In many ways, I’m my father’s son. I’m a sports fan, an intellectual, and a lover of music. But perhaps most of all, I’ve inherited his love of travel. After my parents and I went to Italy in 2011, I decided to make a bucket list of places to visit. In just four short years, I’ve managed to cross a good amount of the items on said list, so I thought I’d revisit it and make some new additions.
Here’s the bucket list I made back then. These are in priority order, so #1 is the place I most want to visit, #2 the second-most, and so on down the line. Items that are crossed through indicate places I’ve been to:
- Athens, Greece
- The Anne Frank House, Amsterdam
- Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
- TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, MA
- Vienna, Austria
- Paris, France
- The home stadium of every other MLB team
- Nashville, TN
And here’s my revised list:
1. Athens, Greece
Athens still retains the top spot, and remains the Holy Grail of sorts on the list. The Classical period is my favorite era of history to study, so for a long time, Greece and Rome were 1-2 on my list. Greece’s shaky economy and resultant unrest have made me skittish about traveling there, but I’ve heard that it may not be as unsafe as I think. I’ve also heard that Athens’s ruins aren’t as impressive as other places in Greece, so I may venture out into other areas. But you can’t beat seeing the original Parthenon.
2. The Halls of Fame: Cooperstown, NY (baseball), Canton, OH (football), Springfield, MA (basketball), Toronto, Canada (hockey), Kansas City, MO (college basketball)
After I visited the College Football Hall of Fame, which recently relocated to Atlanta, I had the idea to visit the other Halls of Fame for my favorite sports. I plan to tackle this list item next year, with weekend trips to as many as I can make it to. As a sports fan, I want to learn more about the history of my favorite pastimes that I enjoy watching so much. Many of these halls of fame have artifacts from the game that are a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see. Technically, I’ve already been to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton as well, but I want to make a return trip to see some stuff I didn’t get to see when I was there the first time.
In high school, I had a great Spanish teacher who instilled an appreciation for the language in me. In college, I had several friends who lived in the Spanish-language house, in which I was required to speak Spanish when I went to visit them. So it’s always been a part of my life, and thus I’ve always wanted to visit the country where it all got started. Madrid, Valencia, and Barcelona have a lot of interesting things to see and do, and I think I would enjoy venturing there and using my Spanish (though I’d probably need a healthy refresher on vocabulary first).
Since I work for a German company, I’d naturally want to take in the history there too. Berlin boasts the Tiergarten and the Reichstag as places to see, and Munich has a big art museum. Cologne contains a museum dedicated to the Romans who shaped the city’s formation, and you can take a cable car up to the highest peak of the Bavarian Alps and see for miles. I’ll also have to sample the bratwurst while I’m there. Who knows… I may even find a beer that doesn’t taste terrible!
5. The home stadium of every Major League Baseball team
My father and I have been working on visiting the home stadium of every Major League Baseball team since I first knew what a baseball was. Our journeys have taken us to many interesting cities across the nation: Baltimore, New York, San Diego, Toronto, Phoenix, and Chicago to name just a few. In all, I’ve crossed 16 ballparks off the list, and have 14 to go. We still have many iconic stadiums to visit such as Fenway Park, Dodger Stadium, and Busch Stadium. I think the next one I want to visit is Safeco Field in Seattle, though. I had Seattle as a separate entry on my original list, then realized it was redundant given that I’d have to go there to complete this list item. Seattle is a city that has always intrigued me, and I think I’d enjoy the culture and landmarks of the place as much as the baseball. After all, any city that has my favorite sport, my favorite video game company, and is so liberal it has more coffee shops than Wal-Marts, is the kind of place I want to check out.
6. Vienna, Austria
I don’t know that I have a pressing reason for including Vienna on the list, other than I’ve always heard it’s a vibrant city with a lot going on. There’s a lot of history wrapped up in the Schönbrunn Palace and the Kunsthistoriches Museum, and I think it would be interesting to visit a country that’s a little off the beaten track, if you will. That’s not a dig on Austria, but rather an indication that it’s not the first place that pops into people’s heads when they’re thinking of making a European trip.
7. The Galápagos Islands
A couple years back, I dated a girl who aspired to join the Peace Corps, and she was assigned to Ecuador. I’d planned on visiting her there during her 2-year stay and hopefully venturing out to the islands to see all the natural beauty and unique wildlife. Alas, this didn’t come to pass: she came home after only a month of her PC placement, and our relationship ended some time later. However, I think I still want to venture to these islands. I’m a sucker for beautiful beaches, and I think it would be interesting in the same way my visit to El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico was.
Speaking of liberal meccas, I’ve always wanted to visit Scandinavia as well. And, if I had to pick from among the four countries in the region, I think I’d pick Sweden, if only because you can take a tour that encompasses several sites from one of my favorite book series, Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. Stockholm of course provides many other interesting places to see, and the country boasts other landmarks as the castle at Kalmar and the glassworks district known as the Kingdom of Crystal.
9. Paris, France
The more cultured of my readers will likely blanch at my having Paris as only NINTH on the list! :O Despite all the crap I give my parents for going there without me once, it’s never been super-high on my priority list. Maybe it’s the odd food, native peoples’ reputation for rudeness, or the city’s reputation for being a fairly dirty place. But any student of history must venture here. Probably what I most want to see is the Louvre, which houses some of the most fantastic paintings in history that cannot be seen anywhere else.
Seeing that my list mainly included American and European places, I thought about which place I’d like to see in Asia the most, and I eventually settled on Japan. It’s fairly unique among places on my list, so I think I’d like to trek out there someday. While I probably won’t love the food, the culture and history offer a different point of view on different eras, and I think it would be an interesting visit.