After decades of holidaying and travelling, I have already been to many of the destinations on my bucket list. I don’t want to say I ticked them ticked off, as that is not my style of travel.
After all, I have been travelling since I was very young. When I was 4 or 5, I went abroad for the first time with my parents and brother, to a holiday home in Denmark. Family holidays in Germany and abroad followed, but always “only” by car to holiday homes.
The first time I travelled without my parents was when I was 17 or 18, with a friend to Paris. With Rainbow Tours, bad buses and even worse hotels. But it was cheap and we had fun. And it was probably the first time in my life that I really went sightseeing.
I flew for the first time when I was 19, to the USA to start my year as an Au-pair.
During my university years, I did an internship on Zanzibar, which sparked my love for slow travel and living in other cultures.
And when I finally started earning money, I also started thinking about where I would like to travel to in the future. Over the years, I have travelled to Malaysia and Vietnam, Egypt and Morocco, Oman and Jordan and many other countries.
Highlights so far have been a hike up an erupting volcano on Vanuatu, a visit to the pyramids and temples in Egypt with my father (the biggest Egypt fan ever), two desert hikes with nomads in Morocco, working on cattle farms in Australia and the US, trekking in the “Empty Quarter” in Oman and a visit to Petra and Wadi Rum in Jordan.
And as you can already read between the lines, it’s not (just) about the places I visit, but more about the experiences I have there.
And that shapes my bucket list today. If I won the lottery, I would live in other countries for the rest of my life. In every place for a few years and the more remote and untouristy the better. Contact with locals, learning languages, tasting the food. Just like I’m living in Morocco now.
So, what’s on my bucket list today?
Experiences on my travel wish list:
Snorkelling or diving with whale sharks.
I’m actually a bit annoyed that I didn’t add a few days in the Philippines to snorkel with whale sharks there. So, this experience remains high on my bucket list.
I imagine it would be so great to meet these giants of the sea in the wild. To swim with them, watch them and maybe be watched by them.
And where I do that doesn’t really matter to me. The Philippines, Zanzibar, Socotra or Mexico. Let’s see where I end up first.
Before I travel to see whale sharks, I would like to do a freediving course. I already learned to scuba dive in 2004/5 and have done it on various trips. But I would like to learn freediving. I thought about doing a course on the Gili Islands in 2019, but then I preferred to spend my money on yoga and massages. So, this item remains on the list.
Speak Berber, Arabic and Spanish fluently
It would be an absolute dream to learn to speak at least these languages fluently. But that is only possible with complete immersion, so for now I’ll continue to work on Berber. And in the future, maybe I can live in an Arabic-speaking country for a while. I think I could learn Spanish just by immersion, and since someday I’d like to travel to Central and South America, I might learn it there.
Crossing the Sahara
Another real dream-come-true would be to cross the Sahara from Morocco to Timbuktu. Like the caravans used to do. Maybe even from Morocco to Egypt, like in the book “The Alchemist” by Paolo Coelho.
But for that to happen, there would have to be political changes in the region, and whether that will happen in the next 10-15 years is unfortunately more than questionable. So, it will probably remain a dream.
But at least I will try to make a desert trek in Mauritania in the next few years and visit the library in Chenguetti. It is one of the oldest libraries in the world and unfortunately threatened by the advance of the Sahara.
And I’d also like to ride the iron ore train in Mauritania, I think that’s a real adventure.
Seeing the Northern Lights
This experience is also flexible in terms of location. I don’t care if it’s in Iceland, Norway or Alaska, but I would really like to see the Northern Lights once in my life. Unfortunately, I absolutely dislike the cold and avoid travelling to cold regions. But well, maybe it will happen sometimes.
A Safari in East Africa
Seeing elephants, giraffes, lions and all the other steppe dwellers in the wild would be amazing! Preferably probably in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, because I also find it interesting from a geological point of view. But again, it’s more about the experience than the place.
And I would also find a hike to the mountain gorillas in Uganda or the Congo exciting. If only to support the protection of these animals. Because without tourism they will soon be extinct.
Countries and places on my bucket list
Yes, there are still some countries or places on my travel wish list that are not tied to a specific experience. But which probably all offer a lot of unique experiences and will be remembered mainly for that reason.
I had a book as a child in which a family emigrated to Ethiopia. Since then, I have been totally fascinated by the country and its culture. After all, Ethiopia is considered the cradle of humanity. My favourite landscapes to visit are the Danakil Depression and the Erta Ale volcano.
Iran appeals to me above all because all the people I know, who have been there, rave about the country and the people! It really must be one of the most hospitable cultures and I would love to experience that. I also like the architecture, especially the mosques.
I want to go to Lebanon mainly for the food! Hummus, falafel and all the other goodies that originate in the region are some of my favourite foods. And I would love to visit Baalbek. I hope that the political and economic situation in Lebanon will stabilise a bit and that it will be safe to travel there again.
Madagascar is an absolute dream! The wildlife, the baobab trees, the beaches. Unfortunately, it is very expensive and time-consuming to travel there without a group tour. And I am not a fan of those.
Socotra, and Yemen in general, have been on my list for a few years now. The mainland will probably have to remain a dream, as you really can’t travel there at the moment. But Socotra is a bit more accessible and although it would be a challenge, you can travel there without a group. Most people have probably never heard of Socotra, it is an island between the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. And there is unique flora there, for example the Dragon’s Blood trees that can only be found there.
The Nyragongo volcano in Congo is another volcano I would like to visit. It has the world’s largest lava lake and looks spectacular, especially at night.
More hiking in Oman
And, although I’ve been to Oman twice now, it remains on my bucket list. There are still so many corners there that I haven’t been to yet and it’s so beautiful there. I’ll definitely go there a few more times.
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