Five months after my husband passed away, I sat in front of a financial planner and held my breath. It’s a little (okay, A LOT) scary becoming a widow with three young children. The thought of facing an unknown future, alone, on a single income, was anxiety-inducing, amidst the weight of everything else going on. This was exacerbated by my stubborn desire to continue raising my children as my husband and I had planned.
My financial planner, a big man with red hair and a matching beard that made him look straight out of the movie Brave, was eager to help. He seemed intent to send me home with as much information as possible. It appeared he had dealt with many widows before and anticipated the forgetfulness that plagues us when grief takes over. Somehow the pain seeps into our brains and muddles everything. He wrote things down for me. He assured me I could always email or come back if more questions came up.
I sat on the edge of my chair, half-nervous, half-restless, for an answer to the burning question that churned inside of me. No other question was as important. My survival hinged on his answer.
I kept wondering when would be a good time to ask him. I let him go through the practical matters first. I had to look like a serious widow instead of a daydreaming child. I nodded like a good student as he went over retirement accounts and helped me sort out what was there. He asked a lot of questions as we tried to untangle the disorganization my husband left me.
Was it a Roth IRA? 403B?
All things Kenneth used to handle, and now I found myself needing to learn everything as if I had been exiled to a foreign country with a pressing need to learn another language if I wanted to survive.
Toward the end of our meeting, I straightened in my chair and decided to ask my question.
What I thought was more important than IRAs.
Do I have to give up traveling?
I watched his expression, noting the way his eyes softened, and then he laughed. I suspect I wear every single one of my emotions on my sleeves.
No. He didn’t think so. I could still spend my money on traveling. I wouldn’t have to stop. Not at all.
I breathed a sigh of relief as my clenched muscles relaxed. The thought of having another door shut in my face had increased my already-full reservoir of anxiety.
Perhaps it seemed like a silly concern in the grand scheme of my problems. I probably should have asked more detailed questions about taxes and college savings accounts. I probably should have picked his brain about mutual fund accounts.
But if I had to distill my priorities into 3 specific things that I need in life, they are: 1) lots of time with family, 2) writing, and 3) traveling.
Traveling and I were not going to ever willingly break-up. I need to see new places. To me, staying home is the equivalent of being locked inside of a hamster cage. I’d grow restless and weary; I’d need to roam and explore. The restrictive environment would turn my soul black. I need to see new colors and people and inhale foreign scents and experience different weather and rules and eat interesting food. I want to hear other languages. I want to experience history. I want to see different ways of living.
In 1999, that fateful summer when JFK Jr perished in a plane crash, I took my first overseas trip to Israel and Egypt. My mom was born and raised in Israel until she was 10 years old. She left behind lots of family members, and we would be staying with some of them.
First we stayed with my teta’s (Arabic for “grandmother”) widowed sister-in-law in my grandmother’s childhood home in Nazareth. Nazareth is bowl-shaped, hilly, and because there are so many people living literally on top of each other, driving almost always involves a lot of traffic and car horns. We stayed across the street from a secluded convent for nuns. I remember the high walls that guarded the nuns’ privacy and wondering if there was a way we could somehow sneak a peek at them while they were out in their garden.
In the mornings we awoke to the sounds of the Muslim call to prayer, roosters, and church bells. I remember walking around the patio, staring down at the rooftops of cement homes that crowded the city. From the patio we could see the dome-shaped Basilica of the Annunciation, built upon layers of previous churches that met their fate in various ways in the conquest-riddled region. In the lower levels of the church, there is a grotto that is believed to have the remains of Mary’s childhood home.
My great aunt was always cooking. I have fond memories of the meals she made for us, but I remember one day coming back to the home and spotting a giant pot of snails waiting to be prepared. There was no way I was going to eat them. My Arabic got better in those three weeks abroad. I was quickly picking up words that I needed to know to survive as a picky eater, like the word for “lamb,” since I couldn’t bring myself to eat any of that. I suspect we embarrassed my mom at least a few times.
My memories of the trip included staring at garbage men in Nazareth who walked with donkeys between narrow alleys to pick up the trash. There were gutters in the middle of the walkways for the donkeys to go to the bathroom. This seems like a silly memory, but when you come from first-world luxuries, garbage collection via donkeys was the closest to third-world I had ever come to (and Israel isn’t technically considered third-world).
