Where should I travel?

20 Places I Want To Travel To Before I Die

"There is a map in my room, on the wall of my room, and I've got big plans" - The Front Bottoms

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I have one of those scratch-off maps in my room, always reminding me of one of my biggest desires in life. I have wanted to travel the world as long as I can remember. As a child, I explored encyclopedias and read all about history and different countries. I originally wanted to study archaeology and anthropology! I haven't had the chance to study abroad, but I know I have my whole life ahead of me to make things happen.

Here are some of my top destinations:

1. Machu Picchu, Perú

Nestled high in the slopes of the Andes, the ruins of Machu Picchu continue to reveal the mysteries of the Inca Empire. (nationalgeographic.com)

Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

Machu Picchu is one of the amazing creations left behind by the Inca Empire. I love history, especially ancient cultures, so I am really drawn to this place. I would love to hike the trail and see this place in all its splendor.

2. Hawai'i

From the hustle and bustle of Oahu to the romance of Maui and off-the-beaten-path pursuits on Lanai and Molokai, the Hawaiian Islands offer enough to see. (visittheusa.com)

Photo by Peter Vanosdall on Unsplash

Hawai'i seems kind of like a cliche tourist destination, but I'm dying to visit the islands. I really want to explore the beaches and hiking trails here.

3. Spain

Park Güell is one of the most impressive public parks in the world. The park is located in Barcelona and was designed by famous architect Antonio Gaudi. (parkguell.org)

Photo by Vitor Monteiro on Unsplash

I would love to explore this European country, including the cities of Madrid, Barcelona, and Toledo.

4. France

I feel like France would be an art lover's dream. I really want to go to Claude Monet's house in Giverny, France, and the Louvre and Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris.

5. México

México is one place I really hope to be able to visit. I'd love to go to la Ciudad de México, where my significant other grew up. One of the attractions there that I would like to visit is Frida Kahlo's home (I really love famous painters). I'd also love to go see the Mayan ruins and visit the cities of Merida in the Yucatán and Oaxaca.

6. California, USA

I have not been to California yet, but I definitely feel like I would love it there. Of course, it'd be nice to see some of the places in southern California, but northern California really calls to me. I'm dying to visit the Redwoods National Park and drive the Pacific Coast Highway.

7. Ireland

Towering heights and crashing waves, ageless legends and endless flurrying birds: the Cliffs of Moher are a natural masterpiece. (ireland.com)

Photo by Leighton Smith on Unsplash

As the home of my ancestors, I would really love to visit this beautiful country. I'm just fascinated by Europe because there is so much recorded history on these lands.

8. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is an eco-tourist's dream. There are national parks, volcanoes, waterfalls, rainforests, cloud forests, underground cave systems, beaches, animal sanctuaries, exquisite diving destinations, and adventure parks. I would love to go here and soak up all of the amazing natural attractions Costa Rica has to offer.

9. Greece

I have always loved learning about ancient Greece, so this country has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. Not only would it be amazing to view the ancient ruins scattered around the country, but I would also love to visit the Santorini islands.

10. Amsterdam, Netherlands

With world-class museums, quirky festivals, theatre, live music, laid-back bars, and delightful restaurants, there's never a shortage of things to do in Amsterdam. (iamamsterdam.com)

Photo by Ramida Made on Unsplash

Amsterdam is definitely a unique city and there a lot of things that I feel would make it worth a trip. And (is it predictable now?) I would love to see the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House.

11. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

The Salar de Uyuni is a salt flat, and it is known as one of the most unique views on Earth. The reflective properties of the expanses of salt can make the sky look endless.

13. Egypt

A complicated but fascinating country with some of the most enduring historical monuments on Earth, Egypt stands as an unforgettable travel destination. (worldtravelguide.net)

Photo by Fynn schmidt on Unsplash

My mom and I always talked about going to Egypt together one day, as we both love to learn about the ancient civilizations there.

14. China

Ever since I was young, I have wanted to visit China. Seeing the Great Wall is definitely something I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember. I'd also like to see the Forbidden City in Beijing and the terracotta army in Xī'ān.

