Travel Bucket List
Do I have a travel bucket list? There are certainly a list of countries I want to visit before I perish. That is true but I have never written it down. Now is the time to collate all those thoughts from my brain (there are A LOT) and come up with a list. I have decided to do a top ten travel bucket list. The trouble will be narrowing my thoughts into ten. 🙂 I had started this list the other day but after reading Backpacking Diplomacy’s bucket list and seeing we shared a couple in common that I had already put on my list, I figured I should get going on mine and finish it.
The Travel Bucket List
1. Russia – Russia is the first on my travel bucket list. No surprise to anyone that knows me. I have studied Russian history for years and have been obsessed with the country for decades. My first memories of Russia are during the late 1980s during the Winter Olympics. Canada was hosting the games in 1988, in Calgary, and the whole country was on the edge of their seat. Russia existed in the form of the Soviet Union, the so-called ‘evil’ comrades from Russia and several other eastern countries.
My memories are pretty scattered from that time. I remember the Battle of the Brian’s, the Jamaican bobsled team, Elizabeth Manley’s unexpected silver medal and Karen Percy kicking ass on the hill. The other memory is one of dislike. There was a lot of dislike for the Soviet Union and all the Eastern Bloc countries. I was young and did not like that so from that moment on, I decided to cheer on the commies (all of them). I did not like that no one liked them. Seriously, that was the reason.
I do not remember when my love of Russian history started but I can only assume it was around that same time. I read up on Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Ivan the Terrible (actually translated incorrectly – Grozny is closer to formidable or threatening), Ivan the Great, and so on. I only ended up studying Russian history in university by accident. I had planned on majoring in German history, as my mother’s family is German, but switched to Russian when the German professor retired and the university did not replace him immediately.
Why Russia? There is so much beauty and history in Russia. From the Kremlin to Red Square to the Heritage to Peter and Paul Fortress, you will need weeks to visit this beautiful country. I am very excited that I will be crossing this item off my bucket list very soon. I will be going to Russia next February for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. I am also planning a few extra days in Moscow. Well, I will not be able to cross it off entirely as I will not have time to visit the Golden Ring, Novgorod and St. Petersburg. Plus, a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway is a must-see (see below, I had to separate it out since that is a massive trip in itself). I hope to check off St. Pete during a Nordic trip. Maybe a cruise of the Baltic Sea??
2. A Cruise – I have always wanted to take a cruise. Whether it is an Alaskan, Baltic or Mediterranean Cruise, I definitely plan on making this happen. I lean towards a Baltic Sea cruise since I think that will be the easiest way to hit up Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and St. Petersburg in one trip and a good introduction to all those countries. I can always return on a separate trip, or trips, at a later date. I am a bit concerned that I would end up sea-sick. I live inland; we do not have a lot of water in Alberta. I did grow up in Manitoba which is the province of lakes but not oceans. I still think this would be a fun way to travel around an area.
3. African Safari – I have only recently been thinking about hitting up Africa as I have only even wanted to visit Europe. Now? I have such a yearning to visit Africa on a safari. How fun would that be? Obviously, I want to see the big attractions, known as the Big Five. I live in a very northern city in Canada (Edmonton – great city but we are quite north) so we do not have many exotic animals in our zoo. I just do not have the opportunity to see these majestic creatures often. The Big Five are: Elephant, Rhino, Cape Buffalo, Lion and Leopard. These were coined by hunters and are not the only animals I would love to see in their nature habitat. Others are Giraffes, Cheetah, Hippos, Gorillas and many more. I want to see them all. Maybe even go on a hunt?
4. Egypt – This is the easiest one to put on a travel bucket list. Who does not have this on their list? And if you do not, what the hell is wrong with you? 🙂 Come on – pyramids, mummies, cruising down the Nile, ancient temples and on and on. Sadly, there are serious troubles going on in Egypt and have been for several years. I really hope they can figure things out. There has been too much death and I hate to see such a beautiful place crumbling from within. I really hope things work out for them. Of course, I want this to happen as quickly as possible. I have pushed back a possible Egypt trip for a few years. I have an opening in 2015 – hint hint. I want to come visit. 🙂
5. The Tropics – As I mentioned, I have rarely wanted to even venture outside of Europe but as I look toward Africa, my eyes have started looking at visiting some place warm. I refer to this as “The Tropics” since it really covers many, many, many, many countries. Maybe I will go to Mexico, Bora Bora, Turks and Caicos or Hawaii. I really have no idea which country I will visit for my first warm vacation but I know one thing, it will be an adult-only resort. Ha, sorry no children allowed. Thank you! 🙂
I will try to relax on a beach, trying not to plan every minute of my trip, with a cocktail or twenty. There are quite a few activities you can do other than relaxing on the beach with a beverage in your hand. You can go horseback riding, take a boat ride, go scuba diving or snorkelling. That is usually not my jam; I am more of a museum and castle girl. I have not met a castle I did not love. I have not met a museum I did not want to marry and live happily ever after. 🙂 I hope to take that tropics trip in the next 12-18 months.
6. Group trip to Oktoberfest – I went to Oktoberfest back in 2008 as I took my first solo vacation. I toured around Germany for twenty-five days and had THE BEST TIME EVER. Ever since that trip, I have travelled solo to Europe two more times and I highly recommend a solo trip to every single person out there. Do it. Now. Great people and food!!!
I popped into Oktoberfest in Munich for two days but in honestly, I was there one afternoon. It was the last weekend of Oktoberfest which also coincided with Germany’s national holiday so it was CRAZY busy. I suggest going earlier and avoiding that last weekend. I had a great time, met some lovely people from Germany and a couple cute Austrians in their lederhosen and had the best time. I do want to return with a group of friends because I think it will be a lot more fun to take a group of friends to Munich.
7. Santorini, Greece – I took a one day tour of three islands when I visited Greece back in 2011. I went to Hydra, Poros and Aegina and they were so damn lovely. I want to return to hit up Santorini, the most famous of all the Greek islands. I know several people who have gone and loved it. I think a return to Greece is needed. I did not have the time back in 2011 to add a few days in Santorini as I was also heading to Italy after my 9 days in Greece. I regret not making time but I will return. 🙂
8. Venice, Italy – This travel bucket list shares the same reasoning as Santorini. I simply did not have the time to add it to my Greek-Italian vacation in 2011. I chose Florence over Venice because I wanted to see Michelangelo’s David which was absolutely worth the trip. However, I have had my eye on Venice for many years and would love to visit. There are so many museums, churches, bridges and canals to gaze upon! Plus who can refuse a gondola trip down the canal.
9. Riding the Trans-Siberian Rail – I am not sure why this sounds so appealing but hitting the rails to make my way from Moscow to Vladivostock (seriously, how is that not the best city name ever? Just rolls off the tongue) sounds like a great trip. It is one of the longest rail trips in the world at 9,258 km; takes six nights and seven days to complete. You can also go to China or Mongolia as it links up with the Trans-Mongolian and Trans-Manchurian lines or stay in Russia. All three sound great to me.
[Edit: Just found this fantastic article on How to Travel the Trans-Siberian Railway. Some great tips for stops such as Yekaterinburg and Kazan]
10. Camel Ride (or Elephant) in the desert – This is pretty self-explanatory. Who does not want to ride a camel or elephant? That would be totally fun. Wheeee!!
Well there you go. That is my travel bucket list (for now). I hope to cross a few of these off my list in the next year or two. There is nothing like travelling; it is better than sex and chocolate. 🙂
So what’s on your bucket list?