According to Smithsonian's January 2008 issue, there are twenty-eight places to see before you die. "Whether you visit only a couple of these destinations or all 28, your life will be enriched by the experience."
Portals into the Past:
--Mesa Verde (Colorado)
--Pompeii (near Naples, Italy)
Feats of Engineering:
--Pyramids of Giza (Egypt)
--Taj Mahal (Agra, India)
--Easter Island (way west of Chile)
--The Great Wall (China)
A Matter of Timing (to be seen at certain times of year):
--Aurora Borealis (Alaska/Yukon)
--Serengeti (Tanzania and Kenya)
--Iguazu Falls (Brazil)
--Macchu Picchu (Peru)
Triumphs of Vision:
--Musee du Louvre (Paris, France)
--Zen Garden of Kyoto (Japan)
--Uffizi Gallery (Florence, Italy)
Scale New Heights:
--Yangtze River (China)
--Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)
--Grand Canyon (Arizona)
In the Presence of Gods:
--Parthenon (Athens, Greece)
--Angkor Wat (Cambodia)
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow:
--Amazon Rain Forest (in parts of eight South American countries!)
--Great Barrier Reef (east of Australia)
--Galapagos Islands (west of Ecuador)
I've seen the Louvre, the Uffizi, Venice, the Parthenon, and the Great Barrier Reef. If I follow through with China this summer, I'll see the Great Wall (and I'm not sure about the Yangtze, I'll have to check the sample itinerary). Seeing those places has certainly impacted me--they are all beautiful, stunning, inspirational in their own ways.
In the last year or so, reading National Geographic Adventure, South America is definitely on my list. There are so many treasures, both natural and historical, and it's kind of overwhelming. And it seems expensive, since those are the kind of experience you need a guide to make the best. I don't know if I'll ever be able to afford it, but I would certainly like to make it to one South American country in the next couple years. (I think Peru seems like a good start.) (Our school cut all after-school programs last month; we've had our own budget issues even before the city-wide cuts. This means I have no more extra income, so I'll have to get used to continuing not traveling.)
I think Yellowstone is a treasure that everyone should experience. I've never been to Yosemite or Glacier National Parks; I hear those are gorgeous, amazing places (and they're on my own list). The Australian Outback is an incredibly unique and beautiful, though harsh. It's a place and lifestyle unlike any other. Any or all of those destinations should definitely be on a list like this one.
So what do you think? How many have you visited? How many are on your own "list"? Anything you think should be added?