16. Mitad del Mundo, Ecuador

I think it would be fun to visit the equator line in Ecuador. They also have interesting demonstrations, such as of the Coriolis effect.

17. New York City, USA

view from the Staten Island ferry.

Photo by BICAD MEDIA on Unsplash

I haven't explored NYC yet, but I have ridden through it on the way to Massachusetts. I hope to cross this off my list soon!

18. Miami, Florida, USA

home of Dexter.

Photo by Muzammil Soorma on Unsplash

I've been to Orlando several times, but haven't made it down to Miami yet.

19. Colorado, USA

As an avid concert-goer, I'd really love to visit Colorado and see a show at Red Rocks.

20. Tromsø, Norway

According to Travel + Leisure, Tromsø is in an area that offers the highest chance of seeing the lights. There's also whale-watching tours. I hate the cold, but it definitely would be amazing to see the lights one day.

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18 Times Kate Middleton Was Actually All Of Us In College, Beside The Princess Thing

Every girl has to go through her clueless college stage before she reaches Duchess status.
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Kate Middleton is basically a household name by now, and how could this not be the case when she has the gorgeous hair, kind smile, and incredible fashion sense. With her constantly in the spotlight looking so put together, we sometimes forget that the Duchess was actually all of us in college!

Here are 18 times that Kate proved she was just like all of us.

1. Going all out in the name of school spirit

There is nothing like breaking out the war paint and screaming for your home team. Like Kate, we all love to get a little messy and make some memories with our friends.

2. Hanging out with the roomies

Some people may not get lucky in this area but for those who are best friends with their roommates, they understand the love. It's a dream come true for everyone who has always wanted to live with their best friends. It's like a sleepover that never ends.

3. Dressing up cute on the first day of school...

You got to make a good first impression on your way to school. Whether it's during your 7 A.M or 4 P.M., it's always best to dress to impress.

4. ...and wearing yoga pants for the rest of the year

And this goes all the way until the last week of school when you don't bother getting out of bed to wear pants at all.

5. Going grocery shopping and throwing in cookies, ice-cream, and every type of Pringles because your mom isn't there to say no

You'll probably regret that in a few months when the Freshman Fifteen kicks in.

6. Walking for miles from your car to your dorm carrying groceries

We can't park by the apartment for a solid five minutes to carry our groceries up to the kitchen or we will risk a ticket, but we can walk a few miles carrying food that gets heavier, and heavier, and heavier with every step.

7. Going out for a night on the town on a Friday night

Dancing, laughter, and fun? Everyone in college has been to a party or two. It's a classic part of the college experience. Sometimes you just need a distraction from all the essays and tests.

8. Being so late to class you threw on whatever your hands grabbed next

We've all been there. Our alarm doesn't go off, we press snooze a few too many times, or forget to even set an alarm and next thing you know we are running around the dorm room like Taz from Looney Toons. You throw on whatever, then run to class.

Unfortunately 9/10 times our outfits don't turn out. Although, Kate can certainly pull off this look, no matter how mismatched.

9. Pretending your walking to the same building as the cute boy you met so you have the excuse to keep talking to him

I am very guilty of doing this. Although I missed my class, at least I got to talk to the really cute boy who has class at 9:45 in the STEM building. It was worth it.

10. Sitting on the floor or standing because you're a poor college student who can't afford chairs or tables

Eating on the floor? Always. Being a college kid is tough and sometimes you have to sacrifice some things to obtain the others. Such as choosing chocolate milk and Halo Top over vegetables and hair conditioner.

Judging by Kate's beautiful locks, she chose the conditioner.

Probably the vegetables too.

We should just all follow her example.

11. Going on cute date with the boy you followed to class-turned-boyfriend

Now my short-lived romance may not have extended farther than us talking and walking to his class, but Kate and William obviously had a better ending. Nevertheless, college is the place to grow and date and possibly find the one.

12. Keeping your hair long and growing because you can't afford to get it cut

Don't trust your roommate. No matter how many times she begs you to let her cut it. Don't.

