The Travel Bucket List

Random Observation/Comment #281: I love traveling and I’ve gotten really good at it. There’s a method to my madness: 1) research, 2) planning documents, 3) well-packed and prepared bags, and 4) just wing it when you get there. I’ll probably write a separate blog entry about this.

Essential to Travels

As mentioned in the previous bucket list blog post on foods, people usually create 2 major categories for their bucket lists: 1) Experiences and 2) Accomplishments.  For experiences, food is important enough in my life to separate it, but so is traveling and expanding my personal cultural horizon. This entry will focus on the places I’ve been and the places I want to go (based on the number of stories I’ve heard from other travel buddies from around the world).

Location Activities/Sights:

  • Iceland – I can’t wait to go again. It’s on the top of my list for a revisit. I would avoid extreme seasons because I rather feel my fingers and get some sleep.
    • Dog sledding across a glacier – seriously awesome. Go do this.
    • Blue Lagoon Spa – blue water that smells like rotten eggs and will ruin your hair.  Very relaxing and unique night bathing outdoor scene.
    • Northern Lights – majestically beautiful. Pictures come out better though. It was good to see it at least once while it moves.
  • Ireland – Perpetually drunk and surrounded by friendly and cheerful buddies. Super green.
    • Cliffs of Moher – Day-trip to Galway on a tour bus with a terrible tour guide that can’t sing. At least he brought us to a magical place where your pictures always come out perfect.
    • Drinking Real Guinness – unpasteurized goodness. Even if you don’t drink Guinness, you’ll like it.
  • Barbados – Summer sun and fish sandwiches. Terrible tourist town.
    • Submarine tour – tourist trap, but a very excellent tour. I’m sure you can do this in other places, yet I chose this one. Good times.
    • Find the action man – laying on the beach, you’ll find a dude riding jet skis and claiming he’ll bring you the action.
    • Barbados chili sauce – it’s magic. I think I want to add it to everything I eat. Macaroni pie + chili sauce = heaven
  • Japan – Cultural hub with integrated traditions and extremely nice people. I will always love Japan.
    • Climb Mount Fuji – 9 hour climb overnight to see the sunrise at the top. Totally worth it. Bring a head lamp, dress warmly, and meet new friends so you can huddle in corners like penguins.  Dress like you’re about to go skiing (even though it’s the summer).  You’re welcome.
    • Natural Hot Springs – Best thing ever.  I went every week and my skin was so soft.  I specifically enjoyed the unique experience of being buried alive in Beppu Mud Spa.
    • Zen Gardens in Kyoto – all of Kyoto has such beautiful temples and authentic sites. The Zen rock garden in particular was undoubtedly peaceful and puzzling to stare at.
    • Akihabara: otaku’s paradise – embrace the nerdy culture: Go to a maid café. Visit 6 story arcade halls with smoking old men playing pachinko or wrecking at weird games. Be amazed at how much hentai porn there is on every corner. Lose yourself in the obscene amounts of gundam figures everywhere.
  • Hong Kong – Constant urge to eat everything and go shopping a lot
    • Late night Karaoke, Hot pot, and midnight snacks – enough said
    • Eat ALL the foods – I can’t stress this enough. Try everything and be happy.
  • NYC – Just be baller and do rich people shit
    • Zombiecon – I’ve been attending for 5 years now, and it’s always fun being drunk by noon and wandering the city dressed up as zombies
    • Santacon – Just went last year and had a great time. It was a sea of red and white fluffy caps. Again, drunk by noon.
    • Rooftop bars and expensive shit – if you want to do baller things, NYC is the place to do them.  There are so many rooftop bars with amazing views and pretty women (sometimes better than the rooftop view), it’s ridiculous. Try Le Bain, 230 Fifth, Plunge, and Eataly Beer garden to get started.
    • Appreciate the Graffiti scene – I’ve seen a lot of graf and I must say the graf in NY is different. There’s none of that toy sh*t you see in Europe. London is okay too.
  • Switzerland – Soak in the nature. The air is so freaking fresh and all mountains look like they come from paintings.  Good job copying the paintings, nature!
    • Skiing/Sledding on Swiss Alps – If you ski or snowboard, you MUST try this. If you’re too poor (like I was), go rent a sled instead and have a blast flying down the mountain and learning how to stop. Hint: avoid falling on the ice parts.
  • Italy – A place for many things, but mostly the history of Rome, authentic food, and beautiful scenery.
    • Cinque Terre hike along the crops path – Don’t be silly and pay for that trail when you can just wander your way across the top of mountains trespassing into someone’s backyard.  Bring a towel and stay in a 200 EUR 4-star hotel with an incredible balcony view. It’s totally worth it.
    • History of Rome – everything felt like it was in sepia tone.
    • Vatican City and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel – if there’s anywhere you should go, it’s the Sistine Chapel. I sat there for 30 minutes looking at all the details and damn; that dude was talented.
  • Spain – Siestas, Fiestas, tapas, and paella
    • Valencia/Denia all night parties – Best time of my life partying until 8AM
    • Architectural beauty of Gaudi – some of my favorite sites of Barcelona were in a building or wandering a park
  • Amsterdam – Obviously, the pommes frites
    • 420 and Vangogh Museum – there’s something about being in Amsterdam that makes everyone super mellow and hungry. I can’t quite put it into words.  Mostly because I forgot the words.
  • France – For the romantics and truly a city of 1000 dates
    • Paris Eiffel Tower – it’s as cliche as the top of the Empire State Building, but it’s a must-see for a reason. Bring a marker 🙂
    • The Louvre – I love museums and this is one of my favorites. I could spend days here just soaking in the art.
  • Germany – A wondrous place of friendly people, great hiking, Bavarian castles, and steins of beer
    • Berlin nightlife – if you like clubs, you’ll like the Berlin nightlife. It’s absolutely crazy and highly unsanitary.
    • Night sky of Schliersee – this is probably true of camping in mountains on a clear night, but I have never seen so many stars in my life.
  • Belgium – I love beer, yes I do.
    • Delirium – a beer drinker’s dream. I’ve never tasted a bad Belgian beer.  A safe choice is the Orval, Kwak, or Grimbergen Dubbel; it will make your taste buds so happy

