While thinking what I was going to blog about today, I started thinking about my travel bucket list. It is a very long list, and grows by the day – so why not introduce you to what’s on my bucket list, and why I want to go there.
Cuba is on my bucket list, and it is also the one that is closest to home. A mere 90 miles away from Florida, and once a very popular tourist destination for Americans. After Fidel Castro came to power in 1960, travel to Cuba (legally) for most Americans came to an end. I think that is partly why it has such allure for so many people. Cuba was a popular destination for Earnest Hemingway, who lived there for several years – and continued to maintain a winter home on the island after he left.
I won’t lie, I love the Caribbean – the warmth of the people, the smell of salt air, the delicious food, the beautiful beaches. The closest Caribbean island to us has been closed off for 50+ years. Luckily, some of those restrictions are easing and you can now participate in person-to-person cultural exchanges. There are several tour providers that offer options for them, but I think we’re setting our sights on Fathom Cruises. They are carving the way in a new form of travel – “voluntourism”. In addition to their person-to-person cultural exchanges, they also sail to the Dominican Republic and passengers volunteer in the local community. That, combined with the size of the ship (roughly seven hundred passengers), the lack of a casino on board, authentic Cuban food on board and an overnight in Havana is why we’re leaning in that direction.
I look forward to being able to step back in time and see the meticulously maintained ’50s era automobiles, have some of my favorite food (every time we visit Miami – we go to Little Havana), and learn about the people and culture in Cuba. Not to mention, I’ll probably have a cigar as well. I’ve read a lot on Cuba, the people, what to expect on your person-to-person cultural exchange, and can’t wait to experience it. From the small restaurants running out of someone’s house, to Old Havana or El Morro – there is plenty to see. You are somewhat restricted by the person-to-person requirements, but Fathom has planned for an overnight in Havana. This allows you to accomplish the government requirements, and then go off on your own and experience Havana.
So, there you have it – the first location on my bucket list, and there are many more to come. I think Cuba will probably be checked off the list before others!