Speaking of this week, it has been a rough one for several of my friends and family members. There have been quite a few surprise losses of wonderful people, which has really put things in perspective for me this week. At the risk of sounding cliché, tomorrow isn't promised. As I've gotten older, I've really tried to keep this in mind as I plan for the future, particularly as it pertains to travel -- a passion of mine. It's tough to stay optimistic about setting and achieving goals when you think you may not ever reach one (depressing, I know), but it's an important part of living, in my humble opinion. Excitement about future plans keeps me going, as opposed to fear and dread holding me back.
One day, it occurred to me: What if I never visit any of the countries on my ever-evolving bucket list? That's when I decided that I would just try to set a goal of one or two places I might want to visit that year, while still allowing myself to daydream about other places that interest me. That, to me, is more realistic, and less overwhelming. But... it's still more fun to lighten up a little and fantasize, isn't it? ;-) Which brings me to the theme of today's Friday 5 Linkup: 5 Dream Vacations.
In 2015, I made two out-of-country trips. My first trip of the year was to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the second was to Toronto, Ontario (Canada). This year, I am hoping to have the opportunity to visit a few different places - in the United States, as well as abroad. You'll notice that I've actually visited more than half of the places on this list. The reason they're on this list is because I loved them so much the first time around, it would be my dream (and an actual goal) to return for the opportunity to see more!
- Belize - I have been wanting to travel to Belize ever since I saw Samantha Brown travel there on her show years ago. (Samantha and I became BFFs - in my mind - a long time ago, back when I was dealing with a really bad case of insomnia.) Now that Southwest flies to Belize City from BWI for pretty cheap, it's looking like a possibility for 2016! I would love to explore the coral reefs and Mayan ruins in Belize, and just have the opportunity the experience a new culture. Belize is a small country, which makes it easier to get around and participate in a multitude of different activities in a short period of time.
- Vancouver - I've only been to Niagara Falls and Toronto in Canada, but I really want to visit Vancouver! Many of the photos I have seen have been absolutely breathtaking! I really want to go hiking and trail running in Vancouver. The RunGo app, of which I am an ambassador, is headquartered in Vancouver, so I'm hoping to get to meet some of the RunGo team members if I have the opportunity to make it out there!
- Puerto Rico - My brother is recently engaged to be married, and his fiance is originally from Puerto Rico. I've been to Puerto Rico just once before, but I feel like I only got a small taste of this amazing country. I would love to do some rum tastings and venture out further from San Juan to experience different parts of Puerto Rico. The food is delicious, and the coastline is spectacular! We'll see if I end up visiting Puerto Rico for a vacation, or for my (formerly little) brother's wedding.
Taken back in 2006, during my first trip to Costa Rica.
- Costa Rica - In 2016, it will be 10 years since I've been to Costa Rica. As I've probably mentioned before, I studied abroad in Costa Rica for a summer semester between my junior and senior years of college. We traveled all over the country during this experiential learning period, but there is still much more I would like to see. My hope is that a few of my former classmates will want to travel there with me this year. Fingers crossed!
First family vacation in Hawaii, just over a decade ago!
- Hawaii - My parents really want to plan a family trip to Hawaii in 2016. We haven't been back in about 10 years, and we all really enjoyed our first/last trip. Back then, we visited the islands of Oahu and Maui, and I would absolutely love to visit Maui again. I think I would want to check out the Big Island on a return to Hawaii, though it would wonderful to see any of Hawaii again. It is such a beautiful state! Maui is so rugged, and I want to experience that kind of natural beauty again.
What are your top dream vacation spots? Do you ever find yourself editing your bucket list? What is something you recently decided to just go for? Who are you going to hug this weekend?