While I was rummaging through my mind-palace, looking for an easy topic to write a post on bang in the middle of a crazy re-shuffle of my life [Read: How I Quit My Job to Travel! NOT], I rapped myself on the wrist when I realised I am yet to produce what is one of every travel blogger’s first few posts – A Travel Bucket List!
Every travel blogger enjoys writing this particular post more than anything else. Why? Obvious, Einstein! Travel bloggers above all, are dreamers of the first order. Their all-time favorite passtime is to dream and obsess about their dream-destinations, without having to really bother about the struggle or the effort it will take to make them happen! They will dream about it at their work-desks, they will dream about it on first-dates, they will dream about it on the tube (sometimes even behind the wheel…HA!) and they may even dream about it even at the point immediately preceding an orgasm (ok…that may be arguable)…point being, it really is an ever-present thought amongst us kind and hence putting it on paper is a real-fulfilling task. So here goes my own travel bucket list, which quite frankly didn’t take much effort to write at all! HA!
1.a) Witness the Aurora Borealis (from Iceland)
I’d be justified to assume this is the common denominator amongst every travel bucket list! The auroras are arguably nature’s most magical phenomena and to witness them from the lovely lands of Icelandic wilderness easily comes RIGHT at the top of my bucket list!
1.b) Witness the Aurora Australis (from Antarctica)
What doesn’t make a lot of bucket lists is the southern sister of the spectacular borealis – The Aurora Australis! The Southern Lights are far more elusive (though no less spectacular) for no other reason but the scant distribution of accessible land in the south! This is perhaps the only item on my list that is incredibly far-fetched. Though the prospect is evidently tempting (imagine the bragging rights?), camping the winter in Antarctica at -50°C amidst howling gales is ~70-80°C outside of my comfort zone and the opportunities are rare & expensive; is that going to stop me? Hopefully not; however, if that doesn’t work out early enough, I’ve got a back-up plan to witness the Southern Lights with penguins and elephant-seals for company in the spectacular Falkland Islands!
2) Walk the Living-Root Bridges of Mawlynnong
For the uninitiated, Mawlynnong is a remote village in the north-east frontier of India, deep inside the East Khasi Hills. (Did you know the closest airport/railway station is more than 200kms away?). Mawlynnong is known to the world as Asia’s ‘cleanest’ village. The Khasi tribes inhabiting these lands live a mind-boggling lifestyle in deep harmony with their environment. To live with this community and walk along the centuries-old living-root bridges of Mawlynnong is on the TOP of my domestic travel-list, and something I aim at achieving within 2 years of writing this 🙂
Recommended Reading: This post by Timothy Allen on his time with this community is one of the best pieces of literature I’ve read on the timeless tribes of the north-east [Read: Living Root Bridges by Timothy Allen]
3) Indulge in Binge-drinking at the Oktoberfest in Munich
I can’t really claim to be an alcoholic and leave the Oktoberfest out of this list! Though sadly, after listening to the accounts of some European friends I made along the way, I’ve lost a little motivation thanks to the apparent commercialisation of the event! Yet, who the fuck cares when there’s gallons of beer to be had and lovely barmaids to be charmed?
4) Experience a Summer in the Alpine slopes of the Austrian Tyrol
When I was a kid, I stumbled upon the Chalet School series by Elenor Brent-Dyer (yes I read books as a kid…still do…no I’m not even close to being gay!) The series is based against the stunning backdrop of the Tyrol region of the Austrian Alps! Visions of endless green, a fresh-water lake, snow-capped mountains on the horizon and a bounding, bumbling St. Bernard has haunted me ever since 🙂
5) Sky-Dive from the freezing skies of New Zealand
What earnest Tolkien fan can make a travel bucket list without including the land of Hobbits? There’s not a shade of doubt in my mind that I want to live in New Zealand for a little while – it is after all, one of the prettiest countries in the world! What I want to do even more is to sky-dive from its freezing skies. Remember all those pictures I keep clicking from my flight window? Very few things have fascinated me since childhood as a bird’s flight; to be able to fly and see the whole spectacular world below you is a life-long dream, and I can’t think I can get myself to do this anywhere else but New Zealand 🙂
6) Learn to Swim & Dive in the coral waters of Andaman Islands
Did I ever tell you that swimming is one of those rare things I’ve tried my hand at and failed (multiple times)? It is one of my most frustrating shortcomings, especially because I so dearly want to engage in water-related experiences such as scuba-diving, cliff-jumping & surfing.
