Traveling long term has always been a major goal of mine, but now that I’ve started to cross that off of my list I’ve realized how many travel centric goals I have. A lot of mine were the same as Anthony’s, and this list doesn’t even make a dent in what I want to do, but I figured this was a good starting point. With any luck I’ll cross a few of these off my list in the next few months!
Here are my top 10 travel goals in no particular order:
1. Run a Race in a Different Country
I’m what I like to call a “casual runner”. I’ve run a decent number of 5k races and a few 10ks, but I’ve never made a real commitment to it. I know that when I run on a regular basis I feel better mentally AND physically, but I have a habit of getting really into running, and then taking a break and losing everything I’ve worked for. We’ve been away six months now and I’ve gone running maybe four times. I blame it on the heat and lack of infrastructure, but really it’s just because I hate taking that first step. Running for the first time after a long break is always hard, but is it really harder than packing your life into a backpack and leaving everything you know to travel the world? Probably not. One day I will run a race in a country besides the U.S., and with any luck it will be longer than a 5k.
2. Live and Work Somewhere Abroad
Don’t get me wrong, backpacking is amazing, but after doing a few Workaways, I’ve realized that I really love settling down somewhere and getting to know the people and culture. The best way to get a sense of somewhere is by really connecting with people who live there. Within a week of being on this trip, Anthony and I knew that we didn’t want to go home (at least permanently) anytime soon, but obviously our money wouldn’t last us forever. What better way to extend our travels than finding jobs in a foreign country? Right now we’re planning on teaching English in Hanoi for a year so this will probably get checked off soon, but until that happens it’s definitely in my top ten.
3. Try Food I Normally Wouldn’t Go Near
Besides scorpion I haven’t really eaten anything too crazy on this trip. I was expecting to get to Asia and have strange dishes thrown at me left and right, but in reality very little of it is actually scary. We accidentally ate chicken livers our first day in Bangkok, but since that wasn’t a deliberate choice I don’t think it counts. Traveling is all about getting out of your comfort zone, and while I’m a pretty adventurous eater I could certainly find something to eat that I would normally run away from back home. Good thing we have (at least) six more months!
4. Attend a Yoga Retreat
Since coming to Asia, Anthony and I have met a decent number of people who made their way out here to attend a yoga retreat. Everyone has raved about the experience, and after doing a little research I’ve found retreats for all levels and lifestyles. Yoga is appealing to me for a lot of reasons, the main one being my mental health. Traveling can be hard (life in general can be hard), and nothing clears my head faster than a few deep meditative breaths. I’ve been practicing yoga off and on for most of my 20’s (I’m sensing a trend with exercise here), and would really like to make it a regular part of my routine. I think a retreat would be an amazing way to truly connect with myself mentally and physically, and I think a few days (or weeks) of truly being off the grid would be an incredible experience. I’d love to attend a retreat while in Asia, but Costa Rica is pretty appealing as well.
5. Learn a New Language
Although I have four years of Spanish, two of Italian, and one of French under my belt, I’ve never been great with languages. I find different languages fascinating, and I think the fact that just about everyone in the world knows at least two languages (their own and English) BESIDES the U.S. is something that our country needs to work on. I think the best way to learn a language is to truly immerse yourself in it, but for now I’ll stick to Duolingo. If Anthony masters German and I master Italian, we’ll be one step closer to our goal of being a world traveling power couple.
6. Travel to Every Continent
When I was 15 my godfather took my sister and I to Peru. While on that trip I remember my godsister telling us that she had a goal to visit every continent in the world before she was 16. She was 14 at the time, and only had one or two left to go. In that moment I knew I wanted to accomplish the same thing one day. Obviously getting everywhere before my 16th birthday was out seeing as I was 15 at the time, but now that we’ve made it to Asia I can cross four off my list. Watch out Africa, Australia, and Antarctica…I’m coming for you!
7. See the Great Wall of China
If I’m being perfectly honest, the Great Wall is only one of MANY attractions I’d like to visit, but it was the first one that popped into my head so I went with it. This could have just as easily been the Great Pyramids, Stonehenge, Neuschwanstein Castle (hello Beauty and the Beast!), or pretty much any famous landmark, but for now the Great Wall will be a metaphor for the rest.
8. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Unfortunately the older I get the more I’ve seemed to inherit my mother’s fear of heights and open spaces. If something is high, but enclosed I’m fine and vice versa, but when I’m up high without a tall, thick, sturdy barrier I get pretty nervous. My body feels like it’s going to explode into a million pieces, my palms get super sweaty, and I get a lovely combination light headedness and nausea that makes me feel like moving too fast will send me right off the edge of whatever high surface I’m standing on. The Sydney Harbour Bridge would be the ultimate way to tackle this fear, and one day I intend to do it. I’ll probably cry and yell at Anthony to be quiet every five seconds, but I know it will be worth it to take myself that far out of my comfort zone…even if I throw up at the top.
9. Go to Ireland
My mom’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland, and I was lucky enough to grow up with a family that really celebrates and values its heritage. I can’t remember a single family event where someone didn’t sing or dance, and to this day the place I feel most at home is the Irish American Community Center/New Haven Gaelic Football and Hurling Club in Connecticut. I grew up feeling incredibly close to my roots and have even started the process of claiming my dual citizenship, and yet I’ve still never actually made it to Ireland. Part of this is because I really wanted to go with my mom for the first time, and ideally I’d still like to do that. It would be incredible to share that experience with her, and I know it would feel a little wrong to be without her the first time I go. In particular I’d like to go to Cork and Kilkenny, the two counties my grandparents hail from. When I finally get there I know it will have been worth the wait.
10. Give the World as Much as It Has Given Me
Traveling restores my faith in humanity every single day. We’ve met so many amazing people already, and for every one person trying to scam us or who treats us rudely there are at least ten more there proving that people really are kind. Already the world has given me a new perspective on life, and I hope to one day repay the favor. Whether it’s teaching underprivileged kids English, helping to create jobs in third world countries, or just pointing someone in the right direction when they’re lost, this trip has made me want to be the best possible version of myself. If I can make one person’s day a little better and thus improve the world we live in even just a pinch then I’ve done my job.