The Bucket List

     I see these things everywhere. A new fad I guess. Everyone has a “Bucket List”. Everyone wants to do this, that or the other thing. Most of the time I would say, well, stop making lists and start doing these things. A bucket list gets you no further in completing the list other than wasting some more time writing it down so other people know what you haven’t done and will probably never do. But. Yes, always a but. I figured what the heck, may as well join the crowd this one time in my life, so here is mine – and don’t get me wrong, there are some interesting ones out there and I do have to admit, I read a lot of them and many seem very well thought out. Not dissing the list, just putting my unasked for and probably unwanted thoughts out there, and joining the crowd in my own criticism. OK, here it is:

√   1) Join the crowd at least once in my life
√   2) Go to Afghanistan
√   3) See the Pyramids of Egypt
√   4) Travel from Kathmandu to Timbuktu
√   5) Taj Mahal
√   6) Angkor
√   7) Travel through Burma
     8) Buy a Chinese Junk and live on it
     9) Become a pirate (well, you know, not the Somalia type, but it
         goes along with the Chinese Junk)
     10) Free a slave …had the opportunity but missed the chance,
√   11) Petra
√   12) Pretend I’m Indiana Jones in some far off land exploring bone
           ridden caves and dodging deadly animals and the whole
           Indiana Jones thing – YES!!!. Caves, check, human bones,
           check, deadly animals
(scorpions, barking dogs, possibility of
           poisonous snakes – I’ll take it), check, little passageways

           through dangerous (possibly) villages in a foreign land,
check.   Sweet…
     13) Do the Karakoram Highway …all the way.
           …along with the NWFP.
√   14) The Himalayas
√   15) The Himalayas again
     16) Bhutan …looks awesome, gonna have to bite the bullet and
           just go.
     17) The Trans-Himalaya Trail in Nepal …the whole thing in one
           shot. None of this section crap. I see a lot of people saying it
           can’t be done and you would have to run it, blah, blah, blah.
           Thats BS. I could do it easily, just need the time and the
           proper paperwork. No doubt about it. It’ll take months, I know,
           so what.
√   18) The Nile …did it …all the way …three months. Awesome trip.
√   19) The Sahara
√   20) The Sahara again
     21) The Sahara one more time (at least)
√   22) The Niger to Timbuktu
     23) The Niger even further – from Mopti to Gao, than into Niger to
     24) Agadez, The Aïr Mountains and Woodabe
     25) The Amazon River
     26) The Congo and DRC from Kinshasa to Kinsangani …now
           there’s a trip.
     27) The Lower Omo Valley in Ethiopia
     28) Be able to walk out of my house with everything I own in my
           Kelty 2650 pack …and not look back, worry, or have to go
           back for anything else. In other word – Nomad. I gotta tell ya,
           I’m really close to this, and possibly there. I have a lot of
           books that I’d be like, damn, and a lot of pictures, sentimental
           crap and stuff like that, but I think I could almost do this. Have
           to sell the car but no big deal…
     29) The Kalahari …although no big deal if I don’t see it, but why
           not, always wanted to be able to say I was there
     30) Southern Africa ex-South Africa …this would be easy if I would
           just stop going to the Sahara
     31) Stop smoking …my God, this is actually #1 on the list and an
           ongoing process
√   32) Morocco, Yemen, Oman, UAE, Cambodia, Thailand, China,
           Japan, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt,
Ethiopia, Sudan,
           Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali,
           Senegal, India, Nepal,
Vietnam, Myanmar, Afghanistan,
           New York, Seattle, Vancouver, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Saigon,
Bangkok, Yangon, Sana’a, Casablanca, Marrakech,
           Timbuktu, Kathmandu, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur,J
aisalmer, Jodhpur,
           Udaipur, Kabul, Kuala Lumpur, London, Madrid, Venice, Cairo,
Omdurman, Addis Ababa, Lagos, Douala, Bamako,
           Dakar, Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dialasso, Lome,
           Damascus, Amman, Istanbul, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Dubai 
…many having no desire to go back at all. Having survived all
           of them once is a feat in itself.
√   33) Try to understand why the more money people have the more
           they worry and complain about money.
           …think I got this one, as much as I will ever understand, so
           I’m checkin it off.
√   34) Never make a bucket list again …I think I got this one down
     35) Be Happy

Hmmm, kind of like my list. Maybe not such a bad thing after all.

