Completed Stages of the GCW Tour (Red Pins)
Sydney & New Zealand -- March 2016
This trip secured my seventh continent -- the primary purpose for crashing Sib2 and his wife's vacation. Oddly, reality and expectation probably conflicted more on this trip than any other: I didn't expect much from Sydney, but loved it; expected to be amazed by New Zealand, but wasn't; expected to prefer the south island to the north, but just the opposite.
(See posts dated 2/29/16 - 3/13/16 for photos.)
Costa Rica -- December 2015
My sibs and I had been looking for a place to go with just the four of us and we landed on Costa Rica. In retrospect, we probably tried to see too much, but we saw some amazing things and had a great time. I do wish I'd managed to make it here back when I had energy to do things. There's a lot to do in Costa Rica.
(See posts dated 12/25/15 - 1/4/16 for photos.)
Buenos Aires & Antarctica -- November 2015
This trip was scheduled simply so I could eventually claim I'd stood on all seven continents. That said, it turned out to be the trip of a lifetime. Great cruise (especially for having basically chosen it at random), extraordinarily cooperative weather, amazing landscapes, and I could watch penguins in the wild for hours. Sad to think that within not too many years what I experienced will mostly be gone.
(See posts dated 11/13/15 - 12/3/15 for photos.)
Plans for Budapest pre-dated cancer, and it turned out to be an interesting trip. It's probably a lot different than the Iron Curtain days, but you could still see indications of its prior incarnation in a variety of places. Well worth the time to visit (even if you do have to watch out for the omnipresent road construction).
(See posts dated 9/23/15 - 10/3/15 for pictures.)
Sonoma & Napa -- August 2015
One could do worse than a meal at The French Laundry, but it would be incredibly difficult to do better. Add fabulous weather, lots of friends, a few winery tours and breakfast at Sonoma's Sunflower Cafe and you've got the makings of a spectacular weekend.
(See posts dated 8/21-22/15 for pictures.)
Spain & Morocco -- July 2015
Spain was the niece's choice, and it turned out to be a great one. Morocco I just added so I could say I'd been to Africa. The itinerary included Barcelona, Sevilla, Tariffa, Tangier, Marrakech and Pamplona, just in time for San Fermin and the running of the bulls. I don't know that I need to see Morocco again, but I'd go back to Spain anytime.
(See posts dated 6/20/15 to 7/18/15 for pictures.)
Vietnam -- March 2015
The first international leg of the GCW Tour, Vietnam rose to the top of the list largely as a result of the Top Gear special and all the good things I'd heard from folks who'd been there. The country delivered in spades. It was an amazing place, and I'm almost glad I won't be around to see what the coming decades are going to do to it.
(See posts dated 3/1/15 to 3/15/15 for pictures.)
As much an excuse to get out of Seattle in the winter time as to start the GCW Tour, driving down the coast to San Diego at least gave me the opportunity to see some folks I haven't seen for a very long time, and hang with my nephew a bit. That alone made the trip worthwhile, but the California weather combined with the Roadster was an added plus.
Route 66, USA -- May 2014
I'm granting my Route 66 road trip honorary membership in the GCW Tour, as it was during this trip that my cancer made itself known in a way that couldn't be ignored. I will certainly never forget that omelette in Montana. Besides, I needed a fifth trip to balance the initial layout on the back of the GCW Tour T-shirt.
Next Up (Yellow Pins)
England, Scotland, Iceland, Norway and Denmark via Disney Cruise Ship -- (June, definitely) The best possible answer to the question: What sort of world travels would appeal to an eight-year-old?
Great Britain -- (July, definitely) It's finally time to test my theory and see if there's anything labeled an "Irish pub" in Ireland (I'm betting they'll just be called "pubs," but we'll see), but it's a long way to go just to see what the bars are called, so my teenage nephews and I will try to take in a few highlights of the rest of the country as well.
Currently Being Contemplated Stages of the GCW Tour
These are just the places that have struck my fancy and that I think I might want to see while I still have the opportunity to do so. If anyone's got additional suggestions, send 'em my way. To a large extent, destinations are being chosen based on convenience and opportunity as much as intent. (As one of my favorite Fountains of Wayne songs puts it, "she spins her globe and the next thing you know she's living in Liechtenstein." That's pretty much the vibe I'm working with here.)
And for the record, no, I don't have enough vacation time to cover all this. Eventually I'll have to figure out a solution to that problem, but for now it doesn't get in the way of dreaming.
Oh, and if anyone out there is planning a trip to one of these or any other cool place and is looking for a travel buddy, drop me a line.
Africa -- motorcycling among the giraffes looks very cool (I saw a picture)
Alaska -- always wanted to see Denali
Cuba -- who doesn't want to see Cuba, now that it's open?
East Coast, USA -- want to see the East Coast friends, too
India -- it seems pretty
Madagascar -- I just like the sound of it
Moscow -- I feel like the Kremlin is something worth seeing in person
Peru -- For some reason I feel the need to see Machu Pichu
Shanghai, Hong Kong & Singapore -- the XS and I should've extended our trip to China when we had the chance, but it gives me a reason to go back
Tokyo -- I've been to Japan, but somehow skipped Tokyo
The GCW Tour Mascot
The GCW Tour Swag
The Official GCW Tour T-shirt