Bucket-List Vacations: What's On Our Travel Writer's Itinerary

A seasoned scribe imagines lifetime-longing visits to these enchanted castles, mysterious forests, ancient ruins and more—for both herself and you.

  When you’re just about the luckiest travel journalist in Southwest Florida, having retired several passports because the State Department refused to cram in any more pages, how dare you whine about things you haven’t done? Because travel seeps into your soul, and the most awe-inspiring moment is surely just ahead. None of the fantasies I share here is an over-the-top trip that only the most privileged few could possibly attain. But they’ve been gently calling to me: autumn leaves, cherry blossoms and lemon groves. Enchanted castles, mysterious forests and ancient ruins. Color, light and mystery. Maybe they’ll call to you, too.   A Glass Igloo, the Aurora Borealis & Thou    I saw it once, the aurora borealis, forever ago. Not so much saw it as absorbed the natural electrical phenomenon’s sudden gauzy arrivals and departures from an indigo-blue sky at the very top of the world. Greens, mostly, with swirls of white and lavender, but it was more than just color. I felt it brush my skin like butterfly kisses. I even imagined I heard it sing. I looked it up later, and, yes, the aurora borealis actually crackles and hisses as it swirls. I was traveling with a group of journalists in Finnish Lapland when our guide unexpectedly stopped the van in the middle of nowhere and commanded us to get out on the snow-banked side of the road. The element of surprise and awe made it magical, but anticipation made it even
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