(Photo by Tim Grundtner: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-looking-at-snow-covered-mountain-2407783/)

Even as I was fortunate to travel more than ever this past year, I naturally still have places in the world that I haven’t been to yet. This will be a short post because it’s the end of the year, and I’m taking some time off this week.

Some people would call it a travel bucket list, but I have never liked that term. I think it came from a movie with the same name, and it was about these two older men who go do everything they’ve always wanted to before one of them, who is terminally ill, “kicks the bucket.” It’s not a great association, so I’ve always referenced it as a wish list.

Without delay, here it is. In some cases, I’ve grouped countries and regions, which could be done on one trip. 

The Twelve Apostles, as seen from the Great Ocean Road (ID 47601794 © Tero Hakala|Dreamstime.com)

Australia/New Zealand

Of all the countries on my list, these may be the hardest to do in one itinerary since Australia is about as big as the continental U.S. The problem then becomes where to go within a limited time. One solution would be to cruise around the country's eastern side then a land trip to New Zealand, which is more compact. These countries might be one where we’ll have to visit more than once.

The tiered buildings of Santorini, Greece (Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/santorinni-greece-during-daytime-161275/)


What’s not to love about this Mediterranean country? You have bright sunny days, jewel-blue oceans, gorgeous scenery, rich ancient history and ruins, and delectable cuisine. Here, I would also go on a cruise to see as many of the islands as possible. I personally would like to go to ones that fewer see, like Crete, although I wouldn’t mind going to Santorini and Mykonos and seeing some of Athens.

Scenic Lofoten, Norway (Photo 50336220 © Helena Bilkova | Dreamstime.com)


Some may disagree, but Norway, Denmark, and Sweden could be done on one trip. If I had more time, I would add Finland to that list, but that might be too much.  On a separate itinerary – and just because it’s much further apart from the others – I’d go to Iceland. In these countries, I would appreciate the scenic views more than anything.

Wachau, Austria on the Danube River (Photo 43211158 © minnystock | Dreamstime.com)

Danube River

I’ve named this region to cover a group of countries running along this Central European river. Of course, that means I would likely go on a river cruise to see them, which includes Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. The only must-do I would want here are Budapest and Salzburg, because I am a big fan of “The Sound of Music.” But I would do a self-guided tour, not one of those garish tourist buses.

Seoul, South Korea's largest city, at twilight (Photo 80851007 © Lazar Adrian Catalin | Dreamstime.com)

South Korea

After visiting Japan, I am intrigued to visit this increasingly popular country across the Sea of Japan. I am not a fan of K-pop or anything to do with Korean culture, but I do love Korean food, and I would love to go on a culinary tour or take a cooking class. I would probably want to explore anything about its history and probably visit the DMZ, as long as it's safe.

This is the kind of view I would enjoy on the Mekong River (Photo 71744392 © Filmlandscape | Dreamstime.com)

Southeast Asia

Again, this is one of those areas that I couldn’t just choose one country, as there are several here I would want to visit. These include Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia, particularly Bali. I would probably want to do a river cruise of the Mekong, which would again cover Vietnam and Cambodia. I’d love to visit the beaches in Thailand and Bali, provided they’re not too busy.

An aerial view of Cape Town, South Africa (Photo 60418659 © Kierran Allen | Dreamstime.com)

South Africa

I grew up in the 1980s when apartheid (the separation of whites from non-whites) was still the ruling government’s policy. Everyone understood that no one should visit this country for that reason. South Africa draws visitors today for its spectacular scenery, wildlife, active adventures, food and wine and pleasant climate. It’s probably the first African country I would visit.

A church in a square in Cartagena, Colombia (Photo 79923712 © Sorin Colac | Dreamstime.com)


More seasoned travelers, who have done Europe ad nauseam, are going to less common areas of the world. These include countries in South America, which I’d like to visit for various reasons. Most would be to explore nature, learn about history and engage in active adventures like hiking and biking. Naturally, I would want to try local cuisine since I don’t know much about local food here.

The ideal ocean scene in the South Pacific (Photo 106919260 © Seadam | Dreamstime.com)

South Pacific

Having been to Hawaii at least a couple dozen times, I envision this storied area as like it, just less American and commercial. I would want to cruise around Tahiti and the other French Polynesian islands. Perhaps another destination here would be Fiji, but perhaps as a layover to Australia and New Zealand. I can’t wait to dip into those crystal blue waters and swim among colorful sea life.