     36) Somalia
     37) Go back to Bangkok …unless I live there, this will always
           remain on my list. The greatest city in the world. I’ve been
           there 5 or 6 times and always try to make it back if I’m in the
     38) Live in a foreign, non-western, country for at least a year
     39) The South Pacific. Tahiti, Rangiroa, Bora Bora, Samoa,
           Kiribati, Fiji …too many to name.

     Another thing with the Bucket List, thinking about an older post. Sometimes you don’t know you want to see or do something …until you actually see or do it. Most of the things I’ve done or seen have been spur of the moment types. The Bucket List becomes oxy-moronic in this sense, especially in regards to travel and adventure. Travel and adventure for me is spontaneous, spur of the moment and definitely not planned. Putting together a list is planning. Blah. I would never put “Swim with Hippos” on my list, but heck, one of the most adventurous, exciting, as well as stupid things I’ve ever done. Wouldn’t take that back for anything. Watching slaves be marched in, bought and sold …Bucket List moment, absolutely not, but my God I’m glad I saw that and am aware of it now. Staring down pirates, holding an empty AK …bucket list, no. Awesome, gotta say, yes. Child soldiers. Glad I met them and talked to them. Wish it wasn’t so, but it is. Bucket List. Heck no.

…so maybe:

√     40) Enjoy the ride and realize I can’t list what I don’t know is out
             there. …check that one.

     So, a little tougher to make than I thought, and kind of enjoyable actually. Definitely an interesting exercise in wants and goals too. … and if anyone wants to invest, these Junk Boats are expensive – send me an email. 🙂

A few last minute additions:

     41) Papua New Guinea
     42) Walk the Gobi

32 comments on “The Bucket List

  1. An amazing list of adventures. It’s interesting that the people who travel the most have the longest list of destination they still want to see. It seems you can never really finish. The list just keeps growing. The more you see the more you want to see. This of course is a good thing. I’d hate to think you could actually run out of destinations.
    Out of curiosity, why so little on the other side of the world? South America for instance?

    • Thanks for comment baidanbi. As for the question “Why so little on the other side of the world?” Honestly, I was never really interested in South or Central America (other than the Amazon. No particular reason, and I’m not sure why. I would love to see Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Columbia, etc, etc …but never really had enough desire to actually go. I’m sure one day though – just not near the top!!!

  2. Hey John,

    This was a very enjoyable post to read. I have to say my favorite is #28, although I laughed out loud at #12. Maybe sometime soon when I’m bored and looking for something to do I’ll sit down and make a list myself.
    Thanks for sharing,
    – Nate

    p.s. – With all the places you’ve been, it seems like you need about 1000 more blog posts. Haha.

  3. Thanks Nate …glad you liked it. #12 may be my favorite!!! …but I swear, I can almost do #28 …if I only had investments I could live on …getting there.

    Just started the blog on Feb 1st of this year …and trying not to post everything at once, but I have at least 1000 post ideas, if not more.

    Thanks for the comments,

  4. At least you’ll be able to keep me entertained while I wait for my family! 🙂

    I love your posts, they give me such a sense of escape from my current situation.

    Then again, I’ve done a bit of escaping myself I suppose. Nigeria and Qatar aren’t the most usual tourist spots to hit! LOL

    I didn’t see Australia on your list – did I miss it?

    With you on number 31!

