My Top 5 Travel Bucket List

I have had serious wanderlust since I can remember. It has always been my dream to travel the world. Growing up, I was fascinated with far away places. Pictures from history books, descriptions from fiction books that I was reading, and posts online about these extraordinary places in this beautiful world had me longing to see it all in person.

I didn’t do much travelling while I was still in high school. I have family in Ohio, so most of our “vacations” were taken there. My family did go to Disney World once, but I was sick the entire time. I also used to go to Ocean City, MD with my boyfriend’s (at the time) family in the summers.

It wasn’t until college that I really got my first taste of travelling. I was lucky enough to be accepted into the honor’s program at my university. This group of students got the benefit of going on a trip each semester that was completely paid for! Our first trip was to New York City. It was a blast! We ate at some really amazing restaurants, stayed in a really nice hotel, and saw some of the main attractions while there. We stopped at the memorial for the twin towers. I have actually been there 2 more times since and it is still a very surreal experience. One of my favorite parts was the New York Public Library, where we got to see ORIGINAL works from Thackeray, Blake, Dickinson, and many more. We checked out the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the top of the Empire State building, and rode a ferry out to Ellis Island where we got some close up views of the Statue of Liberty. As I have said, I have been to NYC two additional times (once as a gift from an employer and once for my sister’s birthday) and have loved it every time!

Here you can see the view from the top of the Empire State building, the actual hand drawn illustration for Vanity Fair by Thackeray, the Statue of Liberty, and a random night shot of a street in NYC.

My second trip through the school’s honor program was to Chicago. I was especially excited about this because my dad was stationed at the Navy Pier there when he was in the Navy and I thought it would be super neat to see it. We also ate amazing food in Chicago. We checked out the Science Museum, a really fun play called “Superior Donuts,” the Frederick C. Robie house (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright), the Navy Pier, and the Bean! I have also been to Chicago one other time and saw most of the same sights but added the top of the John Hancock Center to my list. Oh, and I even got to see Rick Bayless at his restaurant the Frontera Grill!

Here you can see some shots of the Navy pier, the bean, and a random night shot of a bridge.

My most exciting trip while with the honor’s program in college actually wasn’t either of these. I had the opportunity to go to Italy and Greece for two weeks and have two-thirds of the cost paid for. When I say I worked my ass off the summer before in order to save money for this trip, I really mean it! I saved every dollar I could and eventually I was able to make my portion of the payment and secure my spot on this trip overseas. I had never flown on a plane before so my nerves were a little shot but I sucked it up and made the trek. We landed in Rome and explored for a bit. We saw the Pantheon, Campo de Fiori, and Piazza Navona (I was super excited to see the obelisk there because I was obsessed with the book Angels & Demons). I was so exhausted by the end of the day because of the time change that I passed right out. We spent two more days in Rome where we visited the Coliseum, the Roman Forum (where Julius Caesar was killed), Castel Sant’Angelo and the Tiber river, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museum (where I actually took pictures inside the Sistine Chapel even though we weren’t supposed to), and the Trevi fountain.

The Pantheon, the obelisk in Piazza Navona, The Coliseum, the Roman Forum, and part of the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.

We also explored Pompeii and climbed to the top of Mt. Vesuvius – the volcano that erupted and wiped out the city below. We stayed in Sorrento, which was one of the most beautiful cliff side towns I had ever seen and then we took an overnight ferry to Greece!

Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius.

While in Greece, we climbed to the top of the Temple of Delphi, saw Olympic Stadium, and experienced Athens and the Parthenon. Before my trip, I was most excited for Italy, probably because it seems to be more talked about and popular than Greece. During and after my trip, though, I fell in LOVE with Greece. The gorgeous landscapes, lovely beaches, and extremely friendly people made it a very likable place.

Delphi, Olympic Stadium, the Parthenon in Athens, and our Honors Group!

After we were done in Greece, we took a 3 day cruise to a few different islands in the area. Stops included Mykonos, Kusadasi (which is actually in Turkey), Crete, Patmos, and Santorini. I rode a dag-gone donkey up the side of the mountain in Santorini! That was an experience that I am glad I lived through to tell! I was so scared (haha everyone on the trip made fun of me after but I swear my donkey tried to kill me)! This trip gave me a two week taste of just a small part of the world and that’s when the wanderlust bug REALLY decided to bite me.

Mykonos, Patmos, Kusadasi, Santorini and the possessed donkeys!

