Sorting Out The Bucket List

The concept of a ‘bucket list’ is something that has always appealed to me, and I think it comes down to the fact that I like to have something to look forward to, something to aim for. Whether travel-related or not, I’ve always got some sort of plan in the works, however, as a natural daydreamer with a fairly disorganised brain, quite often my plans fall through before I’ve even taken any major steps towards making things happen.

So, I feel it’s time to try to organise my thoughts. If I can actually establish where I want to go, it might make it easier to formulate some kind of action plan. I really want to do more travelling, and see more of the world, but just having vague ideas isn’t really getting me anywhere.
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What have I already ticked off the Bucket List?
The answer is, not much! One of my biggest dreams was to visit Norway, which became a reality in February 2017. Exploring the stunning city of Tromsø was as wonderful as I’d imagined, and while I was there, I also ticked off the major Bucket List item of seeing the Northern Lights. Now I’m home, I have this emptiness inside me. I focussed so hard on getting to Norway that I failed to think about what I would do next.

Revisits.

Before I even had a Bucket List, I visited some amazing places that I now long to return to. Many of my journeys have been with friends who did most of the planning, and some were when I was too young and naive to really appreciate everything. Some places I would love to return to are:

Rome, Italy.
rome
I went to Rome in 2013 with my friend. In some ways it was a pretty spontaneous trip, as we decided to go there in July, and visited in September. With so little time to plan, we ended up missing out on all the decent flights, meaning we only got two full days to spend in the City. We also didn’t realise quite how far out of the city our hotel was, so each day we had to factor a long journey into the city and a long journey home into our plans. We did see A LOT, but it was almost too much. Looking back, I barely remember any of it, and it will take time and research to match my photographs up with place names before I can blog about it on here.

What I would love would be to return to Rome after having planned it all out in fine detail. I also want more time to spend there so that I don’t feel like I’m rushing around to fit everything in. I fell in love with Rome while I was there, but I didn’t feel like I properly enjoyed it as the whole experience became a bit of a mad blur as we hopped from bus to bus and hightailed it through the busy streets to the next attraction.

Bruges, Belgium.
bruges
I went on a day trip to Bruges in 2010 to visit the Christmas market. I was with my best friend and we managed to pack a lot of exploring into just a few hours before we had to hop back on the coach to go home. Bruges was a truly magical place with beautiful architecture and so much to see and taste at the market. We even visited a place filled with ice sculptures. Apart from only being there for a short amount of time, I hit another snag when my camera ran out of battery. I only managed to get a few photographs during my visit which I really regret. I would really love to be able to show you all what I saw in Bruges, but without pictures, my story wouldn’t be as good.

I’d like to go back to Bruges, ideally with the same friend, and this time to take my newer camera (plus spare battery) so I can truly capture how picturesque this place is. I would also like more time there so I can adventure a little more without worrying about being late back to the coach.

Cork and Dublin, Ireland.
ireland
For my first ever holiday, aged 18, my best friend and I went to Ireland. We started out in Cork, then took a bus all the way to Dublin, then back again, leaving the last leg of the trip unplanned. In hindsight, this was a reckless idea, and parts of our trip were incredibly stressful – running out of money, having nowhere to stay, arguing over stupid things… but still, it was a life changing experience that will always have a place in my heart. I’ve been dying to get back to Ireland ever since, and it’ll be the first thing my friend and I do once her kids are old enough to cope without her for a few days.

I have many regrets abut how I managed my time in Ireland. At 18, it was all about how much alcohol I could consume, and we ended up doing things that we could have done anywhere, rather than making the most of all the wonderful attractions and scenery Ireland had to offer. We actually went to the cinema two times to watch the same film which was such a waste of time and money! I know that if we went back as adults, we’d experience the country in a very different way. I’d also have more photographs to show you that didn’t involve booze…

Where else?

As well as revisiting places I’ve already been, I do have some ideas to see new places. Somewhere I’ve always been interested in is Mexico. I have no set city in mind, but I would like to experience the Day of the Dead festival. Something about the Mexican culture appeals to me, as well as the food, of course, and I just feel like a trip there would be a real joy for the senses.

