I’ve been reading a lot on other travel blogs recently about bucket lists, and had started giving more thought to my own. Then, I came across this post by Adventurous Kate (which inspired this great post by Paul at My Postcard From), and they made great points about setting travel priorities instead of making a checklist of list of things to do before dying. In short, if travel is a priority, make it a priority.

Following Kate’s challenge to identify 5-10 travel priorities and complete at least one in the next two years – challenge accepted! I want to see a lot of things for a lot of different reasons, but these are the things that occupy my daydreams and evening Googling. With that in mind, here is my not-a-bucket-list list of travel priorities for the next two to twenty years.

South Africa

South Africa has been a travel priority for me since Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990. Fingers crossed, 2012 is the year it’s finally going to happen.

Update: It’s happening, booked and paid for. I leave in late October 2012 for three weeks and I’m a little awestruck that it’s actually going to happen.

Return to Spain

I’m already planning to return to Spain in 2014 to celebrate a milestone birthday by walking the Camino de Santiago. When I’m finished my trek, I really want to go back to Sevilla, drink some tinto de verano, and take a flamenco class.

Southern Hemisphere birthday

My birthday is at the end of January. Living in Canada, it’s always cold and nine times out of ten, it snows. Just once in my life, I want to experience my birthday in the summer and I will go to the Southern Hemisphere to do so.

An RTW to call my own

Ever since I discovered the round-the-world trip planner on the Star Alliance website, I’ve known it’s only a matter of time before I go on an extended RTW adventure. Time, money, and career are the deciding factors presently for this one, but it will happen, even if it has to be after I retire.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans

I love the pageantry and saucy fun of Mardi Gras, but I loathe unruly crowds. I will make an exception to this rule, but only for Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Update: The marvelous folks at @VisitNewOrleans tweeted me back! “Hope you’ll join us for Mardi Gras! The parade route is not as crowded as you might think.” SOLD! I’m going to look at this for 2013.

Frolic under the midnight sun in the Yukon

Canada is huge – and as diverse as it is large. I want to see more of it, generally, and go to the North specifically. To that end, and because I read a lot of Pierre Berton when I was younger, I want to spend some time the Yukon. Who could resist a summer evening under the midnight sun and something in Dawson City called Diamond Tooth Gerties that sounds crazy fun. I also want to see the Northern Lights for myself, but that requires winter, so I’m pretty confident I can do pick it up another time at a lower latitude.

Update: The nice folks at @TravelYukon retweeted me and are luring me to see them with their friendliness: “Let’s fulfil this dream!” Oh Yukon, I’ve got to get up there and see you.

“Live” in New York City

NYC is one of my favourite places in the world. In the next five years or so want to save up a block of vacation time (and money) to  live in New York for a month. Squeezing a lifetime of NYC living into a month could very well be the book I(‘ll probably never) write.

Volunteer at the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica

I think about this one all of the time. Spending a few weeks volunteering at the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica is sure to make my heart grow three sizes.

Travel with strangers

I’ve traveled solo, with friends, and have done a G Adventures group tour with a friend, but it will be an interesting learning experience to travel with a group of complete strangers. Are you ready for me again, G Adventures?

Update: My old friends at G Adventures assure me: “We’re ready for you again!” Be careful what you wish for, buddies.


This one is on the less-realistic side, but if I win the lottery, I’m going to space.

If you have suggestions for making the most of these travel priorities, tips, tricks, frugal adventures, or more, fire away in the comments!