March Talk Blog: Dream Vacation

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Instead of thinking about how Spring break got cancelled for UW this year, I insisted that WSUM spend some time thinking about a dream trip of theirs. If you were to win a once in a lifetime trip, all expenses paid, where would you go? What would you do? Read below to see where WSUM is headed! – D Allen

Fight Island

If I could go anywhere in the world and do whatever I wanted for one week, I most certainly would choose to go to Yas Island (lovingly dubbed “Fight Island” by UFC President Dana White) in Abu Dhabi during a UFC fight week. Now it was quite a tough decision between Yas and Ireland, as I’ve always wanted to go visit the ole homestead, however, if I’m going to be somewhere for a week, give me the epic tourist attraction that is Fight Island. I’d be able to chill with some of the greatest athletes in the world, enjoy a freaking awesome water park that looks like Noah’s Ark on steroids, and maybe even check out Ferrari World, who knows? Then I could wrap the week up by watching a UFC event live, which would definitely be a bucket list moment. So while I do hope to actually visit Ireland someday in the future, for now, I’ll take dreaming about the adventures that could take place on Fight Island.

– Riley J

The Land of Ice

Iceland. After obsessing over the country and all the amazing things I could do while I’m there for years, I’d finally get to go to Iceland. Would I be a tiny bit disappointed with the fact that I’d only be there for a week? … yes. But enough complaining about that, let’s get into the ~adventure~. Upon arrival in Reykjavik, I would pick up a huge, but cute, camper van with a bed, tiny kitchen, bathroom, and all those necessities to rent out for the week. But before I would leave the capital city, I would hunt down this super cool club that I’ve heard of. Apparently, all of the electricity that powers the spot comes from the floor. So, the more dancing, the more electricity the club has. After a fun night there, I’d begin my journey around the country, hitting as many famous spots as possible. I’d definitely go to the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, Lake Myvatn (where Game of Thrones was shot), the multitudes of waterfalls they have there, and definitely walk along the black sand beach, and maybe go four wheeling there while I’m at it. Overall, I’d have a super busy week in Iceland, but with my trusty camper van, it would be the coolest week of my life.

–  Isabelle Krier

Imagine This

Imagine this. I land in Thailand with nothing but a hiking backpack and an open mind, ready to have a good time. For most of the week, I started the day by backpacking in the mountains like the ones of Doi Inthanon. I am not alone, however, because I have my tour guide monkey, an expert of the different hiking trails. He wore his little safari hat and asked me for a bite of whatever piece of fruit I had that day. Upon return from our daily adventures, I’d make my way back to a resort hidden within the beautiful greenery, greeted with all the best foods that the country has to offer like mango sticky rice and pad thai (all vegan, of course) and I’d feast alongside other random travelers who’d come back from their own endeavors. My favorite part of the trip was when I snuck out with a canoe one night and paddled into the water. I brought a candle, crystals, and a mat so that I could gaze at the stars. My companion monkey noticed I was gone and followed me into the water in his custom-made miniature canoe with flames drawn on the side. He joined me as I gazed at the constellations above. Even though that moment felt so significant, it also made me realize that I am just another ball of energy living on this big rock we’ve come to know as Earth. Nonetheless, I felt comforted by the swift, warm tropical air and the gentle pulse of waves that swept under my canoe.

– Karla Ponce

A week in Istanbul

If I were to have an all-expenses-paid vacation, I would use it to fulfill my goal of visiting Istanbul, Turkey. I’ve always thought that Turkey’s complicated history–from Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires to its modern republic–makes it a unique bridge from past to present that must be experienced in a lifetime. Architecture is one aspect that shows Turkey’s power struggles over the years and during my visit to Istanbul I would prioritize visiting its mosques. I want to see the Hagia Sophia, a former Christian church converted to a mosque under the Ottoman empire that has survived nearly 1,500 years of religious conflict in the region. The structure has a mix of Christian and Islamic interior style that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Next, I would head to Istanbul’s massive local market the Grand Bazaar that houses 4,000 shops and was one of the first shopping centers in the world. Here, I would get a taste of Turkish culture by purchasing some unique spices or a coffee set. I also have an interest in soccer and hope to see one of the local rivalry games between the Istanbul Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe or Galatasaray clubs that are said to have some of the most passionate and committed fan groups in the world. Istanbul represents such a diverse range of cultures with historical significance, and I hope to experience it soon even if it isn’t this spring!

– Will Romano

Bullet Train Backpacking

Oh Spring Break 2021, how we all miss you so… If I had a whole week with all expenses paid for, I’d suffer the jet lag and 14-hour flight all the way to Japan: the country with a rail system that I can only dream of here in the US. Landing in Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture, I’d go skiing and check out some hot springs. From then on, it’s all train baby (which also goes over the ocean?!). And this train isn’t like all those other trains… the Shinkansen goes up to 200 mph, making the full trip from north to south only 12 hours total. It’s the perfect way to travel an entire country with only a week’s worth of time. Since it’s also during cherry blossom season, the views would be spectacular. Stops along the way to more populated cities wouldn’t be long; I’d love to visit some shines and see old architecture. Tokyo has an abundance of things to try out, and I’d spend as much time there as possible. The teamLab Borderless at museum is the one place I would NEED to hit up. Without dwelling too long, I’d somehow carve out the time to end up in Okinawa to spend the last few hours on picturesque beaches, soaking in the sun before heading back to rainy, cold Wisconsin.

– Emily Takacs

Jocund Japan

If I could travel anywhere, it would be to Japan. The culture is an exciting blend of Eastern traditions and Western modernity. While Japan is known for its impressive flashy neon lights and advanced technology, it’s also a nature lover’s paradise. Once outside the big, modern cities, you will discover that the country is home to some of the best natural scenery. From the Hokkaido wilderness to Okinawa’s white pristine beaches, Japan’s nature is incredibly diverse and enjoyed all year round. Climbing Mount Fuji is at the top of my bucket list as it takes a special, sacred place in Japanese culture. Mount Fuji has been a holy site for Shintoism—the indigenous religion of Japan—and for centuries, people have held it close to their hearts. Even if you’re not keen on making your way to the summit, which I’m not, Mount Fuji is a sight to behold. And I can’t forget about Sakura—the arrival of spring—a time for renewal and optimism. For two weeks, everyone and everything in the spirit of the beautiful flowers. I want to experience Hanami—blossom viewing parties—and Japan’s passion for picnicking under cherry trees. Plus, you see limited edition Sakura treats and souvenirs everywhere. Urban cities, rugged mountains, flowering seasons and spirituality all at the forefront; I’d like to see another country match that cheerful combination!

– Rebecca