September 25 2009 by Sam Lowe
Many years ago, probably even longer ago than that, I read a magazine article about a rich man who visited every country in the world. He owned a jet airplane so he made it to the 300-plus nations in existence at the time in less than a year. Inspired by his success and already bitten by the travel bug, I vowed to do likewise. Alas, economics and reality set in so I'm still more than 260 nations short of reaching that goal.
Even worse, as I grow older, I sense that my time is running out. But, rather than give up entirely, I compile lists of places I want to go and things I want to do before ... well, you know.
Mont St. Michel on the north coast of France tops my gotta-see list. I can hardly wait to climb to the top of the towering church and watch the tides go in an out. Then, it would be off to Petra, the ancient city in Jordan. I eagerly look forward to entering the narrow passage leading into the ancient buildings that were carved into sandstone centuries ago.
Angor Wat in Cambodia has been one of my dream destinations ever since reading about it in National Geographic as a teenager. Chicago and Berlin are also on my list. I've been to both but never got beyond their airports. Also, I don't want to climb Mount Everest, but I'd certainly like to see it, preferably while comfortably seated in a jet. Finally, on this short list, Antarctica, primarily because it's the only continent that I haven't set foot upon.
Many friends suggest that I start my gotta-do list with skydiving. I ignore them. I went wingwalking on top of an old bi-plane once and don't ever want to be that scared again. So my dream adventures will all be ground-based. I'd like to take a river boat down the Nile in Egypt, and learn to ski on Mt. Ranier in Washington. I hope to start a road trip in San Diego and drive all the way across the United States, winding up in Bangor, Maine.
I have no desire to run with the bulls in Spain, but would like to drive a dogsled in Alaska, just for a few miles to get the feel of it. And someday, if there's time enough, take part in a sauna in Helsinki and a Turkish bath in Istanbul.
There's a strong possibility that I won't even get through this list, much less visit all the countries in the world. But I can hope.
Do any of you have similar dreams? I would very much like to hear about them.