For the second leg of my Ultimate Bucket List For the Next Decade And Beyond (but really, I’m shooting for a decade)™, voy al sur- I’m heading to Central and South America. Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of knocking off a considerable chunk of must-sees by visiting Cozumel, Lima, Peru; Santiago, Chile and Easter Island, but it’s time to branch out even further. Since I’m a bit of a completist, wanderlust is taking me beyond the confines of the Caribbean and the Western coast of South America, into parts unknown…
Where am I? Well, I was just as surprised as you might be to know that this is what the Honolulu International Airport looks like. It was a veritable oasis and it took us awhile to get to ground transportation after leaving baggage claim to see this. What a beauty!
There’s something to be said for knowing who you are and where you come from. There’s clarity when you have evidence, documented or anecdotal, of which ancestor first arrived on these shores. There’s closure when you can pinpoint the village that your forebear(s) left in their quest to seek a greater fortune or better life. That is the story of so many who live in this country called “America”. Unfortunately, it’s not mine.
My ancestors didn’t come here of their own free will. They didn’t come to seek a greater fortune but rather were forced to create fortunes for others. They were held as chattel, beaten, worked relentlessly from sunup to sundown, raped and dehumanized because some people were too lazy to do their own work, they would rather cross an ocean to savagely kidnap people from a foreign land to do it.
I had started my own journey into my past by signing up for an Ancestry.com membership. It’s not as easy when you try to review the limited documents kept by men who deemed it acceptable to own humans like the people who are responsible for my existence. In fact, when reviewing the slave schedules, it’s a bit unsettling and hurtful to see your ancestors listed as property with no names…..you will have to guess if the male slave listed as aged 6 is that missing great, great grandfather that you are searching for. If you are fortunate enough to find the right family that owned them, surmise the age of the ancestor and sex and where they lived, you will have a chance….otherwise, it’s not until after slavery was abolished that they are mentioned by name (which isn’t really theirs or yours – but the slave masters).READ MORE
Sunset Boulevard, A Place in the Sun, The Greatest Show on Earth, Rear Window, The Ten Commandments, Breakfast at Tiffany’s…..the list goes on and on. All were filmed at this historic studio that was founded in 1912 by Adolph Zukor. From its humble beginnings before the depression until today, Paramount Pictures has been a force to be reckoned with when it comes to telling magnificently crafted stories. On a personal note, I think their best work was during Hollywood’s Golden age from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Now that I’ve been traveling internationally for well over a decade, I think it’s time to challenge myself a bit more. I’ve accepted that my wanderlust might never be completely quenched due to work obligations, budget concerns or both. However, I’m a firm believer in declaring what you want as the first step into making it happen. Here I go!
Perhaps I was inspired by my recent Global Entry application. Obviously, I’m in it for the long-haul if I’m willing to pay for the privilege of line-skipping. I began compiling a list of places I wanted to visit, starting with all fifty states then branching out internationally. The ultimate goal is to visit every continent, but I also wanted it to be realistic due to my work schedule. For the first part of this series, I decided to stick closer to home, focusing on the Northern part of the Western Hemisphere.
- Alaska Range Cruise
Maybe it’s because of the many afternoons I spent watching Bob Ross paint happy little trees in front of magnificent ice-capped mountains as a child or maybe it’s because of the “purple mountain majesties” I had to sing about at that one assembly in 3rd grade. Either way, I’ve always preferred the mountains to the beach. Ironically, next December, I’ll be embarking on my third cruise to an assortment of tropical destinations. To switch it up and combine my love of cruising and mountainscapes, I want to take an Alaskan cruise. Cruising through the Inside Passage while enjoying a gigantic mug of hot chocolate is my kind of vacation.
- Niagara Falls
It had always been on my list, but after watching Jim and Pam’s first wedding on The Office, Niagara Falls has been towards the top. I’ve been to New York and Canada several times, but I’ve yet to make my mark in Ontario or Western New York. I’m all about killing two birds with one stone and this will be the perfect opportunity. Whether enjoying the view of the Horseshoe Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls from the safety of Rainbow Bridge or while getting drenched on the boat deck, I know it’ll be a thrilling time!
Now that travel restrictions have been lifted, it’s the perfect time to visit the vibrant and mysterious Cuba. When I think of Cuba, I envision a kaleidoscope of pastel-colored façades, impeccably restored classic American cars and the clearest water imaginable. I look forward to spending an afternoon strolling along The Malecón, dipping my toes in the goldspun sand of Playa Pilar, enjoying an ensalada in one of La Habana Vieja’s many ice cream parlors and finding out all that this beautiful island has to offer!
I am sitting in the cab taking in my surroundings when I look ahead and see a partial view of a tall spindle right in front of me. I am overjoyed to see one of the most iconic symbols of the city that I have loved for so long and finally get the opportunity to see in person. I knew that my first trip to Paris was going to be quite the experience.
This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of visiting a local college campus that I had vaguely heard of since I live in Metro Atlanta. However, until recently, I had no idea how uniquely beautiful this school was, so I had to plan a visit to see it in person for myself. But first, here’s a little background: Berry College is a private, Christian college which was founded in 1902 by Mary Berry, the daughter of a well to do planter and cotton broker.
After realizing that the local planter’s children were illiterate, she decided to open the school and devoted her life to assuring that they learned the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. They earned their keep by helping to build what is now known as Berry College.
The campus is so picturesque that Hollywood has come calling several times to film movies like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Remember the Titans”. Come along with me as I discover the surreal beauty of this campus:
When you enter the main gate, you will see signage directing you to the far right lane. A security officer will come out to greet you, scan your driver’s license, give you a map and explain how to get to all of the major points of interest. It goes without saying that southern hospitality is alive and well here at Berry College. She couldn’t have been nicer!