Dagger’s in Las Vegas this week for, oh, about the 12th time in the last 8 years. Clearly he’s crossed this one off his bucket list, yet he and Lady E continue to venture back for more. They clearly can’t get enough of that wacky Blue Man Group. But our question to you this week is: What are your top three bucket list travel destinations? Let’s assume you have the money, time and means to accomplish any trip in the world. Where do you go? CJS Staff has listed their answers first, and all the Regulars come shortly after that. So put your seatbacks and tray tables into their upright and locked positions, and let’s get to it.

E Dagger: Man, I’ve banged a bunch of them out in the last few years, which is just crazy good luck. I hit Paris and Oktoberfest last September in what was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken in my life. I banged out New York nearly two years ago. And I crossed off Washington DC last April. I have been racking up the frequent flyer miles (and become a subsequent whore for United Airlines and Marriott hotels in the process), and I couldn’t be happier about it. It makes those monthly trips to the ghetto ass of Houston worth it.

Here are three tougher to reach destinations:

1) Tokyo, Japan. Senor Limon told me someone described Tokyo to him thusly, “It’s like Mars. But not like the Mars you picture today; it’s your grandfather’s Mars. It’s how they pictured Mars in 1955.” I can see that. Everything is neon and bright and busy and there’s a colony of people just buzzing about all over town that look nothing like you. The food is weird. The language is rooted in a structure you’re not even close to used to. And the people are lovely. Everyone I’ve ever talked to talked about how wonderful the people of Japan are. I want to experience the craziness for myself.

2) Cape Town, South Africa. My dad tells an anecdote about a business trip he took to Cape Town. In addition to the heart stopping scenery, the crazy wildlife, and the cool psychology of being entirely on the other side of the world, once you get there, it’s unbelievable value. Sure, the flight is like 27 hours of misery like it is to Australia or Taiwan or wherever, but then it’s absurdly affordable. He took 5 people to dinner, ordered drinks, had apps ‘n zerts, each person got a flawlessly prepared steak, a couple of bottles of wine, and a few sides. The total bill: $140. For six people at a luxury joint. Are you kidding me?! Even with the plane ticket that’s better than some places in New York.

3) Australia/New Zealand. I have no idea which of these I’d rather do, so let’s cheat and say both. New Zealand was chosen as Middle Earth for a reason – it looks like another, and even more beautiful, planet. Australia just seems like a place I could jibe with. I’ve never dislike anyone I’ve ever met from Australia. I could go there and just be happy. That sounds good.

Lee S. Hart: This is such a big world, yet I found it easy to answer this question. First on this list is Machu Picchu in Peru. First of all ancient ruins are always awesome. Second every shot I have ever seen of Machu Picchu looks incredible. I want to experience those shots and that magnificent myself. I have a hard time with heights, but I would gladly step near the edge to overlook the Peruvian jungle. Also, the hike up there would be part of that experience as well and serve to make seeing it all that much more rewarding.

Next would be a trip to the old country, Ireland that is. I love the idea of all the green hills and overcast sky that exist in all pictures of Ireland. I feel like it would be a place where I could completely relax. I know most people do that by hanging out on a beach, but I find the foggy grey days to be more relaxing. Also, a chick with an Irish brogue is sexy as hell. Besides I spend enough time in Irish pubs here I might as well experience the real thing.

The last one is probably never, ever going to happen, but I have to dream. It would be a trip to space. But like real space, not the space where Ashton Kutcher is going. I mean I suppose the International Space Station is somewhat realistic, but what I’d really want is to just go out there further and see what’s beyond. The kind of things I could only see if boarded the ship in Cocoon or the Planet Express Ship. Like Fry I often find myself starring up to the night sky and wishing to someday boldly go where no man has gone before.

Senor Limon: I suppose it is simply American to want to discover your roots in the homeland of your ancestry. I’m removed by quite a few generations from when my people crossed the pond, but among my many muttish roots I most closely identify with my Italian and German ancestry. I’ve also got some Irish in me, but not much, and a quick google of the namesake from that side of the family puts that last name from either English  or Norse roots, so I really have no idea what’s going on there. Although that plus German goes a little way to explain how i ended up with green eyes. In any case, My great grandmother professed to be Irish, and you just don’t argue with a 96 year old woman when you’re 12.

In any case my first entry is Ireland. Something about the images I associate with Ireland, as well as the stories I hear from those who have been there makes it an absolute must on my list. Plus, those Irish bastards know their booze, and I like that about them.

Second on my list is Italy. My mom’s side of the family is particularly Italian after my grandfather who passed away before I was born. Having never met him, from the stories I hear, I actually take after my grandfather quite a bit. So, Italy is a must for the familial ties not to mention the whole Rome thing, and Venice, and the isle of Capri, Florence…. And I’m sure other places I just wouldn’t feel complete if I lived an entire life without seeing.

