I recently read a blog post by an old friend Ellie (http://www.eleanorgraceful.com/2016/09/13-places-id-love-to-visit.html) highlighting 13 places she really wanted to visit. It struck a chord, I have a bucket list which I do attempt to complete but I end up adding more than I cross off.
So, what if money was no object but I only had 5 months to visit 5 places. Where would I go? You will quickly find that my love of the outdoors, adventure, nature and extreme environments shines through and not one urban metropolis makes the list.
1. Peru – Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
Machu Picchu is my number 1 destination yet several situations have always prevented me from fulfilling this fantasy. Machu Picchu is one of the most fascinating and visual stimulating archaeological sites in the world. The mountain top temple site is situated at the end of the Inca Trail. Although you can get a train directly to the mountain, it would be sacrilege to skip the trail and the morning vista of the site would certainly make the 4 day hike worthwhile.
If you are interested in hearing more about the ancient & modern history, especially the story of how Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu I would recommend a book called ‘Turn Right at Machu Picchu’ by Mark Adams.
2. Mt Kilimanjaro
Mt. Kilimanjaro sits at number 2 for a number of reasons. It is a challenge, its a new continent, its a Geographical wonder and its also the 3rd furthest point from the centre of the Earth.
Mt. Kilimanjaro lies in the country of Tanzania and with a height of 5,895m it is the highest mountain in Africa. Trips are regularly arranged to the highest peak (Uhuru) and take about 10 days. This is easily the most physically challenging of my ultimate bucket list so one to do whilst I am still relatively young.
You could combine a trip with a safari in the Serengeti and lazy time on the legendary beaches of Zanzibar (also the birth place of Freddie Mercury).
3. New Zealand – Hobbiton
Lord of the Rings (Return of the King) is my favourite film and I would love the opportunity to visit the actual set from the movies. As Minis Tirith isn’t real then the next best thing is Hobbiton which still stands on the north island of New Zealand (near Matamata). The re-purposed set of the Shire is now a major tourist attraction and who couldn’t resist the chance to smoke some pipe weed in Bag End.
4. Mt Everest Base Camp
If truth be told, my ultimate bucket list would be the summit of Mt. Everest but I am a realist! Plus the 2015 film Everest scared the crap out of me so id be contempt with visiting the base camp in Nepal.
The base camp lies at an altitude of 5,364m which is almost as tall at Mt. Kilimanjaro and is the last real slice of civilisation available to the crazy son-of-a-bitches who attempt to scale the summit. The base camp is covered in prayer flags which traditionally come in 5 colours; blue for the sky, white for air/wind, red for fire, green for water and yellow for earth. Himalayans believe that when the wind blows the flags, it spreads the blessings, good will and compassion embodied in the images and writings across the land.
Hawaii has only recently made my ultimate bucket list but my god what a beauty. Hawaii is the USA’s 50th state (when it joined in 1959) and the northern most part of the Polynesian group of islands. Hawaii’s diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination and who can blame them.
Most of the action takes place on Oahu including the incredible Haiku stairs nicknamed the ‘Stairway to Heaven’. These steps, which were built in the 40s to access the radio station and give unparalleled action to the peaks in the centre of the island. Unfortunately this trail is now closed and access is forbidden, but here is to hoping that the stairs can soon re-open for my visit. Mahalo