Travel Goals Master Checklist: Part IV – Europe


In Part IV of the Travel Goals Master Checklist series, I’ll explain the reasons and inspirations behind the 13 destinations selected to represent Europe in my list of the top 72 travel locations in the world. Suffice to say, I could have easily found 72 in Europe alone, and arguments can be made that some worthy destinations have been left out. But I challenge anyone to claim that the 13 selected aren’t worthy entrants in their own rite.

So enjoy the backstory to the European delegation to the Travel Goals Master Checklist, and if you haven’t done so already, I invite you to read Parts I, II and III.

Bavaria, Germany


The mountains, forests and charming villages of Germany’s Bavaria section are something right out of a fairy tale. The most conspicuous of such elements is the famous Neuschwanstein Castle, whose storybook setting and fantastical architecture were the perfect muse for representing this lovely region on the checklist.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland


Though on my own visit to the Cliffs of Moher they – and they alone – were disappointingly wreathed in fog, the drama was still readily evident, and the familiar vertical cliffs seen in movies and postcards were still impressive. Ireland’s Atlantic coastline is stunningly spectacular, and the Cliffs of Moher are a worthy subject for inclusion on the Travel Goals Master Checklist.

Geiranger, Norway


The Norwegian fjords are collectively one of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth. Among these dramatic inlets, tiny Geiranger stands out as a cut above the rest. In fact, I consider this to be the second most beautiful place I’ve ever been (the first being Milford Sound, New Zealand – also located on a fjord). I strongly encourage all who can to make plans to check off this entry on their own copy of the Travel Goals Master Checklist.

Greek Islands, Greece


Though I’ve yet to make my way through the islands of Greece, from a tourism viewpoint they are the stars of the Mediterranean, and deserve a spot on the list. Among the various postcard-worthy scenes I considered as inspiration for creating the artwork for this destination, a sunset view over Santorini seemed to best encapsulate all that is good in this corner of the world.

London, England


When it comes to world cities, London is not just the capital of England, but a capital of empire with relics of its history, museums and architecture to recommend it. Considering its strong profile on the world stage and world-class attractions, London easily made its way onto the checklist, and is likely one destination that many can check off.

Meteora, Greece


With so many sites in Europe worthy of their place on the checklist, I was reluctant to choose two from the same country. But the otherworldy pinnacles of the Meteora in mainland Greece were a highlight of my own travels, and a unique setting that earns its spot among the world’s most impressive places to visit.

Paris, France


Paris is another one of those cities that double as a national and cultural capital. There was no difficulty in selecting it as an entrant on the checklist, neither was there much internal debate as to which icon to select in representing the City of Light. Given its worldwide popularity as a travel destination, more than a few can mark off Paris on their own copy of the Travel Goals Master Checklist.

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia


Only in recent years has the small Mediterranean country of Croatia muscled its way among the heavyweights of world travel destinations. While its turquoise-framed islands and coastline get a lot of the attention, Croatia’s biggest natural gem is located inland at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Plitvice Lakes. With turquoise waters of its own spilling over tiers of lush, forested mountains, this idyllic spot is on my own bucket list, and is worthy of its inclusion of the checklist’s top 72 as well.

Rome, Italy


Brimming with recognizable monuments and vestiges of former empire, the Eternal City of Rome is a no-brainer for the travel goals checklist. It also wasn’t too hard to select the massive Colosseum as the subject for this particular piece of artwork. For centuries Rome has been a must-see world capital and that appeal lasts right up to our time as well.

St. Petersburg, Russia


Though not as famous as the Russian capital Moscow, many would argue that St. Petersburg is superior from a cultural and architectural viewpoint. The gilded Hermitage was the obvious choice for representing the city, and a winter scene seemed only fitting given its location.

Swiss Alps, Switzerland


The entire country of Switzerland is made up of postcard-worthy views in all directions. Such views come courtesy of the Alps, which also spill over into Italy, France, Germany and Austria to great visual effect. Most famous of those peaks is the Matterhorn, whose distinct knife-edge profile was an easy choice for representing this stunning landscape that well-deserves its place on the checklist.

