My home continent. I’ve seen quite a lot of it in bits over the years, with plenty still yet to be seen. Thanks to its hot summers and super cold winters, with limited potential for natural disaster or death by poisonous creature, I truly love this bulge of land.
1. Geysir Geothermal Field and Northern Lights, Iceland
The geysirs of Iceland, spurting up from the ground are mystical as they are, and to witness them with green beams of light twisting and twirling in the night sky would be utterly euphoric. I’m big on spectacles; fireworks displays, shows of splendor, etc., but this would be the cherry on the cake.
2. Ice Hotel, Sweden
Feats of human imagination really get my creative juices flowing, and this is a prime example of such a feat, for who would ever have conjured the idea to create an actual functioning hotel out of ice? The sheer risk of it all would put me off even thinking about something so elaborate. My main intrigue is, “is this really even that comfortable?: Either way, the experience would be incredible.
Ice Hotel, Sweden
3. Tunnel of Love, Ukraine
Aptly named. Who wouldn’t want to walk hand in hand with a loved one down this tunnel of foliage? Forever wondering when the next train is due to arrive, thusly fearing how exactly to escape such a predicament. Distractions aside, it’s a beautifully manicured semi-natural wonder which just to glimpse at for a moment would be pretty special.
Tunnel of Love, Ukraine
4. St. Michael’s Mount, U.K.
Back in my home country and a place I’ve wanted to explore for some time. My favorite thing about St. Michael’s Mount is that it’s only reachable via its cobbled walkway at low tide. Adding a certain thrill to any trip across to the island, for, what if I get stuck and have to stay the night? Spooky. Definitely an off the beaten (and sometimes non-existent) track day out in England.
St Michael’s Mount, U.K.
A continent I’m yet to set foot on, and one I’ve heavily incorporated into my near future travel plans. I believe this land mass has the most diversity of all continents, and can’t wait to finally explore it.
1. Kyoto in Spring, Japan
With 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in and around this traditional Japanese city, once the imperial capital of the country, how can this not be on someone’s “to see”list? I’m still torn between winter and spring visits to this part of the world. Winter snows would be magical, but there’s something so uplifting and spiritual about the potential sighting of pink cherry blossoms among the temples and gardens in spring, so, for now at least, spring it is.
2. Jigokudani Monkey Park, Japan
Inspiration for this comes from my friendly neighborhood Instagram, having seen someone I follow bathing in these hot spring pools with freezing external temperatures, utilizing their clear healing powers while being surrounded by actual snow monkeys (Japanese Macaque). This foreign and naturally inclusive concept is what draws me to this place the most. It’s completely mythical, the type of thing fables are built upon, yet actually real.
Jigokudani Monkey Park, Japan
3. Angkor Wat at Sunrise, Cambodia
Picture it, wandering the ancient temple and ruins of Angkor Wat with the sun coming up and insects, birds and other animals signaling the break of day from each and every angle. With fewer visitors than in the midday sun, the place would seem practically deserted. I relish in trying to picture myself in the times when these types of monuments were booming (which I suppose a Buddhist temple never really is), so when there’s as much peace and quiet as possible is always my ideal time to visit.
4. Motorcycle Trip around Vietnam
The freedom of the road ahead is a draw to millions of people, myself included, deciding for yourself whether to turn left or right at a fork in a road is the perfect physical metaphor for the beauty of life, and the decisions you make before finally choosing to travel, and where better to realise this than Vietnam? Filled with natural beauties whichever way you turn, and due to its long and largely coastal body, Vietnam makes an ideal country for a road trip and by far the best and most popular way to do this is by motorcycle.
U.S.A. and Canada
The great frontier nations, with countless natural sights and wilderness, as well as super developed cities, both are ripe for adventuring. Much of my early cravings for travel came from movies and books which involved one or other of these two countries.
1. Explore Antelope Canyon, U.S.A.
The Grand Canyon would make it onto my list, but I’ve already seen it, and besides Antelope Canyon feels way more interactive. Ever since I first laid eyes on it, I’ve wanted to get lost in its meandering stone crevices and watch the light distort below as the sun’s position changes overhead. The United States has so many natural wonders that it’s hard to choose any one particular thing, but this place just draws my inner explorer out in full force.
Antelope Canyon, U.S.A
2. Drive East to the West Coast in a Vintage Car, U.S.A.
The classic road trip. I’ve been drawn to the American road thanks to writers such as Steinbeck and Kerouac. With ultimate idealism ever increasing upon each individual thought of getting behind the wheel and driving on the “wrong”(right) side of the road. My ultimate dream is to buy a beat up muscle car for cheap out on the East coast, drive West by any road possible, with definite runs along the old Route 66, then sell the car on once I reach land’s end.
Chevrolet Corvette on Route 66
3. Niagara Falls, U.S.A./Canada
This incredible land border between New York State and Ontario Province has to be on most people’s bucket list. The width of Niagara Gorge’s three famous waterfalls is astounding and with over six million cubic feet of water gushing over them every minute, it’s an unbelievable spectacle whichever side of the international border you stand.
Niagara Falls, U.S./Canada Border
4. Rocky Mountains and Banff National Park, Canada
Canada’s oldest national park, and quite possibly its most stunning, with innumerable different landscapes, including glaciers, ice fields, dense forests, and of course, the majestic Rocky Mountains. This would be the ideal location to spot a cougar or grizzly bear patrolling its natural habitat, so long as it stays out of my way and vice versa.
Banff National Park and Rocky Mountains
My most recently traveled to continents. For a long time, the area has had a heap of bad press, but I urge anyone to look past this and see the real beauty and diversity of its people and the land. A truly under-explored part of the world from a travel and tourism point of view, with so many ancient and natural wonders as well as modern and forward thinking towns and cities, there’s something here for everyone.
