Where you goin’, Corey?
It’s no mystery that I love traveling. Because I don’t have a chance to travel as much as I would like, I also love planning future trips. I read travel novels and guides for leisure, but I also read them to glean ideas from our world and to begin considering future vacations.
I have a list in my desk drawer of every single site and city I want to visit in Britain, compiled with the help of a DK Great Britain guide and a ten-hour shift at the Relay center. It includes everything; from the places I’ve been and want to revisit now that I understand what it was I was looking at to the sites I’ve only read about. I want to stand on the battlefield where thousands lost their lives in 1066. I want to revisit the site where Becket’s body was cleaved in Canterbury Cathedral. I want to go to London and not waste an hour at Madame Tussaud’s.
There are other places I want to visit, though, and I present to you, with short synapses, the five cities and areas that I want to visit before I die. Some are simple: cities within the United States that I’ll have no problem visiting. Others are loftier. All are cities, because I love cities. I have nothing against the wilderness, or the quieter regions and hidden villas, but the cities are a nation’s heart – the place where the decisions are made and the national theme is set.
Without further adieu:
I think most of the allure of Boston is that it’s so steeped in history, both US and English. This, along with Philadelphia, was the center of the original colonies, and there is 250 years of turmoil and success in the streets of the city. Kerrie and I chose Boston as our top honeymoon choice, but instead traveled to New Orleans which, for all I know, was much more suited for “honeymoon” status.
2. Tokyo, Japan
I’m not sure when I first decided that I wanted to go to Tokyo. I’m not sure why I first decided, to tell you the truth. I have always had anxieties about language barriers – Paris was fun, but it was hell when the clerk didn’t know English and I attempted my horribly basic and broken French – and so I’m not sure why I would want to go to a country whose language is not even from the same historical branch. Still, there’s an adventurous allure to Tokyo, and it’s a city that I imagine would be something unforgettable – good or bad. It’s a writer’s paradise from the standpoint of culture differences, and though the “American in Japan commenting on weird things” genre has probably been overdone, I would still enjoy drinking in the culture and trying to get along in a city that is so different.
Prague’s been on my radar since Kerrie came back from her European trip with tales of the majesty of one of the continents most historical and tortured cities. It’s part history, part revolution. One side of it’s allure is that it’s survived occupation, flood, war, and time itself to become a completely European institution, while the other side is it’s mystery, how it’s managed to continue living life as one of the main metropolitan areas of eastern Europe.
Well duh. I’ve never been to New York, so this is an obvious choice. Sure, I want to go to New York and see the people, the theatre, the architecture, the museums, everything. I want to go to New York City and slum around Manhattan for hours; days if I need to. I want to feel important and rich by eating at world renowned restaurants and wandering through expensive shopping centers. Most of all, though, I want to experience the subway. As a full fledged London Underground and Paris Metro admirer, I’d love to complete the trilogy and spend a few hours shuttling around on the New York subway. I’m sure it’s anti-climatic to some, but it sounds great to me.
This could have been Rome or Cairo – the other two cities that fought for this final spot – but instead I go back even further in time to Greece. I want to go for the history of classical Greece; the ancient ruins and sites that once held the lives and ideas of a civilization before England, before Italy, before any of the history I currently know anything about. The English wasn’t the English without the Normans and the Romans, and the Romans weren’t anything without the Greek. Athens is the backdrop for the original Greek gods, the backdrop for the Iliad and the Odyssey, and it has a bunch of crumbly buildings. Perfect.
My ultimate goal in life is to actually visit every place in 1000 Places to See Before You Die, though I’ll probably be pretty happy just visiting the five listed above. Ask me in ten years if I’ve done any of this. I’m sure I’ll have, maybe more.
Until then, I’ll just continue to pour through these DK Travel Guides and imagine actually being there.