The plan now is to take a long break from life and settle into a small place on the coral islands of Andaman off the east coast of India and fix this one major flaw in my adventure-ville!
At some point during my highly imaginative childhood, I became extremely fascinated with vikings and pirates in general; so much that I still use ‘Aspiring Pirate’ to describe me in most (informal) bios! During my time in Dublin, I visited what is arguably one of the best interactive Viking museum in the world (Have you been to Dublinia?), but I’ve never met a REAL Scandinavian pirate or someone even descended from one. I’d love to bump into one at a neighbourhood tavern and hear stories of loot and plunder, wouldn’t you? 😉
8) Witness an in-coming spring in Sitka, Alaska
In my opinion, Alaska is a highly under-rated summer destination! Sitting in the shadow of the dormant Mt. Edgecumbe and on the shores of Sitka Sound, the erstwhile capital of Alaska is a striking reminder of Russia within America! This is one item on this list, the reason behind whose inclusion I’m not sure of, but it certainly would be one heck of a place to spend a spring, no? Almost on the edge of the world 🙂
9) Embark upon a Sailing Trip on the Adriatic coast of Croatia
Central Europe is beautiful; the countries of Croatia & Slovenia inspire visions of wonderful red-roofed houses, brilliant food, mountainous lakes and crazy sailing trips! I have never been on a sailing trip and I can’t imagine a better place to do it than the lovely waters of the Adriatic. In the night, I hope to hop on-shore to experience the nightlife, food & wine in the lovely cities of Dubrovnik, Zagreb & Split!
10) Dance Away to Madness at the most hardcore of EDM festivals – Kazantip, on the Crimean coast
For the uninitiated, KaZantip (formerly known as ‘Z’) is one of the craziest dance music festivals in the world! It all started as a party of local surfers on the beach, but soon gained traction in the international community. For longer than a decade, the festival was hosted in the Crimean village of Popovka; however, following the political tension in Crimea last season, it was moved to Georgia (and this year to Cambodia). I’ve always wanted to be part of a no-holds-barred music festival, but the constant commercial popularity of these events is a major deterrent. The more underground nature of KaZantip, however, will hopefully mean this remains a more untouched haven, until I gather the funds to make the trip to Crimea!
11) Indulge in Group Therapy at the Madison Square Garden!
If you haven’t figured it out yet, let me spell it out for you! I’m a wannabe Group Therapy groupie…to the point of fanatism! I witnessed magic at the hands of the English tri-wizards that go by the name of Above & Beyond at what was easily the most intimate gig of my life in Mumbai [Read: An Emotion Called Group Therapy]. Can you imagine the appeal of experiencing this magic at the Garden – arguably THE biggest and most historic of venues for live gigs of this kind? #ABGT
Some Adventures that have already been ticked off the list (YAY!):
i) Embark upon a road-trip along the fabled Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland! [Read: Ireland – 50 Shades of Green, Blue & Beer]
ii) Participate in a Literary Pub-Tour in Edinburgh [Read: Celebrating a Birthday in Edinburgh]
iii) Visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum at Baker Street, London
iv) Move bases to a completely new place and live by myself for a while [Read: Pondicherry – First Impressions]
v) AND OMG OMG THIS:
Do you have a Travel Bucket List too? Wow! What a stupid question…of course you do! What are your dream destinations? Do we have some in common? Is there an experience you’d like to share with me? Don’t hesitate to hit me up if you’re up for sharing one of these adventures with me!