Third, is a tough call for me between Germany and Greece. I have a German last name, and not so much as a drop of Greek blood.  Greece is appealing as the nexus of western civilization. I find the sheer history there difficult to pass up, but I hear they have ravenous packs of wild dogs there and any place that can’t control a ravenous dog pack problem really can’t be trusted.  So in the end the prospect of visiting the beer swilling fatherland of BMWs, the autobahn and presumably black forest ham is just too much for me to pass up. Plus, I promise not to bring up the whole Nazi thing the entire time I’m there.

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Deuce: I think my top three travel destinations would be: 1) the northern Adriatic Sea. I could stop off in Northern Italy and in Croatia and see where my mom and dad’s ancestors came from.  2) Staying in that same region, I would like to see Vatican City. The history and the solemnity would amaze me I think. Also, there is something to be said about visiting your personal religion’s epicenter. 3) Lastly, I would like to visit Australia. The combination of rugged outdoor activities and friendly urban locales just intrigues me and I think it would be fun, mate. As I write this, it dawns on me how these are based on my guesses and probably skewed preconceptions and it’s a little sad to think that if I actually went to these places, I might be woefully disappointed. Oh well, only like $500,000 more dollars to spend on the credit card to earn enough miles……

Lady E: It is hard to narrow it down to the 3 places I want to go specifically, so I am going to do Countries (and 1 continent) I want to go to.

When I was backpacking Europe I went to Venice with a friend and his brother. Actually, we stayed in Jesolo and I took boats to Venice every day. That was all of Italy I saw, because after, we went back to Germany I went north. So, destination 1: Italy. I want to go to Cinque Terra, Rome, Tuscany, Florence! I missed it all and said it was ok because I would be back. 10+ years later, still haven’t been back. That is the top of my vacation bucket list.

#2 is still in Europe but a bit more East. I would love to go to Prague. I want to drink in the culture and of course, plenty of beer. I want to buy crystal, and just explore.

#3 can be a vacation destination, but alas it is no where in our budget. I want to go to Antarctica. I want to go via Australia and New Zealand, but I want to go. It is supposed to be breathtaking, amazing and vast. I would love to set foot on the 7th, unclaimed continent.

Salwon: Aw, last one ever?  Now I feel extra bad for flaking last week, I had a great answer, too. 

1) Madagascar.  Specifically, one of those places where the planet is trying to kill us, like Tsingy.  I figure I’ll either die looking at something beautiful, or survive and get to flip off God himself.  Win-win.

2) An active volcano somewhere.  Not like Mount St Helens kill everyone active, but the lava flows in, say, Hawaii.  Maybe I should just change this one to Hawaii.

3) Pyramids/Sphinx.  Built so long ago, and with such reckless disregard for human life in any way, that there’s no way they should still be.  And yet they are.  I want to see that.

 

Keithage: Since I went to the auto show recenlty and I have a boner for pretty much anything with an engine and wheels, I’m going to go with car places.

1) Munich/Bavaria. Would like to go there during Octoberfest obviously, then tour the BMW factory, and test drive some sweet cars in Bavaria out on the Autobahn. Sweet. And if I drive too long on the Autobahn maybe I could take a drive on the Nurburging.

2) The Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy. What is here you ask, well Bologna which I’m sure has cured meat, Modena and the Ferrari Factory, the Lamborghini factory, the Ducati factory, the list goes on. As a plus I’m sure the food and wine is delicious, and you’d have to go through Rome to get there so bonus. 

3) The Alps. This doesn’t really have anything to do with cars, but the roads I’m sure are super fun to drive on. Plus I’d like to snow ski somewhere other than the Rockies once in my lifetime, and the alps have the history. Plus if my car breaks down I’m sure I can find an elephant to cross the Alps with on my way into Italy.

Dzayson: First of all, allow me to lament the fact that this is the final Confessional. I kind of hope its retirement is of the Brett Favre variety.

Now then, for the first location I’d love to travel to, I pick New Orleans. For next year’s Super Bowl. I’ve wanted to visit Nawlins ever since hearing raves about the food from various friends. And it so happens that they’re hosting the Super Bowl next February. Peyton Manning and the Broncos should be the hometown favorites, what with the Manning family’s history in the city. So I won’t be the only one wearing orange and blue.

I’d also love to take a classic European tour. I never had the opportunity to do the “backpacking through Europe” trip in college (thanks for nuthin, Mom and Dad!), and so a European adventure would do me well. If I had to pick just one city to visit, I would select London. The theatre geek in me would be in heaven, soaking up shows on the West End. See ladies, I’m more than just a football and wrestling fan.

I recently read about James Cameron’s passion for exploring the depths of the ocean. Apparently, he has delved deeper into the Mariana Trench than most any other human being- ever. So that’s my final destination: the bottom of the ocean. I’m fascinated/terrified by the vastness of the ocean. I’m sure I would be spellbound, discovering life forms that few human eyes have ever seen. I’d probably also enjoy a continual panic attack throughout the experience. But hell, part of becoming an adult is understanding the value in forcing yourself to do things that intimidate you. I’m sure I’d shit myself delving to the bottom of the world, but I would never be bored. Good times!

