Restaurants/ Spirits/ Travel

Goals: Things I want to do before I’m 50.

I’ve never thought seriously about my travel goals. I’ve always had goals for what I wanted to accomplish but travel has always been a welcome surprise that I’ve taken in the moment, happy that I had the chance to expand myself. But now that I’m 44, maybe a little strategy might be required. The more I see the more I want to see. And the world just keeps getting bigger, not smaller, as I learn about all of the amazing places to see, events to attend, and food I need to try.

So here it is, the list of places I want to see, things I need to do, before I’m 50.

A Scotch tasting tour of Scotland


I’ve already planned a detailed 2 week tasting trip with some friends that took about 8 months to plan but had to cancel last minute. So I got to watch them experience my tour without me. But I will return, and this time even better, learning from their experiences.

Voyage to find the island of Mo’orea off the coast of Tahiti

When I was in high school I saw a nature show on the remote island of Mo’orea and it became the subconscious embodiment of the exotic far away world. A world I wanted to see some day. So I feel obligated to track this little island down and visit.

Visit the Chartreuse distillery in Voiron, France.


One of my favorite magic liquors. There’s a long history to Chartreuse and the Carthusian monks of Chartreuse.

Explore the ruins at Ayutthaya (and Sukhaothai and Lapbur)


My time in Bangkok did not allow these side trips but next time I return I plan to pad in time to leisurely tour these amazing temple ruins.

Have a Kolsch (or a dozen) in a pub in Cologne, Germany



Right now I have thing for Kolsch beer and I’m a bit fascinated by Cologne. It looks quite charming and I’m already feeling thirsty!

Miyazaki tour of remote forests and villages in Japan and surrounding areas


It’s not secret I adore the vision and magic of the worlds Miyazaki creates. I have dreamed to visit a laundry list of remote locations that inspired the breathtaking scenes in his animated classics. And a good excuse to get off the beaten path in Japan, Taiwan, China, and more.

Sleeping at a Buddhist Monastery on Koyasan (Mt Koya) and sampling shojin ryori cuisine, Wakayon Prefecture, Japan


From Osaka you can make the day long pilgrimage to Mt Koya where travelers can stay the weekend at one of many Buddhist temples there and have their dinners prepared in the ancient style of shojin ryori, a specialized vegetarian cuisine meant to bring mind and body to peace.

A real kaiseki experience in Kyoto, Japan

While visiting Kyoto with my daughter, I burned out my experimental good will on a tofu restaurant recommendation. So kaiseki was out. But I vowed to do it right on my next visit.

A rum tour of the Caribbean via chartered boat.


I’ve been in love with the Caribbean since I spent a summer there on Andros Island in 1997 on a biological research base. And rum has been a long passion. I can’t think of a better way to experience them together, island hopping along the chain.

Climb the Temples of Bagan in Myanmar


I’m not entirely comfortable with the political situation in Myanmar but the country has begun allowing tourists into special regions including the Temples of Bagan. Maybe the economic drive of tourism will pressure the current regime to make adjustments to their treatment of their citizens.

Road trip up the North Eastern US coast, Quebec, and Newfoundland, Canada.

This is really the only region inside of the United States I haven’t explored.

Wander the grounds of Mont Saint Michel in France and ponder the meaning of life

I first discovered this castle in the not-for-everyone movie Mindwalk where a poet, a physicist, and a politician debate the meaning of life while strolling its grounds. Quite the beautiful place.

Explore the cave dwellings in Cappadocia, Turkey

These amazing dwellings carved directly into the spires and rockfaces of such an impressive landscape have always held my fascination.

Stay inside of a boulder cottage in Monsanto Village, Portugal

I don’t remember when I first ran across this quirky little village in Portugal near the Spanish border but it immediately captured my fascination and sense of wonder. I’m hoping to plot an excursion when next traveling through southern Spain and Portugal.

Do a tasting tour of the Sherry Triangle in southern Spain

Full disclosure Katy is a much bigger Sherry fan than me but I enjoy any local beverage with such a history as this. When we last were in Portugal we went to my favorite Portuguese liquor spot, Porto, where Katy bought me a 1974 Kopke coliheita bottled that year (that’s my birthday) so I could have a bottle of port aged as long as I had been. Guess I’ll need to figure out how to reciprocate!

Pilgrimage to the temple of foraged cuisine at NOMA in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Ok, so this is expensive and nearly impossible to get a reservation at the moment but I have a few years to figure it out. I’ve crossed most of my restaurant meccas off my list but this one has eluded me. Rene, I’m coming to find you!

Visit the city carved into cliffsides at Petra, Jordan


Most people discovered this unbelievable location in the Indiana Jones movie but it’s been on my radar since I was younger. I can’t remember where I first saw pics of the mind-blowing Treasury. But I remember it looking familiar when I saw the movie.

Drive Iceland’s ring road and see the northern lights


Iceland has such fierce alien beauty, I would love to spend some time exploring its remote locations and hopefully catch the northern lights if I’m lucky. And I’ll probably eat a puffin or two, sorry. (not sorry)

Visit Ta Prahm Buddhist temple, Angkor (Siem Reap Province), Cambodia

There’s no denying the beauty of this tree-devoured Buddhist temple.

Explore the maze of islands at Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

I’m drawn to Ha Long Bay for the same reasons as southern Thailand. It’s breathtaking.

Visit Apollo’s temple at Delphi, Greece


Everyone has heard of the Oracles of Delphi at the temple of Apollo in Greece. But this legend holds a special place for me.

Contenders

Meteora, Greece

Tianzi Mountain in Zhangjiajie National Park, China

Lofoton Islands, Norway

Malta

Santorini, Greece

Tasiilaq, Greenland

Hallstat, Austria

Polignan a Mare (and Manter, Lecce, Puglio region) Italy

Positano, Italy

[Note: the images in this post were not created by me. I sourced these images from online searches. If any image here infringes on a copyright, please let me know and I will remove it. Images provided to illustrate the places in this article only.]

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