McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

May 7, 2014

Joy of Travel

Making a list, checking it twice

Doug and I sat down this weekend with a huge pile of brochures and compiled a list of the places we want to see over the next 10 years. Due to our advancing age and increasing physical decrepitude, we definitely need to achieve some of items on our list earlier than others.

A return to Greece is already scheduled for 2015. On our first tour of Greece we spent three days in Athens and seven nights on a cruise of the Greek Islands. This time around we are going into the interior of Greece, seeing Delphi, Olympia, Corinth, Thermopylae, Lamia, Trikala, Meteora and Nauplia. We will follow the land tour with a three-night Greek Island cruise returning to our favorite spots: Mykonos, Santorini, Ephesus, Crete and Patmos.

I taped Rudy Maxa in Polynesia and we’ve watched it three times. A trip to French Polynesia, with a cruise aboard the Paul Gauguin, is also at the top of our list. Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea — they all look exotic, beguiling, and worth that long flight to get there.  

Machu Picchu has been on our list for a while now. A tour guide friend of ours recently reported to us that it was the trip of his lifetime. Of course you can’t go to Machu Picchu without going to the Galapagos Islands while you’re down there.

I have another tour guide friend who tells me there is absolutely nothing to compare to seeing the herd migration across the Serengeti, so I know that’s going to be happening as well. I’ll opt for the air-conditioned tents with full bathing facilities, but nonetheless, “great white hunters” will be added to our epitaphs, even though the shooting will be totally photographic.

I’m determined to do a tour of our American heritage, including Washington DC, Philadelphia, Mt. Vernon, Williamsburg, Gettysburg, Jamestown and Monticello. I loved Boston and would certainly welcome a chance to add it to the tour as well.

Our national parks are part of another tour that made the top 10. Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Painted Desert, Mt. Rushmore; the American west is simply breathtaking, and I want to experience it while I’m young enough to get out and hike around.

My two favorite cities in the world are London and Paris. We plan to return for an “independent” group tour of those two fantastic destinations, so everyone can be there together, but do their own thing if they prefer to.

Our tour of Paris, Normandy and Loire Valley was phenomenal. Now we want to return to see southern France, and especially Avignon. The lavender fields of southern France are famous around the world; let’s bring some home as a souvenir.

I am German, and have an unreasonable love of sauerkraut to prove it. We are going to escort a big circular tour of Germany, complete with Neuschwanstein Castle, the castle Cinderella’s castle is based upon. Of course Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Heidelberg, the Black Forest, and Oberammergau will also be included.

I loved “Anne of Green Gables,” didn’t you? My parents we delighted with their tour of Nova Scotia many years ago. That’s another destination on the list, as is the Big Island of Hawaii. I want to stand next to a volcano, up close and personal. Molokai and Lanai are also on the Hawaii list, so I might as well take two weeks and try to do all three.

I’ve sent hundreds of clients to Costa Rica and every one of them has loved it. For a crazy jungle adventure close to home, that’s another destination that can’t be missed. And hello, you can see an active volcano there up close and personal as well.

The California Coast and the Canadian Rockies are the final two on our list. They seem close and easily accessible, so they’ll probably be accomplished last, but not least. That Pacific Coast Highway seems like a wonderful road trip, and the Canadian Rockies are simply breathtaking. I want my ashes scattered at Athabasca.

Have you made your “bucket list” of travel? Time flies. Doug and I are going to get serious about checking items off of our list, before we’re too old and it’s too late. I encourage you to do the same thing.

Joy Gawf-Crutchfield is the owner of The Joy of Travel travel agency. For more information visit or contact her at or 888-JOY-4041 (888-569-4041).


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