Travel dreams - 13 places I'd love to go with my kids

Lonely Planet recently published their list of the top 10 countries to travel to in 2013. It's a very exciting and inspiring list, and made me think of the many places around the world I'd love to take my kids to. So where would I take them, if money was not a consideration? Here are 13 of my travel dreams:

Cove beach near Lagos, Portugal.
The Algarve, Portugal
In my youth (a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away), I lived and worked in Lagos, Portugal for a year. I've been back to visit with my husband before we had kids, but I would LOVE to take my children there too. It's a beautiful part of the world with gorgeous beaches, great food, and some very cool old towns to visit.

In my 20s, I visited Egypt and saw Cairo, the pyramids, Abu Simbel, and even did a Nile cruise. It was a spectacular trip, and a simply amazing destination. To stand in an old temple and see the actual paint of the murals left behind after several thousand years is mind-bending. Egypt also has some fantastic beach spots along the Red Sea: definitely a place I'd love to show my kids.

Long Beach, Tofino, BC, Canada.
Long Beach, Tofino, Canada
This place is located very close to us, just across the water on the west coast of Vancouver Island, so this is a place we might actually get to sooner rather than later. We were there when the kids were very small, but I think they'd enjoy it even more now when they're a little older. Great beach-combing, fantastic hiking trails, and just a gorgeous part of the world.

Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is a fascinating place for any age-group, but I would love my kids to see this place to learn about geology up close and personal, in a very exciting and hands-on way. I'd also love for them to see the buffalo roaming the park. A camping trip to this place might very well be in our future!

Southern France
When I was a teenager, my family drove from Sweden through Europe, all the way to the French Riviera. It was a fantastic trip, and that part of the world is an amazing place to visit: great beaches, legendary food, and so much history everywhere. I'd take my kids to places like Cannes, Nice, Antibes, St Paul de Vance, and Grasse.

If money was not a consideration, this is the place in the world that I would go and visit with my family. It's just one of those places that I've seen in so many movies, nature documentaries, and TV-shows, and I would very much like to see it with my own eyes. I'd like my kids to explore the outback, see the wildlife, have fun on the beaches and in the ocean, and also visit some of the country's bigger cities.

An African safari
Both my children are very interested in animals and the natural world. They've seen the animals of Africa in so many movies (cartoons and documentaries), but I think it would absolutely blow their minds to experience lions, rhinos, elephants, and so much more up close. Also, I would just love for them to have traveled to this part of the world and learn more about it.

Costa Rica's jungle
I've read good things about Costa Rica in many places online, and have also heard good things from friends who have been there. My family is very much into the outdoors and learning about wildlife and nature, and I think this might be the perfect place to both enjoy some good beach-time, and explore the natural world of the rainforest.

Sri Lanka
This island is one of those places that I've heard so much about (we have acquaintances who moved to Canada to flee the now-finished civil war there), but that I know very little about. What I have read about the place does make me very curious to visit: history, beaches, natural wonders. Definitely sounds like a place my kids might enjoy!

Yes, it is possible to travel to Antarctica. I'm putting this one in the category "Bucket-List Long-shots". Seeing penguins up close might just make my daughter speechless. Maybe.

The Arctic
This is a spectacular part of the world, and I would love to explore it with my kids, whether we'd visit Greenland, northern Canada, or northern Norway. Maybe we might even make it to the North Pole one day?

Over the last year, my children have fallen in love with the movies of Hayao Miyazaki. Through movies like Spirited Away and Ponyo, and the non-Miyazaki movie The Cat Returns, they've become familiar with things like Japanese food, Japanese spirituality and folk-tales, and also the Japanese landscape. Taking them there to see these things for themselves, would be a dream come true.

Yes, my kids did recently watch the third Madagascar movie, and that is part of the reason why I'd like to take them to this island off the coast of Africa. But there are other reasons too: the very unique wildlife for example. Like Sri Lanka, this is also one of those places that have had a problematic political period, but now seems poised to become more stable and tourism-friendly.

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