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Category: Adventure Travel Bucket List

The Adventure Travel Bucket List is often the most exciting of all lists. I mean who doesn’t wanderlust about exotic beaches or seeing great sights in Europe.

We want to help you learn about places around the world that need to be on your Adventure Travel Bucket List. Some of these places you may already know but we hope to share with you many new and undiscovered places that will amaze you.  Discover all the places you should see and visit before you die.

You can see our Adventure Travel Bucket List by CLICKING HERE & enjoy the many blog posts below!

The Travel Whispers Blogger Challenge

The Travel Whispers Blogger Challenge

Travel Whispers Blogger Challenge

People are often asking me how I learn about these crazy adventures, experiences, or places to travel that are on my Bucket List.  Well, the internet of course! I not only scour the internet but I subscribe to numerous travel and adventure blogs out there to learn about the world.  That is how I found out about The Travel Whispers Blogger Challenge!

The Travel Whispers Blogger Challenge is the brain child of  travel blogger, Stephanie Fox.  Aimed at rounding up 2016 and looking towards 2017, she created 10 out of the ordinary travel questions that would not only share your personal insights on traveling but also introduce other travel bloggers to your readers.  At the bottom of this post, I will list several travel bloggers who are participating as well.  So after reading, please check them out too.  You might find some exciting new bloggers to follow and some great travel ideas for the future!  Also, you can find them across Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #TravelWhispers.

When The Travel Whispers Blogger Challenge was passed on to me by Sara & Nacho of I Do What I Want To, I was a  bit nervous to say the least since The Bucket List Project is still a newbie in the blogging world.  However, I found the questions a great way to learn & share not only about myself but my hopes for The Bucket List Project.

Reading The Bucket List Project's answers to the Travel Whispers Blogger Challenge #TravelWhispers Click To Tweet

So with bated breath, here are The Bucket List Project’s answers to The Travel Whispers Blogger Challenge:

1. If you had to move to a country that you’ve NEVER been to, and live there for ten years, where would you go?

I think I would want to go to Cuba since it is where my mother and family are from originally.  To live in such an exotic environment that offers an unbelievable culture all while seeing where my family grew up, would be amazing.  Plus, being ideally located in the Gulf of Mexico, it would allow me the ability to travel home to see my family in the US, while also, being able to explore other parts of Central and South America.

2. If you had to live in a hotel for the rest of your life, which hotel would you choose and why?

Not gonna lie, I would take a hostel, airbnb, a guest house, or even a tent over most hotels any day. To me, most hotels are just places to store my stuff while I am out and about exploring. However, if I had to be sentenced to a hotel I think I would either want to live in the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans or the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego.

Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, California

3. If you could only eat the cuisine of one nationality forever more, which would you choose?

This question is tough.  If I could only eat the cuisine of one nationality forever, I would have to either say food from Spain or Thailand (minus the Scorpion on a Stick…been there done that).

When it comes to Spain, I think they offer some of the greatest variety as Barcelona has unbelievable seafood with a Mediterranean flair while up North the pork is phenomenal.  With Thailand, I think it offers a great infusion of Asian styles while also finding some modern flavors from around the world in their more metropolitan cities like Bangkok.

4. Who has given you ‘holiday envy’ this year, and how?

Oddly enough there is a couple who I met in Chiang Mai, Thailand during a holiday festival in 2015, called Yi Peng/Loy Krathong. Hands down Chelsea and Mark give me ‘holiday envy’ for all the holidays and festivals they attend.  Though they currently living in Dubai, they travel all over the place.  In 2016, amid all their awesome travels, I most envied their adventure at Oktoberfest in Munich, which now is on my 2017 Bucket List!

5. If you had to look at the same sunrise or the same sunset every day, where in the world would you never get bored of seeing? Please don’t say sitting outside Cafe Mambo in Ibiza.

I don’t think anything has ever beaten the sunset I saw in Oporto, Portugal.  For the rest of my life, I could easily sit amid the tourists, with a cigar and a glass of port wine, just watching the sun set along the Douro River .

The Sunset along the Douro River in Oporto, Portugal (NO FILTER)

6. If you were taking a ‘staycation’ in your hometown, where would it be and what would you recommend others do?

I am from New Orleans, Louisiana where there is a ton to see, experience, and most importantly EAT! First, if possible, stay at the Hotel Monteleone.  Its one of the older hotels in the French Quarter blocks away from all the fun and action.  However, the most important thing to do is to go down to the famous Carousel Bar and ride the Carousel while having a Sazerac, a Vieux Carre, or any cocktail bartender Marvin Allen recommends.

