Dolly Parton has traveled all over the world, thanks to her award-winning career. But the 72-year-old reveals there is one place she has yet to visit – but hopes to before she passes away.
“I’ve never been to the Holy Land,” Parton told PEOPLE. “I wanted to always take my mom and grandpa, who was a preacher, and I couldn’t afford it. They’re not here now, but that’s something I’d like to do.”
Not that Parton has much time to travel. The singer-songwriter is still as busy as ever, and admits she has never considered retiring, at least not yet.
“It’ll happen when it happens. That’s how I feel,” Parton acknowledged. “I am grateful that I am still here. So many people have more talent than I’ve ever dreamed of having that never get to see dreams come true.”
Still, the country music icon, who will be honored next year as the MusiCares 2019 Person of the Year, would gladly take a step away from the spotlight if necessary, but not for herself.
“If my husband needed me, or someone in my family, I would put him first,” Parton explained. “I’ve always put myself first and my career first, but if something were to happen to him, I would pull back on that."
“I’d still find a way to work, still find a way to be productive,” she continued. “I just hope I fall dead in the middle of a song, hopefully one I wrote, right on stage. That’s the way I go!”
Parton and Carl Dean have been married for 52 years. Although the couple spend much of their time apart, with Parton on the road and Dean preferring to stay out of the spotlight, the singer-songwriter says their separation might actually be the key to their successful relationship.
“I always joke and laugh when people ask me what’s the key to my long marriage and lasting love,” she said. “I always say ‘Stay gone!’ and there’s a lot of truth to that. I travel a lot, but we really enjoy each other when we’re together and the little things we do.”
Parton certainly has plenty on her plate these days. She recently wrote and recorded songs for the upcoming film, Dumplin', starring Jennifer Aniston, and is working on a 9 to 5 reboot with original cast members Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. In other words, life is just as Parton likes it.
Photo Credit: CTK Management