Not too far from the basilica is the souk, a shopping area where you will find live chicken for sale, household items, spices, butcher shops, shoe stores, and other random stores. My sister and I enjoyed walking down the many steps from the tiny concrete home where my teta grew up, all the way down the hill to the bottom, where we could experience the hustle and bustle (except for the skinned animals that dangled from storefronts, ready to be chopped into pieces for dinner. We would plug our noses and walk a little faster.) On our way back up to the house one day, two men in a car rolled down their window and yelled at us in Arabic. I don’t think they intended for us to understand. We must have looked like tourists in that conservative town.
What, girls? What are you doing here?
I almost yelled back an expletive, but I kept my mouth shut. In this town everyone knows everyone. I didn’t want my teta in the U.S. to hear about that and throw a shoe at me.
Maybe it was my skorts that caught their attention. They were scandalously short, falling just above my knees. It was those same scandalous skorts and sleeveless top that landed me a blanket in Jerusalem that I had to wrap around my shoulders for modesty.
I remember stewing in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the place where Jesus was supposedly crucified, and also the site of his burial and resurrection. I was unmoved by any of these stories. I was too busy being pissed off about the blanket thing. I felt shamed for being female and having the audacity to show the world my pornographic shoulders.
We went to the Dead Sea, where we floated in extremely salty water and got to rub special mud all over our bodies. (Don’t shave before you visit the Dead Sea. I found out the hard way.)
We had a friend use his native-ness to get us into Dome of the Rock, a Muslim holy site where supposedly Mohammed ascended to Heaven. Inside we removed our shoes and walked around.
The same friend took us to his bar in Jerusalem. To a seventeen year old, that was super cool. He made light fixtures out of dried squash and we got to throw peanuts on the floor.
We went to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.
We went shopping in Nablus, a Palestinian city.
My mom took us to Egypt. I’m grateful she did, given the fact that it doesn’t seem likely that I will return to Egypt any time in the near future due to the political situation there. We took a bus. When we got to the place of departure in Nazareth, we found out one of the drivers was a cousin. Of course. Everyone is your cousin in the Middle East. It was a long bus ride. Something like 11 hours. And they don’t drive like they do in the U.S. We’re talking bus drivers playing chicken with the other drivers on long stretches of desert road. I had heart palpitations more than once.
Egypt was a trip. They didn’t seem to believe in car lanes in Cairo. Cars and donkeys and carts swirled in a chaotic, loud frenzy of messy living.
We saw the Great Pyramid of Giza. We went inside! I couldn’t believe it. I knew at the time how fortunate we were to experience that once-in-a-lifetime excursion. Outside, men lurked on camels, looking for ways to con you into giving them money. The poverty was palpable in Egypt. Everywhere you turned someone was trying to hustle you.
Back in Israel, we visited Haifa, a port town where my mom was born and raised. My mom’s cousin had the same high cheekbones as my mom. Everything she cooked was amazing. Next door lived my grandmother’s sister. She looked just like my teta except she was taller.
In Nazareth, I pictured my grandmother as a young girl walking around. I pictured her in Haifa, raising four children. My grandfather. My great grandparents. How did they get there? In Akko you can see the remnants of the crusader walls. You can sense the layers of history. It’s a feeling you don’t get in Anaheim, California.
I loved to hear people speaking Arabic. The sounds that flowed off their tongues and the rumbling in their throats reminded me of my own grandmother.
And the food. Oh, the food. My heart will forever be connected to that place through my stomach. Fresh baked bread. Cheese bread. Arabic dishes. I am related to some of the best cooks in the world (in my humble opinion). If I had to pick one last meal to eat on earth, it would be Arabic.
Once you go on your first trip abroad, chances are high that you will become infected with the travel bug.
I entered my senior year of high school feeling that everything around me was somehow a little duller. I was now permanently affected with a raging case of wanderlust.
During my freshman year of college, I saw a trip advertised on campus to go to China. I studied the flier, re-reading the fine print. I immediately asked myself: what if?
I began a tried and true method of picking travel destinations: feelings and prices.
I just get a feeling about where I want to go. I feel it deep inside of me, a feeling of peace when I’ve decided on the location. If I feel conflicted, I wait it out until my feelings are crystal clear. It works. Of course, it has to align with the deals I find, and after years of traveling, I’m pretty good at spotting good prices.
