There is nothing like summer break and as an adult it is heartbreaking when you no longer can take two and a half months off during the best part of the year. And this is Washington so there are like three months of good weather. The last summer I didn’t work full-time was back in 2012 and I’m aching for those times. I lived out of my trunk and whisked around wherever I pleased: the beach, camping, visiting friends. Me in the summer:
This year I said “fuck it” and requested three weeks off in July. And now that I have a bit of free time to plan for, I’m taking a look at my bucket list. The main difference between this year and other years is that I actually have money to use. So my options have expanded. These are the actual feasible things I can do during the time:
- Learn to drive a stick shift
- Visit a psychic/fortune teller/tarot card reader
- Visit an active volcano (Kilauea?)
- Milk a cow
- Jump off a waterfall
- Learn to ride a motorcycle
- Learn to sail
- Learn to fly
- Ride in a sidecar (I’ve seen people doing this in Victoria B.C.)
- Go to Busch Gardens in Virginia to ride on all the roller coasters I was too afraid to as a child
What other things can I do? Please comment below for suggestions!
This list via Insider shows some of the best travel writing. I’ve crossed off the ones I’ve already read.
‘On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac
- ‘The Great Railway Bazaar’ by Paul Theroux
‘Into the Wild’ by Jon Krakauer
- ‘The Sun Also Rises’ by Ernest Hemingway
- ‘The Geography of Bliss’ by Eric Weiner
- ‘In Patagonia’ by Bruce Chatwin
‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ by Hunter S. Thompson
‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert
- ‘Venice’ by Jan Morris
‘Notes From a Small Island’ by Bill Bryson
- ‘The Road to Oxiana’ by Robert Byron
- ‘In Search of Captain Zero’ by Allan Weisbecker
‘Travels with Charley: In Search of America’ by John Steinbeck
- ‘A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush’ by Eric Newby
- ‘Wild Coast: Travels on South America’s Untamed Edge’ by John Gimlette
- ‘Our Man in Havana’ by Graham Greene
- ‘Arabian Sands’ by Wilfred Thesiger
- ‘Blue Highways’ by William Least Heat-Moon
- ‘The Shadow of the Sun’ by Ryszard Kapuscinski
- ‘A Year in Provence’ by Peter Mayle
‘Vagabonding’ by Rolf Potts
I found another great travel list on Business Insider. Definitely more fodder for my bucket list. Here is the list with the ones I’ve done crossed out:
- Ride a dogsled through the backcountry of Sweden.
Taste some of the best pizza in the world in Naples, Italy.
- See the great wildebeest migration in Africa’s Serengeti National Park.
- Stand in awe of the aurora borealis from Lapland, in northern Finland.
- Feed swimming pigs in Exuma, in the Bahamas.
- Drive a classic car around Havana, Cuba.
- Navigate the backwaters of Kerala, India, on a houseboat.
- Watch the sun set over the Mediterranean Sea from Santorini, one of the most beautiful Greek islands.
- Sample street food — satay, laksa, and char kuey teow, to name a few dishes — at a hawker center in Penang, Malaysia.
Walk under the budding cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Japan, which was voted best city in the world by Travel + Leisure for the second year in a row.
- Watch the sunset on a beach in Zanzibar, in Africa.
- Get splashed under Iguazu Falls, one of the world’s widest waterfalls, which borders Brazil and Argentina.
- Stay in a luxury hut over the clear aqua waters of the Maldives.
- Bathe in a cenote (a deep natural sinkhole) in Yucatán, Mexico.
- Rub shoulders with the revelers at Carnival in Salvador, Brazil.
See the reflection of the spectacular Rocky Mountains in Moraine Lake at Banff National Park, Canada.
Walk along the walls of Dubrovnik, which have protected the Croatian city since the 7th century.
- See giant tortoises and sea lions in the Galapagos Islands.
- Get lost in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, Turkey.
Snap the ultimate tourist shot at the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
- Soak in the steamy waters of the Blue Lagoon, outside of Reykjavík, Iceland.
