We’ve never really been bucket-list sort of people, preferring to just wing it and see where we end up rather than having a lot of pre-requisites when it comes to travel. Some people save up for years as their hearts are set on one particular experience, which puts a lot of pressure on that single trip living up to expectations. That’s not really been us. Yet as we get older, we’re starting to realise that the time we have on this earth is ever dwindling and we need to seriously think about our priorities.
So, we’ve started to plan ahead to make sure that we do some of those things we’ve secretly always coveted. As they say, if we get hit by a bus tomorrow, we want to make sure we have no regrets about the travel choices we’ve made in our lives.
Yes, we’ve already seen some truly amazing places, and done some super fun things, like sleeping in a nomadic camp in the Sahara Desert, ploughing rice fields with water buffalo in Laos, and zip lining in Guatemala. But the more we travel, the more of the world we realise we have yet to explore. Which is why we need to start instigating our plan for the next 20 years of travel. It’s exciting and slightly daunting, but it’s going to be one hell of a ride.
Most people want to swim with dolphins or climb up Mount Everest, but that’s not really our sort of thing. Instead we’ve got temples, safaris, and jungles on our minds.
The trouble is, most of these incredible experiences are super expensive. They’re the sort of places that only people fortunate enough to have won the lottery or come into some inheritance money can achieve. However, it doesn’t stop us dreaming, or saving up those pennies. One day these experiences will all be memories, not just dreams.
Here are the things that are currently at the top of our travel to-do list. Have you done any of them?
Walking up to the Tiger’s Nest Temple in Bhutan
Right at the top of our adventurous bucket-list is the mountain hike up to the Tiger’s Nest temple in Bhutan. Known locally as Paro Takstang, this is one of the most popular spots to visit in the country. Built precariously into the side of the cliff, the location of the monastery is absolutely stunning.
Legend has it that Buddhist mystic Guru Rimpoche came to the area riding on the back of a tiger, hence the name. He introduced Buddhism to Bhutan, and the rest, as they say, is history.
We’d love to do this hike as it’s one of the most iconic in the country, and even the world. The trail is quite steep, but the views are worth the effort, and there’s a tea shop half way up to restore your energy. Prince William and Duchess Kate trekked up here during their visit, so it must be good!
Buying a riad in Marrakech
We’ve been visiting Morocco for over a decade now, often popping over several times a year for a dose of our favourite North African gem. On our very first stay in a Marrakech riad we fell so head over heals in love with the romantic décor and exotic vibe of these unusual houses that we promised one day, we’d have a riad of our own.
Dozens of trips later and that feeling hasn’t gone away. So we’ve promised ourselves that the first thing we’re going to do if (no, when!) we come into some money is buy our very own riad in Marrakech. Preferably one that needs a little work doing to it so that we can put our own stamp on the place.
There will be trickling water fountains strewn with rose petals on the courtyard patio, refreshing dipping pools up on the sun-drenched roof terrace, and Moroccan lanterns hanging from the arched galleries. The rooms will be fit for princes and princesses out of 1001 nights, with sunken bath tubs and lots of carved wood bringing the place to life.
Whilst this is more of a retirement bucket-list plan, there’s no time like the present to get our thinking caps on as we’re not getting any younger!
Tracking rhinos in Kenya
We’ve been on several safari holidays in Africa, including a luxury stay at Ulusaba in South Africa and a few days in the bush at Ol Seki in Kenya. The Big Five all made an appearance, and from the comfort of our safari vehicles we encountered vast herds of elephants, spotted leopards hidden in the trees, and saw porcupines scuttling across the trail at night. Yet the one thing we’d love to do is go rhino tracking, on foot, out in the wilderness.
Of course, we’d be with a guide and a ranger for safety, but the thrill of tiptoeing quietly across the plains in search of these huge endangered creatures sends tingles down our spines. We’ve heard one of the best places to do this is at Saruni Rhino in the Sera Conservancy up in northern Kenya. The lodges here are super luxurious and befitting of any bucket-list experience. Guests have several opportunities to join the team out in the bush as they scout out the land in the search of rhinos, and the chances of having a sighting are really high.
Even better, the trip can be combined with a stay at their sister lodge in Samburu, where unusual wildlife and the famous “singing wells” give a truly rounded experience.
Cruising down the Amazon
Ever since I was a little girl I’ve wanted to visit the Amazon, thanks to reading lots of adventure books instead of doing my homework. A couple of years ago we finally made it to a small slice of the Amazon Rainforest in Peru’s Tambopata Reserve. Whilst this was an incredible experience – we slept in a jungle tree house, had sundowners on the river, and climbed a watch tower for incredible canopy views – it wasn’t the actual Amazon River.
For that, we’d love to go to Brazil, and join a multi-day cruise along this mighty waterway. Preferably one of those luxurious boats with plunge pools on your own private veranda outside the bedroom! The agenda will be full of smaller boat rides into the flooded forest in search of wildlife, tree climbing so we can stand on the branches of the tallest specimens in the jungle, and maybe swimming with those pink river dolphins.
These river trips aren’t cheap, so this one really is the ultimate bucket-list adventure. But having these once-in-a-lifetime experiences really would be worth every penny.
These are just a few of the experiences on our new bucket-list, there are plenty more ideas up our sleeves too. So we’re off to buy a lottery ticket and ramp up those working hours so that hopefully one day we’ll be able to tick some of these adventures off.
The world is a big and beautiful place, and there’s always somewhere new and exciting to discover. There’s simply not enough time (or money!) to see everywhere, so narrowing down your options really is the best way to go about defining your travel plans.
Have you got a bucket list? Tell us what’s at the top in the comments!