A few years ago, I bought the book 1000 Places to See Before You Die.
Slowly I've been marking off the sites I've seen and reading about the places I still long to see. The world is so much smaller today for travelers, but my list is still vast.
Early this summer I returned to Nepal for a brief visit to friends and family in the Kathmandu Valley. I was astonished to see a proliferation of Western style shopping malls as consumerism bumps up against centuries old tradition.
Later this summer, I took a whirlwind trip - three days - to Los Angeles to pick up my son. We crammed a little sightseeing in, checking out Los Angeles by night on a bus tour - a great way to cover a lot of ground, learn about a city and its inhabitants, in a very short period of time.
In 2006, I spent two weeks in Italy, concentrating on Rome and Florence. I fell in love with the beauty that infuses all aspects of Italian life. From the country's language, its art and architecture to its food, design and fashion, Italians put joy and passion into the art of living well.
A highlight of our trip was a daytrip to Pompeii, an ancient landmark I'd dreamed of visiting since I read the novel, The Last Days of Pompeii, a classic story of the cataclysmic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the destruction of the ancient city. That slim volume inspired me to see a world beyond the small Southern community where I grew up.
The story of Pompeii's destruction enthralled me as a child and fascinated me as an adult.
My first trip outside the United States was to the Grand Bahamas. A friend and I booked a long weekend to Nassau, staying at the beautiful Royal Bahamian with its gorgeous, sugar-fine, white sand private beaches. I was hooked on travel.
Since that first trip, I've traveled throughout North America, Europe, and parts of Asia. My bucket list is long. I plan to travel until my legs and heart will no longer carry me.
I started writing about travel and later began selling travel online, serving as both a consultant and providing one-stop shopping at my website, Affordable Travel Center.
Among my favorite things to do is read about the places I dream of seeing. I recommend my clients - and anyone who dreams of distant destinations - do the same. There are many excellent books available to inspire and to plan for your future travels.
I recommend these for dreaming and planning.