For anyone who has talked for me more than 5 minutes, you know that I love to travel, like LOVE. I want to see it all, do it all, embrace the adventure that is life. Unfortunately, after learning about Jude’s congenital heart disease last September, our travels immediately came to a halt. Our focus suddenly switched to finding the best care for Jude and preparing for a future with a child with health needs. Add to that COVID-19 and our travels have been suspended indefinitely.
Several studies have confirmed that people are happier when they have a vacation planned. This paper published in 2002 says, "It appears that those are waiting to go on a holiday are much happier with their life as a whole, experience less negative or unpleasant feelings and thus enjoy an overall net positive effect or pleasant feelings. The holiday-taking group are also happier with their family, economic situation and health domains compared to the non-holiday-taking group." I've found this to definitely to be true for us personally ~ planning the adventure is half the fun!
At Jude’s last appointment with his Houston cardiologist I asked some pointed questions about travel and was given some good news and not-so-good news. Good news – post-COVID he will be able to fly – yay! However, due to his heart condition and depending upon what kind of surgeries he actually will receive, he may not ever be able to travel to high elevations (anything over 8,000 feet). Not the end of the world, but definitely a disappointment. Our family loves Colorado and some of our best trips have been to the mountains. After being sad for a few days, I decided to mentally pivot. Yes, there are things Jude will not be able to physically do, but we aren’t going to focus on those. Instead, we are going to focus on things he CAN do. So, no right now we can’t travel due to COVID, but we CAN dream.
So that brings me to our Top 10 list…our Top 10 Dream Travel Destinations. After a family meeting and laying out our dreams, we came up with our top 10 places we all really want to visit as a family. These are all places we have never visited before with no limits.. Granted, these may not happen for several years (allowing Jude to have his surgeries and grow a little bigger & for us to save our $$$), but one day we hope to see them all.
Independence Hall, Cheesesteak, Liberty Bell, and Rocky
Okay, so maybe it’s not really high on a lot of people’s list, but in addition to travel, I also really love food and cheesesteak?!? Come on people! It’s steak on bread with liquid cheese – all things which truly make my heart happy. I also would love to be able to show the boys where our country began. To top it all off, Philadelphia also has a wonderful Children’s Hospital for cardiology, so I would feel really good about traveling here with Jude while he is in between surgeries.
Lobster Rolls, LL Bean, Ocean views, be the first to see the sunrise in the United States
This one has been on my list ever since I read Sarah, Plain and Tall in the 6th grade. Lobster, coastlines, beaches, lobster rolls, boardwalks, did I mention lobster? Again, this is a destination where I would love to eat at! And our beach babes love the beach (no matter what the water temperature is)
British Museum, West End shows, Double Decker Bus Tours, Afternoon Tea, etc.
London has been on our list since before we were married, but just hasn’t happened yet. A) It’s expensive and B) Every time we had a trip scheduled there, we had to cancel for various reasons. Since they speak English, it’s an easy trip to take out of the country and definitely a place to take kids to.
Eiffel Tower, Crepes, Crème Brulee, Louvre
Paris…the city of Love. Josiah watched a Puppy Dog Pals episode set in Paris and he talks all the time about it being the City of Light. J The food here alone is enough to put it on our wish list, but combined with the culture and atmosphere…no brainer
6. The Galapagos Islands
This is one Alex and I wanted to be sure was included. I love watching animals, and what better place to get to see so many unique ones?
5. Greek Islands Cruise
Our family loves cruising, so Josiah wanted to put something on the list that was a cruise with islands that we had never been to before. That’s how we landed on The Greek Islands. Santorini is truly a dream vacation destination for us, but being able to travel to several islands on one trip would be even more fun!
Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Bridge Climb on the Sydney Harbor Bridge
Australia has been on the top of Jesse’s list for a while. Again, an easy place to travel because there isn’t a language barrier; however, the distance and time required has caused us to push it off in the past. Love the mixture of city, desert, and ocean this vacation would provide!
Stay in a Ryokan, Home of Pokemon, Disneyland Tokyo, Ride a bullet train, Bamboo forest
Alex is a lover of all things Japan, so this is his personal #1. The food, the culture, and the atmosphere is something he really wants to experience. I personally have a goal to visit all of the Disney parks across the globe and Tokyo has 2!
Stay in an overwater bungalow
Tahiti is another location that has been on our wish list since before children, but just never got a chance to happen. Cost and location have always been prohibitive. After watching several documentaries with the kids about French Polynesia and hello, Moana, they are all onboard for a visit as well. Boy Alex and Josiah loved Hawaii in the past and the idea of being able to jump out of your hotel room into the ocean is something that can’t wait to do.
1. The Maldives – Soneva Jani
I had heard of the Maldives in the past and the photos I’ve seen are absolutely gorgeous, but it wasn’t until watching a travel video recently that I was completely sold on this being a family vacation destination. The overwater villas are big enough for our entire family to enjoy along with a private pool. They have a kids’ club and a spa, crystal clear water, and hammocks over the water. I ask – what more could you possibly ask for? When I think of paradise, the Maldives are exactly what I have in mind.
There you have it – our family’s Top 10 Dream Destinations. So now we challenge you, what is your dream travel destination? We would love to hear your ideas!