    • We, at least I can entertain someone!!! 🙂
      …and no, Nigeria is not the usual tourist destination, but I do hear Qatar is really nice.
      No Australia. I’m sure I’ll make it one day but for now, I’m not really interested in any of the “nicer” countries (for lack of better wording). Any time I travelled to Europe I felt it was just like the states when it came to the peoples thinking and values …I never rule out any country though!!!
      Yeah …I gotta quit. It’s to bad, because I have to say, I love smoking, just so bad for you.

      Thanks for the support,

      PS: your site looks great with the Traction Theme going. Good choice.

      • Thanks re Traction! But I think it blows SEO rules because of stuff I do not understand!

        Understand what you mean about “nicer” countries, but I think you’d like the outback. It is still like the final frontier in many respects.

        Qatar is really dusty! I think it would be nice had I visited under different circumstances.

        I still want to see lions in the wild – that is something I am determined to do before I kick that proverbial bucket.

        • Ha …it still looks good.

          You are probably right about the outback …hmmm.

          The closest I’ve been to Qatar is the UAE and Oman …the one thing I do remember about them is the heat. Uugghh…

          Noooo …warthogs are where it’s at. 🙂

  5. Love your list and your list attitude. You’ve been to most of the places I want to go.

    I’m in a #28 kind of mood right now just need to find the proper pack. Will check out the Kelty — maybe it’ll do the trick.

    I’ll subscribe to read your next post/see more photos.

  6. I find that my life list and then blogging about it actually motivates me to do things. If I only had thoughts about what I wanted to do in life, I may never get anything done. And then by writing about it, It holds me accountable.

  7. Hey John. I was looking at this post again, and number 30 caught my eye. I’m working on looking into new places to go, and the Sahara definitely crossed my mind. I’m wondering, where have you been around the Sahara. Since you know what kind of traveler I am already, where do you absolutely recommend? I think the Sahara would be a very different place to experience, and that’s what I’m looking for. Thanks in advance for the tips!
    – Nate

    • Nate, thanks for the comment. In the Sahara I’ve been too Morocco, Egypt, Sudan, Mali, Northern Cameroon, Northern Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Eastern Senegal. I do have to say that the first country that popped in my mind seeing that question is Mali. Mali is awesome. I also know giys who go back to Libya and Algeria year after year because they love it so much.

      If you go to Morocco or Egypt, be prepared for more of the touristy hassle, tout, haggling kind of situations. I honestly wouldn’t recommend Burkina Faso for a first time Sahara trip and Nigeria/Cameroon/Senegal are just the edges of the desert really. Sudan was fantastic. …after saying all that, I would highly recommend Mali – Dogon country, Timbuktu, Djenne. If your looking for more sand, you may do well looking into Libya or Algeria. The classic massive sand dune type landscape, eastern Morocco …so much to choose from. Let me know if you need any specifics. Such a big and a varied area that it’s tough to even recommend one place. Honestly, if I had to choose right now, and was leaving tomorrow, I would go to Niger. The Air and Tenerife. The Woodabe, Tuareg, Agadez and Niamey…
      Have you been to Africa before?

      Thanks again, John

      PS: I was just on “Pop Pressed” and your their #1 featured blogger at the moment – if you haven’t noticed.

      • Hey John, wow, there are many places I guess. I continue to be impressed with all of the places you’ve been. I have never been to Africa before, but would like to change that, especially because one goal of mine is to get to every continent at quite an early age to leave plenty of time to further explore the one’s I like best.

        I would very much like to see that landscape of rolling sand dunes, but at the same time I want to dive right into the culture out there in order to learn about and get to know their people. As I’m sure you already know from reading my blog, I don’t necessarily mind needing to live like a local– actually I’d rather not flaunt my Westerner status by staying in a high-end resort or anything like that. Libya probably isn’t the greatest idea at the moment with everything going on out there with the no-fly zone unfortunately. I’ve heard Morocco is nice, but Niger might be something to look into. The Air and Tenerife, Woodabe, Tuareg, etc…are those all parts of Niger?