- Bungee jump in Queenstown, New Zealand, the “adventure capital of the world.”
- Party in the edgy underground clubs of Berlin, Germany.
- Stroll the ancient streets of the fortified medieval French town of Carcassonne.
- Stare into the so-called Door to Hell, a burning natural gas field, in Derweze, Turkmenistan.
- Spend a night cozied up in an ice hotel, like the Ice Hotel Romania in the Fagaras Mountains, near Bucharest.
- Visit Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia, which was named the world’s best tourist attraction by Lonely Planet last year. The 700-year-old, 154-square-mile city sits deep in the jungle and is a must-see.
- Float in the Dead Sea in Israel.
- Check out the art deco architecture in South Beach, Miami.
- Explore the unreal geography of Cappadocia in Turkey.
- Admire Frank Gehry’s twisting, undulating architecture at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
- Dive with whale sharks and manta rays off the coast of Mozambique.
- View the colorful, ramshackle homes built into the cliffs of Valparaíso, Chile.
- Peer down on the rice terraces of Yunnan, China.
- Stroll along the banks of the Seine in Paris.
Go diving in Australia’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Great Barrier Reef.
- Experience the Lunar New Year celebrations in China.
- Trek to the Salar de Uyuni, the massive salt flat, in Bolivia.
- Take in the view from the observation deck of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
- Buy local goods and antiques at Thailand’s famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar.
- Hike Arizona’s surreal Coyote Buttes.
Picnic in Antoni Gaudí’s surreal Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain.
- Amble through the old Spanish colonial streets of Cartagena, Colombia.
- Get lost in the maze of gardens at the Palace of Versailles, outside Paris, France.
- Taste traditional pho from Hanoi, Vietnam.
- Explore the streets of Petra, an ancient rock city in Jordan.
- Step onto the floating islands of Lake Titicaca in South America, which are still inhabited by the indigenous Uros people.
Catch the first rays of light over Bryce Canyon, in southwestern Utah.
- Relax on one of the gorgeous beaches of Goa, India.
- Catch some colorful beads at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Climb to the top of Huayna Picchu for a bird’s-eye view of Machu Picchu.
- Wear a mask at Carnival in Venice, Italy.
- Get adventurous and hike along the unrestored section of the Great Wall of China. Hurry, because close to two-thirds of the wall have been destroyed because of over-farming, natural erosion, and the selling of historic engraved bricks.
- Visit each of the five villages of Italy’s Cinque Terre.
- Drive up to the summit of Mauna Kea, on the Big Island of Hawaii, and watch the stars come out.
Check out the megayacht-filled Ports de Monaco, where billionaires go to play.
- Experience Moroccan hospitality at a riad, or hotel, like the Palais Namaskar in Marrakech.
- Swim to the private beach of Morakot Cave in Koh Mook, Thailand.
- Stand at the edge of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.
- Share a beer at the Lazy Lizard at the Split, a laid-back beach bar in Caye Caulker, Belize.
- Gawk at the mysterious Moai statues on Easter Island.
- Snap a photo of Madagascar’s playful, bushy-tailed lemurs.
- Have a beer in the beautiful Market Square of Krakow, Poland.
- Explore the ruins of Tikal, an ancient city hidden in the Guatemalan jungle.
- Thunder through sand dunes on a desert safari outside Abu Dhabi.
- Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Ireland.
- Play a hand of blackjack in one of Macau’s enormous casinos.
- Run with the bulls at Pamplona’s famous Fiesta de San Fermin.
Spend New Year’s Eve watching the fireworks show over Sydney Harbour.
- Marvel at the Great Pyramid of Giza outside Cairo, Egypt.
- Navigate through icebergs on a cruise to Antarctica.
- Step into the dreamy landscape of China’s Huangshan Mountain.
- Ogle the gorgeous colors of the thermal pools in Yellowstone National Park.
- Go on a gorilla trek in Rwanda, Africa.
- Inhale the sweet aroma of the lavender fields of Provence, France.
Drive through the Australian Outback.
- Attend a Kabuki theater show in Tokyo.
