Travel Bucket List

Something I've already ticked off - visiting Chichen Itza, Mexico
Something I’ve already ticked off – visiting Chichen Itza, Mexico

Ever since I was little I’ve had an inquisitive mind. There are many ways that I pursue my love of learning – reading books, watching films and documentaries, conversations with interesting people. But I believe the best way to broaden the mind and satisfy my curiosity about life is by travel. We live on a beautiful planet full of endless variety and wonder. By leaving my home country and exposing myself to new cultures, climates, landscapes and ways of being I feel I have learnt so much about the world and I never want to stop exploring for as long as I’m alive. This is my bucket list of the top 10 things I’m most excited about experiencing through travel.

  1. Go on an African safari.
    This is pretty much top of my wildlife to-do list. I want to see lions, cheetahs, zebras, rhinos and African elephants in the flesh. I imagine waking at 4.30am, climbing sleepily into a four wheel drive and watching nature start its day as the sun rises. A few years ago I made a pact with a good friend of mine that we would travel to Africa together. I hope she’s still in, ‘cause I definitely am.
  2. Travel across South America.
    My route would take me through the wilderness of Ecuador, via the sky-grazing ancient cities of Peru to Bolivia’s other-worldly landscapes and the culture of Chile, finishing off in the glacial depths of Argentina. Hopefully I’ll have learnt a bit of Spanish by the time I arrive so I can communicate with the locals. South America offers both cultural and natural magnitude – and it’s also the only continent I’m yet to set foot on (Antarctica excluded).
  3. Do New York in style.
    The Big Apple is, in my opinion, the ultimate city. When I visited back in 2007 I was blown away by Manhattan. I recall constantly craning my neck up at the towering buildings and expressing amazement. New York really has the wow-factor and I would love to revisit for a week with a healthy budget to fully appreciate its culture, food and cocktails.
  4. Hide awhile on a desert island.
    I am a total beach person. I’m perfectly happy lazing on the sand day after day with a good book, my iPod and a pristine ocean to dip my toes into. Later, I’ll watch the sun go down whilst sipping on a local beer and contemplating life. Being in the sun by the water gives me a great feeling of inner calm, and the less developed the coastline is the better. Escaping to a desert island with a beautiful boy in toe would be my ultimate peaceful, romantic getaway.

    A perfect beach to be castaway on (Tulum, Riviera Maya).
    A perfect beach to be castaway on (Tulum, Riviera Maya).
  5. Learn to ski.
    Having never, ever been a sporty person, a few years ago I discovered the joys of exercise. Running became my ‘thing’ and I ended up completing the most popular half marathon in the world (the Great North Run). Skiing is something I’ve always thought looked like fun but was an activity reserved for rich folks due to how expensive it is in Europe. Now I’m older I reckon it’s about time I put some money towards trying it out and seeing if I’m any good at it.
  6. Move to New Zealand.
    This one is definitely on the cards. I grew up in a tiny village in the English countryside before moving to an equally close-knit town during my teenage years. Coming from a somewhat insular part of the country, I always felt the need to break out a little and see what else the world has to offer. Currently, I’m living in Australia and having a great time. The next country I’ll visit will be New Zealand and thanks to the good old Commonwealth it’s pretty easy for me as a British citizen to live here. I’m going to try it out for size first, but a potential move to the land of kiwis is on my mind. And that’s not just because I find the accent extremely sexy…
  7. Inspire another traveller to visit a place I’ve loved.
    Something I love to do, and one of the reasons I write this blog, is to tell other people about the amazing places I’ve discovered around the world. I’m fully aware I’ve bored some to death with my endless recommendations of countries to visit and tales of my travels. I’m not doing this for my own benefit, though. Nothing would make me happier than for someone else to have a wonderful experience in a place I loved too. Wonderful experiences are what travel is all about, after all.

    Lek with her herd at the Elephant Nature Park, northern Thailand. A place I've encouraged many travellers to visit.
    Lek with her herd at the Elephant Nature Park, northern Thailand. A place I’ve encouraged many travellers to visit.
  8. Euro-rail it around Holland, Germany and Poland.
    Even though growing up in England I have Europe on my doorstep, I’ve seen surprisingly little of the continent. My travels have mainly been to Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Turkey in search of sunshine and relaxation. This is something I plan to amend as soon as I’m back in the UK. I will start with a trip taking in Holland, Germany and Poland – hopefully visiting a few native friends along the way who can show me round.
  9. India.
    A country that intrigues me, excites me, yet makes me nervous at the same time. If I had to think of one word to sum up how I view India it would be ‘epic’. There’s so much to see there: teeming cities, icy mountains, national parks, magnificent rivers, immaculate beaches. Plus the people, the food, the litter and, I imagine, a lot of ‘interesting’ smells. I’d love to take a month or two, plus a good friend, and see how much we can take in before we are well and truly overwhelmed by India.
  10. Fall in love on the road (again).
    The first thing that struck me was beauty. Then I started to explore and discovered more than I ever imagined I would. It was exciting, wondrous and I couldn’t get enough so I kept going back for more. It blew my mind. That feeling of attachment – I didn’t want to leave or say goodbye but I knew I had to. All I could do was promise myself I’ll see them again, some day. It’s not a man I’m talking about; I fell in love with an island in Southeast Asia. And I can’t wait for it to happen all over again.

My top 10 bucket list post is a part of Save Elephant Foundation’s blog carnival to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Elephant Nature Park. Elephant Nature Park is celebrating 10 years of success protecting the Asian elephant, educating tourists and tour operators alike that there is another way for us to interact with these wonderful animals. Please take a moment to visit their website, visit their Facebook, and connect with them on Twitter

3 thoughts on “Travel Bucket List

  1. You will love New Zealand Helen – it’s a country of real contrasts and some postcard-beautiful places. Fairly cheap to travel round as well. I’d love to have spent more time in Dunedin and other parts of the Otago peninsula but we only had 24 hours there. Lots to do in Queenstown and Rotorua too. Enjoy!

  2. well i hope you find time and ability to complete your list..would be good to see you sometime here in boring old uk!! xdadx

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