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My Bucket List: Top Travel Destinations and Experiences to Check Off

My Bucket List
Bucket list

Ok, y’all, at the beginning of this year, I stopped thinking about places to travel. I had almost given up on travel and figured I’d live a normal life, and I’d leave all the beautiful places I’ve seen on TV to the makers on the discovery channel.  I’ve been to so many places and done so many things, and even I almost just sat down.  I heard myself say, I’ve been there, done that; why would I continue to go here, there, and everywhere?   I found it was becoming so easy to get into that trap of, I’m totally content to just be in this one spot for the rest of my life.  

Many may say I’m unsettled in my life.  Others say I’m a gypsy in normal clothing.  I’m not entirely sure what it is, but after I tried to let go and settle down, well, you know how that turned out.  I just stopped being me.  I had to go back to the person I knew and liked even more than giving in to the norm and what was expected.  I love to find random and odd places that are off the beaten path.  I love nature, the weird and the strange, and a bit darker touristy spots.  Don’t get me wrong, a gorgeous beach with plenty of male lifeguards on watch doesn’t hurt my feelings. 

Check out: Luxury Travel on a Budget: Experience the High Life without Breaking the Bank

Important Things for My Bucket List

 

Flying Again 

So, on this one fine Tuesday, I decided it was time to travel again. There was so much of the world that I still haven’t seen.  I truly had that reassessment of life again at the age of 43.  I had to really evaluate if it was okay and acceptable to sell everything that I owned (again) and take that leap into the world of the unknown one more time.  Many probably would say no, but I knew this was one of my last chances to explore and see the world as I knew that it could.  

Over 40, you begin to question everything, heck, over 30, I did the same thing.  Why would I give up my little piece of stability to go galivanting around the world?   I’m no longer living what is perceived to be the American dream, but rather I started off moving in that direction and my life took a solid left turn a few times.  At this age, I’m supposed to have a husband, 2 kids, and the white picket fence, but it appears that gene in me was broken. 

My goals are more aligned with where I can find adventure, do, and see things I never have before, and experience foods and cultures that I never have before.  Heck, I ate brain for the first (AND ONLY) time this year in Mexico, and I totally do not recommend this experience. lol! Nope, nope, nope.  When in Rome does not apply here!   

Although, getting to see Nacho Libre (ok ok.. Luche Libre) in Mexico City (what the heck is that??)… So awesome!  I would not have even thought about pro wrestling for a second.  But was that a good time???  Yep, it sure was! They had midget wrestling. Whatttttttt??  Noooo… LOL.  Definitely not a situation I had imagined in a million years, and then, I was there in there in the middle of it all with one of the best friends a girl could have!

Little man fighting

This year, I traveled to the Galapagos Islands and ended up on a random sailboat by myself drinking a Jack and coke after only meeting a local for an hour on the pier.  He dropped me on the sailboat and shortly thereafter left on the tender to head back to the island to drop off his boss. A good hour later I’m still just chilling with my whiskey and some good ole music watching the sharks as they swam under my feet as the stars come out, contemplating how in the hell did I get here? 

My Other Odd Situations

I’ve ended up in an underground salsa club in Jordan, headed off to Dracula’s castle and breaking up with my boyfriend as my flight was changed out of Dubai, partying in a private pool that my boss had on his private floor in Kuwait.  I partied with a British personal security officer that worked on a contract I had in Iraq 8 years later randomly in Pattaya, Thailand after meeting on Tinder. 

I met a nudist in a bar who was starting his own colony in the Philippines who I also connected with on Tinder (no he didn’t mention that prior to the meeting, but it was an interesting conversation), and another who was an Air Force pilot working to save the lives of the 13 people trapped in the cave in another part of Thailand after it collapsed. 

I drank Guinness at the source in Ireland on an unplanned trip with my girl to Germany, and I have had to run from just about every national disaster mother nature has to offer.  There are many days where I ask myself, how did I manage to get into strange situations like these, and yet I find that these situations tend to make this life more…interesting… to say the least.  

Expectations 

When I’m told “you’re crazy”, “you’re impulsive”, and at every turn someone tells me I should come home, slow down, and find a good guy and settle down with, well, let’s just say I’ve tried that.  Maybe it just wasn’t the right. time.  But even with that, I find that it’s so hard to go against the grain, the tradition, and not do what’s expected.  I admit, as I’m getting older, I’m certainly slower than I used to be.  

My body hurts and my knees crack worse than lightning on a mid-summer night.  I don’t go out every night, party like a rock star, or go on dates most days of the year, but there’s so much to see that if I can get to a fraction of it in my lifetime, I will be successful. 😉   I will admit, there are many days where I won’t leave the house, and then, one day…bam, I’m ready to head out for a week straight. 

When that happens, it’s pretty awesome to be in a new country with plenty to see and experience nearby.  It’s quite nice to have those new and different things right outside my doorway when I’m ready to make my way out into the big world.  It takes a lot to get me excited anymore, but when it does, I move mountains or at least go under, over, or through them to meet that goal.  

