I have never written a bucket list despite being an avid traveller. So why not start now.
I know a lot of travellers have bucket lists, they maybe not be written down on paper, maybe in the note section on your iPhone but I myself have never written one. I suppose I have always had a few things in my head that I have wanted to do, like swimming with turtles, but I have never made a list. I feel that travelling needs to be spontaneous, not planned. When I moved to Vietnam 4 years ago that was the only thing that was planned, the destination. No return ticket, no onward tickets, no plans, just to travel. I feel it’s just too difficult to make a bucket list, because where do you ever know where the world will take you.
For instance, I moved to Vietnam and realised that I loved teaching, so I then made the plan of saving enough money to go and live in a campervan in New Zealand for a while. I’d heard the money for teaching was good in China so that became my next years plan. One year and off to New Zealand. Things ended up a little different than I’d planned. I fell in love with a Zambian, stayed for 2 1/2 years then moved to Zambia during a pandemic. You just never have an idea what life is going to throw at you, and thats what I love most about this world.
This all being said I’ve been feeling I want to make one now, not only to share with you guys but also after this COVID crap it feels nice to have plans written down, because who knows when we can fully start dreaming of travel plans again, ones that won’t fall through due to new restrictions and an increase in case numbers. Now this list is going to be a life time bucket list, with some geographically achievable ones (i.e. in Africa) and others from around the world. This list might just be a little long, there are many places in the world I am so eager to travel to and so many experience I have not yet had. I have included some of the things I have already done on the bucket list to give you some ideas as well.
Are you ready to travel around the world with me in one list?
1. Swimming With Turtles ✔️
Turtles are my favourite animals. I can’t remember exactly when they over took the panda to number one spot, but I love them. I even have a tattoo of one on my ankle. I finally ticked swimming with turtles off my bucket list in Indonesia in 2019 and it was the most incredible experience. I spent at least 4 or 5 days just swimming all day with them, they were the most majestic relaxed creatures.
📍Gili Meno, Indonesia
2. Descend into a Volcano in Iceland ✔️
In 2012 me and my mum walked to and then descended into the Thrihnukagigur volcano in Iceland. Thrihnukagigur is a dormant volcano, yes… dormant not extinct! How exciting. Once you reach the volcano opening a lift system will lower you nearly 400ft down into a vast opening and an impressively colourful chamber. This chamber is apparently large enough to easily fit the Statue of Liberty inside. Iceland itself should be on your bucket list, but why not add this incredible experience to your Icelandic itinerary.
[Photo cred: @upanddowndale]
3. Watch an Olympic Games ✔️
For any sporting fan to watch the Olympic Games is an exhilarating event. When the Olympics came to London in 2012, me and my family, particularly my dad, couldn’t resist but applying for some tickets. We applied for athletics, cycling and hockey tickets, but couldn’t not have predicted the day we were to attend. We were lucky enough to witness ‘Super Saturday’, where Jessica Ennis-Hill, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah all won gold medals in the heptathlon, long jump and 10,000m respectively. This all took place in just 44 minutes! I cannot describe to you the noise in the stadium when Mo Farah was coming down the home straight. If words came out of my mouth then I and no one else could hear them due to the tumultuous sound of cheers.
📍London 2012 Olympics
4. Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Festival, Turkey
A semi arid area of central Turkey known for its tall rocky chimneys, is home to the Cappadocian hot air balloon festival. The balloons are not restricted to just one day a year, they fly around 250 days a year, where you can explore across the seasons. More than 100 balloons fly every morning.
5. Campervan Around New Zealand
New Zealand looks breathtaking, from the emerald lakes to the snow capped mountains what better way to see them than in a campervan. From Milford Sound to the Tongariro National Park, New Zealand is a bucket list destination in itself.
6. Visit Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro. I have been to Brazil but I would love to visit such a vibrant seaside city like this one. Famous for the Copacabana beach and Christ the Redeemer, I feel like my trip to Brazil wasn’t fully complete without a trip to Rio.
