Recently, I’ve revisited a few posts I wrote early on in the history of this blog. The reason? I was interested in looking at them again to see if my predictions were close, if things I imagined turned out to be true and if things I wanted to do/try were still on my do/try list. I enjoyed revisiting what I expected to miss about my sticks-and-brick life as well as work I thought would be fun while living the RV life. It made me realize that in order to have posts to revisit in the future, I needed to start making more predictions, sharing more ideas for what the future will look like. So, today, I wanted to share some international travel and other non-RV travel that stand firm on the bucket list.

When I lost Solstice, several people asked if I was going to get another dog. Some suggested the best way to get over a pet loss is to bring more love (pets) into the home. My go-to response was that I would consider another dog once my heart was no longer broken. In a couple months, it will be two years since she took her last breath on earth and my heart is no less broken. I’m starting to think it simply does not unbreak. The best you can hope for is to build up a little scar tissue to ease the pain of the loss.

And, while all of that is true, there was also a second reason that I didn’t say out loud. I had a secret international travel (and other travel) wish list that didn’t include (or allow) animals. With Kitty nearly 18, a little more deaf and blind and slow each day, it won’t be long before I find myself petless. When that day comes, I can actually look at the list as a list of possibilities and not just a list of some-day dreams. Today, I wanted to share a few. And I hope you’ll share your travel dreams in the comments.

Black Lab and a brown cat sitting, back to back, on a round gray pet bed.
It’s hard to believe I’m almost without pets. Weren’t they both babies just yesterday? As always, both are pretending the other doesn’t exist.

Train Ride

While nearly all of my wish list is international travel, I do have one item on the list that is within the US. I want to hop on an Amtrak train. Now, I’m not really that interested in a train ride for the sake of a train ride.

However, Amtrak offers these “vacation and rail tour” packages. You arrive at various destinations along the way via one of their trains and once there, you get off, have an excursion and stay overnight at a hotel. Then hop back on the train and speed off again.

A silver train rounding a mountain.
An Amtrak train, borrowed from their website.

Their vacation packages are where you simply take a train to a location and then they give you a tour package of the area. For example, you can do a 4-day excursion to Washington, DC. You arrive on Amtrak but then stay 3 nights in a hotel and the package comes with various tickets to things to do in DC. Now, that is NOT an example of what I’m talking about since, really, it’s just a regular vacation package where you reach your destination by train.

I’m talking about the multiple-stop train rides. In these, each night you stay in a different place as well as a few overnights on the train. For an extra charge, you can have sleeping compartment. They take care of getting you to your hotels. Then at each stop you get some kind of excursion or tour. The package even includes a couple of meals.

Many of the cities offer hop on – hop off tours. You might remember I went on one in Portland, Oregon. Those tours are an excellent way of seeing a lot of a city in the span of a day. I highly recommend them.

My Top Train Ride Tours

Nearly all of them sound pretty great. But three in particular spoke to me.

  • Canada Coast to Coast: 17 days, from east to west with five stops in between Halifax and Vancouver.
  • Grand Rail Experience: 14 days where you basically circle the US, starting in Chicago with stops in Seattle, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Washington DC and returning to Chicago.
  • Old West Rail Journey: 13 days starting and ending in Los Angeles with stops in Grand Canyon, Williams, Sedona, Flagstaff, Albuquerque and Santa Fe. There is also a similar one that starts in Chicago and ends in Chicago.

These can be pretty pricy, especially when you add in a sleeping compartment and consider you’ll still have to buy meals, but I didn’t say my wish list was practical, only that it was my wish. Besides you never know what might happen to turn a wish into a reality. I, for example, never thought I’d be able to be a full-time traveler when the thought first came into my mind so many years ago. Look at me now.

International Travel: Big Picture

I have separate and specific visions for what I’ll do in each of the countries on my list which I’ll explain below. However, my overview list of places I want to visit focuses on:

  • Mexico
  • Spain
  • Antarctica
  • Greece

International Travel in North America: Mexico

My father owns a house in Mexico and has for 20 years. The feature photo is from the balcony of his second floor condo. When he bought it, you got there on a dirt road. It was a small fishing village called Punta Mita, 30 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. But word spread in the intervening years and it’s no longer a sleepy little fishing village. It’s quite popular for those who want to get out of PV. Because there is a fancy Four Seasons resort, celebrities and other people with lots of money are frequently in the area.

