Tag Archives: Take Nothing but memories

Top Destinations by Travel Writers for 2015

Check this out! Top Destinations of 2015 picked out by travel writers from an Australian Publisher! Both Ecuador and Ireland were on the list! Both were the places I went to in 2014.

This is great read for those who have places in mind to go to this coming year, but cannot seem to make a decision. My only comments are that:

Ecuador: Has so much more than the Galapagos Islands. I was so so

Jamu Lodge
Danielle and I at the lodge int he Amazon

disappointed when I had to chop up my trip and had to give up going there this time. I had to use my time extremely wisely. I fell in love with the country though! I will go back to see the Galapagos someday, but there is plenty that Ecuador has to offer! For one thing: the Amazon is in desperate need of support so the oil mongers do not tear it down. Some of the tribes we met were under the impression that if they had more tourists perhaps the area would be valued more and not torn down. And visiting Puerto Lopez and the humpback whales was one of the most influential and best experiences I have ever had overseas.

Puerto Lopez
Humpback Whales!

Ireland: Many Irish folk told me “Relax. Don’t try to see too much. Have a pint” and while that advice is all well and good, there is SO much to see in Ireland. We spent 11 days driving the coast from Dublin, over to Cork, and up the Wild Atlantic Way to Connemara. If we didn’t keep moving like we had, we would’ve missed some of the

Wild Atlantic Way
Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

best sites I have ever seen. The country is beyond beautiful and the history overfloweth! My best advice is to push yourself a little bit. Not to the point of not having a good time, but try to keep at it. It is well worth the effort!

Morning Wanderlust Surprise

Today I mistakenly saw a sight that made me smile more than I have in a while. It wasn’t really what I thought it was. I mean I wasn’t having visions or anything, but for some reason my brain was in the right setting to incorrectly translate something I saw on my way to work. Today the skies are grey, but it is not too cold. It is a

Canterbury
Outside the Canterbury Cathedral

temperature to wear a sweatshirt and jeans (maybe even a skirt with boots). I had sweat compiling at the seam of my hat by my fidora, because I was wearing too many layers in fact. No bright sunlight, but not uncomfortable. The wind was blowing just right for a December. I often have thoughts about England in the Chicago pre-winter conditions, but at this particular moment I was not consciously thinking about England.
I walked to the stoplight, but realized the light had just turned for the other direction, so I stopped. I checked my iphone for the time then looked down the street to see if there was a pause in the cars so I could skip across. That’s when my mind fooled me. I had a sudden jolt in my stomach. A pulse of butterflies filled me. It was a moment where I actually had to say to myself, “No Shannon, you are in Chicago.”
There, in the sky, was a steeple with a crown-like silhouette. It was

Canterbury, Kent
Canterbury, England

sight I had stared at everyday, 9 years ago, on my way to University. I had actually mistaken this Edgewater church for the Canterbury Cathedral. It must have been the right setting at the right time. I was on my way to work, like would have been on my way to school at this time of day years ago, the clouds were overcast, but it was warm and comfortable outside, so my mind triggered a thought that was completely fabricated. I think my jaw even dropped.
My stomach had jumped, but not in a way of shock or surprise. I had jumped in a surge of happiness and excitement. I stared at the Edgewater church for a while even after I realized the truth. I wanted it to be the Canterbury Cathedral so much. I have been having a rough time at home and in my everyday life lately, it was so wonderful to have this moment of pure happiness. Thoughts of Canterbury always make me smile. It was the only “real” time I was living overseas and made me feel special to called the sweet town Home.

Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral

It’s Not “Luck.” Just Do it. Wander.

While on the train this morning, a twenty something girl came into my car. She recognized the other girl about the same age sitting

Byron Bay
“Lucky” in Australia

across from me and sat next to me instead. She squished her over sized bag and coat between my body and the car pole by the seats. She explained that she did not want to sit next to her “friend” because she felt that she was getting sick….gee…thanks….

I tried to point my face from then on in the other direction, which meant my ear was turned toward their entire conversation. They joked about work and friends and a silly new exercise class they wanted to take together (which obviously was never going to happen by the tones of their voices). Then they started to talk about a friend of one of them visiting from London. My interest perked up. She was living in New York, but from London. The girls then joked about being very touristy in Chicago in order to show their English friend around.  But, what really intrigued me, (and to be completely honest) actually pissed me off a little was when they were talking about how she just visited Portugal.

“Portugal sounds so interesting. It would be cool to go there,” says

White House
“Lucky” in Washington D.C.

Girl 1.
“Oh yeah. It would definitely be a place I would want to go to,” replies Girl 2.
“We should go there sometime.” Girl 1.
“Sure. Like Right now.” Girl 2.
“Oh yeah lets just get on the Blue Line straight to O’Hare (Airport)” Girl 1
“Ok. Next stop” Girl 2 .
Giggling for too long.

Why is this so annoying to me? I know their type. They are not going to go to Portugal. They’re not. I know they’re not. It is more fascinating to spend vacation money to go to an all-inclusive in Mexico to them. This is a very common American mentality and it just really boils me up. They laughed it off like the idea was completely absurd. It’s not absurd. Save and do it. Just do it. Go to

Hakuba Skiing
“Lucky” in Hakuba Japan

Portugal. Why does that seem so impossible? Life is just waiting to be lived outside of your hometown. So go. Enough giggling about something because it seems hard. You work and earn money and have the curiosity about a place. So Go! Do it. Enough joking about it.

I guess it really gets to me because people always look at me as if I am “lucky” to have gone to all the places I have been. I am not “lucky.” Please do not call me that. I just save, plan, and do it. Anyone can. I am tired of people of equal or higher wage look at me like I am crazy because I go places all the time. I am not crazy. I am curious. I have Wanderlust. Don’t judge. Just do it.

San Diego
“Lucky” in San Diego at the Ocean