        Wow, thanks for letting me know. I can’t believe all the attention I’ve gotten as of late– it has been quite unexpected but also a wonderful feeling so I’m quite grateful.

        Thanks for the adivce!

        • You are probably right about Libya at the moment, whoops, sorry …although when this blows over and the fighting stops I’m sure it will be nicer than ever.

          Morocco is nice. Marrakech and Fez are spectacular and the desert there is fantatstic, just a bit more touristy than most African countries, although one of the reasons for that is probably because it is so nice.

          As for Niger …just realize, and I’m sure you would before you went, that it is not the “safest” country by western standards. The Air Mountains are in the north-eastern part of Niger, surrounded, sort of, by the Tenere (not Tenrife, my mistake). Basically the “capital”of the Tuareg people. The Wodaabe are another Fulani group in the area. Some great pics here and here.

          Just be aware that I hear it can be a rough, rough country and the reason I asked about Africa was because I wouldn’t recommend a first time trip to the continent somewhere like Nigeria, Sudan or maybe even Niger. Not that it can’t be done. Just prepare for intimidation, heat, dirt, guns, and everything else. The Tuareg have kidnapped many westerners in the last few years and they are tough. Definitely look into Mali too …Mali is awesome. …but don’t let me stop you with Niger. Not many go and I hear that if you want adventure, it’s THE place in West Africa.


  8. Pingback: Travels through Myanmar VIII – Munchkin Banana Pirates « Wandering the World

  9. Swimming with the hippos? Wow. Well pretty much the entire list = wow. It is awesome that you have had the opportunities to do that much traveling, while I might not pick some of the places on your list I do hope to eventually be able to travel extensively!
    Keep crossing those items off and good luck quitting smoking 🙂

  10. Your list is impressive. It gives me inspiration to just take off for Thailand. My stepmom was born in a village near Bangkok.
    I’d love to visit there.

    As far as the smoking habit? Get help from a doctor. My physician helped me out 20+ years ago. I’ve never had another smoke since then.

    • Swabby, well, Go to Thailand!!! One of the greatest countries in the world, in my opinion. They make it soooo easy to visit, and the people are nothing short of extraordinary. They have everything …gorgeous, landscapes, superb culture, great cities. Bangkok is nothing short of, well, again, just plain awesome. Beaches, no problem. Mountains, sure. Food, you got some of the best in the world, People, most are spectacular, kind and honest.
      Do it man,

  11. yep, i’m definitely jealous of your list, particularly the crossed off parts! i have a (very, very different) travel bucket list and i, too, feel it helps keep me on track–remembering why i’m not buying wawa coffee every morning (every penny counts!). well, actually, it’s a regular old bucket list, but it ONLY has travel-related things on it! ha!

  12. Good day! First off, I apologize considering that this really is kind of off topic but I need some suggestions from an established weblog like you. Could it be really tough to setup your personal blog? I’m not extremely technical but I’m able to figure points out fairly quickly. I am thinking about creating my personal but I am not certain where to start. Do you’ve any suggestions or ideas? Cheers. Thanks so considerably for assisting me out.

    • I would take Istanbul any day of the week. Sultanahmet Square is much more inspiring!!! Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque make the pyramids look like just another pile of rocks, and the Turkish people are much nicer.
      Thanks for the support secam,

  13. I’m happy that you like Istanbul that much. The traffic jam makes me mad and sometimes I say ‘damn you Istanbul’ =) btw, yeah Sultanahmet Square is great. Especially in winters, while you are drinking your hot coffee and trying to warm yourself up, 400 year old Sultanahmet mosque stands just there with pure white snow every part of it.
    Dont mention the support..

  14. Wow! I love your bucket list! My bucket list isn’t really about traveling (other than visiting Germany and moving to D.C. to live there forever) it’s mostly about food. But they’re about what you’d really like to do, so I’m hoping you continue to work on your list (including the no smoking no more).

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