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Hitting My Travel Goals: The 60×60 Project

Life is short and the world is large. I’m throwing down the gauntlet and am pledging to hit 60 bucket list travel goals by my 60th year. I’m calling it my 60×60 project and by writing it down, I’m making it real.

Come along for the ride and I promise you that I’ll continue to deliver what I’ve been delivering all along; alternative itineraries and offbeat adventures for those of you who want to explore beyond the obvious.

Iceland Oraefajokull Glacier Warrior
Totally owning this glacier in Iceland

I’m Creating Travel Goals and Sticking With Them

I’m very fortunate that my lifestyle affords me the time and resources for travel. This website is an effort to pay that forward by offering you inspiration and insanely useful travel advice in return. My appetite for travel has always been vast but, until now, my bucket list has been a fluid mix of twenty or so places that I’m interested in visiting. Things get added, then dropped, and then a location will muscle its way up to the top of the list and off I go.

In January of this year, I was flummoxed. My list was as long as usual and I was having trouble prioritizing. I also turned fifty-five this year and have had several family members and friends die in the past eighteen months. With that has come the realization my clock is ticking and the world isn’t getting any smaller.

So, I have resolved to become more deliberate about achieving my list of priorities. I don’t feel obligated to visit someone else’s idea of “must-see” sights and it’s not my goal to visit all of the 194 UN nations. (Sorry, North Korea but things are just too whacky over there). However, I have committed myself to making time for the experiences which keep knocking on my brain.

Mosvold Villa Drinking a Coconut
Meeting travel goals is hard work so stay hydrated with a coconut in tropical climates

Wayfaring Views 60×60 Project

In addition to my normal goal of visiting 2-3 new countries or territories per year, I’m also going for the stretch with 60 travel goals to complete by the time I’m 60.

These 60 travel goals represent places or experiences that I am itching to do and itching to share with you. Some are niche, some are weird and I’m absolutely certain crossing my fingers that all of them will be interesting.

***Caveats, fine print and exit clauses. Author reserves all rights to totally change her mind about any or all of these bucket list travel goals and has the right herein to add and/or subtract items on the list if she see someone going somewhere outstanding and she experiences FOMO thereby adding said place to the list thereby bumping off some items that would have been cool except that something even cooler came along.***

The Best Golden Gate Bridge Views- Vista Point
Travel starts from my home base near San Francisco

OK. Let’s Get Started!

New Countries in 2018: Iceland (check out these four posts on Iceland), Luxembourg (3-day weekend itinerary, and why to go there) and Estonia (things to do in Tallinn).

New Countries in 2019: Colombia (2-week itinerary and San Andres Island) and Australia.

Complete the US States and Territories

It would be a shame for me to hit sixty without making sure that I’ve seen all of the United States and territories. For the US states, I’m particularly weak in the deep south and northeast. I have also chosen to add the territories because they are all conveniently located in warm tropical climates. What follows includes the states and territories that I have yet to claim.

1. Guam
2. Northern Marianas Islands
3. American Samoa
4. Maine
5. New Hampshire
6. (Done 1/19) Delaware
7. Rhode Island
8. Mississippi
9. Missouri
10. (Done 8/19) Alabama
11. (Done 8/19) Arkansas
12. Kentucky
13. (Done 8/18) Tennessee. Get the weekend itinerary for Nashville)
14. (Done 8/19) Kansas
15. North Dakota
16. South Dakota
17. Alaska
18. (Done 8/19) Oklahoma

Gladstone's Library Wales
Because why wouldn’t you want to have a slumber party in this library?

Explore Immersive Literary Travel & UNESCO Cities of Literature

I am a former bookseller, current library lover and devoted reader of over fifty two books a year. I seek out bookstores and libraries when I travel and always read books set in my travel locations. So, for me, making a travel goal full of literary adventures is a no-brainer.

One such goal is to visit many of the UNESCO cities of literature. The Cities of Literature are a global network of cities recognized by UNESCO for their rich history of literature. Even before I had heard of the UNESCO program, I found myself attracted to cities of literature, having already visited Edinburgh, Barcelona and Seattle.

