National Gallery, London

The Bucket List

Do you have a travel wish list?  When I was younger, I kept a bucket list of places I wanted to go and travel experiences I wanted to have. These days, I don’t really keep a classic “Bucket List” of places I want to visit before it’s too late.  Instead, I keep a “Travel Wish List” that is more expansive, detailed and useful when travel planning. It includes new places but also places I’ve visited before and want to go again.   

St. Mary’s Abby, York UK

Everyone has their own unique style of traveling. Everyone’s notion of “the perfect trip” varies wildly.  Some of my friends enjoy camping adventures.  Others are road-tripping around the United States. Over time, our own tastes will grow and change. Regularly revisiting a travel wishlist will help refocus goals, guide savings, and 

To keep my list organized, I break it down into sub-categories.  When it’s time to start planning a trip, I will pull things from various categories, choosing cities and sites within them to get the biggest bang for my travel buck.  Here are the main sections of my travel wishlist.


View of Las Vegas circa 2007

A city will make it onto my bucket list when I’ve got more than three things I want to see in that city.  I try to keep this city list down to 10 specific cities. As I visit a city, I will sometimes tick it off, especially if I was there for a long enough to see the big sites.  But cities like London, Paris, and Rome are always on the top of my “City Wish List.”  New cities on my wish list include Istanbul, Athens, and Barcelona.


I started my bucket list when I was in college and studying art history.  I enjoy looking at art, visiting museums, savoring the color and drama. I have a passion for tracing the story of humanity and how that unfolding journey has been captured in paint and sculpture.  So my first bucket list was a list of great museums.  In the future, I would love to visit the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The National Gallery, London

Great Monuments and Public Art

The other things that populate my bucket list are great monuments. Like artwork, there are monuments that represent great moments in human achievement.  I’m especially fond of visiting sites associated with big events like the World’s Fairs, major exhibitions, and the Olympics.  I’m looking forward to visiting the Space Needle in Seattle and Millenium Park in Chicago.

Eiffel Tower, Paris

Culinary Adventures

I love to take cooking classes and watch food demos.  I’m not a foodie, I just really love to eat! When I am at home, I cook most nights of the week.  So I really enjoy culinary adventures that will teach me new techniques, flavors, and ingredients.  For me, there is nothing more fun than coming home from a trip and sharing with my family and friends new recipes.  I’m looking forward to soaking up some cooking demos on future cruise vacations as well as more in-depth classes in Spain and Greece. 

Cooking Class, Florence, Italy

Historic Sites

From Victorian mansions to ancient Roman Ruins, I love visiting historic sites to see how our ancestors lived.  What ruins have been left behind and what has survived and transformed?  Out here in California, there is simply is no ancient art or architecture, so when I’m traveling, I like to choose these kinds of destinations. Every major city in Europe have places that blend the ancient, the old, the vintage, and the new.  Places that I would love to go include Vienna, Austria, and Budapest, Hungary

Teatro di Marcello, Rome

If you look at this collection of images, you can tell that I like to travel off-season to save money.  If you are interested in some of my other budget travel tips, check out this post.  Because my wishlist is, quite honestly, vast, it allows me to choose trips that fit whatever my current budget will allow. Since travel is my passion and not my job, I make saving for trips a priority in my budget.  My travel wishlist helps turn my travel dreams into memories. 

Happy Travels!  ~ Dawn

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