Travel Goals Master Checklist: Part III – Africa

Narrowing down the most wondrous places in the world to just 72 was hard enough. Picking which of the numerous incredible sites to be found in Africa to include was even harder. To date, I’ve covered the backstory of the selection and inspiration for the destinations from North America and the Caribbean, and South America and Antarctica in previous articles. Here I will explain the rationale and artistic motivation behind the ten African destinations featured in my new Travel Goals Master Checklist.

Cape Town, South Africa

While my own travels in South Africa were confined to the northeast, and few people come to Africa to experience the cities, Cape Town is by all accounts the exception to the rule. Dominating this pivotal location on the continent is world-famous Table Mountain, which I felt would make the proper backdrop for any artistic representation. The result is a spot on the Travel Goals Master Checklist and a peaceful view of the city’s “skyline”.

Game Parks, South Africa

The aforementioned northeastern corner of South Africa is full of game parks and natural reserves where visitors can get up close with Africa’s signature wildlife. My first safaris in the Klaserie and Timbavati Reserves, where I got to see lions in the wild, were a highlight for me, and therefore a natural subject for the artwork depicting this exciting corner of the world.

Sossusvlei, Namibia

I only visited Namibia by the barest of margins, when our motorized canoe pulled alongside a small island in the Caprivi Strip bordering Chobe National Park, Botswana. But I would love to get back to experience the mighty dunes and desert panoramas such as Sossusvlei and the surrounding area for a unique landscape that draws visitors despite its desolate nature.

Victoria Falls, Zambia

I cannot imagine a more impressive sheet of falling water than what I witnessed at Victoria Falls. And while I recommend seeing it from both the Zimbabwe and Zambia sides, it was from the Zambian side that the pervasive spray caught the sun at just the right angle to provide me the muse for the image I chose to feature. This world wonder was never in doubt to make the top 72 world class travel destinations. In fact, it would make the top 10.

Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar

Madagascar is a fascinating place that I’m determined to see one day. The island itself has a wealth of interesting features, but what comes to my mind when I hear the name Madagascar mentioned (Besides a dancing lemur singing “I like to move it, move it”) is the Avenue of the Baobabs – a collection of towering baobab trees that encapsulates the unique nature of this African island.

Masai Mara, Kenya

I’ve yet to get to East Africa, but if I do, the Masai Mara is just the kind of place that safari dreams are made of. In my mind I envision the oft-repeated trope of a lone acacia tree standing above the savannah during sunset, while the silhouette of – insert your favorite wild animal here – grazes beside it. So I went with giraffes, not only because I like them, but because nothing says you’re in Africa more than a giraffe (except maybe a sign saying “Welcome to Africa” but that’s not quite as impressive”).

Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

The idea of a snowcapped mountain that sits on the equator is cool in its own rite. Add to that the surrounding national parks for which it serves as a backdrop, and Mt. Kilimanjaro – straddling the border of Tanzania and Kenya – was certain to land a spot on the top 72 checklist destinations. I may be too old and fat to climb it, but I definitely have it on my radar to visit someday.

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

As the world’s oldest tourist attraction, how could the pyramids of Giza not make it onto the list? I can still recall the first time I saw them and the sense of wonder and awe they provoked within me. Few world monuments if any are more recognizable than these sentinels of the desert, and I’m proud to have marked this destination off on my own Master Checklist.

Chefchaouen, Morocco

I went back and forth before choosing this quaint town in northern Morocco for the list. It’s only become mainstream in recent years, while more famous destinations like Marrakesh and Tangiers have been well known for centuries. But tiny Chefchaouen, with its blue palette of maze-like alleys just seemed to better encapsulate the North African vibe that I felt deserved to be represented among the world’s best. Plus, I really like blue, so there’s that . . .

La Digue, Seychelles

As the star of calendars and screensavers the world over, tiny La Digue in the upscale Seychelles archipelago hosts Anse Source D’argent – a sandy cove strewn with erosion-worn boulders that typify these tropical islands. This ubiquitous image was a natural choice both for its recognizability, but also because it was one of my favorite spots as well.


