My Travel Bucket List

I know I should be focusing on a Hong Kong bucket list considering I've only got 6 weeks left here, but I'm a dreamer so let's shoot for the stars, shall we? Just because I am moving back to the US does not mean my travels are coming to a halt. Some personal financial goals might mean I don't aim to visit ten countries a year like I did in 2016, but there is still so much more out there I want to see. Here are some of the places I have on my mind for the near future:

1. New Zealand

Any Lord of the Rings fan wants a chance to visit the Shire and Mordor and Helm's Deep and Rivendell and shall I continue? Ha! I want to go to New Zealand for the stunning scenery and to visit the infamously cool city of Wellington.

2. Tarangire Safari Lodge, Tanzania

A friend recently told me this is their favorite place on Earth, and I'm sold. Africa is a continent I still need to crack, and this seems like an epic way to start. Sleeping in luxury tents amongst wandering creatures sounds like safari bliss. Hearing wild elephants in the distance in Malaysia was exciting, to actually see them up close and personal roaming around would be too much excitement to handle.

3. Scuba diving in Iceland

Having recently obtained some specialty diving certifications (wreck and nitrox) I want to take it to the next level. At the Silfra fissure in the mid-Atlantic ridge, you can dive between two tectonic plates! This sounds insane to me, and therefore, I must do it.

4. Petra, Jordan

Petra was once a city of 30,000 people, and today the ruins are the stuff of legends. Some of the tombs today are still used as occasional homes for nomadic Bedouin families, and I think it would be fascinating to visit. You might recognize Petra from the Indiana Jones or Mummy movies. It's one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, so if you are into checklists, there's that.

5. Cinque Terre, Italy

I went to Florence when I was 18, and haven't been back to Italy since. Considering my Italian heritage (technically my family is from Mongiove, Sicily, but whatevs), I feel very connected to the country. Photos of Cinque Terre in particular have always seemed fake to me, so I want to see it in person. I want to walk between the 5 towns, slowly taking in the views and eating my way through the region.

6. Cape Town, South Africa

Numbers 6 and 7 just seem like quirky cities to explore. Cape Town comes up on a lot of travel blogs I follow, and I tend to trust their judgment. I've made a lot of South African friends in Hong Kong, and they all say that Cape Town is the bomb. I honestly don't know that much about the city, I think I would go in a blank slate and let everything be a pleasant surprise.

7. Edinburgh, Scotland

Just knowing that this city provided J.K. Rowling with inspiration for the Harry Potter series is enough reason to go. On top of that, my friends from home AND abroad keep telling me to go. I want to visit castles and eat scones and admire the Trainspotting accents. Plus, I know it would be a great hopping off points to visit the Scottish highlands or islands.

8. Iran

My desire to travel to Iran probably started when I first read Persepolis in high school. I think of Iran as a place of mystery because it is so rare for Americans to go there. But the food and history and culture draws me in. I remember watching an Anthony Bourdain special on Tehran once, and it stuck with me how friendly the people seemed. Tony, being a travel role model of mine, piqued my interest.

9. Trans-Siberian Railway

What a travel classic, am I right? OK, I might be over-romanticizing this like that time I over-romanticized hitchhiking my way down the Amazon River on cargo boats, but I'm ok to rough it a bit! I know that a week on trains from Beijing to Moscow will probably leave me feeling antsy, but that's why I would like to take my time, giving myself chances to hop off the train for excursions around the Mongolian and Russian countrysides.

10. Antarctica

Antarctica would be such a privilege to visit, but would cost thousands of dollars, hence its location at the bottom of my bucket list. This is a dream come true trip because it's such a reach. Patagonia would be a more attainable goal, but c'mon, it's freaking ANTARCTICA. The chance to see penguins and icebergs and humpback whales would blow me away, I'm sure.

Besides the 10 places on this list, there are other locations I'd like to visit as well: Laos, Sri Lanka, Chile, Costa Rica, and many others, but these were the 10 I am most excited about.

My original travel goal was to see 30 countries by 30, and I've already far-surpassed that with time to spare, so I have good reason to believe I'll get through my current travel bucket list as well. My biggest obstacle is time- most of these trips are pretty time intensive and would require a bit of a commitment. I only have so many summer vacations, people. But hey, here's hoping.

Will these trips actually happen for me? Let's just say I'm already putting together a playlist.


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