One of my favourite games is to dream of the places that I might travel to, the things I could see, imagining the pleasure of sharing the experience with friends and family. Let’s face it, at this time of year when the days can be dark and cold, we could all use a little escapism, to imagine ourselves in a place with blue skies and sunshine or at least one that has new and fascinating possibilities. HomeAway have come up with a clever game to help with the daydreaming in a Places to see before you die micro-site which allows you to plug in your interests and see what places you could visit at each age of your life.
To give it a try, I put in my age and location, then selected some of the things that I enjoy such as culture, gastro, activity. To be honest I love doing a whole range of things depending on where I am and who I’m with, but the things I didn’t bother to tick were clubbing (I leave that to my kids), shopping (although I love searching out local crafts), beach (love walking along them but not so good at relaxing) and romantic (although I enjoy spending time travelling with my husband).
I was impressed to discover that I would be travelling until I’m 82, and why not? My parents are in their late 70s and are always off somewhere interesting, and they were the ones that gave me the travel bug from our family camping trips around Europe. Here are the HomeAway Places to see before you die recommendation for me and what I thought of them.
When I’m 56 I should visit the Dead Sea in Israel/Jordan
The Suggestion: Bordering Jordan to the east and Israel to the west, the Dead Sea is a unique body of water that lies 423 metres below sea level. That alone ought to make the Dead Sea an intriguing proposition, but its peculiarities don’t just end there. With a salinity level of 33%, the Dead Sea is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world
My Thoughts: Israel and Jordan are both on my bucket list, ever since I spent a week in Lebanon a few years ago. I know that in the Middle East the hospitality is boundless, the people incredibly welcoming, the culture rich and the landscapes varied. I suspect that rather than spending much time drifting around in the Dead Sea, I’d have a quick dip and then get my hiking boots on to explore some of the desert and mountain landscapes of this part of the world.
When I am 61 I should visit Meteora in Greece
The Suggestion: Situated in Thessaly, central Greece, Meteora is one of the world’s more unusual destinations. Famed for the ancient monasteries which sit perched atop its cloud-topping rock towers, it’s a fantastic spot for those seeking a rural retreat in the mountains; and those looking to discover some of Greece’s finest natural landmarks.
My Thoughts: My sister lives on the Greek island of Zakynthos, where I visit her each year. Many years ago, when we were en route to her wedding to her Greek husband, my younger sister and I took a detour through northern Greece. I do believe that we may have visited Meteora or at least some of the rocky peaks and villages of this area, although I know that in some of them women are not allowed. I’d be very happy to go back, perhaps in the spring or autumn and link up with my Greek sister for a stay in the mountains.
When I’m 67 I’ll be visiting Socotra Island, Yemen
The Suggestion: Made up of four islands in the Indian Ocean, Socotra is an amazing archipelago; an area of isolated, alien landscapes. Famed for its plant life, a third of which can be found nowhere else on earth, its main island Socotra sits amidst three smaller and stranger isles; Samhah, Darsa and Abd al Kuri.
My Thoughts: Yemen is also a place that’s on my list to visit at some point and hopefully by the time I’m 67, some of the political volatility in this part of the world will have calmed down. I’ve heard that Socotra is one of the safest areas of Yemen to visit and I was fascinated to read what my friend Anil from Foxnomad had to say; It’s sort of like evolution got bored with the rest of the planet and decided to drop acid while creating the four-island archipelago. However I probably won’t wait until I’m 67 as my spirit of adventure may be waning a little by then.
When I’m 70 I should visit Sapporo, Japan
The Suggestion: Japan’s city of Sapporo is famed for a number of things. It boasts the country’s oldest beer (Sapporo Draft has been around since 1876), it’s the capital of Hokkaido (where the indigenous Ainu people are now settled), and it’s home to the Sapporo Snow Festival, which takes place every frost-laden February. Hats and scarves at the ready!
My Thoughts: This is one suggestion that I’m not really sure about. Although in a detatched way I find Japanese culture fascinating, it’s not a destinations that would be top of my list. The thought of discovering the country’s oldest beer is not especially enticing, although I can see my husband knocking back a few pints, and I’m afraid that I can happily miss out on frost-laden February, as I am more of a sunflower, gravitating towards warmth and sunshine when I travel.
When I’m 82 I should visit Jerusalem, Israel
The Suggestion: Not only is it the capital city of Israel, but one of the most important holy cities to the religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Brimming with historical sites, it’s one of the oldest cities in the world, and known as the ‘City of Gold’ in Hebrew. When you’re looking for a destination where glistening skyscrapers sit aside first century dwellings, head for Jerusalem.
My Thoughts: As a Catholic, I would love to visit the Holy Land, in fact I’m not quite sure why I haven’t already been as I enjoy connecting with my faith through pilgrimage travel. I’d love to experience at first hand the melting-pot of cultures and religions and to feel the history of the place, to walk where Jesus walked, and connect with what happened there centuries ago.
I’ve picked out the places I fancied most, but there were also some other suggestions that I might try in the future;
- St Helena, the volcanic island in the Atlantic that I’ll be visiting when I’m 64
- Rome, Italy I’ll be visiting when I’m 73
- Vienna, Austria I’ll be visiting when I’m 76
- Knossos, Greece I’ll be visiting when I’m 79
If you would like some inspiration for the places you could visit in the future, do check out the Places to die site from HomeAway.
More Travel Inspiration
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