As you know, I’ve been living and working in France for almost two months now. So far, things have been well- a little rough in the beginning, but now things have pretty much settled and I’ve gotten into the “usual routine” of working, doing my Master’s online, hanging out with my assistant(e)s flatmates, and of course, blogging. Nothing else much to it, but at least it’s something to do.
That said, even with all of these aspects taking up most of my day-to-day life in my small town in France, there’s still that little voice in the back of my head that I still can’t quite seem to shake off. No matter how hard I try to fight it, I always give in, spending a good part of my waking hour thinking, even obsessing over it.
What is it, you might ask?
Yes, I know…I must be crazy. That I need to be sensible and put aside my money for more “important” things like grad school, buying a house, retirement, etc. I blame last year for ever happening: visiting fifteen countries throughout Europe, as well as an eye-opening adventure in Japan and Taiwan during the summer, traveling has definitely spoiled me beyond words.
So far this year, I’ve been good: I didn’t go out too much during this past vacances de la Toussaint and have otherwise been keeping a strict account of every single transaction whenever I buy something, penny by penny. But still…the itch to spend money to explore a new place remains.
I shouldn’t continue to torture myself with viewing photos of other assistant(e)s’ grand adventures in Europe, or reading about other traveler’s amazing stories of exploring some little-known paradise in Asia or the Caribbean. I know they’re killing me, but still, I just can’t stop.
Call me dramatic, but when you’ve done something as incredible as traveling, you get this sort of high that you can’t shake off- the feeling never dies. And it has caused me to act out of impulse: just the other day, I finalized my trip to Lyon for les fêtes des Lumières in December, and I’m so excited! I’m well aware that it’ll put a noticeable dent in my bank account, but screw it: I’m going.
Any case, before I start rambling more about my *unhealthy* obsession for traveling, I’ve decided to share my bucket list on the places that I would love to visit while in Europe. While I’m certain that I won’t get to all of them, I can say for sure that I’ll be doing two of them (already booked!), but then I hope to squeeze in at least another one, maybe two, on the list. I’ve already wrote about this on my French blog, but this post will explain the reasons why I want to visit each of these places.
Without further ado, c’est parti!
1. Les fêtes des Lumières (Lyon, France).
Now, I’ve been to Lyon before (back in January), but I haven’t been to see les fêtes des Lumières! I actually wanted to go to last year’s, but unfortunately due to les attentats in Paris that November, it was cancelled. However, I’m set to go this year and nothing will stop me from seeing the lights- even if just for one night!
2. Lavender fields. (Provence region, France).
I was actually in Aix-en-Provence back in March, but of course, it was too early for the lavenders to bloom; they often appear starting in June. While it’ll be difficult for me to reason out why I should extend my visa until the summer, I would do anything just to stay a bit longer to make the trip down and see the lush lavenders!
3. Vík í Mýrdal (Iceland).
“Vík” for short, this village in Iceland is famous for its beach, made from black sand! Iceland has interested me for quite some time, and I also do want to make a trip to Reykjavík, but to make the trip out to the beach (180 kilometers, or 110 miles, away), that would be an adventure! I’m also dying to go see the Northern Lights in February, but from the looks of the airfare and my bank account, I don’t think I can do it…*cries*
4. Tivoli Gardens (Copenhagen, Denmark).
It’s been four years since I’ve visited Copenhagen; while I did see the Tivoli Gardens back then, I didn’t go inside of it. I’ve heard admission is crazy pricey (shouldn’t be surprised, though, since it’s in Denmark, i.e. a Scandinavian country, aka expensive!). Looking at photos of the gardens online, though, I am spellbound: it looks like something out of a fairytale!
5. Christmas markets (Germany).
The only Christmas markets I’ve been to so far were in Strasbourg and Colmar last winter (which I’ll be writing posts about soon). They were a blast, but I’ve yet to try out a German Christmas market, considered the most famous in the world. I’ve actually already booked to go this holiday season, as my German assistante flatmate encouraged me to visit the one in her city. I can’t wait!
6. Chefchaouen (Morocco).
While technically not in Europe, Morocco is still just a hop-and-skip away from the continent! I’ve heard so many good things about this North African country, including Chefchaouen, aka the “Blue City.” Of course, Marrakesh and Fez are on my list, but a short trip to this blue town is at the top of my list!
7. Gdańsk (Poland).
Last year, I’ve heard of many assistant(e)s who had gone to Poland to visit places like Warsaw or Krakow. I certainly have interest in those cities, but after doing a bit of Googling, I also stumbled upon this pretty gem of a city; it is a sea port located along the Baltic coast and the houses along the water remind me so much of those in Belgium and Amsterdam! I hadn’t had a huge incentive to go to Poland before, but now I do!
8. Croatia and Slovenia.
For Croatia, I actually visited Dubrovnik over ten years ago, but it’s been so long that I barely remember what I saw. That said, it merits a second trip over! I also would love to visit Split, then hitch myself over to Slovenia, its bordering neighbor. Ljubljana looks fantastic, with that country feel to it despite it being the capital of the country. I’d like that!
9. Istanbul (Turkey).
I know people are saying that things are currently not very “stable” in Turkey, as it’s close to Syria and there’s a lot of complications going on over there. That said, it’s better to wait, but then again, I’m impatient when it comes getting what I want. Call me a spoiled brat, but I really want to visit Istanbul, not just for the Hagia Sophia, but also for its blend of European and Asian cultures, from the food to the markets to everything in between!
10. Moscow (Russia).
I was in Saint Petersburg four years ago and found the experience very enriching. Although I’m aware that the VISA situation to enter the country is rather difficult, I still would like to see the “other city” in Russia. Just like with Saint Petersburg, I can expect Moscow to be rich in history and culture, impressing me with all it has to potentially offer!
…and that’s it! Again, we’ll have to see if I can even make it to half of these places on the list this year; if not, there’s always another time!
What are your top-three destinations that you would like to visit? Let me know!