Bucketlist: Travel Edition

People travel for all kinds of reasons. To run towards something or away from something. To find themselves or escape themselves. To experience solitude or experience connection. And what people find out there, in the tiniest corners of the world or the busiest centers of metropolises, varies more than the reasons they set out in the first place. One thing I’ve noticed, however, is that most travelers have something in common: they’re dreamers.

An eye on what could be rather than what is tends to produce a magical conception of the unknown, a fixation with the multitude of places they have yet to be. At least for me and many of the wonderful people I’ve come across in my journeys, it’s this perplexity of possibilities that drives the selection of the next location, that sparks the ubiquitous travel bucket list.

Even if dream destinations remain simply that — a dream — forever, there’s an inherent beauty, and therefore, value, in them regardless. Whether they’re simple daydreams that get you through a tough day or the catalyst to make the change you’ve been afraid of, a list of dream destinations creates a space for you to dwell in possibility.

Here’s mine… what’s yours?

Essaouira, Morocco

Actually, I’ve been here already. It’s hard to even describe everything that makes Morocco amazing, but I read something in a travel book once that put it this way, and I’m reminded of it every time I think of Morocco: “a sensory overload.” And it is, in every way imaginable. Some friends and I spend two weeks exploring that beautiful country from desert to coast and back again, but the reason I want to return to Essaouira in particular is that now I’ve found surfing. I now have on my hands a rare opportunity of old and new in the same experience. I’d be revisiting an old place, but having entirely new experiences there, and that’s massively intriguing.

Havana, Cuba

Cuba makes the list mostly because I feel a sense of urgency about it. Right now it’s still got 1950’s cars zooming around the streets and something tells me that simply won’t last forever, so now’s the time to go. There is also an amazing Cuban restaurant in Minneapolis that I used to frequent as an undergrad, so, I guess Cuba actually started tugging on my heartstrings way back then.

Bueno Aires, Argentina

I studied Italian in college and lived in Milan for a hot second, so when I undertook learning Spanish a few months ago, training myself to drop what my lovely language teacher refers to as the “song” of the Italian language when speaking Spanish was (and still is, I must confess) quite the bump in the road for me. What she calls the song of a language is essentially the cadence, or the kind of up-down, sing-songy pattern that sentences adhere to in a given language. One day during class, after scolding me for approximately the one thousandth time for trying to pronounce Spanish words like an Italian, she noted that I might enjoy Buenos Aires. Apparently, because of the Italian history and influence, they speak Spanish but with the Italian song. I have dreams of going there and fitting right in with my weird, Italian take on Spanish, laughing in a blended Italian and Spanish way, surrounded with the millions of friends I’m sure to make, with a glass of good red wine in my hand. (These are dreams, remember).

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Not all dream destinations have to be far away. In fact, I think so much of the value of travel is overlooked or forgotten when it’s conceived of as only a function of distance. With the massive amount of creative people I know and creative people I’ve heard of coming out of and moving to New Orleans, something about that city seems like pure magic to me. Also, I’ve never seen a bog before and Louisiana has plenty to choose from.

Marfa, Texas, USA

If it’s good enough for Beyonce, it’s good enough for me. But seriously, what a curious little place out in the middle of the desert Marfa seems to be. As an art student in my undergrad days, I learned about the Prada installation there and Marfa has been on my bucket list since. I imagine a dusty, solitary drive through the middle of nowhere to reach it, with nothing but good music, my thoughts, and my pup in tow, and hardly anything seems dreamier.