During the day, you need to explore the art galleries on Royal Street, see St. Louis Cathedral, wander around Jackson square, find treasures in the French Market, and stroll the Moon Walk along the mighty Mississippi River.

At night, you need to stroll Bourbon Street (even us locals do it from time to time), walk through Pat O’Briens courtyard, listen to old school jazz at Preservation Hall, or head over to Frenchman Street to hear some modern Jazz and New Orleans Funk Music. Drink Sazeracs, Pimm’s Cups, Daquiris, Hurricanes, any beer from Abita Brewery or explore any of the pre-prohibition cocktails served throughout the city.

To eat, it really doesn’t matter cause it’s all great! Head over to Café du Monde for beignets if you want a light breakfast.  Though you may want Stanley’s for a hearty breakfast by the cathedral.  For lunch grab yourself a poboy or even better, head over to Central Grocery for a muffuletta sandwich, a bottle of Barqs Rootbeer, and a bag of Zaps Crawtators and head up to the river to eat and watch the river boats!  As for dinner Antoine’s is by far the #1 fine dining restaurant in all of New Orleans in my opinion.

7. Describe your perfect travel day of the year?

My summer was packed with unbelievable days on the Camino and in Portugal afterwards.  But if I had to choose a perfect day, it would be with Darcee in Nassau, Bahamas this past March. We had taken a boat out to the coral reefs for snorkeling and then to scratch off Bucket List #202) Ride in a S.U.B. (Scenic Underwater Bubble).  It was amazing.

8. What have you ticked off your bucket list in 2016?

2016 was a very exciting year for The Bucket List Project as we added many items to the 2016 Completed Items list!  However, I would say the highlight was my pilgrimage along the entire Camino de Santiago.  Not only was it amazing to explore all of Northern Spain, but along my “Walk,” I learned a lot about myself and met some amazing friends. You can read Excerpts from My Personal Diary Along the Camino here.

9. What is top of your travel bucket list for 2017?

I tend to be ambitious and perhaps a bit over zealous when it comes to planning out my Bucket List travel plans every year. 2017 is no different.  When I wrote my 2017 Bucket List Hopes and Goals I realized that I had listed 7 countries outside the US & at least 3 different states from Louisiana.  But I guess that is because I am one of those Shoot for Stars kind of guys. With that said I would have to say which of the 10 destinations is top on my list this year it would be a tie between Alberta, Canada and Morocco.

Alberta escaped me last year, but this year it’s a must for me, if not for Banff National Park alone. We have all seen the remarkable photos of Lake Louise in Banff and that marvelous mountain skyline. Well, I want to see that in person.  Plus Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary of their National Parks. So all entry is free for the entire year of 2017! You can get your Free Pass HERE!

As for Morocco, exploring the Blue City of Chefchaouen, checking out the markets of Casablanca, and taking a camel safari into the desert are all hot on my list!

10. Share your favorite Instagram photo of 2016?

So The Bucket List Project only started on Instagram in September of 2016.  But slowly I have been posting up some of my favorite Bucket List Project pictures from the past.  In November 2015, I was fortunate enough to go to Thailand’s Lantern Festivals of Yi Peng & Loy Krathong.  It was probably one of the best experiences of my life.  While we were all lighting and setting sail to our balloons, I was able to catch this mother and daughter sending off their hopes and dreams into the sky!

Instagram: @TheBucketListProjectBlog

 

 

 

Now since this is a Whispers challenge, I would first like to thank by Sara & Nacho of IDoWhatIWantTo who inspired me to participate.  You can read their responses by CLICKING HERE!

You can find more travel whispers at the links below:

Stephanie Fox

Josie Wanders

Young and Undecided

My Own True North

If you are a travel blogger and want to take part in the fun, then join the facebook group here.

The Bucket List Guide to the Taj Mahal

The Bucket List Guide to the Taj Mahal

The Bucket List Guide to the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal

“Since we are going to be India for the Rickshaw Run, we  should probably see the Taj Mahal. I mean it is on my Bucket List and I can’t imagine coming back to India just to see the Taj.”

This was my conversation with Darcee and pretty much everyone I had talked to before leaving for my epic India Rickshaw Run.  It was as if one of the most recognizable buildings in the world was a “if we have time” secondary/bonus add on to my Bucket List travels through India.  However, our day adventure in Agra, exploring the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort would prove to me why this IS a “must see” destination and needs to be on everyone’s bucket list!