13. Turning 21 and getting dressed up and going out with your best friends

While this one probably doesn't apply to Kate, since you can drink at age 18 in most countries, all my people in the United States know the sweet freedom of turning 21. It's an iconic time in a students life and marks a huge milestone as well.

14. Passing out flyers for some type of movement or protest

Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger - which is why college is the time to stand up for what you believe in. May that be RedforEd, Planned Parenthood, anti-Abortion, Trump, the Wall, pizza bagels, it's all an exercise of the first amendment.

15. Ranting to your friends about the professor that just "doesn't understand you"

You know your thinking about that professor right now as you read this. And you know that that's your reaction whenever they give you a bad grade or say something you disagree with at the tiniest degree.

16. Getting glammed-up for those senior photos

Pick out your best outfit and make sure it's a good hair day because everyone will be viewing these photos forever... and in Kate's place that is more than true. Luckily she looks as gorgeous as ever. Does she ever have a bad hair day?

17. Walking out of your last class knowing you'll never have to write a single paper again

And purposefully not thinking about how you will be going into the real world in less than a few days.

18. When you've graduated and realized you have no idea what you're going to do with your life

Maybe a prince will be right around the corner to sweep you off your feet so you won't have to figure your life out.
Cover Image Credit: Laura Warshauer

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Family Portrait: A Short Story Parable

She is part of this new family, and she is not mine.

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"I can't imagine my life without Kelsey. I am so blessed to have her in my life," I say, dropping the last line of my speech. Standing in front of the crowd of attendees, microphone in hand, I raise my glass of cider and the guests join me in a toast.

"To Mike and Kelsey!" we chant. Tears glisten in the eyes of the guests. I tip my head back to prevent mine from pouring over the rims of my eyes. I already want her back.

Kelsey stands from her seat at the head of the bridal table. My speech is finished, but my admiration for her lingers like sugar on my teeth. The guests return to sipping on wine as strawberry crêpes from dinner plates tunnel down their throats.

Kelsey makes her way toward me. Her feet shift beneath thirteen layers of laced fabric, stark white and delicately shaped to dress her figure like a porcelain doll. Brown curls float to her shoulders. She's never looked so pure.

Kelsey embraces me, softly petting my hair. My eyes close for a moment before two women pull her away from me. I pull back, but I lose my grasp on her.

"Hi habibi! How are you?" one woman, her mother-in-law, says. She draws Kelsey into a warm hug, tracing ribbons along her back.

"What are you going to do now, hatta? Slice the cake?" the other woman, her mother-in-law's sister, says.

I stand beside them during their exchange, but they don't acknowledge me. I glance up at Kelsey, hoping to catch her eye. Look at me. I'm right here. Can you see? Please don't ignore me. She isn't facing me.

Kelsey and the two women begin to move away so I follow behind them, a lost puppy. My head lowers into a scowl. She cared about them now more than she did about me. They didn't care about me at all.

Trekking through the red-orange heat of the summer, Kelsey flows through the rose garden to the cake table. Petals cling to the edges of her dress as it rivers behind her. She sprouts past the flower buds to meet her husband at the cake table, laughing and shaking her curls like a lion's mane. Her skin glows as the sun kisses her face.

A new family, a new language, a new home. I don't understand this language. I don't know this culture. Baklava shimmers in the light of the sun. The mother-in-law says religion is everything in Jerusalem. Kelsey Salameh will be printed on all her legal documents. We no longer share the same family name. I want her back.

Her new family has the sun in their hearts, and they consume her whole. When she chokes on the bones in her throat, I fear she will have forgotten me. I will still want her back.

Kelsey is my sun, my center. Everyone calls her honey when she sits on a throne. She's been my queen since the day I was born. I want to be the one to shape the crown to fit her head. I made sure to stand beside her when the photographer took family portraits so when she crams her wedding pictures on her bedroom walls, I'll be painted beside her in her tiny picture frames. That way I couldn't be erased.

Kelsey will no longer just be a friend to her husband's family. She is their beloved addition, their new daughter and sister. She is legally bound to them. I want my sister back. She is part of this new family, and she is not mine.

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