7. Big 5 African Safari ✔️
I am now lucky enough to live in Zambia, where safari opportunities are right on your doorsteps. There are numerous places that you can experience the big five of the animal kingdom in Africa: Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Uganda, Rwanda, Swaziland, Mozambique and Malawi. So book a trip to a safari location in Africa and try and spot the big five, lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalo.
📍South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
8. Explore the Iguazu Falls (Brazil / Argentina)
I have been wanting to go to Iguazu Falls for a very long time. It looks truly spectacular. This collection of waterfalls makes up the largest waterfall in the world. Not only are the waterfalls striking but they are surrounded by luscious sub-tropical rainforest.
9. Whale Watching
You can spot these huge majestic creatures in many parts of the world. From Alaska to South Africa, Norway to Canada there are many places to try your luck spotting these creatures of the sea.
10. Visit the Great Wall of China ✔️
The Great Wall of China is perhaps the most famous attraction in China. It is the longest feat of engineering in the world, its total length is 21, 196km and it is around 2,700 years old. Take your pick of places to visit the wall, as it spans across 15 regions of China. Be sure not to visit on national holiday however, as you will be shuffling along with many of the 50 million visitors who visit each year.
📍Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall, Beijing, China
11. See the Grand Canyon ✔️
Arizona is home to the Grand Canyon. At its deepest point the Grand Canyon is 6,000 ft deep, and covers and area of 4,926km². An estimated 5.9 million people visit the national park each year. An American destination to add to the bucket list.
12. Snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef
I am an avid swimmer, I think if I was an animal I would be a fish. It is the worlds largest coral reef, with 2,900 reefs and 900 islands that stretch across 2,300km. Damn its big and very impressive. I can only imagine the marine life that could be found underneath the waves.
13. See the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis is the most spectacular natural light display, that displays colourful lights in the sky. The best time to see the Northern Lights is from December through to March.
14. Explore the Amazon Rainforest ✔️
The Amazon rainforest covers 8 countries in South America and contains half the planets remaining tropical forest, and it is one of the most biodiverse places on earth. The Amazon rainforest is under constant threat, I feel so lucky that I was able to see it before it is destroyed further by governmental and conglomerate greed.
📍Amazon Rainforest, Brazil
15. Skeleton Coast, Namibia
I have a drone so one of the reasons the Skeleton Coast National Park is on the list is because I have been dreaming about picture of the desert meeting the ocean. Plus I’d love to travel to Deadvlei a famous salt pan you may have seen in pictures that hosts sporadic blackened leafless trees.
16. Monument Valley, Arizona ✔️
📍Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah, USA
17. Experience Holi Festival in India
I have been to a Holi Festival in Hanoi, but it just isn’t the same as experiencing one in its place of origin. Also known as the ‘Festival of Colours’ this festival celebrates the eternal and divine love of Radha Krishna. Powdered paint being flung around a group full of people is a photographical dream and an experience not to be missed.
18. See Machu Picchu, Peru
I always planned at one point to do a huge trip around South America, and the highlight of Peru has to be to see Machu Picchu. Set high in the Andes Mountains Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel with stunning views.
17. Take Creative Photos at the Bolivian Salt Flats
On that aforementioned South American trip another place I plan on going to are the Bolivian Salt Flats. This area was previously a lake but is now a desert like salt flat covering nearly 11,000km2. Home to many pink flamingos the area is stunningly bright and a perfect place to practice some perspective photography.
18. Experience Australia’s Pink Lake
Another one for the drone. The famous pink lakes in Australia are that colour due to changes in water flow, a reduction in evaporation and salt harvesting. But just a warning these bubble gum pink lakes are not always such a bright colour. Tourists have been disappointed when they visit some lakes and the colour has changed back.
19. Mount Fuji, Japan ✔️
I am a geographer therefore my desire to visit Mount Fuji has been strong since I was in school. It did not disappoint, it was incredible. Walking around Lake Kawaguchi you simply cannot take your eyes off this volcano. And when those clouds form around the top it is simply breathtaking.
