What were your first thoughts when you found out you won the contests? I couldn’t believe it! I was in shock. I couldn’t decide who to call first and wanted to just conference everyone in my contacts. And then all the trips I’ve been dreaming about for the last 15 years started coming back to me.
What do you plan on doing with your winnings? I definitely plan on traveling. I got bit by the travel bug my first year of undergrad, and I’ve had wanderlust ever since. Thailand and Vanuatu are definitely on top of my list. I’ve never been to Thailand, but all my friends that have visited had nothing but rave reviews. Vanuatu is on my list because it was where I served for my Peace Corps service and I can’t wait to go back to see friends and family.
What are the Top Bucket List Dreams You Have Achieved?
In 2011, I got to visit my first Central America country. I’d assisted with coordinating and leading a service trip to the island of Ometepe, Nicaragua, to help register residents (that didn’t have easy access to the government office) for their birth certificate and therefore their citizenship. The youngest person registered was just a few days old and the oldest person was in their 40s.
Rome. I traveled to Europe with a friend and we made stops in many cities (Paris, London, Athens, and others) but Rome was one of my favorites. There is so much history to see and experience, not to mention all the delicious food.
Arches National Park. There is so much beauty in our own country and I’ve barely scratched the surface of places visited in the United States.
What are Your Current Top 5 Dreams on Your Bucket List?
Thailand and Vanuatu as mentioned before and these below.
Photograph the total eclipse from the Grand Tetons.
See the Big 5 at Kruger National Park in South Africa.
See the Northern Lights from Iceland, Finland, and/or Alaska.
Visit the ruins in Chichén Itzá and Tulum.
Go to the Galapagos.
Who/What Inspires You to Dream?
Adventure. There are endless possibilities of things to do, places to see, and people to meet. The world is a large place to be discovered but like Gustave Flaubert said “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
Follow Aileen on her journey of achieving her bucket list dreams.: