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“What made you decide to go there?” That’s a question I’ve been hearing a lot the last couple of years. No one ever asks you that when you’re planning a trip to France or Italy, but it was the first thing anyone asked me when I talked about my trip to Iceland last year (and it’s come up again recently since I’ve decided to visit Turkey this spring). For true adventure travellers, none of the places I’ve been to are especially exotic, but many people choose to spend their holidays closer to home at cottages up north or in tropical locations like Cuba or Mexico.

I don’t have a long “bucket list” of places I want to see before I die, and in the few short years that I’ve been able to travel outside of North America, I’ve crossed a number of them off the list (the timing has just never been right to go to my number one spot, Greece). Truthfully, many of the places I’ve been to so far were never on that list and I haven’t added many new destinations to it either. I do have a few countries on my “maybe someday” list – it would be nice to go to Australia or Thailand or Peru someday, it’s something to keep in mind for next time.

And yet, when it comes time to make a decision about where I want to go, like a magpie drawn to sparkly objects, I find myself distracted from such lists – by a random photo I stumble across or a kernel of an idea planted by talking to someone or just simply from a golden opportunity knocking at my door. Before I know it, I am counting down the days until I step foot in a country I’d never given much thought to before and it’s the most exciting thing ever.

I’m dazzled by places that I haven’t seen thousands of pictures of beforehand. I am continually surprised and charmed by places I knew little about prior to visiting. The thrill of discovery is addictive and I am bubbled over with enthusiasm when I return home and spread tales of my travels.

I’ve heard amazing things about the Algarve in Portugal, and with the World Cup coming to Brazil in 2014 that might be the perfect time to go south and cross Iguazu Falls off my bucket list. If I really want to torture myself, I’ll pore over the list of World Heritage sites. Oh, if only money was no object, I’d have all the time in the world to go any place I’d ever want to.

“What made you decide to go there?” I don’t really have a good answer to that question, other than it’s there and it sounds awesome. However, I’m always interested in good suggestions: where would you love to go and why?

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Like many people in recent years, my life has been financially topsy-turvy for a while now. One large consequence (at least for me) was my inability to justify the expense of a vacation away from home – I had caught the travel bug, only to be tragically rendered housebound thanks to the busted economy. 2011 is a brand new year and a fresh start, and I am thrilled that my travel plans are back on track.

I have decided on a trip to Iceland, leaving at the end of June. Not only am I expecting the landscape to be incredibly beautiful, but at that time of year I can experience “White Nights” when the sun sets at midnight and rises at 3:00! Should be memorable, which is what I hope for with every trip I take.

Usually once I’ve booked the trip, it becomes an all-consuming part of my days and it’s all I can think about. I spend the time remaining poring through guidebooks and making lists (to do lists, packing list). If only I could harness the energy I put into feverishly working through all those details, I would never have to pay for an electricity bill again!

Instead, I’ll harness it in a healthier way, through this blog. Guide books, travel accessories, what to pack: I will mull these over here and share with all of you who might be interested.

If you have any tips for me, about Iceland or travel in general that you’ve found to be helpful, please leave a comment and let me know. I love hearing other people’s travel tips and recommendations.

Photo from http://www.iceland2go.com/iceland.asp

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