So far I’ve covered 34 out of the 72 destinations on the master checklist. How many can you check off? Even if that number is zero, the beauty of the checklist is that it inspires a person to new adventures and specific travel goals. If you’ve enjoyed the artwork and want a Travel Goals Master Checklist to display in your home or office, please visit my Custom Travel Art store, or my Etsy store to order a copy for yourself or the traveler in your life.

Stay tuned for Part IV . . .



Have you been to any of these destinations? Or do you have a favorite in Africa that you feel should have made the list? Share it with your fellow travel lovers by leaving a comment!

Feeding Your Inner Cartophile – The Story Behind the Bucket List In Progress World Map

Are you a cartophile? No, the word cartophile doesn’t refer to a person who loves adding items to their cart, though in this modern digital age somebody should come up with a word for that. Rather, simply put, a cartophile is a person who loves maps.

I myself am an unabashed cartophile since the days of my youth, when I would literally spend time tracing maps from an old atlas at my parents’ house. Come to think of it, that might explain why I didn’t have many friends at the time. Now, as a seasoned adult traveler, I am comforted by the fact that like me, there are many others who can appreciate a good map and aren’t afraid to admit it.

What Is The Appeal of a World Map?

Bucket List In Progress World Map

Each cartophile likely has a different motive for this special kind of love. For me, I see a world map as a challenge; a global objective to see and experience firsthand each and every location encompassed within that familiar outline that we all know so well. It’s like a coloring book for adventurers that contains the basic shape but leaves it up to the traveler to fill in the spaces. With each and every trip I get to ‘color in’ another section of that map with the rich imagery of firsthand experience.

As an example, I don’t just see ‘Thailand’ on a map. I recall the stifling humidity, the ever-present fragrance of burning incense, and the pleasant, smiling faces of the local people. That’s what a world map does for me – it serves as a template for containing past travel memories and a source of inspiration to go out and make new ones. It’s with that viewpoint in mind that I came up with the Bucket List In Progress World Map design.

Why A Bucket List In Progress World Map?

Even a very experienced traveler will still have destinations that they haven’t yet seen in person. One of the joys (or vices) of being well-traveled is sharing where you’ve been and what you’ve seen with others, sometimes known as showing off. Yet who can find fault with anyone who derives great satisfaction in seeing the world’s most iconic locations and wanting to share that fact with others? The key is doing it in a way that comes across more as inspirational than obnoxious. 

So in an effort to provide my fellow travelers with an option that will allow them to exhibit their own personal travel accomplishments in a way that is both inspirational and visually-pleasing, I designed the Bucket List In Progress World Map. I called it a Bucket List in Progress because there are very few intrepid travelers who have visited every location listed – not even yours truly (I’ve been to 22 out of 28). This means that for most people, there is still that incentive to fill in the remaining blanks.

Selecting the Locations

It was quite difficult whittling down the enormous number of worthy sites worldwide to the 28 that would be included on this map – after all, we all have different items on our own personal travel bucket list. So instead I sought to include hand-drawn imagery that would encompass a wide range of unique regions and a healthy mix of both man-made and natural attractions. Once I had the destinations in mind, it was just a matter of finding its coordinates and arranging each graphic in a logical place on the image. For the map itself, I decided against a map delineating national borders, as the wonders depicted are really treasures that belong to everyone who calls this planet home.

Why A Bucket List In Progress World Map Makes for A Great Gift

The Bucket List In Progress World Map, which is exclusive to Custom Travel Art, is a great gift idea for several reasons. First, it’s a map, which is already catnip for the cartophile in your life. Second, the graphics are both sleek and colorful, making it an awesome way to showcase some of the world’s greatest destinations. And thirdly, the provided spaces to be “checked off” are a great way to keep track of your travels and at the same time provide incentive for the travels to come.

For more details and images of the map as a whole and the individual locations included, see the Bucket List In Progress World Map product page and order one for yourself or for the traveler in your life. Your inner cartophile will thank you.