Monday, April 9, 2012

Never mind the 'other' travel bucket lists - make your own!

So I'm sitting perusing through my Newsfeed on Facebook. I notice another post from a friend who uses the app called "The Travel List Challenge." I checked it and saw that I've only ticked off SIX (yup, 6!) of the so-called Top 100 Places to See Before You Die.

That strikes me as odd, since I am a travel writer, I've been to five of the world's seven continents and had wonderful experiences. I'm scratching my head, pondering this, thinking, "Jeez, I guess I haven't really been to all that many amazing places..." - and then it hits me: this is just someone else's arbitrary list.

Just because someone else thinks the places on this list are "must-do's" does not mean they have to be "must-do's" for anyone else.

So I sat down to write my own list. Except it's a bit different; it's My OWN Travel Top 100 List of Places to See/Experiences to Enjoy Before I Die - but it's split in two: Places/experiences I've already enjoyed; and places/experiences I still want to enjoy.
Making my list, checking it twice -
will my next trip be knotty or gneiss?

You may notice the latter list is a bit longer than the former. But hey, there are always new places, new experiences we want to try, so the list is always growing. Actually, both lists grow, since every experience gets shifted back from one list to the other once it's "in the bag" so to speak. It's just that thinking of new things to do always happens quicker and easier than actually experiencing them. And if you're really alive, you should always be adding new things to the second half of your list.

By the way, I almost hesitate to use the term "in the bag," as there can be a connotation associated with that term that I'm just bagging trips (similar to the "peak-bagging" mind-set of some amateur mountain climbers) to add to my list. These are all experiences I genuinely would love to enjoy while I'm still on this planet, though. Maybe I will, maybe I won't - but it sure won't be for lack of trying.

Anyway, here's my list:

My OWN Travel Top 100 List of Places to See/Experiences to Enjoy Before I Die

  1. Gone scuba diving with sharks in Maui.
  2. Rode a hot air balloon across the Serengeti, Africa.
  3. Seen gorillas in the wild in central Africa.
  4. Camped and game viewed in the Serengeti, Africa.
  5. Visited Machu Picchu.
  6. Seen wild parrots at clay licks in South America.
  7. Canoed the Okefenokee Swamp among the alligators and wonderful bird life.
  8. Whitewater rafted in North America.
  9. Whitewater rafted in South America.
  10. Whitewater rafted in Africa.
  11. Rode elephants in Asia.
  12. Seen orang-utans in the wild, in Asia.
  13. Mushed dog sleds through the Canadian Rockies.
  14. Taken an ocean cruise on one of the big cruise ships.
  15. Visited Mayan ruins in Central America.
  16. Kayaked the Florida Everglades.
  17. Ridden a train from one coast of Canada to the other.
  18. Paddled on multi-day trips in six of the 10 Canadian provinces.
  19. Rode down the Chao Phraya River, Thailand, on a converted rice barge from the ancient capital Ayuthaya to the modern capital Bangkok.
  20. Experienced Tiger Temple in Thailand.
  21. Paddled in the Amazon jungle (Ecuador).
  22. Camped and paddled (multi-day trip) in the desert (specifically, the Alberta badlands.)
  23. Snorkelled with wild dolphins in the ocean surrounding Hawaii (the Big Island).
  24. Gone for a submarine ride, Maui.
  25. Gone “sea-walking” (~ deep-sea diving) in Borneo.
  26. Seen grizzly and black bears feeding at a salmon run in Alaska.
  27. Gone deep-sea fishing in the Florida Keys.
  28. Flown falcons and hawks in a “falconer for the day” experience on Vancouver Island.
  29. Paddled among alligators in Florida on the Econ River.
  30. Snow shoed in Gatineau Park, Canada.
  31. Hiked along the coast of Naikoon Provincial Park, Queen Charlotte Islands, B.C., Canada.
  32. Gone “glamping” at the Rockwater Secret Cove Resort, Sunshine Coast, B.C., Canada.
  33. Whitewater rafted through Hell’s Gate on B.C.’s Fraser River.
  34. Taken a multi-day horseback riding trip in the Canadian Rockies.
  35. Paddled to Grey Owl’s cabin in Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan.
  36. Gone horseback riding in the Peruvian Andes.
  37. Spent a night in the Presidential Suite at the Shangi-La, Putrajaya.
  38. Visited the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
  39. Flown in an open cockpit biplane (just like the World War I flying ace!)
Got sharks?

