As every traveller will tell you, for every country you cross off the list you simply add two more. And my bucket list is no exception. The more I explore, the more people I meet… the more I realise how much wonder is still out there, just waiting to be experienced. There are 196 countries in the world and I have only been to 68 of those… the vast majority of those, visited between 1995-2005. In more recent years I have spent most of my travelling time and money returning to Thailand, Australia and Bali. And to put that into context; between 2005 and March 2015 I only visited one new country – Sri Lanka. However my bucket list has always existed in the background, and now with renewed nomadic energy for getting back on the open road, I am finally ready to start working through it… (and no doubt before long I’ll be adding new countries to it as well 🙂
BUENOS AIRES: Ok not a country, but I briefly travelled across Argentina back in 2002 and have always been gutted that I missed out Buenos Aires. I also missed out drinking Malbec and eating Argentinian steak so those two things will be top of my list when I finally make it to BA. Ideally I would like to spend a month in this large vibrant city – starting with a week intensive Spanish refresher course, maybe staying with a local family to really immerse myself in the language and culture. Then renting a place in the city centre in order to really explore, shop, tango and basically live it.
TIBET: Despite its tumultuous history, this buddhist land known as “the roof of the world” has long been top of my bucket list. It is not that easy to travel however, as you are forced to take an overland tour with strict rules on flying straight out and expensive visa fees. But the spiritual surroundings and scenic rewards I think will more than make up for that, so am determined to make it there one day. Sadly I was all set to visit Tibet in April 2015 when the earthquake struck, so that obviously never happened. But post JOGLE I am going to return to Nepal so hopefully – if timing, access and more important money – is on my side, hopefully I can finally make this dream come true.
MADAGASCAR: I love islands, I love Southern Africa, I love cartoon zoo animals… so Madagascar is the only unexplored African country still on the list. I don’t know much more about this country, but I’m looking forward to finding out.
VIETNAM: For some reason Vietnam has never been top of the list, and I seem to have skirted around this country for years. I thought I would visit it with Laos but that never happened and then I ended up in Cambodia after the earthquake but just didn’t have the extra time and money to head over to Vietnam. Shame that I had a good friend living in Hanoi for 7 years and I never made the trip, but its on the list and it is going to happen. Maybe sooner rather than later…. CURRENTLY IN VIETNAM 🙂
BORNEO: Obviously the main draw here is the Orang-utans. But getting to see them properly and naturally, takes a little extra time and effort and I have heard mixed reports. However I will make the effort… one day.
MYANMAR: A fairly recent addition to the list… Myanmar (previously called Burma) has only really recently opened up to tourism so I need to get there quick! Having a friend living there helps, and I also want to experience the Tazaungdaing (Hot Air Balloon) Festival, which takes place every October/November.
USA ROAD TRIP: Probably the Thelma & Louise affect, driving coast to coast has long been a dream of mine for ages. I always thought I would do it when I “retired” but more recently it has started to look like it could happen much sooner. Even next year, after my first Burning Man experience! I want to drive from San Francisco, through the national parks near and south of Vegas, before heading through Texas to New Orleans and across to Miami.
TOBAGO: I’ve actually never been to the Caribbean because as a budget traveller they have always felt just a little out of my league. I do however have an old school friend who has lived there for years and is bringing up a family… so that could just make the un-doable doable?!
HAWAII: Similar to the Caribbean, I have often felt that this group of islands was just a little too beyond my reach. Recently however a friend has mentioned moving there so if she does? I’ll be on the next plane!
CROATIA ROAD TRIP: I have been to Croatia twice, but both times I only got the chance to explore my immediate surroundings… I really want to know whats around each corner, I want to move around, get lost, discovered hidden gems (and also gatecrash some of the festivals that take place there over the summer!) so a road trip is definitely the way to do this!
URUGUAY: Recently added, it seems to keep popping up on my radar. And that is as good a reason as any other to want to visit…
ICELAND: My mum and sister really raved about Iceland after they visited… I suppose initially it looked like a mini but expensive New Zealand which kinda put me off. But everything I have heard or seen about it since has meant it now does make this list. And I know just the person I’m going to take this little adventure with… when the time is right 🙂
And countries that I would like to return to include:
NAMIBIA: My favorite country in Southern Africa, this probably had as much to do about how we travelled it as anything else. Hiring a rusty old car and setting off with a tent, saucepan and box of food. The scenery is diverse and breathtaking but back then I only had a crappy old camera. My first thought on picking up my new Canon 60D in 2012 was that I need to return to Namibia… and one day I will.
GUATEMALA: My favourite country in Central America, I would simply love to go back. I’d like to spend more time in Antiqua-Guatemala and head off into the jungles more and do some hiking.
NEW ZEALAND: I thought I had had my fill of New Zealand having visited there 3 or 4 times and travelling to most places on both islands. However I have some old school friends who keep tempting me over… so it would be nice to revisit to see them, and with my newfound love of walking, I can also do some “tramping”.