I think we all have our struggles in life, always wishing to be different, have more, or change the details of our lives; but it’s kinda nice to know we have some control, and we think about building who we want to be.  The situations may not be ideal, nor perfect, but it’s still amazing the things we can achieve if we put our minds to it.  My travels may not be perfect, they may be lonely at times, they may not have heat, the most comfortable beds, the ability to see everything in one place, or even my own bedroom, but they are still my travels, and I look forward to sharing those moments with you.

So, when I say I didn’t have a bucket list before I started this year, I really meant it.  I had given up on a lot of things and put them on the back burner because I was broke, had no husband or even a thought thereof, no kids, no white picket fence, no career, and I had given up.  Today, I believe that we all get another chance to see who we are and prove what we can be. 

It is a struggle to find my place in this world, but at the same time, I know that traveling is one of those things that calls to me.  I am a girl that is on one trip and always planning the next, and I am continually amazed when I travel to see or experience things that I didn’t know existed.  Just think.. when you see an animal that you didn’t know existed, it makes you tilt your head. Like, where did that come from?  Why was that never on the Discovery Channel? 

Or even, when I’ve had other writers write for me on the blog and they find these amazing places I would not have thought to visit, I am inspired. It makes me take a step back and think about all I have yet to discover and smile because I know there is still a huge world I haven’t experienced.

The 2023/2024 Bucket List

For the immediate future, my bucket list looks a bit like this (I started this article a few months ago, so I’ve marked a few off of this list already): 

  • See the Running of the Bulls-Pamplona, Spaincomplete!
    • The Running of the Bulls was awesome.  The festival was even better, and I I HIGHLY recommend going to this event. Not so much the bullfight.  It was interesting due to this historical/cultural value, I’ll give you that, but it’s not something I enjoyed.
Running Bulls Festival
  • Stay in a Haunted Castle in Scotland -complete

    • Well, I made it to the castle. It was listed as one of the most haunted in Scotland, Dalhousie Castle, and it is said to have regular appearances of the Grey Lady and the dog.  It appears both had thrown themselves off of the top of the castle, well, for various reasons, but now both wander the halls. 
    • I had no such luck with finding said ghosts in this location, but I will tell you, on the dark tour of Edinburgh, something physically grabbed my shoulder twice, hard, and nothing was there to make logical sense of it being anything else.  The castle was beautiful, but I’d say you probably should try another spot other than the Dalhousie if you are looking for ghosts. 
Haunted Castle Scotland
  • Skydive the Palms in Dubai
Skydive the Palms
  • Watch the fireworks over the Opera House in Sydney
Opera House Sydney
  • Experience the symphony in New York at Christmas time (Home Alone style)
NewYork at Christmas
  • Visit the location with the most lighting strikes:  Catatumbo (Venezuela)
Catatumbo River
When lightning strikes can happen up to 280 times an hour for 160 days out of the year, it is something I want to see. It’s a fireworks show like none other.
  • Visit Auschwitz in Poland- my trip was cut short, but I did. make it to another camp in Germany. 
Auschwitz in Poland
It’s something that I think every one of us should feel, not just read about in the history books.
  • See the Northern lights (Iceland)-Well, I made it there, the lights hid from me. 
Northern Lights
  • Visit the Egyptian pyramids (Cairo)
Camel Piramids
Tell me that seeing something this majestic isn’t worth the effort to get there? Just thinking of how and who constructed it so many eons ago without the technology that we have today, is a natural wonder in itself.
  • Stay in a location where I can see ALL the stars, The Joshua Tree
Galxy Stars
Imagine seeing something that is without a doubt a one of the most beautiful things in the world.
  • Mountain bike in Queenstown New Zealand

Mountain Biking
  • Snowmobile across northern US
Rice Lake Snow
  • Hug a Redwood Tree in Cali
Redwood trees
  • Stay at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
Burj Al Arab
  • Flamenco in Spain- complete and awesome!
Flamenco in Spain
  • Be single in Puerto Rico
single Puerto Rico
  • Live in Alaska for a bit, the mountains of Tennessee, and Yellowstone
Tennessee, and Yellowstone
Men Jockey Skulls
  • Rebuild a 67 GTO (2029 Bucket list)
Rebuild 67 GTO

Ok, why would you not want to do this?  The most amazing classic car in the world..and good God, just listen to it.  

It’s a pretty simple list, but each item represents something near and dear to my heart.  This list is certainly going to grow, change, and reflect who I am in the next year, but finding inspiration at whatever age is what I believe it vital to one’s existence.  So, these items have inspired me this year, and well, it’s time for me to go out and get to them-it will take a bit more than a year to finish, but I’ll make a good dent in it.  Join me on my journey as I attempt to clear off my bucket list and create the next one.  

As I work on my bucket list, think about yours and share, and I’d love to hear what’s made it into your top spot!  

Always remember on your journey, wherever that leads you, to Travel Till You Drop!

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About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

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