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My dream trips

I know a lot of people who travel on tours or cruises to places they long to visit. The nice thing for them is that everything is taken care of—flight tickets, hotel rooms, transportation, guides, food and transfers. But I ask myself, “Where is the adventure, the trip planning and searching for places to stay and all the choices I get to make for myself?”

I am not sure I would like to travel with lots of unknown people who are happy to be shuffled about.  Maybe some day that will be me, but for now, I love that the world is open for my picking and I can travel with a friend or even by myself.

In a few weeks I am off to Europe to walk in old familiar footprints in England and Sweden and visit dear friends. I missed traveling last year due to my “ex-bad hip,” but am now ready to try the travel circuit again. My heart and mind still dwell on all the choices I have yet to explore or revisit in the “wilderness” of the world. Before hopping over the ocean I like to think of what is here in our country.

I am not a hiker or a sportsperson but love driving, stopping and exploring. I would love to re-visit Portland, Oregon again. It is such a lovely, compact city and for me is easily covered on foot. Great food and Powells Book Store are a real draw plus beautiful gardens and wonderful small, independent shops help round out a good visit.

I am also mad for exploring the Southwest, especially Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico. I used to spend many summers there in art classes and afterward I made time for extra wandering days. It amazes me just how quickly time has flown since those stimulating days. 

I do not know the upper Midwest at all, never having visited Michigan, Chicago or any of that part of the country. I would be open to spending time in these new places. And I would love to go to Maine and Vermont as well as the wild coastal areas of Massachusetts. Then it would be time to take off to Europe. 

First, there are the old friends, Greece, England, Sweden, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain, which need revisiting. A great chunk of Greece still lives in my heart; memories which are still very much alive. It has been quite a few years since I last visited the islands and even longer since I lived there. Greece still brings out the passion in me and the best memories of a fully lived life. 

England makes me happy and is familiar and yet different at the same time, which always makes each visit new for me. Sweden is green and sane and dotted with islands that require boat travel. Sweden and England hold good friends and make me wish we were only a quick hour away from each other.

Then there is Japan. I long to return to Japan and really explore the small villages, seaside towns and the studios of the many excellent craftspeople. Japan has so much respect for its artists. I would love to spend time visiting and soaking in various onsens (hot water pools) and stay in the traditional ryokans and eat the specially prepared food at Kaiseki meals. Japan rates very high on my list of places I want to revisit.

But then so does India, a country so different and diverse from top to bottom, so colorful and creative and so friendly. I have been most happy on my visits there and long to go again.

Then there are places I have never been to but would love to go. Australia and New Zealand are high on this list. They have become so popular over the last few years and have such an evolved aboriginal population and elaborate sites that must be wonderful to visit. 

These are the places highest on my dream list. First comes the dreaming and fantasies, then reading and figuring what is possible and then the planning. This is all before one even gets going. But it is part of the pleasure of the trip and I love it all.