My To Do list

Written by on April 15, 2013 in Responsible Tourism, Travel Tips - 16 Comments

What’s in a bucket list? Or, on a bucket list?

I mean … I’ve never really had a bucket list. I’ve tried to have one, but the amount of experiences in this world I would love to have cannot be contained on one clear, succinct little list.

Instead, they flutter about the crevices of my mind, occasionally popping into my consciousness when an event, a person, a word, sparks them. For instance, I see someone’s post on Facebook about what they have just done, and BAM, I remember that is on my list.

I also don’t really have a list because right now, I don’t travel too much. I focus on my work with Lek and the elephants, so there is little time for me to daydream about skinny dipping in the Maldives or camping in the middle of no where and looking up at the Milkyway in front of a fire on a crisp fall night in the desert.

Sure, I say things in passing, mostly to the extent of “Oh, man. That [fill in the blank] would be SO cool to do. I need to remember that.” Then, I promptly forget what that activity is.

So, when push comes to shove, no. I don’t really have a bucket list in the sense of something I am ticking off per great adventure. But, I do have things in my life I would love to experience.

What are they?

The Northern Lights

Northern Lights in Sweden

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: Image Editor.

I think this one time, I might have actually seen the infamous wonder, but it was on an airplane coming home from Alaska. My eyes could have been playing tricks on me, but I swear, for a minute there, I thought I saw some dancing green and blue from out my little window.

Since, clearly, that was not enough to satiate my desire, I want to go back to Sweden and see the magical lights way up north. In doing some research, I think the best place to go would be Abisko National Park.

Antarctica

Because, why not? I’ve seen the pictures. I’ve seethed with polite jealousy at others’ trips down there, and the penguin and ice cap and serene, empty beauty. I. Want. It.

Mongol Rally

Oh, Mongol Rally. This little experience has tempted me for years. A car. A few people. And a trip from Europe to Mongolia to raise money for a charity. I mean, I can’t change a tire, but I know people who can. And, seeing all of that immense beauty of the world and culture? Come on. I have to do this. One day.

Cuba

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: Jodastephen

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: Jodastephen

Forget that Beyonce and her ostrich-elephant-python-every-other-endangered-animals-grossness-sneakers and Jay-Z just were there. There is something so incredibly romantic about the little country south of Florida. And, I want to experience it for myself. Before Americans are technically allowed in and, in my opinion, it loses its exotic luster.

Varnasi, India

Varnasi

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: nicocrisafulli

Two of my good friends, Mindful Wanderlust’s Cody and Giselle, went here on their recent travels before coming to Elephant Nature Park. India was never really on my list as one of the places that captivated me. I always thought of it as super crowded (and we all know I freak in crowds) and a country where the runs are about as normal as breathing.

Then, I learned about Varnasi and my entire opinion changed. I’d go to India just to visit here. Of course, once I arrived, I’d probably take a month or so and gallivant around the rest of the country (which everyone I know loves … so thinking I will end up loving it, too).

Why Varnasi?

To take from Wikipedia, this statement alone fascinates me:

“The city has been a cultural center of North India for several thousand years, and has a history that is older than most of the major world religions.”

The spiritual center of India sounds like a place I need to experience.

Camino de Santiago

I don’t really like climbing hills or anything, but the pilgrimage in Spain – the Camino de Santiago – isn’t only a challenge but an incredible way to see the more untouched beauty the country has to offer.

I have a few friends who have done it, namely Daniel from Canvas of Light, and his stories alone about the hiking, the camraderie, are enough to get me to push myself to do the month-or-so long trek.

Camp outside of Area 51

Living in Las Vegas as long as I did, I never made it near Area 51. And, I would have really liked to do so. Sure, there were loose plans discussed, but nothing ever came of any of it.

I love the desert, I love camping and being able to combine the two in a moderately eerie spot … yeah, perfect. Oh, and it has to be a crystal clear night so I can see all those beautiful stars.

Give Paris another chance

Paris

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: agaw.dilim

I went to Paris in 2002 and was underwhelmed, to say the least. I was 22, missing my boyfriend, at the end of my trip, and just wanted to go home. Instead of embracing Paris, I simply went through the motions. I rushed through school groups at the Louvre to see Mona Lisa. I took the metro to Moulin Rouge and took a photo outside. I didn’t even drink good wine or eat cheese because I think back then I was a) unappreciative of wine, and b) not a cheese snob — I hated cheese except on pizza. So, returning to Paris at 33 (or older) seems like something I need to do. I’d also like to explore the entire country since I didn’t get to do so on my last big visit to Europe.

