As spring begins and summer looms, I find myself thinking more and more about travel. I already have a couple of trips planned for a bit later in the year — a trip to Denver, Colorado and Laramie, Wyoming in May, and a second visit to Colorado, this one to the mountains with Nancy and our girls, in July. We’ll also be heading to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in the fall, to make up for the Covid-related cancellation of my birthday trip, and no doubt at some point I’ll head up the East Coast to see family.
More to the point, though, Nancy and I are on the verge of a period in our lives when we will probably be traveling a good deal more than we’re used to — one of the perks of getting older, I guess.
In any case, I thought it might be fun to share a partial list of some of the destinations we’re considering that have already captured my imagination. Before I get to that list, though, a brief word of explanation. As I contemplate travel, I look forward to certain things. Nancy and I love to hike, so we will always look for places that reward us for our walking efforts. I am a dedicated photographer of landscapes, cityscapes, architecture, nature, and pretty much anything else, so I crave the pretty. I’m an avid birder, and so anyplace we go I will have with me my binoculars and the appropriate field guide. When we can, we like to enjoy good food, good wine, and good whisky. And we are sports enthusiasts, so if we can find baseball games or soccer matches, we will attend.
Domestic Destinations — these are dominated by National Parks and other nature areas. Most of the places listed here, I have never visited.
1) Badlands National Park in South Dakota. I have wanted to visit the Badlands for years and I am hopeful that this will be one of our first destinations. Gorgeous formations, spring wildflowers, dramatic summer storms. I can’t wait.
2) White Sands National Park in New Mexico. Another place I have wanted to go for as long as I can remember. A strange, stunning, dramatic landscape, and one that is relatively near Albuquerque and Sante Fe, two of our favorite cities.
3) Katmai National Park in Alaska. This one might be a slightly tougher sell when it comes to getting Nancy to go. I’ll tell her the scenery is supposed to be magnificent, the views of Brown Bears amazing, the birds spectacular. All this might not be enough . . . .
4) Acadia National Park in Maine. I want to go in the fall, when the foliage is changing, but really the coastal views here are supposed to be lovely any time of year.
5) Capitol Reef National Park in Utah. I have been to all the other Utah parks; Nancy has been to most of them. But this one we’ve never seen. It is said to be gorgeous, and we love the Utah desert.
6) A baseball stadium tour — multiple states and cities. We have talked about this for years. We would want to hit Wrigley and New Comiskey Parks in Chicago, Busch Stadium in St. Louis, as well as the stadiums (stadia?) in Denver, Kansas City, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Detroit. I have been to Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park, but seeing the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets would be fun, too. At some point I would love to do a similar trip on the West Coast.
International Destinations — these are more about cultural exploration and good food, as opposed to nature exploration. With one obvious exception . . . .
1) Paris — I have been, but long, long ago. Nancy never has. Any trip to Paris would be coupled with a broader exploration of France that would include Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, the Loire Valley, and other destinations.
2) Scotland — Neither of us has been, and we are so eager to go. Castles, hiking, Scotch whiskey, haggis . . . . Well, okay, but the first three. Really.
3) South Africa — We would enjoy visiting Cape Town and Johannesburg, but most of all we want to do a photo-safari. And yes, Nancy is every bit as enthusiastic about this as I am, perhaps more so.
4) Greece — The isles more than Athens, though obviously we would spend time in the latter. But we are so eager to explore the various islands, to enjoy the cuisine and the beaches and the walking trails.
5) Portugal — Lisbon, Porto, and anyplace else we can reach. We have heard such great things about Portugal, we’ve even wondered if living there might be in our future.
6) Italy — This is another one I’m more excited about than Nancy is. But I would love to visit Florence and Tuscany for the art, architecture, and countryside. And I have a feeling the food and wine would win Nancy over before long . . . .
So, there are our current top choices. Where would you like to go? Let yourself daydream a little.
And have a great week.