📍Lake Kawaguchi, Mount Fuji, Japan
20. See the Baobab Trees in Madagascar
Now I live in Zambia I am all too excited for this pandemic stuff to be over and for Madagascar to be open. Adorable lemurs and whale watching are two animal adventures you can take but walking or cycling down the avenue of the Baobabs has got to be on the Madagascar list.
21. Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is a unique experience, and a great opportunity to see these incredible creatures. These magnificent animals were in 2018 down graded from critically endangered to endangered and it would be truly great to see them in their natural habitat.
22. Uluru (Ayers Rock)
One of Australia’s most famous sites, this sandstone monolith can be found in Northern Territory. It is highly sacred to indigenous Australian’s and is believed to have formed 550 million years ago. But please if you’re visiting do not climb this rock. It is highly insensitive to the indigenous community and erosion which changes the face of the rock. Don’t be one of those disrespectful tourists!
23. Great Migration, Serengeti National Park
Going on an African safari is already on this list, but experiencing one in the Serengeti I think could definitely be unbeatable. This migration of animals is solely dependent on the rainfall each year. Roughly two million wildebeest move from the south of the Serengeti with many wildebeests being born.
24. Niagara Falls, Canada ✔️
Whether you visit the Canadian side or the American side the Niagara Falls are bound to impress. Personally I am biased towards the Canadian side. Take the boat ride, the Maid of the Mist and get soaked under the falls. This is a great and really interactive waterfall.
📍Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
25. Yellowstone National Park
Found mostly in Wyoming, but in parts of Montana and Idaho as well, Yellowstone hosts canyons, forests and the famous geysers. In the park you can find the famous Old Faithful and the largest active geyser, Steamboat Geyser whose water surges to around 91m
26. Visit the Eiffel Tower ✔️
I feel I haven’t put many European places on my bucket list but the Eiffel Tower is an obvious but beautiful choice.
📍Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
27. Climb Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
The highest point in Africa and a dormant volcano, located in Tanzania. 35,000 people are believed to climb Kilimanjaro each year, with altitude sickness being the major reason why people do not reach the summit.
28. Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo ✔️
The busiest intersection in the world. It’s believed that thousands of pedestrian’s scuttle across the intersection like small ants throughout the day. View it from above, I stayed for hours just people watching.
📍Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo, Japan
29. Visit Alaska
Alaska looks breathtaking. From Denali National Park to Katmai National Park, glaciers, lakes and mountains I absolutely must make Alaska a trip in the near future.
30. Philippines Island Hopping
Despite living in China and Vietnam for 3 1/2 years I didn’t manage to make it to the Philippines. There seems to be no better country to island hop, it looks absolutely stunning, with rainforest and sandy white beaches.
31. Have a Snowy Christmas in New York
I have been to New York and it was amazing. I had limited money and I wish that I was able to do some more things. But my ultimate dream, perhaps entirely created by movies is to spend Christmas in the famous city. There seems to be something so amazing about the Christmas lights, snow and holiday decorations that seems so magical to me.
📍New York, New York, USA
32. Angkor Wat, Cambodia ✔️
Located in Siem Reap, this is the largest religious structure in the world. It is quite a site and takes a long time to explore.
📍Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
33. Swim in Lake Tanganyika (Great African Rift Valley)
Our beautiful Zambia is home to Lake Tanganyika, the second largest fresh water lake by volume and also the second deepest. Located in the northern tip of Zambia. I am hoping to ticket this one off the list sometime soon.
34. Swiss Mountains
I can’t believe I haven’t been to Switzerland. Land of the mighty Roger Federer and home to impressive mountain ranges, it is definitely on my list. As I write this, my brother is living in a van in Switzerland, how nice.
35. Taj Mahal, India
A classic bucket list item, I once made a rather wonky clay sculpture of the Taj Mahal in pottery class at school. So I feel its only right to visit this impressive site in its entirety.
36. Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls) ✔️
Victoria Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the world located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Roughly one million people visit the Victoria Falls each year.
📍Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Zambia
37. Red Square & St. Basil’s Cathedral , Moscow
The largest and oldest squares in Moscow and one of the most famous around the world. And who couldn’t resist a trip to the St. Basil’s Cathedral, those colourful balloon domes look incredible.
38. Table Mountain, Cape Town ✔️
No trip to Cape Town is complete without a visit to the top of Table Mountain. Hike up or take the cableway the views of Cape Town are diverse and beautiful. Or head to Bloubergstrand beach or V&A Waterfront for views of this very flat mountain.
📍Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
39. Havana, Cuba
Colourful streets, classic cars and great culture, Havana feels like a vibrant place to visit.
40. Explore the Crazy of Las Vegas ✔️
I visited Las Vegas when I was about 14. Don’t worry my parents didn’t take me on a gambling spree, we went as a stop over as part of a west coast road trip. This place is tacky, crazy, and garishly bright. One of those places that you just have to put on a bucket list, you know, just because.
41. Rainbow Mountain Peru
Another one for that South American trip I am dying to take. The Rainbow Mountain in Peru has become a popular tourist destination. And people have definitely been known to edit their photos for the more vibrant look. But still this landscape looks like a beautiful place to explore.
42. Explore the Windy City of Chicago ✔️
I feel like I have so many favourite cities but Chicago is definitely one of them. I love this city so much. The first thing someone said to me in Chicago was “Are you travelling alone? Here in Chicago. Damn be careful!” This had me on edge, but Chicago ended up being the most amazing artistic and architecturally pleasing city.
📍Chicago, Illinois, USA
43. Watch a Sea Turtle Hatching
Swimming with sea turtles was number one on this bucketlist and it has been ticked off. But watching tiny baby turtles hatching and making their way clumsily to the ocean, would really be a spectacular thing to see.
44. See Grizzly and Black Bears in Canada ✔️
I lived in Canada for a year, and visited with my family before this on a big west coast road trip and were lucky enough to see a few black bears and a grizzly. It was very cool to see these fluffy beasts.
45. Kalambo Falls, Zambia
Located in the Northern Province of Zambia, Kalambo Falls is a 772ft drop waterfall on the border with Tanzania. Located close to Lake Tanganyika I also hope to be ticking this one off very soon.
46. Zhangjiajie (Avatar Mountains) ✔️
There’s no blue creatures in sight but the so-called avatar mountains are an incredible place to visit. Known for their floating appearance particularly with the low lying clouds, you should definitely add this place to your bucket list or your China itinerary.
📍Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, China
47. Explore the Canadian Rockies ✔️
The Rocky Mountains stretch from British Columbia to Alberta. Luscious emerald lakes, lots of hiking and breathtaking vistas, is a trip to Canada complete without some time spent in the Rockies?
48. Wander Around Venice ✔️
Venice is built on 100 small islands, there are no roads, just canals and footpaths. Get lost on the small narrow streets or take a gondola ride along waterways.
49. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco ✔️
The red Golden Gate Bridge is 2,737m in length connecting San Francisco to Marin Country, California. Construction of the bridge began in 1933 and opened to the public in 1937.
50. Admire Skyscrapers in Hong Kong ✔️
This crazy busy special administrative region is an incredible place to visit, and what better way is there to look at the city than from Victoria Peak. Skyscrapers on one side and mountains and sea on the other, it’s a truly unique place to visit.
📍Victoria Peak, Hong Kong
51. Zambian Walking Safari ✔️
Zambia is one of the few places in Africa where you can go on a walking safari. This is a very different experience to normal safari. You are able to see a lot of the smaller aspects of the bush. Numerous animal sightings may not be on the agenda but you will learn so much about the smaller details of the animal kingdom and plant species.
📍South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
52. Petra, Jordan
Petra is a famous archaeological area in Jordan in the Middle East. Petra was famously lost to Western world for hundreds of years. Located in between a desert canyon and mountains used to be a thriving trading centre. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and was named a new seven wonder of the world in 2007.
