Saturday was my 40th birthday.
Forty. 40. The Big Four-Oh. I’ve been saying and writing it a lot lately, largely because I can’t believe I’ve been on this planet for 40 years. It seems like just yesterday I traveled with some high-school classmates to the first inauguration of then-President Bill Clinton (in 1992). I remember stuff before that, too—the first time I visited Cape Cod (in 1983), the first time I saw a whale in the wild (1981), and more.
You guys, I’m old.
When I’m not sitting here freaking out about receiving my AARP card, all this reflecting on the past has inspired me to think at least a bit about the places I’d like to travel with my family in the next 40 years. Here, then, in no particular order, are some of my picks.
- Egypt. Powerwoman is an archaeologist, and considering my big girls both are obsessed with mummies and pyramids (largely because their mom is an archaeologist), we MUST go to Egypt as a clan. When we do, I’ll sit back and watch my bride teach her kids how to love antiquity. And it will rule.
- India. Who WOULDN’T want to go to India? I’m not crazy enough to want to do it with the girls until they are MUCH older (at least teens). But I cannot wait to expose them to life on the subcontinent. Or the food (Indian food is among my faves). Or the Bhangra (I listen to it often when I’m working).
- South Dakota. Good ol’ S.D. represents one of only four states I’ve never visited (the others are North Dakota, Tennessee and, oddly, Mississippi). It also happens to have two of the American treasures I most want to see: Mount Rushmore and the Badlands. Of all the items on my list, this is the most doable in the immediate future. Stay tuned.
- Maine. I spent a bunch of summers of my childhood in New England, and none of my girls (including my wife) has ever been there to experience it for herself. At some point—preferably when the kids are still young—I want to take them there to show them the quiet beauty that is our northeasternmost state. (Also, I’ve got a dream to take them sailing on an old schooner.)
- Italy. Nevermind that both my wife and I each are 50 percent Italian; I want to visit Italy with my family so the girls appreciate time-tested architecture, renaissance artwork, great food, and, of course, REAL GELATO. I’d also love to give the kids the chance to experience The Vatican.
Some people refer to these sorts of lists as “bucket lists.” I’m not a huge fan of that phrase and I dislike the concept of a list of stuff you do so you can say you did it before you croaked. Also, by no means is this list set in stone; I want my picks for places to visit to evolve organically over time.
For me, this list is a start for my next 40 years, a road map, if you will. What’s on yours?