The March issue of Halfway Down the Stairs, the e-zine I'm involved in, has just come out - so if you like reading, check it out! Avis has done a stellar job on web design and I must say it looks terrific. If you're a fan of Stacy's blog, also have a look because she's the senior nonfiction editor! Or if you like writing poems, short stories, nonfiction, or book reviews, take a look at the submissions page for our September 2007 issue, themed Notes.
Last night I was tutoring a Korean student, and I asked her to make a list of the places she would like to visit in the world, and why. It inspired me to make my own list, so here goes. I am leaving out all the places I have already visited, which are Malaysia, the USA, Thailand, Singapore and Australia - I would revisit all of these if I could as well as the countries on the list below!
1) Britain. It is probably very WASPish of me to choose this and I feel like I should be culturally adventurous and choose something like Haiti or Lesotho to be first on my list. All the same, having grown up in a culture that has been influenced so much by another country, I can't help but want to visit it. I would do a Jane Austen pilgrimage. I would visit the Tower of London. I would go to Portland, where a sort-of-ancestor wrote an amazing diary during the Napoleonic Wars, and find her grave. I would go to Devonshire and Dover and Stonehenge and all those places I've heard about in literature or history or life in general. Note my cunning in choosing Britain rather than England, which means I can also visit Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland!
2) Germany. Basically, I couldn't put every single western European country onto the list at the number two spot, so I had to choose one. And Germany is the land of my maternal ancestors, and I would like to learn German, and I have a good friend who's German, and it's a beautiful country with lots of castles! All the same, when you read Germany, also read "detours into surrounding countries also".
3) Russia. I think Russia is one of the most fascinating countries historically speaking and within it there is such a huge variety of people and sights. One of my dad's dreams is to travel on the Trans-Siberian railway, and I think that would be rather cool also. Russian is another language that I would like to learn, also.
4) Alaska. Okay, so this is part of the USA, and I said I wouldn't be including that, but to be fair, I was only in the part of America that stretches from California to Maine. Alaska looks like a fairyland, basically, and I would love to go there. For examples of the gorgeousness of Alaska, see Dave's blog - he's a great photographer who lives in Anchorage. Although I don't think it would be hard to take great photos if you lived in that part of the world.
5) Israel. Yeah, there are difficulties with this one. I don't know if I'll ever get to go, so it only makes number five, but in terms of wanting to go, it would probably make number one or two. To go somewhere that is so ancient would just be amazing, when I come from a country that has at most 800 years of human history, and only 200ish years of well-recorded history. Being a Christian, to go places that I've heard about in stories all my life... well, it would be amazing.
6) Norway. Another beautiful country. This time my reasons are a little more obscure and I'm not sure why it gets such a high weighting because of them - but there you are. I like the composer Edvard Grieg. I think you couldn't write music like he did if you didn't come from an incredible country. I also like Roald Dahl. Okay, so he was born in Wales, but he was of Norwegian extraction. Yes, I know these are very tenuous reasons.
7) China. China looks like it's the most fascinating country. I wouldn't even know where to begin because there are so many amazing places to see there. One in particular that has been tempting lately is Harbin, in the north. Super-cold in winter, and has an Ice and Snow festival, or something like that, that looks so cool. No pun intended there.
8) Jordan. This makes number eight for one sole reason. Petra. I want to go to Petra so much. Why? It's amazing. It's in a Tintin book. Reason enough, right?
9) Morocco. I've heard fantastic things about Morocco, but I have to admit that the main reason Morocco is so attractive to me is that Moroccan food is scrummy. I've only had it several times... but it's simply delicious. Fascinating country, too...
10) Greece. Again, ancient lands are alluring. I'm sure the tourist crowds at places like the Parthenon are terrible, but at the same time, to see places so old must be awe-inspiring. Greece is also so beautiful - the buildings, the sea, everything.
So - there's my list. Does anyone have any lists of their own?