I have been to a few other places which I will detail in their own posts and will continue to write about any place that I do get the chance to visit. But right now, I want to talk about the top 5 places that I NEED to visit! Like, ASAP. Check out my list and then leave some comments for other suggestions or tell me about some of your favorite trips! By the way, when I finally decided to try to make this list I went into panic mode a bit. How can I pick only 5 destinations when I really want to see the entire world?

5. Macchu Picchu, Peru
I remember seeing some very stunning pictures of Macchu Picchu way back in the day and I have been rather fascinated with it ever since. If you would like some super detailed information from someone that has gone to Macchu Picchu, check out this blog. Macchu Picchu was designed and built by 15th century Inca rulers. It is surrounded by towering Andean peaks which I am sure will definitely cause me to have to catch my breath when I finally do lay my eyes upon the spectacle in person.

Just look how gorgeous! Macchu Picchu, Peru. Photo Credit – Trace Hudson

4. Seattle, Washington & Denver, Colorado
I chose both of these for number 4 because I really couldn’t choose which one I wanted to visit more. I have no clue why but I have always felt that I would absolutely love it in Seattle. I don’t mind the rain and the mood of the city just seems like it would be right up my alley. There are also plenty of hiking trails and mountains in the area, too. Same with Denver! My main reason for wanting to go to Denver is for the hiking, but I have seen so many breathtaking pictures and have heard so many amazing stories about the city that I really just want to explore ALL that it has to offer.

Seattle, Washington. Photo Credit – Chait Goli
Somewhere in Colorado. Amazing mountains and colors! Photo credit – Pixabay

3. Yosemite, California
I know, it seems kind of silly that I am picking quite a few places that are in my own country. But hey! I haven’t seen any of these locations and they are probably a more realistic destination for me as far as affordability goes. I have actually been to a very beautiful part of California (Monterey, which I will detail in another post eventually) and was rather upset with myself for not finding the time to be able to explore around the Yosemite area while I was out there. As you can tell by my previous destination picks, I love to hike. I love mountains and waters and the splendor of nature. Seeing pictures of Yosemite is awe-inspiring enough. I can’t imagine getting to experience it in person. Here is a good blog that gives great examples of plenty of things to check out while in the area.

I am terrified of heights but I would give anything to be able to be atop these rock formations. Photo Credit – Mohamed Almari

2. Norway
And basically anywhere in Norway. I couldn’t tell you how many pictures and videos I have seen of Norway that have made me really desire to go there. The gorgeous green hills, the cute little fishing towns by the sea, the amazing wilderness, and the chance to see the Northern Lights? Sign me up! Here is a great post that details 23 different itineraries to get you started if you want to sight see in Norway.

Adorable! Vagan, Norway. Photo Credit – Tobias Bjorkli

And drumroll please!


1. Iceland
Words cannot express how much I desire to travel to Iceland. I am so obsessed that I’ve joined groups on Facebook and Instagram that are made for people wanting more information on traveling specifically to Iceland. This country is my ultimate destination and I plan on going as soon as I can save up the money for it. Ideally, I would want to take a fairly long vacation so that I could see as many sights as I can that Iceland has to offer. It would be awesome to rent a camper van and just drive around Ring Road, making stops at all of the amazing spots along the way. Ring Road goes all the way around the country of Iceland, so one could start in Reykjavik (which is most likely where the plane would touch down) and go either East or West and see the entire splendor of Iceland, then eventually end up back in Reykjavik to board a plane and go home. Iceland is known for its gorgeous waterfalls, Northern Lights most of the year, colorful beaches, and hot springs. It is also known to be one of the safest countries in the entire world. I cannot wait to go here! And I promise to make a post after I finally do! Here is a list of some things that you do not want to miss if you get the chance to go to Iceland!

Northern Lights in Iceland. Photo Credit – Simon Migaj
Cute town in Iceland. Photo Credit – Mark Neal
Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland. Photo Credit – Pixabay
Gorgeous greenery! Photo Credit – Rudolph Kirchner

It was extremely difficult for me to choose only 5 destinations, because I seriously am not joking when I say that I want to see the entire world! What’s your ultimate travel bucket list? Where do you REALLY long to go? Have you gone to any of the places that I have on my list? What are some tips and advice that you might have for someone travelling to these destinations? What has been your favorite trip that you have already taken? Thanks for reading and let’s chat in the comments below!

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