Venice, Italy


In my opinion, Venice gives off a vibe that it is more akin to a movie set than an actual functioning city. But function it has for hundreds of years, and as a result, the historic palazzos, ornate bridges and ubiquitous gondolas have earned it a spot on the checklist. Add to that a charm that launches it into a competition with Paris as the world’s most romantic city, and there’s no way I could leave it off.

Volcanic Landscape, Iceland


Iceland is a prominent fixture near the top of my own bucket list, and has the geological and atmospheric chops to earn it a spot on the master checklist as well. With raw, rugged landscapes sculpted by volcanoes and other elements, and the kind of latitude that lends itself to viewing the elusive aurora borealis for a good portion of the year, Iceland is a popular travel destination for good reason, and someday I hope to see it for myself.


All 72 destinations of the Travel Goals Master Checklist

At this point in the series I’ve now covered 47 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.

Part V coming soon . . .


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!

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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!

Travel Goals Master Checklist: Part II – South America and Antarctica

In this second installment of the Travel Goals Master Checklist series of blog posts, I’ll cover the destinations from South America and Antarctica that made the list, along with the reasons why. If you haven’t done so already, I invite you to read Part I – North America & the Caribbean, which will give you more of the backstory. But if your attention span is as tiny as mine, suffice to say that the destinations and imagery to follow are taken from the list of 72 world-class bucket list destinations that make up my signature design: The Travel Goals Master Checklist, available exclusively from my online and Etsy stores.

Angel Falls, Venezuela


As the tallest waterfall on the planet, I couldn’t leave off Venezuela’s Angel Falls from the list, even if the country has been so unstable in recent years that visiting it is a no-go. It’s hard to pity myself for not being able to visit when the residents of Venezuela are suffering so badly despite having more natural wealth and resources than most countries combined. But if the political disaster ever gets reversed, don’t be surprised to see a check mark next to this remote but worthy entrant on my own copy of the travel goals master checklist.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador


The Galapagos, located off the western coast of Ecuador, are a unique ecosystem with many natural wonders. Though a trip here involves a hefty price tag and the environment is under threat, there’s no question that it is a world-class destination, and therefore deserves a place on the list.

Amazon Rain Forest, Ecuador/Brazil


Making up the bulk of the South American continent, the Amazon basin and its namesake rainforest spans across many national borders. The flooded jungle and myriad tributaries are still full of mystery, and you never know what you’re going to come across with every bend of the river. This massive natural feature is a world treasure and easy winner of a place on the list.

Fernando de Noronha, Brazil


Occupying a spot on my own bucket list, the remote Atlantic island of Fernando de Norohna is an island enthusiast’s dream. From its pristine reefs, a barely touched landscape, and one of the world’s best beaches, this little-known destination has found its way onto the master checklist ahead of locations with greater star power.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil



Of the 72 destinations on the full list, only a dozen of them are cities. Of these, only one is found in South America, but there’s no question that Rio de Janeiro, with its stunning harbor, iconic landmarks and festive vibe, is the city to see on the continent. Rio checks all the boxes for an elite world-class destination, so it was a no-brainer to include it on the list while trying to capture the dazzling energy superimposed over the city’s dramatic natural setting in the artwork.


Machu Picchu, Peru


Few images of South America are as recognizable as the ruins of Machu Picchu, perched high up in the Peruvian Andes. Though bad weather thwarted my own attempt to see it firsthand, the entire land of the Incas – from the Sacred Valley to the capital of Cuzco – is a breathtaking panorama and feather in any world traveler’s cap.


Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia


This massive salt pan is the largest on Earth, though the desolate landscape would seem more at home on the moon. This is a major tourist draw for visitors to landlocked Bolivia, and if I ever get the chance, I can’t wait to take in the stark beauty of this immense (over 3,900 square miles) natural attraction.


Iguazu Falls, Argentina


As one of the Top 3 waterfalls in the world, Iguazu Falls, separating Argentina from Chile in a raging collection of frothing cataracts, was an absolute must-have on the travel goal master checklist. I haven’t personally been there yet, and it’s the kind of place you have to go out of your way to see, but by all accounts this is a breathtaking natural wonder that earns its spot in the top 72.

