By Julia Rosien
As a child, all I ever dreamed about was living in a chocolate house - like a gingerbread house, only yummier and minus the witch. Now that I'm all grown up, the Hotel Chocolat in St. Lucia is waiting for me to visit (I can dream!). While it sounds amazing, I've been blessed with some pretty delish travel experiences in my life - and a few awkward ones too.
1. Hot air balloon over the Rio Grande
I've ridden a hot air balloon over the Rio Grande, a helicopter over Niagara Falls and a volcano. Oh, and I've sat in the shotgun seat in the cockpit of a luxury jet enroute to Barbados. I'd like to do them all again and then I'll tell you which I like best.
2. My first time horseback riding was on a beach in Texas - I was 7 months pregnant. The horse bolted and my husband charged up beside me, grabbed the reigns and saved us. He'd never ridden a horse before either.
3. I bar hopped in Mobile, Alabama with two male travel writers, one from New York, the other from Las Vegas. Our last stop was a gay bar. I enjoyed my beer in peace - they weren't so lucky.
4. Mississippi river boat cruise
I spent three days on a river cruise on the Mississippi in a refurbished barge and finished the trip with a tour in a 4-seater plane over Pilot's Island at the mouth of the Mississippi. There's an awful lot of mud in that part of the world.
5. I hitchhiked at midnight in Albuquerque while listening to the coyotes. In Texas, I was chased by a dog at noon and fought back by throwing my frozen dinner at him. In Tuolumne I bought a magic coffee mug for a kiss. All three experiences required quick thinking...
6. I'm not part of the mile high club (ewww - have you seen those bathrooms???) but there's a spot along the 45th parallel that will always hold a special place in my heart. Gotta love the wide open spaces of Algonquin...
7. Before Katrina, I walked with a friend from the French Quarter of New Orleans through the Lower 9th Ward to the Garden District. I'm thankful for the naiveté that put me on that path and the kindness of strangers that kept me safe.
8. Caribbean Princess Bridge tour
The first time I visited Las Vegas, the closest I got to the strip was in a taxi on the way to the airport. At noon. I've since made up for that faux pas.
9. On my first cruise, the captain invited me to the bridge while the ship was docking. I'm not going to lie, it was very cool.
10. My favorite places on the planet (so far) include: San Francisco, Antigua and Eastern Ontario. But to tell the truth, I'll travel anywhere at least once.
My travels have taken me across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean but there's a big beautiful world out there and a lot more exploring in my future. The sad truth is that my bucket list is too vast to even begin listing everything in it. And my dearest wish is that I'll still be traveling when I'm a withered old woman being wheeled up the gangplank while flirting with the staff.
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