My Travel Bucket List
For many years, my travel bucket list, a tattered piece of wide-ruled loose leaf paper, was taped to the back of my bedroom door. Since I took an interest in geography in elementary school, it has been filled with an ever-growing list of places – currently 102 – that I hope to visit around the world. For most of the entries, which range from South Africa’s Kruger National Park to the Statue of Liberty to Tierra del Fuego to the Norwegian Fjords, I can’t remember what first sparked my interest to write them down using whichever pen, pencil or in one case whiteboard marker was most convenient. Yet the places on the list are always in the back of my mind; they are an articulated set of goals for my future journeys.
In spite of these desires, I have not had many opportunities to venture far from the Midwest and have never left the United States. I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis and did not travel via airplane until I was 19. Beginning this March, however, I will be embarking on a study abroad adventure in Lima, Peru. For me, every aspect of the trip – from something as simple as applying for a passport to realizing the sticker shock of purchasing a plane ticket to South America – is a new experience.
When I started my bucket list of places to visit many years ago, I listed Peru, namely Machu Picchu, first. At one point, the thought of finally traveling there was merely an opportunity to cross off a destination on my list. Now that I’ve begun communicating with my host family, thinking about packing and finally researching Peru, studying abroad in South America is about so much more. It is about the lessons I’ll learn at the local university, the Andean culture I’ll experience and the relationships I’ll build along the way. Most of all, however, it’s the start of a lifetime filled with travel and adventure around the world. I can’t wait!