Meditation Retreat at Doi Suthep

My friend, Lindsay, did a 10-day version of this recently and fell in love with it. I have this huge problem where I cannot get my mind to shut up, even when I really want it to. She learned how to meditate and got more connected to herself. And, I’d like to do the same. Ten days with no internet, only eating from 6 a.m. to noon, learning more about Buddhism and speaking with monks sounds like something that could really benefit me. 

Have meaningful experiences

So, this isn’t really a “place” or anything, but it is truly what I want from every moment of my life: meaningful experiences. Connections. And, mindful. When I first came to Thailand, I wanted to ride an elephant. Of course, I quickly learned how horrible that is for them, and instead now work to educate others on what they go through in the name of tourism. But, I also learned how my tiny little decisions can cause a ripple in the world. I want to do things in my life that are responsible, meaningful, and above all, kind.

My top 10 bucket list post is a part of Save Elephant Foundation’s blog carnival to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Elephant Nature Park. Elephant Nature Park is celebrating 10 years of success protecting the Asian elephant, educating tourists and tour operators alike that there is another way for us to interact with these wonderful animals. Please take a moment to visit their website, visit their Facebook, and connect with them on Twitter.

 

About the Author

Diana Edelman is a travel writer and expat currently residing in Chiang Mai, Thailand. In 2010 she quit her job in PR to go on a solo backpacking adventure and tackle her 30-Life-Crisis. After seven months abroad, journeying throughout Europe and Africa, she returned to America and relocated to Las Vegas. Following a year-long stint back in PR, she once again quit her job to follow her dreams; this time her journey took her to the elephants and Elephant Nature Park where she is involved with raising awareness about responsible elephant tourism. Recently, Diana was named a finalist in the Destinology Travel Bloggy Awards for travel writing. She has been a regular contributor to Viator and recently served as the Las Vegas contributor for OneTravel.com and CheapOair.com. Her work has appeared in print and online, including The Huffington Post, Matador Network, Travel + Escape, Vegas Seven, World Nomads and more.

16 Comments on "My To Do list"

  1. Katie Dow April 15, 2013 at 6:29 am · Reply

    Mongol Rally 2014. Let’s do it! I’ve always wanted to do this too!

    • Diana April 18, 2013 at 2:05 am · Reply

      Would LOVE to! Let’s see what life and budget look like then!!

      • Katie Dow April 22, 2013 at 11:07 pm · Reply

        When’s registration and all that? I think it’s quite early and mostly a lottery.

        • Diana April 23, 2013 at 11:45 pm · Reply

          I’m not sure …

  2. Britany April 15, 2013 at 8:07 am · Reply

    Wow, camping outside of Area 51?? That’ would be so cool! And a bucket list item you don’t often hear about! Great list here and I definitely share in hoping to make it to many of these destinations. (TIcking the Mongol Rally off my list in July! EEk!)

    • Diana April 18, 2013 at 2:05 am · Reply

      I hope I can do the camping sometime soon … perhaps when I am back in Vegas in September!

  3. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures April 16, 2013 at 7:08 pm · Reply

    I’m DYING to visit Antarctica as well. One day!

    • Diana April 18, 2013 at 2:04 am · Reply

      Let’s go together!!

  4. Matthew Karsten April 24, 2013 at 8:50 pm · Reply

    I’m in for the Mongol Rally too. Would love to try it one day.

    • Diana May 9, 2013 at 2:16 am · Reply

      Well, looks like we’ve got ourselves a little team!

  5. Robin May 5, 2013 at 9:29 am · Reply

    Northern Lights in Sweden for sure, Yes!!! BTW I love your writing and you inspire me and I love visiting here.

    • Diana May 9, 2013 at 2:13 am · Reply

      Thank you so much!

  6. Amber May 7, 2013 at 4:36 am · Reply

    I traveled to Cuba earlier this year, and I agree go there soon, or now!!

    • Diana May 9, 2013 at 2:12 am · Reply

      As soon as I can, I will!!

  7. Marysia @ My Travel Affairs May 14, 2013 at 9:17 am · Reply

    Northern Lights is something I would love to do as well, I want to see all possible colors what is double hard, usually only green. But I’m sure I will be lucky enough! Mongol Rail sounds amazing as well!

    • Diana May 15, 2013 at 1:35 am · Reply

      That would be amazing to see all of the colors!!

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