In addition to the cities of literature, I’m also keen to explore an immersive literary experience or a LARP (life action role play). I had an immersive residential library experience at the Gladstone’s Library in Wales and am itching for more. I’m particularly interested in doing a Potter/Wizard themed LARP.

19. (Done 3/18) Reykjavik, Iceland -You should totally go solo to Iceland
20. (Done 7/18) Tartu, Estonia
21. United Kingdom: (Done 6/19) Manchester, Norwich or Nottingham
22. Europe: Krakow, Lillehammer, Milan or Prague
23. North America: Quebec City, Iowa City or revisit Seattle with a specific literary trip
24. Oceana: Melbourne (Done 4/19), Dunedin OR South America: Montevideo
25. A literary LARP or immersive experience such as the College of Wizardry in Poland and/or the Open Book AirBnB in Wigtown Scotland where you run a bookstore for a week

Read More: Find more literary travel and book lists here.

Greetings from Chicago Street Art
Murals take the museum into the streets

See the Coolest Cities for Street Art

At first glance, pivoting from literature to street art may seem like a non-sequitur. However, they are really two side of the same artistic canvas. Both great literature and street art subvert the norms and provoke cultural exploration.  In fact, there are several cities of literature that have well established (Melbourne) or emerging (Reykjavik and Dublin) street art scenes.

Street art has evolved from being a thuggish gang warfare into a legitimate art form that demands attention. Well, it demands my attention anyway. My travel goal is to visit a few well-established street art cities like Bristol and Melbourne in addition to smaller towns or cities which have an emerging scene. I’m also interested in timing some of these visits to coincide with street art festivals.

26. (Done 7/18) Tallin & Tartu, Estonia- Take Estonia street art tour.
27. (Done 7/18) Bristol, England- Take the Bristol street art tour.
28. (Done 3/18) Reykjavik, Iceland- Read the Reykjavik street art guide.
29. (Done 4/19) Melbourne, Australia
30. (Done 6/19) Berlin, Germany
31. Stavenger, Norway
32. (Nashville 8/18) North America: Nashville, Bushwick New York, Miami, Honolulu, and/or Montreal

Read More: Start here to find more street art cities.

Dambulla Caves Cave of Kings Sri Lanka
The Dambulla caves in Sri Lanka took a natural wonder (caves) and turned them into an enlarged man-made wonder with statues and frescoes

Experiencing Man-Made Wonders

The man-made wonders that most intrigue me all have an air of remoteness and epic scale. These sites were hard to make, are usually hard to get to and I would like to discover their mysteries. I’ve been to and marveled at Chichen Itza, the Colosseum and Sigiriya and am interested in learning about the cultural conditions and craftsmanship that have created the following landmarks:

33. Petra, Jordan
34. Macchu Piccu, Peru
35. Easter Island, Chile
36. Mount Rushmore

Magellanic Penguin Nest
Helping the Global Penguin Society with an annual count of Magellanic penguin nests was the highlight of my Argentina trip

Support Wildlife Conservation

I’m a nut for wildlife and supporting wildlife conservation has been an important part of my personal philanthropy for many years. I’m a fond supporter of the Wildlife Conservation network and am inspired by their efforts to blend wildlife conservation with community development programs. I have been fortunate to visit the programs for fishing cats, wild African dogs and Magellanic penguins and want to do more.

I’m also dying to see some very specific animals in their natural environment. I’m less interested in these sketchy “animal encounters” and am more keen to meet the animals on their own turf. My wildlife travel goal is to visit either one conservation program or have one special wildlife experience per year.

37. (Done 3/19) Whale watching in Baja California- Learn more about glamping in Magdalena Bay Mexico.
38. (Done 3/19) Whale sharks in Mexico
39. Cheetahs in Botswana (with CCB)
40. (Done 2/19) Cotton-Top Tamarins in Colombia (with Proyecto Titi)
41. Revisit Painted Dog Conservation
42. One other WCN program, TBD

Read More: Find more articles on wildlife and conservation here.

