The idea of a bucket list is to inspire you to travel. I have been working on a project to upgrade my bucket list items to be more specific and interesting, more inspiring. I have taken bland bucket list items that sound dull and simple and transformed them into exciting and invigorating adventures to inspire you to get out and overcome the first step of travel which is to pick a date and start planning your trip.
For example a dull bucket list check off item “Visit Machu Picchu” is upgraded to an awesome adventure of a lifetime and becomes “Backpack the 55 mile long Inca Trail from Cusco to Machu Piccu, Peru.”
This is going to be a multi-post series, ideas for future bucket list items will be included in future episodes and are always appreciated in the comment section!
Ride a camel through the 80m high cliffs of the Siq gorge to the ancient city of Petra, Jordan
The ancient capital of the Nabatean Kingdom flourished from 400 BC to 100 AD, listed as one of the modern 7 wonders of the world. The Al Khazneh, or Treasury, will instantly be recognized as the palace where Indiana Jones discovered the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The Siq gorge is the ancient main entrance, remains of the city gate are still evident at the entrance to the gorge. Petra charges a $127 entrance fee for day trippers, consider staying over a night in Jordan to reduce this fee or take the Petra at night tour which only costs about $25 where you walk to the treasury guided by thousands of candles.
Backpack the 55 mile long Inca Trail from Cusco to Machu Picchu, Peru
Rated as one of the 5 best hikes in the world, what better way to reach the “Lost city of the Incas” then on your own two feet by completing the arduous yet beautiful Incan Trail. Following mostly Incan created roads the trail takes most people about 4-5 days to complete. Traditionally starting at Cusco on the Urubama River the Inca Trail travels through steep Andian mountain passes, cloud forest, and alpine tundra. Truly a trip of a lifetime. The hike is strictly regulated by the government, and only a limited number of people are allowed to start each day, advance booking is mandatory. One of the best sites I have found which lists the route options is here.
Witness the end of the world at the 2,000 year old pyramids of Chichen Itza on December 21, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
The pre-Hispanic Mayan civilization predicted their own invasion, both World Wars and every solar and lunar eclipse; they even predicted the end of the world to take place on December 21, 2012. Perhaps they were right about the date but wrong about the year? Why not find out for yourself while also checking one of the 7 wonders of the modern world off your bucket list!
Get a haircut and dance the Flamenco in Seville, Spain
The capital of the Spanish region of Andalusia, Seville is known as the heart of the flamenco dance and the financial capital of southern Spain.
Before heading there pick up a copy of the Gioachino Rossini’s famous opera The Barber of Seville to read while enjoy the 3 hour bus ride from Grenada to Seville. Seville is known as the heart of Southern Spain’s mysterious red-dressed gypsy dance, the flamenco.
For some good locations to watch a show check out The Cultural Center at 9pm or La Carboneria at 11pm. For the best hair cut in town be sure to visit El Barbero de Sevilla.
Participate in a mock 17th century pirate battle off the coast of California, U.S.A.
Yarrrr. Unless you have a penchant for buccaneering or are an avid sailor of 17th century wooden pirate ships you might want to consider just being a spectator in one of these mock battles. One of the best locations to view a mock pirate battle is during the Tall Ships Festival in Dana Point, California. Featuring a parade, pirate encampments, scrimshaw artists and a mock battle featuring traditionally rigged wooden sailing vessels. Hosted by the Ocean Institute, the festival takes place in September, visit their website here for more information.
Take an outdoor landscape painting course in Florence, Italy
The Florence Academy of Art offers multi-week art courses in drawing, oil painting, sculpture and landscape painting. One of the shorter courses that is open to experts and beginners alike is the Summer Landscape Painting course. Imagine summer in Florence Italy, painting garden and hillside landscapes in one of the most picturesque and beautiful cities in Europe. While the cost is on the expensive side this could turn out to be one of the most amazing experiences of your life. Visit their website for more information and pricing.
Hike to the highest castle in the western hemisphere in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti
The imposing Citadelle Laferrière, the hidden gem of the Caribbean and one of the most amazing fortresses in the world. The fortress is located just off the north coast of Haiti near the French colonial city of Cap-Haïtien and is accessable from the small town of Milot where the remarkable Sans-Souci Palace is located, which was the official residence of King Christophe.
The fortress was built by King Henri Christophe after the country gained its independence from France in 1804. After the war the country was split and Henri was proclaimed king of the north. Fearful of a returning French invasion Henri built a massive castle outfitted with 365 cannons, the largest collection of 18th century artillery in the world, and an enormous stockpile of cannonballs. Ironically King Henri was immensely unpopular, and fearing a coup and assassination he committed suicide and was buried at the Citadelle.
Discover the best goulash in Budapest, Hungary
In one of my favorite podcast episodes of the Tim Ferriss Show, Cal Fussman recounts his story of how he spent 6 weeks in Hungary living and being fed for free by Hungarian families who were competing to provide him with the best goulash in the country. The question posed by Cal to an elderly Hungarian grandmother on a train was “what makes a great goulash.” Full of pride in a foreigner asking how she prepared her goulash she invited him to her house for a tasting, from there Cal was introduced to more and more people who wanted to show off their traditional family recipies. What a great way to travel the world, meet new people and learn about a country through the eyes of the local population!
Take language lessons and learn Spanish in Guanajuato, Mexico
Estudiantes unite! Guanajuato is one of my favorite cities in Mexico, vibrant, colorful, cosmopolitan, and resplendent with funiculars and Don Quixote festivities. Ever since visiting this city in 2013 I have wanted to go back, what a wonderful place to live for a few months and learn Spanish!
Known as the birthplace of Mexican independence, Guanajuato was the location of the first battle in the Mexican War of Independence. Virtually inaccessible, there is only one vehicular entrance to the city, and because of the mountainous terrain the city boasts an extensive underground maze of streets, complete with intersections and traffic lights.
Some of the highest rated Spanish language schools in Guanajuato are the Adelita Language School, the Don Quixote Spanish School, The University of Guanajuato also offers language courses and homestays.
While you’re there don’t miss the quirky Museo de Momias and the nightly Callejoneadas shows!
Wear a horse mask and get wacked in the head with rubber mallets at Europe’s craziest street festival Sao Joao, Porto Portugal
This is a real thing. Every summer thousands of people descend to the city square in Porto to celebrate the patron saint of Porto, St. Paul the Baptist. Many Portuguese cities celebrate their patron saint with a summer party and Porto is no exception. During one of Europe’s liveliest street fairs it is a tradition to hit one another with wilted leeks or plastic hammers. A two day festival taking place on June 23-24, starting with live music, street vendors and hitting total strangers with plastic hammers, and ending with an amazing fireworks show over the ocean at midnight.
- Barber of Seville
- Bucket list
- Cal Fussman
- Chichen Itza
- Citadelle Laferriere
- Dana Point
- Florence Academy of Art
- Inca Trail
- Landscape Painting
- Learn Language Abroad
- Machu Picchu
- Ocean Institute
- Sao Joao
- Spanish Course
- Spanish Lessons
- Tim Ferriss