53. High Atlas Mountains, Morocco ✔️
📍High Atlas Mountains, Morocco
54. See the Shanghai Skyline ✔️
One of my favourite city skylines I wandered along The Bund most days I was in Shanghai, truly spectacular during the evening and the day.
📍The Bund, Shanghai, China
55. Learn to Surf
I have no idea if I would be any good at this, but it looks like so much fun and its in water so I am sure I would enjoy it immensely.
56. Swim in the 4 Major Oceans
Another water based activity. I love swimming and I have so far swam in the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.
57. Touch Down in 6 out of 7 Continents (Antarctica is optional)
So far I have been to Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Africa, 5 in total. Just need to tick off Australia/Oceania and maybe its a little bit of a stretch to get Antarctica.
58. Wander Around Rome
Rome, well in fact Italy should be on this list as a whole. Rome, the capital of Italy is steeped in history and everywhere you turn there is beauty.
59. Visit all the Major Global Cities (New York, Paris, London & Tokyo) ✔️
All major cities, and all great cities and very different. New York and Tokyo are definitely my favourites of the 4.
60. Swim with Pigs in Exuma, Bahamas
Pigs are cute at the best of times, but pigs swimming reaches a whole new level of cuteness. I mean the Bahamas looks pretty decent too right? But why are the pigs on the island? Some people say they were left by sailors who had planned to eat them, others say they swam from a nearby shipwreck.
61. Play Table Tennis With Locals in China ✔️
I stumbled upon some table tennis playing Chinese people in a Chinese park, and it was so much fun playing with them that I just had to include it on this bucket list.
62. Chobe National Park, Botswana
This national park is known for its large herds of elephants and Cape buffalo that gather along the river during the dry months. What’s even better, if you’re from the UK you can go to Botswana visa free for three months.
63. Watch Penguins Waddle ✔️
This was a very cool animal experience. There are a few locations in Cape Town where you can see these waddling penguins. Boulders Beach, Stony Point Nature Reserve and Robben Island are some places where you can see these black and white fellas.
📍Boulders Penguin Colony Nature Reserve, Cape Town, South Africa
64. Go to All the Tennis Grand Slams
I have played tennis since the age of six so attending tennis events like Wimbledon are so much fun. There are 4 grand slams per year and so far I have attended Wimbledon and the US Open in the UK and USA. Now left are the French Open in Paris and the Australian Open in Melbourne.
📍US Open, Queens, New York, USA
65. Attend a Major League Baseball Game ✔️
Being British I am more of a rounders enthusiast than baseball but this was a great experience watching the famous Boston Red Socks play at home. It was a great atmosphere and one of those truly American experiences.
📍Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
66. Horse Riding on the Beach
Now if you know me you will know I really don’t like horses. I have never understood the fascination with them. Maybe my dislike of them comes from Jethro the horse biting me at my friends horse riding birthday party. But anyway I am putting horse riding on a beach, preferably in Thailand on the list. I did more photography than horse riding and had hide under beach towels whilst riding so that the strong Thai sun didn’t burn me even more, but it was great!
67. Go Skiing
When you first start skiing it can feel a little frustrating but as soon as you get the hang of it soon becomes the most amazing experience. There is no better feeling than sliding and winding down a snowy mountain, in the fresh air, whilst taking in some spectacular views.
68. Watch a Professional Ice Hockey Game ✔️
Ice hockey, Canada’s national sport, is of the upmost importance to the Canadians. When visiting Canada you simply have to watch an ice-hockey game. Luckily for me my aunt and uncle used to work for a Vancouver newspaper so were able to get us great tickets to a Vancouver Canucks game. Damn it’s a physical game, watching players smash into each other and the wall was a little alarming at first but by the ed fo the game we could be found cheering on our new team loudly.
📍Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
The list is ending here for now at a random 68 things, comment below any experiences you would add or things you have already ticked off!