On February 8, 2018, I turned 49. Many people thought I was turning 50 and asked how I planned to celebrate. I knew a party would be a given, but as I thought about it, I realized I wanted something more. Looking at the 40 to 50 years to come if I'm lucky, I want to make sure I will continue living with gusto and not complacency.
A month before, I learned that I wasn't selected to be The New York Times' reporter to travel to 52 places in 2018. This was not a huge shock — they received 13,000 applications! — but the rejection stung. I had wanted this role and knew I would have kicked some serious ass doing it. I wasn't interested in taking a year off to mimic it, but it did inspire me to create my own list: 50 places I've never visited that I will travel to in my 49th and 50th years.
By taking on this commitment I'm saying "yes" again to living big and following my heart and a big "no" to multiple weekends laying on my couch and binging on Netflix. Coming up with my list was surprisingly challenging as I want it be realistic in terms of time and finances and also be sure it will force me to stay on my toes to make it happen.
So here's my list. I plan to meet up with friends along the way — let me know where I'll be meeting you!
Here's to a life well lived now and well into the future.
Skydive somewhere! (eeek!!!)
Morocco, Marrakesh - October 2018
Morocco, Erg Chebbi dunes - October 2018
Morocco, Chefchaouen - September 2018
Morocco, Fez - October 2018
Iceland, Blue Lagoon
Iceland, ice cave tour
Iceland, Northern Lights
Finland, Loyly sauna
Estonia, Tallinn - seeming ambitious. Went with Vinales, Cuba instead - December 2018
Russia, St Petersburg, Hermitage
Russia, St Petersburg, Peterhof or Catherine's Palace
Russia, Moscow, Red Square
Russia, Moscow, the Kremlin
Kauai, kayak the Na Pali coast - July 2018
Kauai, Waimea Canyon - July 2018
Kauai, birding at Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge - boring so changed to Secret Beach - July 2018
Boston, Massachusetts, Freedom Trail
Boston, Massachusetts, Harborwalk
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts,
Horseshoe Bend, near Page, Arizona
Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
North Rim of Grand Canyon, Arizona
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
Olympic National Park, Washington
Canada, Vancouver Island, Tofino - not easy to get to! Went with Trinidad, Cuba instead - December 2018
Portland, Oregon, WDS stage as attendee story! - June 2018 but as bollywood dancer!
Lassen National Park, California
Pinnacles National Park, California - March 2018
Celebrate my dad's 80th somewhere great!
Sierra Hot Springs, Sierraville, California - looked skanky so switched to the Alhambra in Grenada, Spain - October 2018
Farallon Islands, California - September 2018
Andrew Molera State Park, Big Sur, California
Esalen Insitute workshop, Big Sur, California - June 2018
Alamere Falls, Point Reyes National Seashore, California
Pie Ranch for a barn dance, Pescadero, California
San Francisco tiki bar bar crawl - September 2018
Bike the Bay Bridge
UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens - March 2018
On location TBD to tape my 3rd Amazing Race application! Who’s coming with me? - who am I kidding? too much travel this year! Switched it to Seville, Spain - October 2018
An alternative medicinal center
Go-with-the-flow location - Edna Valley and Paso Robles wine tasting - March 2018
Surprise-the-hell-out-of-me place - helicopter ride in Kauai - July 2018
Last-chance-for-50-for-50!!! - Havana, Cuba! - December 2018