To do:
  1. See wild tigers from elephant back in Royal Chitwan National Park.
  2. Stay in the treetops accommodations at Royal Chitwan National Park.
  3. See wild African grey parrots in central Africa.
  4. Whitewater rafting in Asia.
  5. Whitewater rafting in Australia.
  6. Whitewater rafting in Europe.
  7. Ride camels across the dessert.
  8. Sail down the Nile on a felucca.
  9. Ride the Orient Express.
  10. Ride the Eastern & Oriental Express.
  11. Stay in the Somerset Maugham Room in Bangkok’s Oriental Hotel.
  12. See komodo dragons in Indonesia.
  13. Mush dog sleds on an overnight trip, anywhere.
  14. See wild pandas in China.
  15. Take an ocean cruise on a tramp steamer in the seas off Southeast Asia.
  16. Travel to India on an ecoadventure. Paddle in multi-day trips in the other four Canadian provinces and the three Territories.
  17. Paddle in multi-day trips in the other four Canadian provinces and the three Territories.
  18. Visit the backwaters of Kerala (India).
  19. Ride the Palace on Wheels in India.
  20. Ride with Rovos Rail in Africa.
  21. Ride the Royal Scotsman in the UK.
  22. Ride horseback in Mongolia, and, if possible, hunt with golden eagles.
  23. Have a drink in Rick’s CafĂ©, Casablanca, Morocco (yes, it does exist!)
  24. Ride the Indian-Pacific Railway in Australia.
  25. See the Spirit Bears of Princess Royal Island, B.C., Canada.
  26. Swim with wild manatees in Florida.
  27. Kayak the Vava’u Islands in the south Pacific.
  28. Kayak in Halong Bay, Vietnam.
  29. Paddle the Mekong River in southeast Asia.
  30. Stay at the Canopy Tower in Panama.
  31. Canoe the Zambezi in Africa.
  32. Safari in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, Africa.
  33. Visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
  34. See the pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt.
  35. See the ancient Greek ruins like the Delphi Oracle and the Acropolis.
  36. Play baccarat in a casino, while wearing a tux and drinking a Vesper martini (Vegas or Monte Carlo, doesn’t matter).
  37. Go to the UK Spy School.
  38. Have a drink in the Kasbah in Algeria.
  39. Go storm-watching on Vancouver Island’s West Coast.
  40. Sail around the Caribbean (on a sailboat).
  41. Spend several days enjoying the outdoors at the King Pacific Lodge, B.C., Canada.
  42. Visit Stonehenge, UK.
  43. Visit Tintagel, UK, the purported birthplace of King Arthur.
  44. Visit Glastonbury Tor, the supposed original burial place of King Arthur.
  45. Take a Sherlock Holmes Tour of London, UK.
  46. Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, live.
  47. Go to a New York Jets’ home game.
  48. Go to a Kansas City Chiefs’ home game.
  49. Visit Petra, in Jordan.
  50. Visit Wadi Rum in Jordan (Lawrence of Arabia was filmed there).
  51. See wild cockatoos in Indonesia.
  52. Have a drink at the Raffles Hotel, in Singapore.
  53. Hike the Black Forest, in Germany.
  54. Sail in a Viking longship in a fjord in Norway.
  55. Smoke a cigar and drink rum at La Floridita, Havana, Cuba.
  56. Go to a St. Louis Cardinals home game.
  57. Spend an evening at the Explorers Club in New York.
  58. Attend Oktoberfest in Germany.
  59. Visit the Canadian Canoe Museum, in Peterborough, Ontario.
  60. Visit the National Aviary, in Pittsburgh, PA.
  61. See a sumo wrestling match in Tokyo, Japan.

Machu Picchu: it took my breath - literally.

Now that you've read it, maybe you recognize some things you've done, places you've been to - and places/experiences that I've listed here that you would also like to enjoy. That's cool.

But more important than that - go out and make your own "bucket list" of travel places/experiences that you genuinely want to enjoy - and don't worry about what's on mine or on anyone else's list.

Then go out and do them.


  1. Absolutely love both your lists. I'm going to pinch a few of your "To Do" ideas for my own!! Thanks, John...