- Dance the tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- Sunbathe in Hainan, China.
- Eat your way through Queens, New York, as the superdiverse borough was named the top US travel destination by Lonely Planet in 2015.
Ride a gondola between Canada’s breathtaking Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
- Take a helicopter ride around New York City for the ultimate view of the skyline.
- Take afternoon tea at Brown’s Hotel or another upscale tea room in London.
- Pose with the massive statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- Feel like you’re in Europe in Quebec City, Canada, the only walled city north of Mexico with cobblestone streets.
- Go on safari in Botswana, where you can see all types of wildlife.
- Hit the slopes at Niseko, in northern Japan, known for some of the best powder on the planet.
- Lounge on the stunning beaches of Lagos, Portugal.
- Marvel at the incredibly elaborate architecture of St. Petersburg, Russia, which was voted the best destination in Europe in the 2015 World Travel Awards.
- Breathe in the fresh air at Mount Everest, in the Himalayas.
- Take an architectural tour of Chicago by boat.
- Admire the incredible golden pagodas of Bagan, Myanmar.
- Play a round of golf in St. Andrews, Scotland.
- Take a tasting tour through Franschhoek, one of South Africa’s best-known wine-making regions.
- Visit the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (or Wat Pho) in Bangkok, Thailand. It is one of the city’s oldest temples.
Drive along California’s Pacific Coast Highway and admire the incredible views of the Pacific Ocean.
- Admire the dreamy Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque and the other historic mosques in Isfahan, Iran.
- Ski the Swiss Alps.
- Celebrate Holi in India.
- See stunning natural wonders on the Azores Islands, which are 800 miles off the coast of Portugal and still somewhat of a hidden gem.
I’ve never really been able to stick to a reading list. Inevitably an awesome sounding book comes my way and I have to derail my plans. This year, I’m actually giving myself assigned reading so I can power through some of these books I’ve either half-read or have been putting off for a bit. Here is the list:
An Age of License
Into the Wild
A Path Appears
Travels with Charley
- Men Explain Things To Me
- Bury Me Standing
- The Innocents Abroad
- Outlaw Tales of Washington
- A Passage to India
- Elizabeth the Queen
The Evolution of God
- A Farewell to Arms
Japan’s World Heritage Sites
- Slouching Towards Bethlehem
- In Cold Blood
- Confessions of an Economic Hitman
- Bad Feminist
- Madame Bovary
- Gerald’s Game
- Jude the Obscure
- A Short History of Nearly Everything
- One Hundred Years of Solitude
- Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
- Life Among the Piutes
An Embarrassment of Mangoes
- Heart of Darkness
- The Artist’s Way
Will update throughout the year.
As a supplement to my To-Do list, here is a list I stole from a HuffPost article about the top 50 cities to visit in your lifetime. I’ve striked out the places I’ve been. 13/50!
- Seville, Spain
New York City, USA
- Lhasa, China (the spiritual center of Tibetan Buddhism)
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- London, England
- Marrakech, Morocco
- Petra, Jordan
- Varanasi, India (one of India’s holiest cities)
- Havana, Cuba
Kyoto, Japan (once the Imperial Capital of Japan—tea houses, gardens, castles)
- Jerusalem, Israel
- Paris, France
- Beijing, China (Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China)
- Lalibela, Ethiopia
- Granada, Spain
- Bagan, Myanmar
- Kathmandu, Nepal (the gateway to the Himalayas)
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Hội An, Vietnam
- Luxor, Egypt
- Berlin, Germany
- Jaipur, India (palaces and gardens)
- Lyon, France
- Oia, Greece (on Santorini)
- Siem Reap, Cambodia (Angkor Wat)
- Vienna, Austria
- Cusco, Peru (Andes and Machu Picchu)
- Cartagena, Colombia
- Zanzibar, Tanzania (mix of Africa, Arab, and Portuguese influences)
- Mexico City, Mexico
Los Vegas, USA
- Samarkand, Uzbekistan (Islamic architecture)
San Francisco, California
- Mont Saint Michel, France
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Budapest, Hungary