Travels with Susan Spano

People, Places, Stuff

Bragging Rights

October 7, 2012

Tags: Travel lists, Facebook

Are you well traveled? Prove it.

That’s how Facebook introduces its Travel List Challenge. Contestants check off places they’ve visited from a list of 100 mostly obvious destinations like the Eiffel Tower and Forbidden City, plus a few unusual suspects like Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic. There’s no prize except bragging rights; once you finish you can post your results and compare them with those of others. Almost a half million people have visited the site so far, though the creators of the challenge predict most people will have visited fewer than 9 of the destinations included.

This inspired me to come up with my own travel challenge--shorter, but much harder. Want to try?

1. Borobudur, a 8th century Buddhist temple on the Indonesian island of Java

2. Mammoth Cave, the longest known cave system in the world, near Bowling Green, Kentucky

3. Valparaiso, a hilly port city on the west coast of Chile

4. Herculaneum, an archaeological site near Pompeii on the Bay of Naples

5. Great Wall of China at Mutianyu about 50 miles northeast of Beijing

6. Hanoi Hilton, a.k.a. Hoa Lo Prison built by the French in the late 18th century, later used for prisoners during the Vietnam War

7. Patan Museum outside Katmandu, Nepal

8. Essaouira, an historic, walled town on the Atlantic Coast of Morocco

9. Stromboli, an island-volcano in the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily

10. Crossing of the Fathers on Lake Powell in Utah

11. Uffington Horse in Wiltshire, England

12. St. Malo, France

13. Basilica of San Clemente, Rome

14. San Xavier del Bac, a Spanish mission south of Tucson

15. The Burren, Ireland

16. The delta of the Danube River in Romania

17. The summit of the Grand Monadnock in New Hamphsire

18. Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park

19. Harry Truman Birthplace and Presidential Library, Independence, Missouri

20. Queen Charlotte Islands off the coast of British Columbia

21. Kronborg, a.k.a. Hamlet’s Castle, in Denmark

22. Tonga Islands, South Pacific

23. Udaipur in Rajasthan, India

24. Hancock Shaker Village, Massachusetts

25. Anywhere on the Arctic Circle

The creator of this list—that would be me—predicts that most people will only get one out of 25.
Go ahead, prove me wrong.
From the first annual SPEAK UP! contest, June 23, 2018, Muhanga, Rwanda

Syracuse Archaeological Museum, Sicily

Proshyan School bathroom with water tank

Takar and Kataro are my favorite Armenia reds

School time in Armenia.

Garni Temple, Armenia

Big Sur from Soberanes Point


Artichoke Pickers by Henriette Shore

On the way to the beach

Jalama Beach, CA

Hello, little sea urchin!

Famous Jalama Beach Burger

Three by Peter Hessler

Spring time on the Big Sur Coast


Jalama Beach, CA

Motya Charioteer. Image from

Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA

Homesick for Rome

Therme Vals in Switzerland

At Vogelsgang

National Socialist Party poster from Vogelsgang

Palm Springs

Image courtesy of Tylas at English Wikipedia

Vintage Naples Historic District

From Palm Cottage

Borobudur frieze; Buddha's life

Borobudur at sunrise

Shikellamy State Park in Pennsylvania

Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Image courtesy of Politics and Prose

Image courtesy of John Wehrheim.

Lotusland in Montecito, CA

Ganna Walska of Lotusland

Image courtesy of Flickr user ViaMoi.

Conques Church. Image courtesy of Flickr user Seligr.

Weiming Lake, Peking University. Image courtesy of Flickr user ImGump.

The Coral Casino at the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel near Santa Barbara

Agrodome, Rotorua, New Zealand. Image courtesy of Flickr user _gem_.

Vandalized images at Painted Rock

Painted Rock, Carrizo Plain National Monument

Mesa Verde National Park. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons user BenFrantzDale.

A map of Chicago, Illinois, imprinted in 1913 from the United States Geographical Survey’s historical topographic map collection. Image courtesy of the USGS.

Image courtesy of Flickr user hattiesburgmemory.

Cristo Redentor, Rio de Janeiro. Image courtesy of Flickr user alobos flickr.

Image courtesy of Flickr user joiseyshowaa.

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Selected Works

Nonfiction, Travel, Human Interest
A new collection of travel essays by Susan Spano
Tracking Colette in Paris and Burgundy
A draught sinks Lake Powell, revealing lost wonders of Glen Canyon
Rome's Most Roman Neighborhood
Studying Mandarin in Beijing
Around the world and back to New York
Nonfiction Book
Divorce. Why do we do it? And what does it do to us? fourteen prominent writers have pondered these questions and have set down heir thoughts and personal stories, in this gathering of sometimes irreverent and always intelligent essays. "A disarmingly candid, invaluable collection." --Publishers Weekly
"Anyone who doubts that men, too, suffer in divorce should be required to read this." --Glamour Magazine "A rare, unusually focused anthology of original essays that both entertains and instructs." --Publishers Weekly

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