There has never been a trip that I’ve ever regretted.
On that particular day on my way to lecture, pausing to read the flier on the pole, I knew immediately that I wanted to go to China. It looked like a good price. I could scrounge it together. I was going. It didn’t matter that I wouldn’t know anyone. It didn’t matter that I had never thought about traveling to China before. I wanted to go.
Our tour had students and professors from various schools. It was a lot of fun, even if going on a tour meant we’d have stop at a zillion factories. Pearl factory. Silk factory. Tea factory. A tour is a good starting place for a young woman ready to travel the world. I was able to get my feet wet.
I ate a lot of the same Chinese food. I had tofu for the first time (I liked it) and learned what green tea was (I didn’t like it).
One day at lunch, I overheard another table talking about going to see Mao Zedong. I couldn’t help it. I risked outing myself as an eavesdropper, but I did it anyway. I turned around and asked where they were going. They told me Mao’s body was on display and they were going to see it right after lunch. I asked if I could go. Of course, they said.
We had to check our backpacks into a center across the street from the mausoleum and then we waited to walk single-file around his preserved body that they kept in a glass coffin. When it was our turn, we slowed to catch a glimpse of a name we had all read in our history books. A once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We walked along the Great Wall of China. We spent time in Tiananmen Square. We saw an acrobatic show. We went to a Buddhist temple in Hangjhou, and we flew to Shanghai to experience the modern metropolis.
My Chinese roommate took me to the underground market where I bought DVDS for a dollar. It was a giant shopping area that only the locals know about.
We came home at the end of August with bags full of souvenirs that we carried on to the airplane in the days before travel was restricted and there were policies about what you could bring onboard. One guy even carried a samurai sword to his seat with no questions asked. A few weeks later, 9/11 happened. That ended the days of having people see you off at the terminal, waving to you from the windows. Gone were the days of easy security. A new era of travel had come.
But I was still willing to deal with the hassle, because that feeling of trepidation as you stepped out of an airport in a new country with the task of finding your way was a high I wanted to experience again and again.
Speaking of which. I came home from China and a few weeks later went to Alabama to visit family. I was visiting my uncle in Alabama on 9/11. When they shut down air travel, I found myself stuck in a place I decided I never wanted to get stuck in again. There’s not much I can say about the South, other than they do have good food and endless supplies of diabetes-inducing sweet tea. I felt alarmed by the Confederate flags that waved from people’s cars. I found their “ma’ams” and “sirs” and overly sweet and gushy small talk annoying. It reeked of oppression and subservient treatment of generations of people who still struggle in this country, struggles swept under rugs and written off as history.
By now the travel bug infected me real good. A few months later, I spent winter break in Italy and Greece with my sister. This time I planned my own trip. We toured places like the Coliseum in Rome and the Acropolis in Athens. In Athens, we enjoyed George Michael songs played in the stores as if he were still in the top 100. There were festive Christmas lights strung across squares and smoking Santa Clauses walking around. We ate gyros almost every day and my sister wanted to adopt every stray dog we encountered.
When I turned 21, me and three friends went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. We stayed a short distance from Bourbon Street and had a fun time that involved a lot of jello shots and Hurricanes. I made it out of the experience without properly earning any beads, and I was completely okay with that. I did have a drunk group of women induct me into the “itty bitty titty committee.” I was a reluctant participant. I was most fascinated with the graveyards and thought about Anne Rice concocting tales about vampires in that old city. I remember watching one of the infamous parades and suddenly becoming aware of the African American people who gathered on the other side of the street, segregated from the rest of us. There were no official rules that did it. I thought about the fun times we were having every night partying with the masses. There weren’t very many African Americans in those crowds. I felt uncomfortable.
I went with a friend to France, England, and Scotland. We stayed in hostels. Some had eight people in a room, males and females. We didn’t care. It was cheap and it allowed a couple of college kids to travel. We carried around large external frame backpacks that I used on backpacking trips in Yosemite. We met a cool woman from Seattle who introduced me to pesto. We all went grocery shopping and then cooked together. That was when I learned that grocery shopping was an excursion not to be missed when you go to another country.
We visited my pregnant cousin in northern England, and then went back a second time when she had her baby premature. I watched my cousin give her new baby his feeds through a nasal tube and the thought of having children seemed so far off in my life horizon.
