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Bucket Lists, Dream Vacations, & Travel Fantasies

What's on your travel bucket list? Here's what our writers daydream about

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Join the Bucket List Brigade!

You hear the phrase bucket list frequently when people talk about travel.
But what does it mean?

The phrase was popularized by the 2007 movie The Bucket List. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman meet as hospital roommates. They decide they must do certain things they've always wanted to before they "kick the bucket."

Their bucket list involved a rollicking road trip in which they crossed daring escapades off the list.

OK, So How Would a Bucket List Apply to Travel?

Travel bucket lists are travel fantasies that are also ambitions to go, see, and do. A travel bucket list typically includes a variety of experiences:

Getting some ideas? Good. Now for some insider info: Luxury Travel writers' travel bucket lists.

MICHAEL HILLER

Pickled baby eggplants in Kyoto ©Wilbanks/ Wikimedia Commons
  • To eat my way through Kyoto, a profoundly historic city of spectacular Japanese food treasures
  • The Cape of South Africa, to explore the wine country and golf courses
  • Havana! Everybody wants to go there. They must know something
  • Golf-wise: Hole 19, Legend Golf & Safari Resort, Entabeni Safari Conservancy, South Africa. You take a helicopter to the tee box for this hole on a cliff on Hanglip Mountain, since the green is more than fourteen hundred feet below. The green is shaped like the continent of Africa. It takes 20 seconds for a ball to hit the ground
  • I'd like to spend three weeks holed up eating and drinking in Piedmont in Northern Italy, sipping old Barolo and rolling pasta beside a storybook nonna, who could teach me the lost art of farmhouse cooking
  • Maybe I can stop off to do some of these things during my year at sea aboard an around-the-world cruise

MAX JACOBSON

Inle Lake, Myanmar ©Marc Veraart/Flickr/ Wikimedia Commons
  • To spend time amongst the Intha, a persecuted Buddhist people living at Inle Lake, Myanmar. I'd like to experience their language, a dialect of Burmese
  • To visit Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric dam, on the Yangtze River in China
  • And Lijiang in Sichuan Province, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This village, over a thousand years old, is known for its Naxi minority culture
  • To take the Trans-Siberian Railway through seven time zones from Moscow to Vladivostok, Russia

MAUREEN JENKINS

Havana ©Pedro Urra/ Wikimedia Commons
  • Havana, Cuba (I've already been, but I can't forget it)
  • To stay in the soaring Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, a monument to luxury
  • The Grand Canyon (Can you believe it? I'm from Chicago, but that's no excuse)
  • To sit courtside at the French Open and Wimbledon
  • To cruise on the Nile all the way from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean
  • To finally live in Paris in a romantically small flat and just write
  • To fly First Class on one of the world's great airlines, like Etihad or Singapore Airlines
  • Italy! To spend weeks leisurely traipsing across Sicily or a lesser-visited part of the Boot, maybe Basilicata or Le Marche

ERIC LEVIN

Kauri Cliffs ©Ralph Bestic/Wikimedia Commons

NIKKI NEU

Lesvos ©ronsaunders47/ Wikimedia Commons
  • A luxury villa, but not just any ultra-posh villa. Made for me: the super-exclusive Villa La Cassinella on Lake Como, Italy. It's secluded and accessible only by boat. I'd throw a once-in-a-lifetime dinner party (the dining room seats 24) with chefs at work in the two kitchens. I'd save a seat for neighbor George Clooney
  • A week in Provence can work wonders on your spirit...and your stomach. Renting the Mas de la Barrianne villa would be an enlightened getaway. It fuses the comforts of modern luxury with Old World architecture. Best of all, the huge outdoor living space, complete with private pool, provides a storybook 360º view of the French countryside
  • Hmm, maybe I want an island...a Greek isle. Let's see, Lesvos, a large, green island off the Turkish coast. Within this enchanted domain, Villa Faros occupies its own 150-acre peninsula. Plenty of room for six bedrooms and a dock for your yacht. George, you're invited

STARRE VARTAN

The Alhambra's Patio de los Leones ©Jim Gordon/ Flickr/Wikimedia Commons
  • The Alhambra in Granada, Spain, I was there at 20 and resolved to come back with my beloved, when I found him. I've got the guy! Now I need to experience sunset on the walls of this Moorish pearl set in emeralds (stone palaces set in the tree-filled oasis that is the city of Granada). There, I'll read aloud from Washington Irving's Tales of the Alhambra
  • I'm half Australian, with family in Sydney and Brisbane. But I've never been to Ayers Rock, the deeply spiritual geological wonder in the Northern Territory. The Anangu Aboriginal people call it Uluru
  • Hiking from natural hot springs to natural hot springs and bunking at ryokan inns in rural northern Japan, with a massage and post-soak sake at each one
  • This may be next for me: Tulum at the wild southern end of Mexico's Riviera Maya, home of yoga-on-the-beach, healthy raw restaurants, and low-impact tourism

YOUR GUIDE, KAREN TINA HARRISON

Victorious horse owner and jockey Ryan Moore at Royal Ascot, June 2013 ©Chris Jackson/Getty Images
  • To finally drive cross-country in the U.S., possibly in a silver Airstream trailer, detouring to every flea market and barbecue shack
  • To soak up Cape Town, South Africa, where my father lived before I was born, when it was a sleepy coastal city
  • Fernando de Noronha Island, an ecological preserve sometimes called "Brazil's Galapagos." To visit takes dedication: you must apply for a tourist permit, wait for an opening, and get yourself to northern Brazil for the journey by sea or air
  • To cheer with the crowd at England's Royal Ascot races or the U.K.'s annual Triple Crown: the 2,000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby, and the St. Leger. I hope that the field includes a horse whose jockey is clad in the royal purple silks of an avid Thoroughbred breeder and owner listed in the racing form simply as HM The Queen
  • Here's to your bucket list travel dreams!

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