Everyone has an ultimate travel bucket list. Some people may have one or two destinations on their list, others may be three or four. For me, my ultimate travel bucket list is never ending; there are just far too many unbelievable places in this world that I would love to visit. There are, however, some travel destinations that I have spent most of my life dreaming of going to. The world is a big, wild place, and while I have explored a solid chunk of it, there are still so many places that leave me wanting to visit so very desperately!
One of those places was Bora Bora, an island in beautiful French Polynesia, and as much as it still feels like a dream, I will be visiting this exotic paradise later this year (eeeeek!) With one of my ultimate bucket list destinations getting ticked off, I got thinking about the others on the list…
So, where else am I dreaming of visiting one day?
ISHIGAKI ISLAND, JAPAN
When you think of Japan, I’m sure sparkling turquoise waters and sandy beaches are the last things to spring to mind. I almost choked on my coffee one morning as I was reading the news and discovered that just over 1,950km south of the mainland city of Tokyo lies a collection of beautiful Japanese islands, as tropical as can be!
I’ve been to Japan twice, and absolutely fell in love with the country; from the food to the culture and customs, the Asian nation fast become one of my favourite travel destinations. Imagine my joy when I discovered that these stunningly beautiful islands, closer to Taiwan than Japan, fell under the red and white flag.
Upon my discovery of Ishigaki, I immediately ran to my smartest friend, Google, to learn as much as I could about the possibility of a beach holiday in Japan. I found incredible photos of the beaches; white sand and blue water, complete with lush, green vegetation surrounding the shores – scenes you’d usually associate with south-east Asian countries like Thailand or Vietnam. Add in a semi-tropical climate and plenty of natural beauty, and I was sold!
Ever since I saw the 2009 rom-com ‘The Proposal’, I’ve been dying to visit the small Alaskan town that Ryan Reynolds’ character called home. Now, as difficult as it is to remember anything else from a movie where Ryan Reynolds gets his kit off, I do remember immediately adding the beautiful Sitka to my travel bucket list.
To me, Alaska feels like it is one of the last true wilderness destinations on the planet. Sometimes, when I’m daydreaming, I picture myself arriving in Sitka; stepping off the tiny plane to views of ice-capped mountains standing tall above the small city and glassy harbour. Then, Ryan Reynolds greets me with a passionate kiss before whisking me off to his family’s stunning waterfront mansion, where we then get married and live a long, happy life together…
But I guess a trip to Sitka without the whole ‘marrying Ryan Reynolds’ thing would be great too. Maybe.
I first visited Norway, specifically the seaside city of Kristiansand, way back in 2012. One of my mum’s best friends lives there, and myself, my brother and my mum all went to visit her family together. After three wonderful weeks in the scenic Scandinavian country, I was in love.
Ever since that trip over five years ago, I’ve desperately wanted to go back and spend time in the north, specifically Tromsø. I am so fascinated by the way the seasons work, especially the whole ‘always daylight in summer’ thing. I’ve actually had dreams where I’ve been there, standing in the sunshine on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean, laughing at my watch which reads 2:00am. Is it weird that I’ve has this dream more than once?
I’d also love to visit Tromsø in the winter to try and see the northern lights. To witness the bright, dancing lights of the aurora would be an absolutely unforgettable experience, and I turn into a little green-eyed monster whenever someone I know gets to see it – Matty, Dina and the Mogstads… I’m looking at you lucky buggers!
KENYA, EAST AFRICA
Oh, Kenya. You’ve been on my travel bucket list since the dawn of time. As an avid animal lover, I’ve longed to see my favourite animals in the flesh, in their natural environment and free from the restrictions of a zoo. I can only imagine the rush one would feel seeing an elephant herd casually wandering across the savannah, or to see a lazy pack of lions resting in the shade!
When I was a kid, I used to be a bit of a dork. Okay, I was like 85% dork for most of my adolescence. Okay, I am still like 85% dork. Anyway, my point is, I used to be obsessed with Sim games. You know, like SimCity, SimTown, SimTower, the Sims… the list goes on. I had SO many Sim games it was a bit ridiculous! One of my favourites, however, was SimSafari. The point of the game was, obviously, to build your own safari park in Africa. I used to spend hours playing, trying to perfect my safari park, all the while dreaming of the day I’d get to visit one for myself!
CINQUE TERRE, ITALY
Sei bello, Cinque Terre! Visiting the land of pizza and pasta has long been on my bucket list, but this particular region has always had a soft spot in my heart. I am yet to meet someone who wasn’t enchanted by the five tiny villages along the Italian Riviera.
I can imagine myself wandering aimlessly along the rugged coastline, stopping in at the villages along the way for a gelato. I can imagine the smell of the sea; a strong, salty scent rising from the sandy shores of Il Gigante in Monterosso al Mare. I can imagine the taste of the Sciacchetrà wine of Manarola; the sweet drop tasting better with every sip.
I can imagine the burn in my legs as I ascend the Scalinata Lardarina as I mentally egg myself on to finish climbing all 382 steps with charming Corniglia waiting as my reward. I can imagine sitting by the coast in Riomaggiore, pointing out which colourful building I’d like to call home. I can imagine the view from Doria Castle, a 15th century lookout tower used to protect the village of Vernazza from pirates.
I can imagine that one day, when the stars align, I’ll actually get to go to Cinque Terre, and it’ll be even more magical than any dream I’ve ever had. Can you tell that Cinque Terre is the number one destination on my ultimate travel bucket list?
ULTIMATE TRAVEL BUCKET LIST
There you have it – my ultimate travel bucket list. I’m sure this list will change and evolve many, many times in the years to come, and I can only hope that one day I’ll be able to tick each and every destination off!