We spent New Year’s in Glasgow. It was so cold it took an hour to defrost my gloved fingers. I remember going to an internet cafe (back when there was a need for such things!) and sitting by the keyboard, waiting to regain movement in my fingers. We were starving on New Year’s Day and nothing was open except for a tiny hamburger and fries place. It was meant to be. The owner and cook were Palestinian.
We went to lots of museums on that trip, like the British Museum in London and the Louvre in Paris. We made the obligatory visit to see the Mona Lisa, and I was disappointed that it was small in real life.
I went to New York City and saw Mama Mia on Broadway.
I went on a cruise to Mexico and decided they were not for me. I felt sea sick the entire time and I couldn’t come to terms with being trapped on a ship. I wanted to explore a city. The most memorable part of the trip was when we got to Ensenada and I discovered Mexican jumping beans, which I promptly bought and brought home, and then me and my younger cousins had fun cracking them open to figure out what was making them “jump.” (A little caterpillar, in case you were wondering).
In 2004, a mere few weeks before I got my first teaching job, I went to Guadalajara, Mexico to meet a woman I met on Livejournal. I remember getting off the plane and wondering if I was going to be greeted by a serial killer. What the heck was I thinking? Instead I met Dayna and her super cool family. She showed me the crazy things they eat in Mexico, like corn with all kinds of crap heaped on top. I was amazed by the food places that operated out of garages. I learned that the Mexican food we had been eating in Southern California all of my life was really just crap in comparison to real Mexican food.
During the winter break of my second year of teaching, I went to England, Scotland, and Amsterdam. I met my sister and her friend in London and had a nightmare experience. I remember getting off the airplane with my clunky sweater, starving, and expecting to go to dinner with them. Instead these two 18 year olds were in skimpy dresses, ready for a night of partying. My hostel was way on the other side of London. So there I was, in a hot nightclub, looking like jet-lagged shit boiled over and dressed like a grandma, trying to not be more angry than I already felt. They pressured me into “lightening up” (I apparently have an uptight reputation) and got me to try absinthe, the kind illegal in the U.S. at the time, but legal there. The bartender lit it on fire and I promptly sucked it down, trying not to gag, hoping it would magically make me start having fun. I never liked to drink, and I instantly regretted it as it burned going down my throat. To make a long story short, I found myself wandering around at 2AM, hallucinating, looking for an ATM to get cab fare to take me back to my hostel while my sister and her friend continued to party. I remember the nice cab driver telling me “you really shouldn’t be out here at this time by yourself.” I think I cried the entire drive back to my hostel in Kensington.
Edinburgh is a beautiful city in Scotland, the castle being the centerpiece. I arrived after my disastrous time in London, alone. I went on a tour of the castle. They certainly aren’t like the Disney movies. I tried to picture Mary Queen of Scots in that castle, where she gave birth to her son James. After a while I remember feeling bored for the first time, and a little lonely.
On another trip I visited another online friend in Canterbury. I stayed in a hotel that was hundreds of years old and had floorboards that creaked every time you walked. There was a musty smell to the place that somehow perfectly fit its personality. I wondered if Jane Austen had to write in such a room.
I flew to Amsterdam and spent several days there. I visited Anne Frank’s house and cried. I went to the Van Gogh museum. One of the highlights of the trip was going on a night tour of the Red Light District. Wide-eyed and intrigued, I saw women of all shapes, colors, and walks of life on display behind glass, waiting for their next trick. I learned they even had a union.
No substances were consumed in Amsterdam.
In 2006, I spent Spring break in Cancun, where my friend was living. It was a much needed break (I was teaching middle school that year and having a horrible time). We wore mini jean skirts and skimpy tops and went clubbing in Cancun, bar hopping in Playa del Carmen, swimming in the warm Gulf water, and we went on a trek to Tulum to see the Mayan pyramids. They had giant iguanas. I realized the Mayans knew what they were doing, picking an amazing location to build their sacred temple, a place with views of my favorite water in the world.
After the horrible experience teaching middle school and in between jobs, I went on a three week trip by myself. I went to Italy, Croatia, Hungary, and Israel. On my third trip to Italy, I made it my mission to eat a lot of gelato. I researched the best reviewed places and even traveled to medieval hilltop towns to find award-winning wine-flavored gelato.
I missed the memo on the dangers of traveling to Southern Italy alone and went to Pompeii. I saw the remains of people curled into the fetal position, the wrath of Mount Vesuvius ushering them to their fate in the saddest of ways.