The Story of the Taj Mahal

Rudyard Kipling once described the Taj Mahal as “the embodiment of all things pure.”  This could be due to its beautiful white marble or perhaps it is due to the story surrounding it.

View or Taj Mahal from Agra FortThe Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan as a memorial for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child. It is said that the death of Mumtaz truly broke the heart of the Shah and he immediately ordered the construction of the Taj as a mausoleum for his most beloved wife.  Starting in 1632, it would take 20 years to build this monument of love, but upon its completion, Shah Jahan said it made “the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes.”

According to legend, Shah Jahan wanted a replica of the Taj Mahal in black marble that would serve as his final resting place built directly across the Yamuna river from the original.  However, one of his sons, Aurangzeb, felt that his father had caused a major strain on the empire’s finances with the Taj and a replica would ruin them entirely.  Therefore, he overthrew Shah Jahan and imprisoned his father in the nearby Agra Fort where he could only view his beloved memorial from a distance till his death.

After his death it is said that one of his daughters then took his body and buried it next to his beloved Mumtaz Mahal in the Taj Mahal in 1666.

In 1983, the Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.” (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/252)

In 2007, it was declared one of the world’s New 7 Wonders of the World by the New7Wonders of the World initiative. (https://world.new7wonders.com/)

Eric Gamble holding the Taj Mahal

How to visit the Taj Mahal and Agra, India

Of course Agra, India has much more to see than just the Taj Mahal. However, on our visit to Agra, we only had one day to explore the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort in 7-8 hours.  Though we missed out on several other wonderful things to do in Agra, we found it very easy to cross the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort off of our bucket list in 7-8 hours.

Getting to Agra

Being that Agra is only 200km from Delhi, there are multiple ways to get there including private car, Uber, taxi, or bus.  Each of these takes 4-5 hours to get there depending on traffic and can range in cost and comfort.

However, the most popular and fastest way to get to Agra is by train.  Tickets one way on the Gatimaan Express from Delhi to Agra were approximately 750 INR (about $11.00 USD) each and place you on a nice clean train with decent bathrooms.  The quick and easy 2 hour train ride comes with a large bottle of water & a meal included in the ticket price but please remember to tip the train servers as we were told that they mainly live off the tips.

*Please Note: In my opinion, the India Train website (https://www.irctc.co.in) maybe one of the most frustrating and impossible travel websites in the world to operate.  They often put restrictions on when a person (tourist) can purchase ahead of time and declined both of our credit cards online.  Therefore, ask your hotel or a travel agent to purchase the tickets for you. We had a local friend in Delhi purchase ours for us. You can also buy them in person at the train station where I used my credit card with no issues for our return tickets.

Getting to the Taj Mahal and around Agra

One of the interesting aspects about the many parts of India we visited was their laid back approach toward tourists.  However, this laissez faire approach was not found in Agra.  Don’t get me wrong, you definitely don’t feel hustled as compared to many other places in the world, but be prepared as you exit the train or bus stations.

With that said, we were told by many of our local Indian friends that a tour guide is not necessary but highly recommended for the Taj Mahal because there signage to tell the history to visitors.  In this day and age of information on the internet, I tend to be a little anti-tour guide unless its free or cheap.  However, after many recommendations I felt that it would be beneficial.

So if you opted for the train, you will exit the Agra Station to a sea of Tuk Tuk (auto-rickshaw).  You will need to grab one to even get to the Taj Mahal but you will have a couple of unique options: 1) to just pay to ride to the Taj Mahal (about 100 INR in a Tuk Tuk) but you will then have to figure out transportation from there or  2) negotiate a day hire which is what we did (600 INR in a tuk tuk for the day).

When we arrived we decided to change our return ticket to an earlier time.  This ended up being a blessing in disguise as we exited about 20 minutes after the crowd was swarmed by tuk tuk drivers.  When we finally exited, we were approached by a driver who negotiated with us a deal for the day:

  1. Stop off for a clean bathroom stop if we needed it
  2. Option for an Official Guide certified from the Approved guides office (500 INR)
  3. Ride to the Taj Mahal gate
  4. Lunch
  5. A trip over to the Agra Fort
  6. Ride to 3-4 types of shops if you want
  7. Return back to Agra Train Station by 4:15 for our 5:15 train

The Taj Mahal is definitely on my Bucket List, read all about it! #TajMahal #India #Bucketlist… Click To Tweet

Exploring the Taj Mahal

We opted for the Official Tour Guide from the Approved guides office and it was great.  Ari, our guide, walked us down to East Gate where we obtained our entry tickets.  As of January 1, 2017 entry ticket prices for foreigners are 1,000 INR, 40 INR for Indians and free for children under the age of 15.  The Taj Mahal entry fee also includes a bottle of water and shoe covers which are necessary to walk around the main mausoleum. Make sure you pick them up when you buy your ticket.