Cool things to do in Reykjavik: Penis Museum
The Phallalogical Museum in Reykjavik is one of the weirdest museums I’ve ever visited

Exploring Offbeat Attractions, Urban Grit and Unlikely Locations

I simply like weird things. I want to see that oddball museum, the abandoned building, or even the independent micro state of wherever, which was established by some iconoclastic crank. Of course, there was that time I accidentally took a porn studio tour (yes, I totally did that and was mostly confused the whole time).

Of all of the goals on the 60×60 list, these are the most likely to shift around. There are a few that I definitely want to do, but I also reserve the right to be moved by Atlas Obscura and my fellow travelers, to try some new garbage patch or the world’s largest whatever.

43. (Done 3/18) Penis Museum in Reykjavik- It’s of many cool things to do in Reykjavik
44. (Done 6/18) Sewer Museum of Paris- It’s part of my 4-day Paris Itinerary
45. Cherynobyl Tour
46. The Independent Republic of Molassia in Nevada USA)
47. One more kooky micro state like Liberland (on the Danube bordering Croatia), Christiania Freetown (in Denmark), Sovereign Military order of Malta or The Principality of Hutt River (western Australia)
48. Slab City, California

England Exmouth Jurassic Coast red stacks
Dinosaurs once roamed this UNESCO designated landscape in southwest England

Journey Through Epic Landscapes and Outdoor Adventures

Look, I’m not an adrenaline junkie. I’m not going to jump out of a plane or summit all of the world’s highest peaks. But I do love an epic landscape, especially one that surprises. The surprise could come from its unlikely location (like the great hiking in Hong Kong) or a spare landscape that reveals itself slowly (like the Atacama) or because it’s so gobsmackingly beautiful in pictures that I have to see it for myself (like the ice caves in Iceland).

48. (Done 4/19) The 12 Apostles and Great Ocean Road in Australia.
50. Atacama Desert in Chile.
51. Unusual trails: Hikes in Hong Kong, Rails to Trails hikes (Katy Trail in Missouri, Hudson Valley trail network or Vias Verdes in Spain or similar)
52. (DONE 3/18) Ice caving and glacier walking in Iceland (and why you should do Iceland in the winter).
53. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef.
54. Snorkel in the Seychelles.
55. Hike Eastern Europe: (Plitvace Lakes in Croatia, Lake Bled in Slovenia, Tatra Mountains in Poland?)
56. (Done 6/19) Revisit a section of the Camino de Santiago.

Best Sri Lanka hotels: Vil Ulyana
Luxury accommodation in Sri Lanka

Do Something Decadently Luxurious

I don’t consider myself a luxury traveler because I like to optimize for volume. This is to say that I’d rather spend my money traveling modestly to many places rather than traveling in luxury to a very few places.

That said, I will spend the bucks if it’s the best way to have my desired experience. For instance, I bucked up for the full Galapagos cruise because it offered the widest range of landscapes and animal spotting. Then, there are those things worth experiencing simply for the pure indulgent luxury of it, like the following:

57. Fancy over-water bungalow (somewhere in the Maldives or the South Pacific).
58. Luxury rail journey (India, Europe or Canada).
59. Sleep in a castle.
60. Full-in first class on a transoceanic flight. Hello, Singapore Air or Etihad, are you listening?

The 60×60 project is officially ON. I think that these travel goals are do-able. What do you think? I’m going to keep this list updated as I chip away at the list so check in periodically for updates. Happy trails!

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Paulette

Monday 15th of July 2019

Carol - Just discovered your site and love your zest for life! It is contagious! Doing something similar, though not on the same massive scale as you. Decided to retire in my 50s a couple years ago to travel the world and hit my bucket list while still young and fit enough to enjoy it. Just returned from Scandinavia and headed to Morocco in Sept — so far 10 countries in 3 years. Looking forward to following your travels!

Carol Guttery

Tuesday 16th of July 2019

Right on! If you aren't mindful about making room for travel, daily life will just get in the way.