I remember reading The Kite Runner on the night train in Italy so I could stay awake and not miss my stop I needed to get to so I could catch an early morning ferry ride to Croatia. Fortunately the book was so interesting I was never drowsy.
I stayed in a cool hostel in Hungary that had a meditation room. I gave away my beloved guide book about Rome to a cool woman I met who was on her way over there. I didn’t know if I would ever go to Italy again (ha!).
In Israel there was a conflict between Hezbollah and the Israeli government. I experienced my first emergency siren (it sounded like a drawn-out ambulance) in Nazareth that gave you 40 seconds notice before a rocket hit. I learned what a safe room was and how you should move away from the windows. I happened to be in Haifa the day the katyusha hit two blocks away from where I was visiting with my cousin, her children, and her neighbor–a Holocaust survivor. I remember the shaking of the ground (like an earthquake) and the burning smell of the rocket. Her elderly neighbor quivered with fear. I looked at her, puzzled, and asked “but surely you’ve had scarier experiences?” Her arm had the number tattoo from the concentration camp.
In 2007 I was already living with Kenneth, but I left him for a few weeks in the summer to go back to Israel again. This time there were no emergency sirens and all was well. I went to the beach for the first time in the three times I visited and discovered a secret: they have the best beaches in Israel! Warm Mediterranean water, no waves, clean sand. Just the way I liked it. I came home to a crazy cell phone bill from all the text messages and phone calls I had with Kenneth in the early days of our new relationship.
Kenneth and I visited San Francisco a lot. I loved to linger in City Lights Bookstore, after which we’d walk a few steps to Vesuvios bar, where beatnik writers used to hang out. We walked through parks. He took me to clubs that had 80’s nights. I have not gone back to the city since he passed away. Some cities hold memories that are hard to come back to. San Francisco is still one of the them for me.
We went to Barcelona and London during the 2007-2008 winter break. We had a hard time eating in Barcelona. We both mutually disliked the sea creatures placed atop mounds of rice. Gaudi didn’t speak to us in any kind of inspirational way. I thought his beloved Sagrada Familia looked like a giant muddy wasp nest and Park Guell overrated with his whimsical art. I remember the front desk at our hotel giving Kenneth a hard time when he asked for more toilet paper (they weirdly didn’t give us much). Being the quicker-witted one in our relationship, I shot back to the clerk “do you want him to wipe with his hand?” The clerk turned red and promptly gave us three rolls to take back to our room. I’m sure it was the toilet paper that turned Kenneth off on Barcelona. He swore he never wanted to go back. He never did.
In London we visited with my friend who had taken us to the Dead Sea on that first trip to Israel. He was now married with a child since the last time I saw him. We met at a museum for an afternoon. We went for coffee afterward and his kid bit me.
Kenneth loved the seediness of Camden Town, where he found gothic stores and relived his youth. He swore he wanted to go back one day. He never did.
We went to Playa del Carmen in 2008. We went on a Jeep tour in Cozumel, stopping to see an alligator farm and snorkeling on a private beach. We saw a sea turtle swim past us amongst brightly colored coral. After an exhaustive time swimming, we went back to the shore and had a Mexican lunch under a thatched roof.
For six years we did not go out of the country. I felt sad. Stuck. This traveling void was caused primarily by two of life’s ball and chains: mortgages and babies.
In 2014 we broke a traveling dry spell by taking our first trip with children. By then we had two: a four and a half year old and a one year old. Traveling with children is a different ballgame, but still not something to miss. It was something we decided to prioritize in our budget. We wanted to raise children who were exposed to the rest of the world.
We took the family to Paris and Israel. My husband and I had both separately been to Paris before we met. Paris was magical on this trip together. We fell in love with the city, this time as a family.
We took our son to sail toy boats in the Luxembourg Garden. We went to Montmartre and did a self-guided walking tour past places like Picasso’s old studio. We fell in love with the park across the street from our apartment, where they had museums like the Gallerie de Paleontologie. It was built in 1898 and had the feel of a museum straight out of movie. Rows and rows of bones lined the walkways of the small interior. Upstairs there were dinosaur bones.
We jogged in the park like locals and dreamed of living in the city. We lingered in Shakespeare and Co. bookstore, across from the Seine River from Notre Dame de Paris.
