Goals can be as lofty as climbing Mount Everest or as simple as getting an A on an exam. Some people go through life without ever setting a goal and others approach the end of life with a bucket list.
Sandi Wilcox of Batavia knew what she wanted to accomplish early in life.
“When I was young, my family never traveled,” Wilcox said. “We went to Lake Geneva once and I was so excited when my teacher asked about states that we had visited. I could hardly wait until she got to Wisconsin so that I could raise my hand and tell that I had been there.”
After Wilcox married, she and her husband, John, made sure their kids had the opportunity to travel.
“Our goal was to visit every state in the continental U.S.” Wilcox said. “Each year, we packed up our old ‘58 Chevy with a tent and camping gear and eventually visited all 48 states.”
In 1985, Joannie Clever, a high school friend, suggested that Wilcox join her on a biking trip through the Netherlands.
“I had only been on a plane once for a short trip,” she said. “But the idea of going to Europe was so exciting.”
That trip was the beginning of a lifetime of travel around the world.
“I set a goal to visit all seven continents,” Wilcox said. “My recent trip to Antarctica accomplished that goal.”
Wilcox, who works as a real estate agent when she’s not on the road — or in the air — travels with friends, her daughters and friends she has made in tour groups. Her husband John is not fond of long plane rides, so he does not often accompany her. She believes travel is all about living within a culture, viewing nature and observing animals. Her favorite continent is Africa and her favorite activity is observing wildlife while on safari. She also enjoyed observing polar bears while visiting the tundra in Canada.
Although the visits to Europe have been enjoyable, they haven’t been without mishaps.
“I broke my arm biking and I broke my pelvis skiing,” she added.
That didn’t stop her from going on the next adventure, and from revisiting some of her favorite countries.
“I just returned from Africa and I really got into birding,” she said. “I observed over 100 different birds. The guides are so knowledgeable, they know all the species.”
Wilcox always travels with her camera, binoculars and a Polaroid camera.
“I often take Polaroids of the children in some of the countries I visit and then give the photographs to them to keep,” she said.
Whenever she goes to Africa, she also packs soccer balls.
“I was in a village in Africa once and noticed that the kids were playing with a ball they had made out of rags,” she said. “So now I take deflated soccer balls and inflate them when I get there.”
Just because Wilcox has accomplished her goal to see all seven continents, she isn’t done seeing the world. She has a whole new set of goals involving travel.
“I want to visit all of our national parks,” she said. “I’ve seen about half of them. And I want to go to Russia and Newfoundland, and even though I’ve been to Sweden, I’ve never been to Norway, I’d like to see the fjords.”
Her bucket list of countries to visit is never ending.
“On my next trip I’m staying in an elderhostel,” she said. “So that will be a new experience.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.