Saturday, March 10, 2018

My List of Countries and US States

I have mixed feelings about traveling. I usually have a great time when we go on trips. I love walking, eating, sight-seeing, etc. Sometimes I love traveling so much that I imagine I'd like us to be one of those families that gives up their home and travels full time.

On the other hand, traveling makes me anxious. Before a trip, I usually feel stressed to the point of mild depression.  I don't like flying, not because of a fear of crashing, but a fear of a mass vomiting situation. Actually, even a mild vomiting situation worries me. 

I don't like leaving our cat behind. I worry about Annie, and I miss her. We actually planned to not get any more pets, mainly because of the traveling issue. But we learned that life feels quite empty without a cat.  So, there's that. 

I worry about the financial aspects of traveling. Tickets, food, lodging, etc. It all adds up.

And I'm a homebody.  I love being in my own house, sticking to my little schedule. 

So I love traveling and I don't love traveling.

What I don't have mixed feelings about...What I love 100% is THINKING about traveling, imagining traveling, and planning trips.  I think armchair traveling is one of my favorite things in life.  

For the past few (several?) months I've been making this list. It's of places I might like to go. Or actually it's places I'd like to go and places that pop into my awareness in various ways.  If I hear about a place and it sounds lovely to me, I'll add it to the list. If I dream about a place, I might add it to the list. If I like/heart/favorite a photo on social media, I'll add the location to my list.

Once I add a place to the list, I'll give it points every time it comes to my attention or I have a warm feeling about it.  As places get more points, I add it higher and higher on the list.

This isn't like a bucket list. I don't have plans or even desires to go to every place that's high on the list.  If I go to three or four on the list throughout my lifetime, that's awesome. If I go to one of two, that's cool.  If I go to none, I'd probably be able to accept that as well.  

Anyway, I thought I'd share what's on my list so far.  Well, I'm not going to share everything because as Jack has pointed out, I have almost every country and US state in existence.  I'm just going to list things with ten or more points.

So...

The very top of the list is the United Kingdom.  That has 164 points. We went to London in 2010.  I'd love to go back there and explore more of England, and also spend time in Wales and Scotland.  My favorite TV show (Coronation Street) takes place in Manchester, so the UK is close to my heart.  Plus we watched The Crown, so now I'm actually kind of interested in the Royal Family.  AND I love that London has a Muslim mayor.  

Australia is next on the list. It has 149 points. My passion for Australia has died down considerably, but I still have some love.  At times, I really miss that passion. I wish it would return. I get little waves here and there. For example, last night I had a dream about Australia that gave me some Aussie-love.  

France is third on the list. I've been learning French on Duolingo for over a year.  I'd like to add Disneyland Paris to our list of visited Disney parks. I think the language is beautiful...the scenery. I like the pastries.  

Italy. This is where I can see my list has faults. Because I don't want to go to Italy. Yet somehow it has gotten up to 100 points. The thing is, I keep seeing photos of Italy, and they're so beautiful.  I think Italy is the most beautiful country. Yet I don't have a desire to go there.  It doesn't excite me. I don't get excited about Italian food, especially the desserts. I don't like cheese in my desserts and that seems to be a big thing in Italy. I guess I could eat gelato all the time?  The other thing is, Italy is too classy.  I like cute/weird/quirky more than classy. That being said, France seems more classy than weird as well.  But they have Disney, and that is kind of cute/weird/quirky.

Canada is fifth on the list with 95 points. This is somewhere we've wanted to go for awhile. It's sad we haven't yet, because it's pretty close to us. We've often debated where in Canada we'd like to go. Right now, we're leaning towards Quebec.  I'd also love to go to the way eastern parts, like Nova Scotia and NewFoundland. 

Japan is sixth on the list with 91 points. We went there in 2017 and loved it. We visited Kyoto and Tokyo. We'd love to return and visit more places.  Japan is a perfect example of cute/weird/quirky. It's perfect in that sense.   

California is the top US state on the list. It has 66 points. When I was a teenager, my parents took us on a road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles.  I'd love to do something like that with Jack and Tim.  

Okay. Now I'm getting tired. I think I'm just going to quickly list the rest of the places.

So in the 50-59 point category, there's Germany.

In the 40-49 point category, there's The Netherlands, Norway, New York, Iceland, Switzerland, and Finland.

Iceland is another place where the list shows its fault. Because Iceland is actually one of the places I want to go most. Yet somehow I'm not getting it up high enough. I need to work on that.  

In the 30-39 point category, there's China, Denmark, Greece, Spain, and Thailand

In the 20-29 point category, there's Sweden, Austria, Turkey, and Croatia.

In the 10-19 category there's Israel, South Africa, Louisiana, Belgium, South Korea, Greenland, Florida, New Zealand, Portugal, Morocco, Cuba, UAE, Hong Kong, Ireland, and Myanmar.

I don't truly want to go to Myanmar. It's just this guy I follow on Flickr takes really good photos in Myanmar. And I have the rule that I have to give points to a place every time I favorite a photo. I'm not good at breaking rules I make up...even if they're crazy ones.  

In terms of what I'll eventually do with this list.  I think I'll try to keep up with it for the rest of my life. I'll just keep adding and see what happens.

Well, no actually. Another rule I came up with is that by my next birthday, I'm going to delete all places from the list that don't yet have ten points. And I won't add new places after that.

When Tim, Jack, and I plan our next big trip, we might do this thing where we pick a place by each listing ten places we'd most like to visit.  Each place gets points depending on how high they are on the list. Then we add up all the points.  I'll use my list to determine what countries I nominate.

If we plan on a trip with financial constraints, then we'll limit ourselves to places that our fairly close—Canada, California, New York, Florida, Canada, Iceland, etc.

Texas hasn't gotten up to the ten points club yet, but I'd love to visit more of my own state.  Sometimes I hate Texas for it's redness, but I get excited for it's blueness and it's potential to turn even more blue.  I also love that we're getting more and more immigrants.  

Wherever we decide to visit, one of the thing that excites me most is seeing the immigrant culture... or at least seeing attempts at multiculturalism.  Japan doesn't have a lot of immigrants and from what I hear isn't very welcoming towards immigrants. But they have a ton of Italian restaurants. I love seeing stuff like that.

When I was in college we took a family trip to England and France. We went on a tour and our tour guide made a negative remark about all the immigrants.  I don't remember it exactly, but it was along the lines of England losing it's Englishness...it's purity. The sad thing is, instead of being offended, I agreed with her.  I mean not aloud, because I was shy. But I wanted England to look like England and by that I mean, I wanted the people to look like the characters in Peter Pan and Mary Poppins.  

I wish I could say I got over that feeling soon after college. But that would be a lie.

 I've never been against immigration. I've never wanted places to be white only or colonist/native/descendants-of-kidnapping-victims only. But I worried about places becoming so full of immigrants that they'd lose their original flavors.  Now I love the idea of everything being mixed.  If anything, it makes things easier on me!  I can go to only one country. Let's say the UK. And while I'm there I can also feel I'm in India, Pakistan, Germany, Jamaica, Kenya, Hong Kong, etc. I might not see the famous sites, but I can hear the languages and the accents. I can eat the foods. I can hear the music and see the fashions.