Torres del Paine, Chile


Though I’ve been to Chilean Patagonia, I didn’t have time to visit this iconic mountain destination in the lower reaches of the South American continent. But from photos I’ve seen, it is definitely a landmark worthy of inclusion on the travel goals master checklist, and well-encapsulates the alpine scenery that typifies the region.

Gerlache Strait, Antarctica


This narrow channel of water between the Antarctic Peninsula and a series of icy coastal islands is a common feature on Antarctic cruises, and therefore more “accessible” than other spots on this exceedingly difficult to visit continent. My fondest memories were of icebergs hued in shades of electric blue, and the antics of penguins who used them as their personal jungle gym, so coming up with the artwork was a labor of love.

How Many Have You Visited?

Order your own Travel Goals Master Checklist today!

So far I’ve covered 24 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 III . . .


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

Putting the ‘Art’ into the Art of Travel

Travel is known to inspire many things: wanderlust, broader horizons, and sometimes even cases of good-natured envy. Among artistic types, the scenes and experiences had while traveling have often served as a muse – just ask Paul Gauguin, Ansel Adams and the people who’ve created those fascinating travel posters during the last century. Regarding the latter, I’ve always admired the style, artistry and design sense displayed in their productions. So it’s no surprise that when my internal need to create became too loud to ignore, I directed my efforts into a creative outlet that echoed the travelers who have gone before me, and put in visual form my own twist on those posters of the past.

How it started

For me, my inspiration came during a visit from my parents. My mother -artistic and talented in her own right – wanted to stop into a store called Hobby Lobby. Apparently this craft store is well-known beyond my native Long Island, but since moving to Texas I had never once stepped foot inside. For those of you in those same proverbial shoes, think of an enormous, Texas-sized craft store brimming with enough raw materials and finished goods to keep oneself occupied for the next few decades. All of sudden, my latent creative juices began to flow. Some of the many items for sale are framed prints, which also include maps and vintage-style travel posters for various locales. Seeing these, I examined them and thought – as many wannabe artists are wont to do – “I can do that”. With my self-imposed challenge in place, I not only picked up some fresh art supplies in a nearby aisle, but also mused about how exactly I was going to reproduce something in that vintage style.

The first attempt

africaposter My first attempt at a travel poster recreation was a map of southern Africa (see above) that detailed my travels in the region. Not only did I design the title to reflect fonts appropriate to the setting, but came up with the idea of several insets that were entirely based on my own photographs. I was quite pleased with the end result and this 30″x 40″ painting still generates conversation among my house guests.

Keeping it goingsouthamerposter

The problem with opening any creative jar is that once you get going, its hard to stop. There’s an inborn need to improve and expand one’s work. Or at least that’s my own take. It might be my mild case of OCD or eating Mexican food after 9PM, but once inspiration strikes me I find it difficult to tear my mind away from future projects. So, with plenty of wall space still available, I embarked on another project; one that would not only include the same motif of a map with photo-inspired insets, but would now include graphic elements taken from the region. In this case, the toucan, orchids, Inca-syle stone lettering and jungle-like background were all inspired by my travels to the South American continent and are also meaningful to the client (namely, me).

A new line of work?

They say that if you do something you love, you never work a day in your life. I’d tend to agree with that, and I think we’d all agree that the pay is better than actually never working. After consulting with a friend who also happens to be an extremely talented professional artist (click here to see more on him) I decided to try my hand at making paintings on sale to the public. Here’s the first of my generic travel series. For the record, this one’s for sale. If you’re interested in the painting or a print, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you. posterI’m also considering offering┬á custom paintings in this inset, vintage travel poster motif. Like anything else, I know I’ll have to get it in front of the right audience, but if you or someone you know would be interested in commissioning a custom painting using their family name and photos, I would welcome the chance to talk about a possible collaboration. My direct email is ben@tripaccomplice.com

Either way

Whether or not this custom travel poster recreation thing turns out to be a viable line of work or just another hobby, I can affirmatively vouch for the satisfaction derived from having a creative outlet and satisfying the artistic need to create. And whether its handicrafts, sketches, sculpture or interpretive dance, don’t forget to venture out into the big wide world for some inspiration. Oh, and you might want to pass by Hobby Lobby as well.

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