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 TahitiWhen 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)
Have a Kolsch (or a dozen) in a pub in Cologne, Germany
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
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.
Wander the grounds of Mont Saint Michel in France and ponder the meaning of lifeI 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
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), CambodiaThere’s no denying the beauty of this tree-devoured Buddhist temple.
Explore the maze of islands at Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Visit Apollo’s temple at Delphi, Greece
Tianzi Mountain in Zhangjiajie National Park, China
Lofoton Islands, Norway
Polignan a Mare (and Manter, Lecce, Puglio region) 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.]