Four years ago I wrote a post that captured our 15 favourite trips of all times – at that time. It took us quite a while to come up with only 15, but we did it. As it turns out, we’ve had some pretty amazing trips since then, so a bit of an update seems in order. We have been travelling together since we were first married nearly 50 years ago. My husband and I love to see new places and learn about different cultures and their history. We love to experience firsthand the remarkable variation in natural settings, the marvelous diversity of birds and animals, and the extreme contrasts in climate. In To travel or not to travel, I identified our top 5 trips of all time. We found those top 5 easy to agree on. The next 3 we also agreed on, all three of which were from our early days, as reported in 3 favourite trips: remembering the travelling, reflecting on change. We still agree that those are our top 8, and Italy remains in 9th place. There are just so many amazing places to experience and learn about. If only we could be “beamed up” to the places, like on Star Trek, we’d have seen even more by now. Some places still on our list take a lot of effort to get to, like Borneo and Madagascar!
In updating our list, we found that our criteria for which trips make the list and which ones are reluctantly put into the “other” pile remain the same:
- places that have something very, very special to share, e.g., geography, nature, history, animals, and/or culture;
- trips that simply cannot be replicated for providing a sense of awe during the experience;
- trips that are shared with family or friends, providing extra significance; and,
- trips that, all in all, have a magical quality;
- good weather probably helps with the magic!
Our top 15 look like this:
2. Bhutan 2001-2003 (Posts: Bhutan: the Dragon Kingdom in the Himalayas, Elections, happiness, and Bhutan, Bhutan and Disney World, two places where happiness matters, Mindfulness, Chi running, and Bhutan)
3. Bolivia, Peru, and Galapagos – 2004 (Posts: What did I know about Bolivia? Nothing!, Peru: Machu Picchu for sure, but so much more, The Galapagos: a special gift, including the Christmas iguana)
4. Grand Canyon rafting trip – 2002 (Rafting through the Grand Canyon: pure magic)
6. South Africa – 1970 (South Africa: so much to see, so much to hope for)
7. Russia in the Soviet days – 1970 (10 countries and 1 alternate universe, aka camping in the Soviet Union)
8. Greece – 1969 (Sustainable tourism and travel, then and now)
9. Italy – 1985 (Italy: our first non-camping package tour was a revelation)
10-15. We just couldn’t rank these last six; they’re all #10, in no particular order.
10a. China – 2006. In 2006 we convinced some good friends to join us on a tour of China. Fascinating. It would be hard to choose one favourite experience, aside from visiting with two of my former students, one in Beijing and one in Shanghai. However, our time on the Li River and on the Yangtze River were probably my personal favourites. Of course, Xi’an and the Terracotta warriors were amazing. And the Forbidden City. And the Great Wall. The reality is, pretty well everything was amazing. (Empires come and empires go … and come back again)
10b. Cruise from Santiago, Chile to Rio de Janeiro – 2011 (Posts: A virtual cruise around South America, The Falkland Islands: it’s not about the penguins and sheep, There is so much more the Olympics could have taught us about Brazil)
10c. Greenland and the Canadian High Arctic – 2015 (Posts: Exploring the Canadian High Arctic – the lazy way, Greenland: a gigantic ice sheet with a fringe of green, Have you heard of the Big 5? How about the Arctic Big 5?, 10 quick facts about Arctic ice and climate change)
10d. Morocco – 2013 (Posts: A first look at Morocco, Watching the snow, thinking of the sand dunes of Morocco)
10e. Vietnam and Cambodia – 2016 (Posts: Vietnam: moving past a legacy of occupation and repression, Vietnam: Images of Hanoi, Vietnam: Images of country life, Cambodia: Life along the Tonlé Sap and Mekong Rivers, Cambodia: the glory of the Angkor Empire)
10f. Driving trip through Germany, Switzerland, and France – 2000
This was a lovely trip my husband “designed” for us in 2000 when we met up in Frankfurt at the conclusion of a workshop I’d been attending. We started with a stop in Rothenberg, which is a preserved jewel I hadn’t known about, then drove down the Romantic Road, stopping to tour “Cinderella’s Castle”, otherwise known as Neuschwanstein. We made our way leisurely across a very scenic Switzerland to France, heading first to St. Etienne to meet with university personnel there who assisted our UNB exchange students and then to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence to stay with friends. Visits to hilltop towns, Nîmes, Avignon, Nice, and Monaco rounded out our trip before flying home from Nice. What contrasts. A simply wonderful trip.
This list, of course, leaves out lots and lots of runners-up, including: Yellowstone; Baja (one of my favourites, but didn’t get two votes); lots of wonderful national parks in Canada and especially in the U.S. southwest; our years in England with easily accessible European jaunts; all those great Florida and Caribbean Spring Break weeks with our kids – and without; whale-watching trips; special trips to destination runs (NYC, Chicago, London, Disney.); and on it goes.
If you’re not a traveler, I understand. Some people don’t like to fly, and others just don’t like to leave home. And I know it’s not cheap. If you fall in one of these categories, TV offers the option of some excellent travel and nature shows. You can become an armchair traveler; who knows, you might just get the travel bug!
Photo credits: Howard Fritz, Jane Fritz, wikipedia.en