1. Caño Cristales, Colombia
Until recently, this natural masterpiece was totally off limits to tourists and Colombians alike with its location set deep within FARC militia-held territory, but thanks to a peace deal the area is now slowly emerging as free to visit. With colors mimicking those of the national flag, and then some, it’s the perfect visual representation of a country which has strived for freedom from itself over the past half a century or more, which finally seems to be coming to fruition. Plus, it looks like a super nice place for a swim and sunbathing.
Caño Cristales, Colombia
2. Easter Island, Chile
As someone who enjoys the arts and creative processes, as a traveler there are few places which stir the thoughts quite like Easter Island. With hundreds of Moai statues of bodies and heads carved from native volcanic rock, a quarter of which are installed in various spots around the island, it’s a man-made spectacle like few others. The sheer dedication of the indigenous people to install these pieces has to be admired, with up to 200 men needed to move each statue to its final resting place, quite a feat when wide bed trucks and cranes hadn’t yet been invented.
Easter Island, Chile
3. San Blas Islands by Yacht, Panama
Something I missed out on in my Central America trip that I regret deeply and have promised myself to return to experience one day is to take a 4-5 day sailing trip across the San Blas islands of Panama. It’s one of two ways to cross into Colombia, the other being to fly, as there are no land border crossings between the two countries. Flying is much cheaper, but to cruise remote Caribbean islands such as the one below with a crew of fellow travelers seems much more like living the dream to me.
San Blas Islands, Panama
I stepped onto this continent for one day on a cruise when I was younger, and feel I need to give it a proper shot at some point in my life. Exploited and troubled for so much of its recent history, yet hiding some of the world’s most spectacular experiences, Africa is absolutely on my bucket list as a whole continent as well as in individual parts.
1. Giraffe Hotel, Kenya
Times to eat are a big deal to me, and sharing them with other people is one of those little things in life that brings a lot of joy. So, instead of people, why not enormous, long necked and legged mammals? This giraffe hotel near Nairobi is a little haven for the big creatures, and they like to make friends by poking their huge necks through the windows of the restaurant. How crazy would it be to share your breakfast with something whose head is the same size as your torso?
Giraffe Hotel, Kenya
2. Hike Table Mountain, South Africa
I’ve always wanted to visit South Africa, and as I like a bit of a trek from time to time, I’d love to try and get to the top of Table Mountain, thus called due to its shape, like a table. With views across Cape Town, back into the whole continental body of Africa and of both Atlantic and Indian oceans, I can only imagine how breathtaking the view would be from up high.
Table Mountain, South Africa
3. Great Migration, Serengeti
Probably the most majestic natural sight on Earth would be to catch the great migration over the plains of Africa whilst in full swing. Millions of animals and birds of a variety of species all crossing land at the same time, it’s hard to even contemplate. And for someone like me, who has grown up in a country with very few wild animals larger than a fox, it would be completely jaw dropping.
The Great Migration
My next destination. Tropical islands, the outback, the world’s most ridiculous and dangerous creatures and adventures to be had all over the place. What’s not to love? Oh, yeah, probably those dangerous creatures.
1. Pink Lake, Australia
I’m a big fan of water that doesn’t look how water should (as you may have guessed by now), and this is no exception. Although not always pink, at its peak salinity it’s super pink thanks to a combination of the algae and shrimp which utilize its nutrients and call this place home. What makes it extra special is that it’s so easily contrasted, thanks to the ocean which sits only a few hundred meters away (a hundred meters is about 109 yards), divided by a highway.
Pink Lake, Australia
2. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Though not normally one for the super luxurious travel, I think I can make an exception for Bora Bora. A nice relaxing week in a villa on stilts in the Pacific Ocean and a few cocktails would be the cure to just about any ailments that may befall a person.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
3. Waitomo Caves, New Zealand
Like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, this cave glows bright with the help of a few thousand glow worms. Imagine treading through water, the whole cave system, and your own and everybody else’s faces lit up neon blue like you’re exploring a new planet. I’ve been in a few caves in my time, but this a spectacle I’m really yearning to see.
Waitomo Caves, New Zealand
Bitterly cold and barely inhabited, but filled with sheer beauty every which way. One day I’ll head over to this part of the world, and give it the full credit it deserves.
1. Whale Watching
Now, it sure is mightily cold, but with eight species of whale found in the waters around Antarctica, it’s the ideal place to head for a whale watching holiday. I’ve only ever managed to see one whale in my lifetime thus far, and that was from very far away and only for a split second, so to get relatively up close and personal with a whole spread of the magnificent creatures would be a real life high.
Whale Watching Antarctica
2. Deception Island
A formerly exploited whaling spot and scientific research center destroyed by an active volcano is an eerie but perfect place to head for reflection after whale watching. Imagining what the seas around here used to be like compared to today. It’s one of the safer harbors (the irony is not lost on me) in Antarctica, making it perfect to moor up in and explore. Today it is still used for research by Spanish and Argentinean scientists.
Deception Island, Antarctica
My Dad always tells me to write down my goals for life, as then they’re more likely to become reality, and bucket lists are a great way to outline the things you really want to see and do in the world. Taking the time to make up a list purely for travel is a great way to cleanse your mind a little and help to make better travel choices. Too many people rush into booking something familiar because they’re bogged down at work and think it’s the easiest and best way to take a load off, but imagine if in those two weeks a year you could experience three wonders of the world? Or explore a whole region of a country? Or have a rare experience with a wild animal? Lounging by a pool is definitely a necessary chill out, but who’s to say you can’t do that for a couple of days on a holiday with a grander scheme anyway? Get out and see what there is to see.