I doubt that my bucket list of dream travel destinations looks much different from that of a traveler without pain. Maybe it’s a little bit more ambitious. I’m not just a traveler with chronic pain–I’m a dreamer with chronic pain.
Here are just a very few of the places I want to go and things I want to see on this Earth before I die:
I’ve been fascinated with Egyptian history, culture, mythos, and lore off and on since I was 11 and read a bunch of the Elizabeth Peters “Amelia Peabody” mysteries. I want to dip a toe in the Nile. I want to stand in the shadow of a pyramid. I want to stare at a Sphinx.
I think it likely I’ll get to go to Egypt one day. Maybe even one day soon. I’m meeting people online who can help me create a trip to Egypt that will not overtax me physically nor expose me to significant political danger. I expect such a trip will be six months in the planning, minimum. I won’t go alone because I’m not an idiot–I’ve never been to Egypt before, I don’t know the lay of the land or the customs of the culture, and I’m a disabled white woman. When I go, I will do everything I feasibly can to mitigate my liabilities.
* Jerusalem and Beyond
I studied the Crusades in some depth when I was in college. My favored group was the Templars–a group that bear some odd resemblance to the opposite side of the #OccupyWallStreet protesters today. They couldn’t win a fight to save their souls (har har) but they created the checking account.
To study the Crusades is to yearn to walk some of the holiest ground on earth. I long to follow in the footsteps of the original Pilgrims, walking from Turkey to the Holy City. It would make my decade to be able to cruise from Venice to Malta, from Malta to Acre.
But this trip ain’t happenin’ any time soon. I’m a small, half-crippled white girl who’s got no Arabic. And an arrant coward who doesn’t want to be shot or blown up or beaten or imprisoned and used as a political bargaining chip. Sue me.
* New Orleans
Yes, it’s shameful. A food and travel writer of American origin who’s never been to New Orleans. This one’s likely to get fixed sooner than later–I just need a budget and a ghost of a reason.
New Orleans is an easier destination for me–it’s within my home country. I know the culture and customs and what to expect regarding basic accessibility of hotels and attractions. I speak the language and can read the road signs. (Yes, both languages–I speak French too and can fumble my way along in Cajun.) I’d feel reasonably comfortable driving a car if needed, and I know the drug laws.
* Panama and Beyond
I have been told that there’s nothing quite like standing alongside the Panama Canal and watching the ships pass through the locks. My dad’s a hydro engineer–I grew up on stories and tours of great waterworks. But beyond the manmade wonder of the canal, I’ve developed a strong desire to explore the natural wonders of Central and South America. Rumor has it that Ecuador offers amazing tourism opportunities for disabled visitors of all ability levels. Charters seem to compete for the business of wheelchair-bound sport fishermen. I like to fish!
This desire will encompass multiple trips over many years (duh), and won’t start for at least a couple of years primarily due to financial disability. Once I get the money together, I’ve got contacts in the region who will probably be able to help me put together a fabulous starter trip that will not destroy me physically. Truly, several Central and South American nations seem to Have It Together where accessible travel is concerned. I can’t wait to see how well they do with hidden disabilities.
* New Zealand
I am an unrepentant geek–one aspect of my geekdom is love of The Lord of the Rings movies. Between the sweeping vistas of Middle Earth and my dad’s and my husband’s descriptions of the beauty of this wild land, I just gotta go see it for myself.
Both financial and physical disability dissuade me from attempting NZ anytime soon. I want to be able to enjoy the adventures available in New Zealand when I get there, and I’m not in condition for that just yet.
* U.S. Civil War Sites/Trails
My geekliness encompasses a love of history. This includes U.S. history, and the Civil War is one of the most brutal and important things ever to happen on U.S. soil.
For me, the Civil War History Trip will actually be Trips. My physical limits will make it both easier and better for me to visit such a wide geographical space over the course of several distinct trips, with nice long rest breaks at home in between. While I might be able to start this journey soon, I want to plan it carefully. I want to read some books and watch the PBS Civil War mini-series again before I go.
It’s much more important to me to do these (and for that matter, all the others on this list) trips right, not fast or too soon. I want to remember what I see. I want it to matter to me, to make an impression that sticks with me for the rest of my life.
These are only a few destinations on my list. So where do you want to go? What’s on your bucket list? Do you think you’ll get there? Can I help you do it? If you think I could help, please ask anytime! I’m happy to do research, make connections and introductions, and offer any advice I’ve got.
Next, I think I’ll post a list of bucket-places I’ve already been to–focusing on those I’ve visited with my chronic pain.