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Travel Bucket List, Updated

Travel Bucket List, Updated

Oh, my, but I had such thrilling plans at the start of 2020. The places I'd go, the people I'd meet, the things I'd see! Regrettably, the Calamity Fairies so enjoyed causing worldwide havoc that year that they decided to stick around for the next year, too. But I'm a forward-looking, glass-half-full kind of person, so I'm bravely thinking of adventures again. Since visiting the stars seems unlikely, this is my terrestrial travel bucket list, updated.

Traveling to the Land of Oz

A wallaby lying on the grass. Part of the travel bucket list, updatedNo, not the delightful world created by L. Frank Baum*, but the land down under, Australia. It's a 22-hour(!) flight to Sydney, NSW. 

Photo of Uluru, Australia, part of my travel bucket list, updatedPros:

  • Koalas! Wallabies! Flying foxes! The opportunity to see some of the most iconic wildlife on the planet. 
  • Author pals & readers! The chance to meet Australian author and reader friends in person would be amazing. I'd look for book-lover conventions in Sydney or Melbourne to include in my itinerary.
  • Beaches! I've led a sheltered, land-locked life, so I look forward to the chance to visit a famous beach or two. Yes, I will pack lots of sunscreen.
  • Uluru! I will absolutely make time to make a side trip to the Northern Territory and take an Aboriginal-guided tour around this famous sandstone formation. I love learning new cultures up close and personal. However, the tours where you ride camels might be a bit too adventurous for me. 

Beach in Sydney, Australia, on the updated travel bucket listCons:

  • Did I mention it's a 22-hour flight? When my back complains about sitting for so long, I rather doubt the flight attendants will let me stand in the aisle to do Tai Chi exercises. 
  • Jet lag! The first day or two there will likely be a lost cause. I'll plan to stay as long as I can because it's the trip of a lifetime. However…
  • My kitties! I'll need a pet sitter (or two!) if I'm gone for 2 or 3 weeks. They'll be unhappy to have strangers in the house and will probably hide. I'll worry about them.


The Land of Fire and Ice

Night photo of a waterfall in Iceland, which is on the travel bucket list, tooIceland had the nickname of Land of Fire and Ice long before George RR Martin rearranged the words for his Game of Thrones series. It's an 11-hour flight.

Photo of 3 puffins, which I'll visit when I start marking things off my travel bucket listPros:

  • Puffins! They're my favorite bird, ever. I must visit the puffins in person!
  • Natural wonders! I'd pack my sturdiest walking shoes and take all the tours I could. Probably pay someone else to drive, though. Those roads look challenging.
  • Entertainment! Reykjavík packs a gazillion festivals into its short summer.
  • Language! I'd get to hear Icelandic*, and maybe pick up a few words here and there. 


  • Long-ish flight. See note above about sitting, and Tai Chi is probably forbidden on this flight, too. The jet lag will be anti-fun for the first day.
  • I'll miss the Northern Lights if I go in summer, but I'd be miserable in winter.
  • Volcanoes that erupt with molten lava and ash clouds don't care about flight plans and itineraries. 


Britain and the Continent

Photo of a London street with a red phone booth, on the travel  listFunny how we say the islands first, then the giant land mass second. Probably because the island people claimed our entire continent for awhile. It's a 9-hour nonstop flight to London

Photo of tulips in the foreground and Amsterdam buildings in the backgroundPros:

  • Entertainment! Pandemic permitting, I'd love to see top-notch theatre productions and visit fabulous museums in London. (No, Calamity Fairies, you aren't invited.)
  • Education! I'm hoping the educational tours are still around to take me all over the countryside and tell me about history, feed me well, and let me gambol over the moorlands.
  • Music and castles! Scotland, Ireland, and Wales are right next door, and have fantastic music traditions and lovely castles to visit.
  • Book readers and author pals! I could time the trip so I could attend a book-lover's convention to meet readers and authors. 
  • Puffins! The northern coasts have puffins, too. Might be harder to find, though. Must investigate.
  • Branching out! I could add selected side trips to EU countries. For example, my ancestors left the Netherlands centuries ago, so I'm sure it's changed a bit since then. And I hear Belgium has chocolate…


  • 9+ hours is still a long time to sit. Jet lag will be no fun, either.
  • Absolutely no driving on the left side of the road for me. Public transportation and hired drivers only.
  • Bad-tempered Calamity Fairies and opportunistic politicians who start wars don't care about flight plans and itineraries. 




*Fun fact #1: At least 27 Oz books and five films are now in the public domain. A bunch more are still under copyright protection, especially the movie with Judy Garland and Margaret Hamilton. The copyright owners have their hands full in blocking copyright infringement. Baum's son got sued by his own mother for writing a new story set in Baum's universe. What a fun family dynamic that must have been. 😉

**Fun fact #2: Luka Foxe, the hero of Overload Flux, the first novel in my space opera romance series, speaks Icelandic as his primary language. I worked with a bilingual Iceland resident to include some phrases for him in the story.

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All photos from Unsplash.com




  1. I hope you are able to make at least one of those trips this year. Haven’t been to Iceland but have been to GB and Oz several times and would go
    back to both in a heartbeat. We’ve given up making plans at this point.

    1. @Jen: It’s fun to plan itineraries, even if we can’t travel safely just yet. This year, I’ll stick to going to Florida in June for the Space Coast Book Lover’s conference and save my pennies for the Grand Trip to Somewhere in 2023.

  2. I am biased living in Tasmania (Island off the bottom of Oz) but I definately think we are worth a visit. As all of the flights from here are long I can say from experience the best way over is to break the flight up. The airfares for broken flights are not that different but there is extra expense for the accomodation, however, Hawaii is worth the time and money even for those slightly insane people like myself that are not into beaches.

    1. What a good idea! I’ll add a note to my itinerary plans. Tasmania would be totally worth the trip! And I’ll look at breaking up the l-o-o-ong flight into two pieces. I hear you on the “not into beaches” part. I’ve never been particularly drawn to them, either, hence my inexperience with them. I figure if I visit them on this grand excursion, then I could say I gave them a fair try. ⛱

      1. FYI, Hawaiian Airlines flies through Hawaii to Australia. In the past at least, if you flew midweek, they didn’t tend to be 100% full the way the Qantas and United flights always were. Hawaii is absolutely wonderful if you’ve never been. Something about knowing you are on an island 3000 miles away from the rest of the US makes it feel like a place out of time.

        1. That’s all wonderful information! I’ve never been to Hawaii, though I have been to Tahiti. I could fly to Honolulu or Hilo, play tourist for a bit, then fly to Sydney the day after. It’d be well worth the extra cost to get a good night’s sleep and not be utterly worthless for the first few days after arriving in the land of Oz.

  3. Nice plans! I would love to visit England, have a good friend from Montana who now lives in Folkstone with her Scottish husband. It is already spring there!

    My other locations: Ecuador, particularly the Ruta Del Sol, Cloud Forest and Galapagos.

    Then, the Aegean and Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Turkey has a tourist visa that includes all museums and historical sites with free entrance.

    1. Those are great choices! It would be wonderful fun to see your friend in Folkstone and get the Grand Tour from a local.

      As to Ecuador, I’ll be in the plane seat next to you! We could add a side trip to Cotocachi, about an hour north of Quito, where my retired veterinarian friend and her husband have a ranch. She would have dogs and cats for us to pet, too. 💖

      The Turkey tourist visa sounds like an excellent way to attract visitors (and excellent affiliate marketing, too!).

  4. And I hope the trip that didn’t happen due to pandemic resurfaces, even if it’s not quite so exciting.

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