by | Jun 11, 2017 | Chris Goff, On writing | 13 comments

by Chris Goff

I am lucky. I’ve been to a lot of places. My folks were responsible for my visiting forty-nine of the states, Canada, Mexico and thirteen European countries – either by taking me there or helping finance the journeys. Since then my family and friends have helped me add Israel, Jamaica, Morocco, Puerto Rico, UK, Scotland and Ireland; and my career has added Alaska, Ukraine and Poland.

For my latest book, RED SKYlaunching June 13th—I had the pleasure of spending two weeks with my youngest daughter, Addie, scoping out the backstreets of Kiev, Krakow, Gdańsk and Berlin. The last city didn’t make the cut for the book, but it did put a dent in My Bucket List.

One of my favorite parts of exploring a new location is sousing out the essence of area. Because of my time in Israel, I was able to instill in my first thriller, DARK WATERS, a true sense of place. The time spent people-watching in Dizengoff Square, walking along the shores of Lake Kinneret and drinking coffee in old town Jaffa supplied anecdotes and ambience that helped make my story come to life.

The same can be said for the time spent walking over 40 miles around the city of Kyiv, strolling Old Town Krakow and buying amber in the market, listening to the chatter of school children touring Auschwitz, eating ice cream on the Royal Way in Gdańsk, or being terrorized by a bicycle-gang in Berlin—the latter weaving in and around the pedestrians on tricked out bicycles, wearing leathers, boom-box blaring and beers in hand. A little research turned up that earlier in the year, a bicycle gang of left-wing activists calling themselves the Social Democratic People’s Bicycle Commando had claimed responsibility for torching 48 luxury cars parked on the streets as a political statement against gentrification.

The message for thriller writers and readers: you don’t have to make this stuff up. But the fact remains, in spite of having been fortunate enough to see a lot of the world, there are many more places and things left to see. Here’s the top-five on my list.

1. Russia.

Ever since I was a little girl and read about the Romanovs and the possible escape of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna (a rumor I know has been proven false in recent years), I have wanted to visit St. Petersburg and the Alexander Palace.

2. China.

More specifically, the Great Wall and Emperor Quin’s Tomb and the Terra-Cotta Army.
3. Victoria Falls.
The falls forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and has been described by the Kololo trip as “Mosi-oa-Tunya”—The Smoke that Thunders. During the height of the rainy season more than five hundred million cubic meters of water per minute plummet over the edge, a width of nearly two kilometers, into a gorge over one hundred meters below.

4. The Egyptian Pyramids.
Specifically the ones found at Giza on the outskirts of Cairo. The Pyramid of Khufu is the largest, and the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence.

5. The Galapagos Islands.
The volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean is considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing and shelters a diversity of plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else. A province of Ecuador, it lies about 1,000km off its coast.

Oh, and

Bonus 6. The Great Barrier Reef.

The largest living thing on earth, it’s situated off the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia and is even visible from outer space. I’ll admit to being a little scared of the Great White Sharks, but then I should never have watched the movie Sharknado (joke). It was actually JAWS that made me afraid of the water. Of course, I don’t let it stop me. I’m just a bit of a nervous Nellie.

So what’s on your Bucket List? I’d love to know. Maybe it’s somewhere I’ve never thought to go.

Don’t Miss a Thing!



  1. Karna Bodman

    Oh Chris, what a wonderful list. In fact, you have named a few places I would love to visit as well — especially St. Petersburg. And by the way, with all of your intriguing research and obvious writing talent, can't wait to read your new thriller, RED SKY — I'm pre-ordering it right now. Great post. Thanks.

  2. S. Lee Manning

    I also have St. Petersburg on my list – but unfortunately don't plan on going until things change in Russia. Still, would love to see it.

  3. Dixie51

    What a wonderful list, I have to say mine includes a lot of beaches and the Northern Lights.

  4. Debi Huff

    I have always wanted to go on an African safari-and stay in Giraffe Manor in Kenya.

  5. Norma Huss

    I haven't been to most places you've been, but I do have three from your bucket list! Victoria Falls, Galapagos Islands, and I snorkeled over an offshoot of the Great Barrier Reef. I've also been to Antarctic by boat, which included sailing among enormous ice bergs and into a hurricane-strength wind.

  6. Gayle Lynds

    What a wonderful post, Chris. You're not only remarkable for being such a great writer, but also for all of the traveling you've done. I, too, am eager to go to Russia, particularly Moscow, and I grew up in Iowa where we could see the Aurora Borealis from our backyard, which has made me long to visit Iceland where the sky colors are supposed to be spectacular. Also have a yen for Finland. Thanks for provoking such thoughts!

  7. Chris Goff

    Thank you, Karna. Hey, maybe we can take a Rogue Women Writers trip to St. Petersburg?! Actually, I'm thinking of taking a tour of the Viking Homeland on Viking Cruises, visiting long lost relatives in Sweden and taking advantage of the stop in St. Petersburg along the way. Ever done a cruise? It's also on my extended bucket list, so….

  8. Chris Goff

    A Rogue Women Writers trip to St. Petersburg. I'm just sayin'!

  9. Chris Goff

    I had the opportunity to see the Northern Lights when I was in Alaska, though they weren't very spectacular right then. I'd love to see them full blown. What beaches? I love beaches, too.

  10. Chris Goff

    OMG. I totally forgot about a safari. What a great goal! Have you heard of the Mfuwe Lodge in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park? It seems the hotel sits on the preferred path to some of the reserve's mango trees and the elephants cut through the hotel in order to get to their favorite snack. I believe the hotel design was an accident, but it's become a major draw. This link will get you to a you tube video.

  11. Chris Goff

    I've heard the Antarctic trip is amazing. I would love to see the emperor penguins there.

  12. Chris Goff

    I have to say, the cruise I want to take goes to Finland, too.

  13. Sonja Stone

    Chris, I get nervous just READING about your travel adventures! Drop me in the wilderness with a canteen and a knife and I'll be fine, but traveling to Russia? No can do…