From 2001 to 2004 or so, I went down a bunch of times and then a few times in the five years that followed. But then I became more interested in spending my vacations at writing conference and then I was focusing on becoming a full-time traveler. Then I became a full-time traveler. In other words, it’s been a decade since I visited.

In the meantime, my sister fell in love with the place and especially the weather so moved down there in 2015. She’s lives in Nuevo Vallarta which is about halfway between Punta Mita and Puerto Vallarta.

Anyway, I’d like to go and spend a couple months with her. Not really as a tourist, just as a relaxer.  

A beach photo. Water to the right and trees, palapas and beach chairs to the left.
I took this photo of Punta Mita 20 years ago this month and it’s still one of my favorites. My dad’s condo is just behind the palapa. Today, it looks a lot different but back then, there was very little out there and I loved it.

The Camino: Spain

The Camino de Santiago is an ancient pilgrimage. Back in the day people would leave from their front door and walk to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain to visit the bones of St. James. Today, there are about 20 “main” routes that pilgrims walk.

By far the most popular one is called the Camino Frances or the French Way. About 50% of the more than 300,000 people who walk each year take the French route which starts in St. Jean Pied de Port, France and goes for 500 miles across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. It takes about 35 days. You can do the math to understand how physically arduous the task is.

I want to do that.

Inset is a map showing France, Spain and Portugal. Larger is a closeup of northern Spain indicating the route for the Camino Frances.
Borrowed from Responsible Travel website. You see Spain borders both France and Portugal. The Camino Frances (the French Way) is indicated on the map.
A map of Spain with Camino de Santiago routes highlighted. The legend indicates the name of each Camino.
This map shows seven of the Caminos. These are seven of the more popular routes.


This one might sound unusual. But, actually, it’s been on my radar for decades, ever since I heard that they offer writers the chance to spend six months down there. To be honest, I don’t remember all the details. Or even the name of the program itself as it’s been a long time since I looked into it. But how could you not want to try to visit a continent that so very few people in this world have the opportunity to experience?

I mentioned in the vegan post that I enjoy watching hiking videos on YouTube. One of my favorites is a solo woman who is a full-time hiker, Sara Dhooma (trail name Carmen, as in Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?).

In early 2020, Sara was hiking Patagonia (the southern tip of South America shared between Chile and Argentina) when the opportunity came up to go on a 10-day cruise to Antarctica for half the normal price.

It was February. My guess, as we learned how contagious the COVID virus was expected to be, travel restrictions from China freed up many spots on the boat. Then, once on the boat, through a lottery system, Sara even got to spend the night on Antarctica (she had to dig a hole and it was 15 below overnight). Now she has camped on all seven continents.

Anyway, watching her Antarctica videos sparked my interest once again in visiting. Not sure if I’ll do something like what Sara did. Or if I’ll revisit the idea of applying to go as a writer.

By the way, hiker Sara Dhooma has also walked multiple Caminos. In October, she hiked a few hundred miles of a 1,000 mile Camino starting in Vezaley, France where she planned to walk 560 miles across France to St Jean Pied de Port before crossing into Spain and making her way to Santiago when the second wave of COVID hit and the world shut down again. She was force to get off the route and return home to Canada.


Ever since I saw the movie Shirley Valentine, Greece has been at the top of my list of international travel I wanted to experience. You might even remember, my very first post of this blog. Nearly five years ago, I wrote all about how I decided to give up the idea of celebrating my 50th birthday in Greece. I exchanged that dream for the dream of an RV life. The post was even named Giving Up Greece.

But exchanging the dream never meant I gave up the dream.

International Travel or Other Travel: Where in the World?

Do you have an international travel bucket list? What about other types of travel? If so, share one or two places you want to visit in the comments. It’s so much fun hearing what places tickle other’s fancy.  

Sculpture of two triangle-headed figures ascending a ladder while a bigger triangle-headed figure stands at the bottom with arms outspread. Sculpture is on the walkway in front of a beach.
This is taken at the malecon (walkway along the beach) in Puerto Vallarta. Maybe not completely relevant to the post but it is one of my favorites. The sculpture is by the Mexican artist and jewelry maker (I have several piece) Sergio Bustamante.

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