Wide Eyes and Itchy Feet

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I want to see the world. I think that may have been part of the reason why I chose to do journalism at university. Though another reason may have been my longstanding secret desire to become Nancy Drew, Veronica Mars, Phillip Marlowe or any sort of plucky and quick witted detective, and journalism seems like a good starting point for that. I’ve been a voracious reader for as long as I can remember. Using books to escape from the troubles of everyday life and instead frolic in Narnia, 1940’s Los Angeles, Genovia, post-war England and many other real and fictional places. Every time I read about a place I seem to travel there by way of my own thoughts and immersion in the stories and characters. But besides literary travelling I have actually very little stamps on my (now expired) passport. Besides a trip to South Africa by way of Singapore when I was 12, I am yet to experience the big wide world outside the confines of book pages.
One of my favourite things to do when I’m meant to be doing something else is to make lists. Things I want to buy, books I want to read, things I need to do. But the one that always ends up being the longest and most fun to write is my list of places I want to go. Some places are childhood favourites, innocent choices made without regard for real world problems. But they are all places that I think I would be able to marvel at something, whether that be at a centuries old monument or a much loved theme park ride. So here are four places, influenced partly by reading, that I most desperately want to see.
1. Greece
The Temple of Athena, Santorini, all the ruins, the food. I want to go to Greece and be somewhere that has an amazing amount of history behind it. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants also has some part to play in my desire to go to Greece. Ann Brashares’ wonderful descriptions of Santorini and the beauty of the caldera have always made me want to visit there, spend lazy afternoons there lying in the sun.
2. Disney World
Or Disneyland in California, EuroDisney in Paris, Hong Kong Disney. Pretty much to just stand in front of Cinderella’s castle, watch the parade, walk down Main Street. For as long as I can remember I would wake up on a Saturday and watch Saturday Disney. And more than once a year they would show the three presenters going to one of the theme parks and going around and experiencing everything that I’ve ever dreamt of. There’s a Babysitter’s Club Super Special book where they all go to Disneyland and Karen pretends it’s her birthday so she can get Goofy and a bunch of other characters to sing happy birthday to her. I will never stop wanting to go to a Disney theme park, no matter how old I am!
3. NBA Pilgrimage
This one is more recent, and a lot more to do with my insane love for basketball. I want to be able to take a trip to the US and spend an obscene amount of money traveling to and watching games in NBA cities. Must have stops include Chicago, Detroit, New York, Boston, Miami, Texas (Dallas and San Antonio), Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle (I’ll watch the Storm play and mourn the Sonics at the same time), Oklahoma City and Memphis. Though my ultimate goal would be to be able to watch all thirty teams in the one trip!
4. Botswana
Alexander McCall Smith and Precious Ramotswe of The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency have made me fall in love with Botswana, and I’ve decided that I have to travel here at least once when I go back to the continent. How can you read these books and not fall in love over and over again with the earthiness and magic that Africa has to offer?

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