Prior to this year, I’ve never really thought about a ‘bucket list’… aside from when watching The Bucket List with big screen legends Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Now, however, I seem to think about a bucket list on a daily basis. Every time I see a photograph of a destination I’ve never been, or of an awesome experience I’m yet to try, or a food I’ve never tasted, I find myself mentally adding this to a non-physical list in my head which, by now, is pretty much brimming over with a seemingly endless amount of amazing things around the world that I have some insatiable desire to be part of.
I’m not really sure why I’d never thought about it before now. Maybe it’s because I’ve only just turned 24, and in all my years leading up to this age, I felt young, carefree and like I had all the time in the world to ponder where I was going, what I was doing, and where my life was eventually leading to. My last birthday kind of blindsided me a bit, if I’m being honest. Twenty four years I have lived. I’ve achieved a lot in that time and been lucky enough to have travelled the world more than many people twice my age, but all of a sudden I keep feeling pangs of anxiety to actually get the answers to these questions I previously pondered. Where am I going? What am I doing? Where is my life leading?! And, most importantly, when am I going to go to all of these places I want to go?!
Hence, the introduction of the bucket list into my life. Making lists is therapeutic (at least in my OCD-list making life), and it makes me feel like whatever I put on there is going to happen. It’s not just a thought floating around your head that may or may not materialise, it’s something more solid. Creating a travel bucket list is the first step to actually ensuring that you experience the amazing things you want to experience, instead of just settling for a two week holiday in some all inclusive resort in whatever warm weathered country had the cheapest package deal at the time.
So, this post has been created half to make me feel better about life, and half to be in for a chance of winning a trip to the Arctic Circle with Transun. (Fellow bloggers, you should enter, too!) These are my top three bucket list destinations, chosen because every time I think of them, my heart almost explodes with excitement and, as I said, writing them down in some way, shape or form, makes me feel like I’m one step closer to actually going there!
Antarctica is one of the last untouched places on our planet. It’s the driest place on earth, and is completely uninhabitable without outside help.
For me, Antarctica is the epitome of adventure. Every time I think about it’s calving icebergs, it’s thick, icy waters, the creatures that have somehow managed to survive there, I shudder with anticipation. I think of the real, true explorers, who ventured there over 100 years ago and braved the harsh conditions, and I want whatever they were having! I recently wrote about the lack of real adventure in the 21st century, with GPS and Wi-Fi and gadget after gadget after gadget… everything is almost too easy. Though a cruise to Antarctica would, of course, be an easy feat for the humble passenger on board, it still stands as a beacon of genuine adventure, and I want it. Badly.
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum is India. The reasons India is on my bucket list are absolutely contrasting with my reasons for wanting to go to Antarctica; the vast amount of people, the vibrant, loud cultures, the food, the nature, the colours, the environment, the rich history, the animals… It’s everything that Antarctica is not.
I want to stand in front of the Taj Mahal, I want to learn a bollywood dance (much to the amusement of any of my friends, I’m sure), I want to eat as much Indian food that I’ve never heard of before as I can, I want to meet people and speak to people and experience the spiritual side of the country. I want to practice yoga as the dusty sun rises. I want to watch animals in amazement at Bandhavgarh National Park. I want to go to Gangotri and trek to Gomukh, the source of the Ganges. The more I read about India, the more my feet itch to get there.
Spain is perhaps a bit of a weird one… because I have already been to Spain three or four times. But the Spain that’s on my bucket list is the Spain that is out of the resorts. It’s not Costa del Sol or Mallorca or Ibiza. It’s a place where people eat real tapas and drink beautiful sangria and take siestas every single day – because that’s the way they’ve always done it. Where communities are tight knit, and traditional, and the sun always shines on the dusty, terracotta rooftops and floors.
This side of the Spain, the real Spain, is something I want to take slow. Hire a camper van and spend a month or two roaming around the Spanish mountains and coastside as I please. Spain for a western European traveller doesn’t ever really ring the same bells as somewhere like Antarctica, for example, but for some reason, I would get just as excited about a camper van tour of Spain than going to either of these previous two destinations.
So that’s it. These are my top three bucket list destinations. Even when writing this I was almost overwhelmed at how much I want to go to all three of these places. So now I just have to go about getting there… preferably before I wake up and am all of a sudden too old and too responsible to do it. If that day ever comes…