Where I want to go next:

  • Peru – Machu Pichu – it’s a two day hike to the top, but from the pictures I’ve seen, I’m sure it’s worth it.
  • Costa Rica – Zip-lining through the woods – Costa Rica in general is a great honey moon location, but zip-lining all the way through the canopy sounds so epic
  • Road Trip across US – I can’t believe I haven’t gone west of Ohio (besides Las Vegas).  I need to do this drive and I’d prefer to do it with someone who can make good car conversation.
  • Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Park – another majestic sight that everyone says will change your life
  • West Coast skiing on powder – I’ve never really been good at skiing on powder, but I’ve always wanted to learn. Utah, anyone?
  • Thailand – when my friend told me he ordered an entire restaurant’s menu for $20, I felt like it was a calling. I just so happen to love Thai food and adventure.
  • Hawaii – I’m totally there for the spam.  That and a possible volcano hike.
  • Tibet – A part of me wants to learn inner peace and live on the side of a mountain with zero technology.  The other parts of me think this idea is ludicrous, but it would be nice to experience a nature walk
  • Africa – Safari and climbing Kilimanjaro – I’ve watched a lot of “when animals attack” videos and they all seem to happen to white tourists in a jeep.  But still, how could I not do this?
  • Australia – not only do I know a handful of Aussies who will drink me under the table, but I also really dig the accent. I kind of want to go just to speak a little more Australian. If it weren’t for the 22 hour plane ride, I’d consider this a bit more seriously.

As I wrote this list, I realized that I have been fortunate enough to see and experience a lot of different cultures and attractions along the way.  The crazy thing is that there are still so many more places I want to go in this world than I have time for. Luckily, we have the interwebs to help us read in gruesome detail about people’s journeys to these remote locations.

Pictures feed my curiosity and I’m okay with taking my time to cross off the items on this travel list.  In fact, my travels may be that much better when I have my travel partner.  It will become less of a personal discovery, and more of a lasting bond.  She could rearrange my whole list… hmm… I look forward to it.

~See Lemons See the World

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