Corriander: I don’t know if these are the TOP three on my bucket list, but these are definitely three places on my short list of must-sees.  I haven’t thought long enough to rank them.

Paris - I need to see the Eiffel Tower, drink French wine, and eat all of those yummy French pastries.  And now that I’m married to someone who can speak enough French to ask where the bathroom is, I have no excuse.  Dagger and Lady E’s recent trip just reinforced my desire to visit Paris.

The Mediterranean – I’d love to do a Mediterranean cruise to see Italy and Greece all at once.  This might be our next big vacation as it was a close runner-up to Tahiti as our honeymoon destination.  I have absolutely no desire to do a cruise anywhere else, but I’d love to see the Mediterranean coast line from a nice cushy cruise ship.

Norway –  My paternal grandmother sailed from Norway to the US with her aunt when she was only 13 years old.  I never got to meet her as she passed away shortly before I was born, but I have her to thank for my pasty skin tone and my over-usage of the phrase “uff-da”.  (see definition here).  I’d love to go see where my family is from and visit the beautiful Norwegian fjords.

Hmmm, all of these places are in Europe so maybe I should just lump these all together and add two more places to my top three.  Oh well.  Off to drool over travel photos and plan a vacation.

Gutter: While thinking about this question I thought of two types of places right away, a place full of history (for my nerd side) and a beach (for my lazy side). For the history side I chose Israel, it is amazing that so much history has occurred in a country that is so small. For the beach, I think it would be great to go to Fiji. I don’t know much about the island other than any picture I see of it looks amazing. Crystal clear water, soft beaches and a never ending supply of booze, pretty perfect spot to relax and enjoy this beautiful world. My final travel destination could be something cool like the moon, or maybe even Mars, but mine is much more simple. It would be to travel to all 30 MLB parks in one season, and to drive the entire way. Perhaps that would technically count as 30 destinations, but I count it as one trip so screw you I am counting it as one. What better way to see our entire country with the added bonus of baseball? So there you go, something for my nerdy side, something for my lazy side, and something for my jock side.

CassieB: Wow! Is this really the last confessional EVER? Or is it the last confessional in a Brett Favre / Michael Jordan kinda way? I surely hope it’s the latter.  Nonetheless, let me be a part in CJS history by answering this “last and final” question. And a thank you goes out to E Dagger, Lee S. Hart and Señor Limon for letting me feel as though you and the World Wide Web care about my opinion on a weekly basis. But I digress…

Bucket list location #1: Africa / South Africa. Even the long flight won’t stop me from making this trip one day. I am dying to go on a safari and snap photos of The Big Five.

Bucket list location #2:  Cuba.  I will decidedly wait until Castro has left this fine earth and the US has lifted its trade embargo.  Not because I support the embargo but because I want a true vacation and not some communist sponsored  trip as what is offered to Americans now.  I hear it is gorgeous, and I would love to see the people and the (hopeful) evolution out of communism.  And the cigars…

Bucket list location #3: Lake Powell. This is all for personal sentiment. As a child, Lady E and I would frequent this locale with our family and best family friends. This is where my dad’s ashes are spread and I haven’t been back in many years. I can’t wait till my kiddos are older and I can show them what I did when I was a child. My heart yearns for alone time on the waters of Good Hope Bay so I can have a much needed chat with my dad.  Lake Powell is magical, and I always tell people that if they don’t believe in a higher power, then check out Lake Powell and you will know that there must be something way bigger than we are to create such perfection.  My memories of Lake Powell as an 8 year old are more vivid than many memories I have of yesterday.   I laugh to think that as a child we would go out on noisy, uncomfortable houseboats with rubber mattresses and couches that would stick to our skin when we sat on them.  And the toilet that you could only do number 2 in so many times before it overflowed and we had to poo in the bushes.  And the refrigerators that were so weak that you could only open them twice a day in fear of letting the cold out and spoiling all of the food. I remember no air conditioning and instead having to sleep on the roof of the boat as if only to catch a wisp of cool air coming through the canyons while asleep.  And the “Chinese fire drills” (as my dad would call them), as we rushed to get the mattresses (from the roof) into the boat when a thunderstorm rushed through the canyons in the middle of the night.  And did you know that a bat pooped in my eye at Lake Powell?  If only that could happen again to bring me back to the place closest to home in my heart.  So many memories to count.  But I wonder, will it be the same?  Has it lost its magic?  And will I ruin it by going in a fancy houseboat with air conditioning? I’m willing to risk it.

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What a great list of destinations. Tell you what, you guys book the tickets and we’ll pack the bags. We’ll meet at teh airport this weekend. Until then enjoy this last week of our CJS Annivesary month!

Hart & Dagger