Granted I can’t travel now to many destinations I’d like to visit. However, that doesn’t stop me from dreaming of trips to places – some real, others not – that are high in my “Want to see” catalog.
My Bucket List ideas include experiences that appeal to my love of great theater and magnificent nature, my fascination with fantasy, and my longing to relive chapters of history long gone and imagine pages yet to be written.
For anyone who enjoys live theater, what bigger thrill could there be than being mesmerized by a performance of a Shakespeare play by his troupe in the original Theatre? Of course, the original building, which opened in 1599, was destroyed by a fire caused by a prop cannon that misfired during a performance.
While a second Globe, built at the same site, also closed, the current reconstruction, located about 750 feet from the original, continues to offer works by William. But my time-travel dream includes attending a play at the first auditorium and spotting the Bard himself.
Following the Yellow Brick Road
A very different kind of performance involves a young girl from Kansas, a talking scarecrow who longs to have a brain, a tin woodsman who wants a heart and a cowardly lion who dreams of being brave. I would love to recreate their journey along the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, and to meet the supposedly “great and powerful” Wizard who, in fact, is an elderly man manipulating levers and a sound system.
Other never-never lands also have places on my virtual travel wish list. Who wouldn’t wish to check out an island-nation founded by demigods, inhabited by exotic animals and festooned with magnificent plant life? The city of Atlantis was created in the works of Plato.
It served as an example of human hubris, and was submerged by the ocean when its inhabitants became too arrogant and prideful for the deities. Despite the allegorical underpinning of Plato’s work, some semi-scientific sleuths long have speculated that Atlantis actually existed and conducted expeditions to find it – so far unsuccessfully.
Shangri-la, Where Life Goes on – and On
Shangri-La, the paradise conjured up by British author James Hilton in Lost Horizon, is located in a valley nestled beneath a mountain range far from the ocean. People in this joyful heaven on earth age slowly and live for hundreds of years.
No wonder the name of the mythical place has become synonymous with Utopia. While I wouldn’t expect an imaginary immersion to lengthen my life span, I would treasure the opportunity to enjoy the ultimate bliss for even a brief time.
A more down-to-earth experience, which is rooted in at least some degree of reality, awaits those viewing the remains of what may be the most well-known famous city in the history of the world. Homer’s Iliad relates the story of the Trojan War which, depending upon the source, took place sometime during the 13th to 11th centuries BC.
In fact, there was a city of Troy located in present-day Turkey and there may have been a Battle of Troy, although many historians believe it refers to repeated sieges of the settlement during the Bronze Age (approximately 3300-1200 BC). The city was attacked, destroyed and rebuilt a number of times and while it’s possible to visit ruins that have been uncovered during archaeological excavations, it’s impossible to know which reincarnation of Troy they represent. My preference would be to walk the streets of the famous, and fabled, site when it was at its heyday.
Hobnobbing with the Knights of the Round Table
Passing time of day with the Knights of the Round Table in King Arthur’s court also is a simulated sojourn I would relish. The legendary Arthur, and castled city of Camelot where he reigned, were introduced in French romances during the 12th century.
They placed it in Great Britain, sometimes associated with real cities. Wherever it was, or wasn’t, it would be fascinating to share war stories with the likes of Sir Lancelot, Sir Gawain and their associates in arms, and armor.
What would a list of favorite dream locations be without a nod to Mother Nature? While the challenge of culling the list is daunting, I would choose a stroll through the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. It’s no wonder that the enchanting oasis of floating terraces, lush greenery and cascading streams was included by Herodotus in his list of classic Seven Wonders of the World.
The story of the Gardens was perpetuated in Greek and Roman lore, and some historians continue their search for seeds of truth in the writing. However, my Quixotic search for places real or not isn’t based upon a guarantee of actuality.
Speaking of which, Mars actually exists. What’s questionable is whether mankind will be able to visit there, much less survive. That challenge is why my aspirational trip list ends with a would-be trip to our celestial neighbor.
Despite some similarities to Earth – length of the day, similar seasons, the presence of water — the challenges are many. Both the atmosphere and soil on the Red Planet are toxic, the climate is much colder and severe storms can block sunlight for weeks. Even with these challenges, or perhaps because of them, Mars finds a place on my list of places I would like to visit, but never will.
Authors: Fyllis Hockman and Victor Block are a husband-wife team of experienced travel journalists who have gallivanted throughout the United States, and to nearly 80 countries around the world, and written about what they have seen, done and learned. Their articles have appeared in newspapers across the country and on websites across the Internet, and they each have won numerous writing awards. They love to explore new destinations and cultures and uncover off-the-beaten-path attractions. Read more of their work at The Rambling Writers