on solar activity, so it may be visible at lower altitudes some days but not others. The other important detail about viewing the aurora is that the sky needs to be dark. This means that trips should be planned for the late fall to early spring, when there is less sunshine in the northern hemisphere, and that weeks with a full moon should be avoided. Of course, cloud cover will also cause problems with viewing, but it’s a very unpredictable factor in planning a vacation!
    How to make it happen
    This post is an entry to a travel competition to see the Northern Lights in Lapland, sponsored by Transun. The trip leaves from the UK, but the rules don’t specify who can enter, so I thought I’d give it a shot: I can make it to the UK and then go from there! You have time until 30 April to enter for your chance to win, check out this link with all the details. You just might win your next bucket list trip!

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Date to submit applicationSeptember 10th, 2015
Time to submit my application for dual citizenship!
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