Another dream location is Canada, specifically Jasper National Park. I’ve seen so many photographs of stunning scenery there, and the park looks like a great place to go walking. Mountains really are my ‘thing’, and Jasper has plenty of them. The tricky part for me is how I would manage to get there. The nearest airport is so far away and it doesn’t seem that easy to get to Jasper via public transport. No way am I brave enough to drive out in Canada, so that’s off the cards. Plus, flights to Canada are ridiculously expensive. I think this dream might have to wait a while until I’ve won the lottery or sold my soul to the devil…

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Jasper National Park, Canada

Although there’s a lot of pointless and scary stuff going on in America right now, there are a few places I’d like to go to there. New York seems like one of those places everyone should go to at least once in their life, so that’s definitely on my Bucket List. I also quite like the look of Colorado (mountains!). A part of me would like to go to Los Angeles, but that’s mostly down to my desire to visit High Voltage Tattoo, owned by my artistic idol Kat Von D.

Another place I’d love to go to is Alaska, which to me feels almost separate to the rest of America. The scenery there looks absolutely incredible, and of course I’d be hoping to see the Northern Lights again.

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Alaska, USA

Following on with the Northern Lights theme, I want to return to the Nordic countries. I’d love to go back to Norway, and I’m pretty sure I’ll end up going there several times in my lifetime. As well as returning to Tromsø, I want to see other towns and cities there. I owe my love of Norway to Rjukan, with its Sun Mirrors, so a trip there is definitely on the cards (once I’ve worked out how to get there from an airport). I also want to visit the Lofoten islands, Kirkenes, Oslo, Hammerfest… You might as well just add every single village, town and city in Norway to the Bucket List – I want to see it all!

Finland and Sweden are also on my Bucket List – although I hopped over the borders briefly on my Northern Lights chase, I didn’t really get to see anything. I want to spend some time archipelago hopping in Helsinki and Stockholm, seeing some of the main attractions, but I also want to get lost in the vast forests these countries have to offer. I feel like these two countries would be so peaceful, allowing me to immerse myself in nature. Most of all, I want to visit the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finnish Lapland so I can sleep in a glass igloo under the Northern Lights.

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Kakslattanen Arctic Resort, Finland

As you may be able to tell, I much prefer colder places with mountains and snow to tropical beaches and bustling cities. So, it will be no surprise to you that Iceland is on my Bucket List. Just lately it seems that every second person on my Facebook friends list has been there, and I’m insanely jealous of them all! Any of the beautiful waterfalls would be my idea of a dream, and being so far north, seeing some lights is another major pull.

Just recently, I’ve become more interested in visiting Copenhagen, Denmark. I’d love to spend a few days there as it seems like a really interesting city to go to with plenty of opportunities to take photographs. The colourful buildings of the Nyhavn waterfront are definitely of interest to me.

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Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark

A new addition to the Bucket List is Turin, Italy. Just today I read a blog post about it and I felt immediately compelled to look into it. There seem to be so many tourist attractions there and the fact that you can see mountains from the city makes this place a definite must-visit.

Further south is Palermo on the island of Sicily. Famed for its street food, Palermo is a foodie’s dream, hence why I want to go there so much! As well as this, there are stunning sights including a beach and places to walk. Ustica, a smaller island is a ferry ride away and hosts some really striking views. You can even go snorkeling there. I’d love to combine a Ustica and Palermo into one leisurely trip, maybe over a couple of weeks.

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Ustica, Italy

Closer to home.

It’s not just far flung locations on my Bucket List. There are places in the UK that I’d love to visit too. I’d really like to go to Scotland one day, possibly Stornoway or somewhere in the Highlands. Wales is also of interest to me. Of course, a visit to the Lake District or Peak District would be perfect for a nature lover like me, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t looked into it. I’d also really like to go to Dorset, Devon, or Cornwall, and go for some coastal walks. I’m set to revisit the Isle of Wight this summer too, which is something I’ve wanted to do since I went there as a child. There are so many wonderful places right on my doorstep (well, almost) that I’d be a fool not to get out and see them all.

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Dorset, UK

Is that it?

Well, no. Truth be told, I’m open to exploring most places in the world. The list above is made up of the places I would most like to visit, but if someone came along with an idea I hadn’t thought of, I’d certainly consider it. For me, any new experience is worth having (within reason, of course), and I’m sure my Bucket List will expand as I learn about other places in the world.

So, if you have any recommendations, please do leave a comment, and to my friends who may be reading this: if you have any ideas, or want to invite me along on one of your dream trips, please do ask me about it. I will almost certainly say yes… *hint hint*

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Being a tourist in my hometown isn’t as fun as being a tourist somewhere else!

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