This past summer my daughter was lucky enough to spend six weeks in Italy on a study abroad program through her university. She lived with an Italian host in Verona and went to class for just three hours a day on Monday through Thursday. This cushy schedule left her with plenty of time to explore the city during the week and travel on the weekends, which is exactly what she did. While in Italy, she visited Rome, Venice, Naples, Capri and spent a weekend hiking the Dolomites. After listening to her rave about the food, wine and scenery, I realized I was jealous.
Then in the fall when I started seeing on Facebook that my friends’ children were spending their junior year abroad in places like Copenhagen, London, Athens and Barcelona, those envious feelings returned. A little voice in my head was whining, “Hey, I want to go to those places too!”
This got me pondering all the places I want to see before I die. Fortunately, Alaska and Ireland are two places on my travel bucket list that I have successfully crossed-off. Almost ten years ago I went on an Alaskan cruise with my mother and five sisters. During the trip we spent quality time on the boat laughing and reminiscing, as well as going on some fun excursions off the boat. We hiked across a glacier, took a helicopter ride over a spectacular mountain range and zipped around the rain forest in a flood plane, but the real gem of the trip was seeing Hubbard glacier up close. I cherish the hours we spent chatting and staring at that beautiful blue glacier. Now that my mother has passed away, I am grateful that we all took time out of our busy lives to take this memorable trip together.
The summer after my daughter graduated from high school, my husband and I wanted to take the kids on a special family vacation. We were worried that it might be the last time all four kids would be willing and able to go on a long vacation with us. Since we both had grandparents who were born in Ireland and had grown up hearing stories about the place, we decided on Ireland for the big trip. We hired Paddy Wagon Tours to give us a private 9-day tour around the entire exterior of the island, which included stops in Dublin, Kinsale, Killarney, Galway, the Aran Islands, Donegal, Derry, and Belfast. No driving, no arguing, no stress. Definitely the way to go. While the kids complained a fair amount about the food and lack of wi-fi, we enjoyed the beautiful, varied landscapes and the friendly people, especially Joe our driver who kept us entertained with stories of Ireland’s colorful and often tragic past.
Thinking about my past travels has eased some of my travel envy and has helped me figure out that a Mediterranean cruise to Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece is now on the top of my travel bucket list. What’s on your list?
We are four moms who want to lighten your bag and brighten your day with really thin, great-looking microfiber towels.