I hate bucket lists. The whole idea of penning down name of places and then pursuing them, one by one, never intrigued me. It doesn’t suit us backpackers lot, either. The real charm of travelling is only when you set off to a place, the minute you find yourself intrigued by it, not two years from now. Because two years from now, that place might still be there, but its originality, its vibe, will totally be washed away, or at least, altered.
So, I hate bucket lists. I think they’re crap. Also, as a hungry nomad, there’s no place in the world where I don’t want to be. But I think there are some places, some experiences, that I want to see (or try out) sooner or later. They’re more like priorities. And to keep a tab on them, I’m writing my travel priorities (not a bucket list!) for the next 4 years, in order to stay focused. 12 travel goals to accomplish before I turn 30:
Complete The Appalachian Trail
Ever since I’ve read the book on Appalachian Trail, written by Bill Bryson, I’m addicted with the idea of completing the mother of all trails, Appalacian Trail — a whopping 2,184 miles long hike. It passes through 14 US states, and takes over 5 months to complete, only if you walk almost daily, for most of the hours during the daylight, and at a decent speed. What makes it better is that you have to stay disconnected from the real world for all that time, meeting only a few hundred other crazy hikers on the way. Must be an amazing experience in itself.
Experience life in Tokyo for a few months
I’ve heard life in Tokyo is a mix of culture, values and modernity. Here, in the shadows of skyscrapers you can still find small alleys, ready to take you back in time, with their traditional wooden shanty bars and lantern lit street food stalls.
The city’s approach to a modern life, while leaving every trace back to its rich culture, is worth appreciating. And it’s perhaps why if I were to name one city, in the entire world, where I’d to settle down for a few years, starting today, I will name Tokyo. From Sushi to bullet trains to its fish markets, everything about Tokyo, and perhaps about Japan, fascinates me.
Spend a night alone on an island
After living in one of world’s most populated cities ‘New Delhi’, for over two decades, the idea of breathing in isolation has so strongly infested my heart that I often look for quiet excursions during my travel.
Solo trekking, camping, and bike rides in Himalayas was all fun, but I think now it’s time to take the adventure to a next level, and experience – even if for only a night – living off on an island, all alone. It can be anywhere in the world, but if given a choice, I’d choose one of the Great Barrier Islands.
Hitchhike with gypsies in US
…and listen to their life stories!
Not sure what my fascination towards Afghanistan is, but I’ve long fancied walking through the streets of Kabul and exploring its colourful mix of cultures. For some reason I also believe that Afghanistan can be one of the most hospitable countries to travel, if only the county rescues itself from the long war- like zone and insurgencies.
…and watch hundreds and thousands of penguins breathing and walking.
Take the trans-Siberian express
For anyone who is so hopelessly in love with train travel, trans-Siberian express must be their first love. Starting from Moscow to and going all the way to Vladivostok – over 9,000 kilometres, on Russia’s East coast – this is the world’s longest train route. And the journey – no less than a romantic time travel.
A safari in East Africa
I have never been a big fan of Safari parks in my life. In fact I have always been so uninterested to see safari parks that I’ve seen only one of those in my entire life. But experiencing the African Savanna and spotting a Leopard preying on something 5 times bigger than its size must be a different experience. A safari in East Africa is high on my list, but I not planning to be there anytime soon, as I first need to upgrade my camera lens kit, to look a bit impressive, among the people I’ll be safari-ing with.
Stay on a ship for months
I am not talking about a luxury cruise. They carry an entire city with them. I’d rather fancy a journey in a traditional fishing, or a massive goods carrier ship. Exploring the great ocean, in one of them, would definitely be more real. Moreover learning about the life, in the endless sea, from the accounts of a handful of crew members, while sailing with them, would be an experience of a lifetime.
Climb to Everest base camp
Mountains are my first love. And to only see the world’s tallest mountain peak would be any mountain lover’s wish. Though, just like anyone else, I would love to reach the summit, but considering the risks, I’d be happy to only walk only upto the base camp, click a few happy selfies, and return.
Marvel the northern lights
Since the first time I saw it on TV, when I was about 13, I have lost my heart to the astounding beauty of Northern lights. To see such an enigmatic light show must be a different experience.
Travel to at least 30 countries
Why 30? I don’t know. But the number sure looks impressive. Some people might dislike my idea of ticking off countries, but trust me, it’s not about country counting, or following a list. It’s about the way you feel the minute you hit the local streets in a new country and everything feels alien. Sure I’d love to spend months in each country to reach this number, but even if not – who cares. I love experiencing The New. Sadly, right now I am at a disappointing number 6.
Would I be able to do them all? I don’t know. But this list will help me stay on track, and if only I accomplish even half out of the total 12 wishes (though travel to 30 countries is a must though!), I would be happy believing that I’ve seen a bit of the world I live in, and have expanded my knowledge about the cultures and life around me, a little more.
Do you have a travel wishlist too? What countries or experiences does it contain?