Back at our apartment, we realized my son left his beloved toy turtle, Hugo, in the bookstore. Kenneth jogged back to fetch it. The day was saved.
After Paris we continued on to Israel. Kenneth was worried he would hate Israel, but he was pleasantly surprised that I had so many welcoming, nice relatives who were very kind to him.
We bought a lot of cheese bread and went to the beach every single day. Kenneth swore we needed to make sure we returned with Johnnie Walker for everyone next time we visited, just to reciprocate their hospitality. He never got to, but someday I will.
Our last trip together as a family was to Playa del Carmen, where we had gone together back when we were still dating. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort for my sister’s wedding. I remember eating pancakes at the airport. I remember the vegan restaurant. I remember how good my husband looked out on the beach, proudly showing off the body he worked hard to achieve. A few months later he was gone.
In the summer of 2016, less than two months after Kenneth passed away, I went on our first trip without him to Germany and Paris. My sister-in-law took over Kenneth’s ticket. We went to Berlin, which is a city Kenneth swore was amazing, mostly because in his single years he went to a club in a castle that served long sausages in tiny buns.
I did not have the same kind of magical experience. It was just okay. I’m not sure if it’s because of the neighborhood I was in, my psychological state at the time, or the fact that I realized I was really growing tired of Europe, as much as I thought I’d like to live there.
We continued on to Freiburg. I enjoyed this smaller city much more. We rented a car and explored the Black Forest. The colorful buildings looked exactly like a cuckoo clock.
My favorite parts about Germany were the desserts, spaetzle, the Black Forest excursion, and how easy it was to eat as a vegetarian. I also liked the imaginative public parks they had for children.
We took a train to Paris. When we arrived there was a worker’s protest with loud chanting and the beating of drums vibrating throughout the station. I am stirred by the French spirit: the politics, the fashion, the intellectual and creative vibes. Paris is messier than Germany. My brain likes Germany, but my heart likes Paris.
But this time around, it wasn’t the same without Kenneth. I didn’t have that traveling buzz about the place. I didn’t feel romantic about it. It was quieter. The parks we enjoyed with Kenneth were no longer as magical. The kids and I re-traced a route we once walked with their father. We stopped to eat near our favorite museum. Ethan wanted to see the two-headed bird again floating in formaldehyde. He remembered it from our previous trip. Across the street we noticed a bar: Bon Vivant. The same phrase I had engraved on Kenneth’s niche, because when we first met he kept telling me he was a “bon vivant.” We thought it was a sign. Still, I didn’t feel an overwhelming urge to go back to Paris. Once a city I wanted to live in, it was now a place stained by a burst dream.
It was too bad, because on my third trip to Paris I finally found the neighborhood I really liked (near the Picasso museum). That’s the thing about cities. You don’t really know how you feel about them until you visit several times.
I traveled to see my friend In Mexico for the first time in 11 years. She now has a baby. I have three. The days of mini skirts and clubbing are long gone. We sat in yoga pants with cups of coffee. It didn’t feel like 11 years passed between our visits. When it was time to leave, I had the same longing I felt several times before, the wish that we lived closer to each other. It is always both joyful and sad. Still, I’d rather know people around the world than not, so it is worth it.
For winter break the kids and I went to Japan. It was more than I ever dreamed of. We enjoyed temples, udon, train travel, museums, curry dishes, bento boxes, Sanrioland, and lots of walking. I decide Kyoto is one of my favorite cities. We promised each other that we would be back. Sooner rather than later.
Our next trip will be various cities in Italy and Copenhagen. I thought I would never return to Italy, but I’ve watched too much Eat, Pray, Love and I’m feeling like a beat-up human that needs copious amounts of gelato. I will visit different cities this time, like Venice and Perugia. I’ll finally hire a private guide to give me a historical tour in Rome. I’ll see Copenhagen, a city I was supposed to visit with my husband. He would be so jealous.
I have the next ten years planned with dreams of Peru, Bali, Thailand, South Africa, the Galapagos, Iceland, and more Japan and Israel. There are places in the U.S. I still want to see, like Mackinac Island and Chicago. But that’s the beauty of traveling. There are an infinite amount of places to experience, and it always leaves you with something to look forward to.
And these days, I need something to look forward to.
*Note: I wasn’t able to cover all of my travel destinations and stories in this super long essay.