There are several entrances into the Taj Mahal, so just follow your driver or guide to the easiest gate and follow your specified line to enter.  There is a shorter line for the foreigner tickets and one specifically for women and men even amid the foreigner lines.The Gateway entrance to the Taj Mahal

When you finally enter, you are greeted by the Gateway Entrance that leads you to the gardens in front of the mausoleum.  Ari, our guide, was very excited to point out the symmetry of the entire property from the gates, through the gateway, across the ponds, to the center of the mausoleum inside the white marbled Taj Mahal itself.

One of the bonuses of using a guide was not only to hear about the architecture and history of the property, but they also make great photographers!  I noticed that Ari and other guides are trained to take you to the best photo op spots.

After walking through the Gateway Entrance, you enter the main garden where you will be taken around the gardens, told of the history and legends of the Taj Mahal, taken to the “Princess Diana Bench” for a wonderful photo, and then toward the mausoleum.  We never felt a sense of urgency with our guide, which was nice as he would let us walk off to just drink in the beauty of the building.

As you approach the actual mausoleum, you are required to put on your paper shoe covers or remove your shoes altogether.  The mausoleum itself is pure white with Arabic inscriptions containing verses from the holy book of Quran that surround the entrance way.  Also along the walls and above the archways are colorful ornamentations of flowers.  What is interesting is that both the black inscriptions and the colorful flowers are not painted on the white marble but rather colored marble or precious stones that have been cut and inlay into the white marble background.

Another interesting tidbit is that the 4 minarets surrounding the main mausoleum are slightly tilted outward away from the dome.  According to legend, this was done in case of an earthquake, the minarets would fall away from the resting place of the Shah’s love.

When entering the mausoleum, please note that no photos are allowed inside out of respect.  When exiting the mausoleum, you will circle around the back to look across the Yamuna River where, as Ari pointed out, the Shah’s black replica was supposed to be built.  From here you are free to explore the guest house or the mosque on either side of the Taj Mahal.

Darcee and Eric Gamble at the Taj Mahal

Other Things to do In Agra

* Please note that if you save your receipt from the Taj Mahal, you will receive a little discount to enter many of the other sites in Agra!

  • Akbar’s Mausoleum: This marble and sandstone mausoleum honors one of Agra’s greatest emperors of the Mughal dynasty.  About 10km northwest of Agra Fort, this mausoleum is beautifully constructed and a must see if possible.
  • Mehtab Bagh: These gardens are a series of 11 parks on the Yamuna’s east bank.  The gardens are perfectly aligned with and a great view of the Taj.
  • Agra Fort: If you only have time to visit one other site in Agra besides the Taj Mahal, then I would recommend going to the Agra Red Fort.  This is the fort that Shah Jahan’s son banished him to live out his final days.  The fort is magnificent with many sections and corridors to explore.  You don’t necessarily need a guide to explore the fort since there are plenty of signs written in English and Hindi that describe the history of each specific section.

 

So as you can see, the Taj Mahal and Agra, India ARE a “must see” destination and needs to be on everyone’s bucket list!  Are they on yours? Have you ever been to the Taj Mahal or Agra, India?  If so, tell us about your experience visiting these great bucket list destinations in the comments below!

A Bucket List Adventure Race – The Rickshaw Run

A Bucket List Adventure Race – The Rickshaw Run

Merriam-Webster defines an “adventurer” as someone who likes dangerous or exciting experiences; a person who looks for adventures! Well there is no doubt that in creating the Bucket List Project several years ago, I have sought out adventures of all types. I would spend hours scouring the internet, reading about the experiences of other “adventurers.” Many of these adventure activities and travels were typical to a person with wanderlust. However, there is one adventure that caught my eye and has totally stoked the insatiable adventurer in me, a Bucket List adventure race called The Rickshaw Run.

What is the Rickshaw Run?

The Rickshaw Run is a 14-day Bucket List adventure race that began 10 years ago by a group of crazed people who called themselves the Adventurists! With the hope of making the world less boring, they strive to create adventures where you don’t know what will happen tomorrow or if you’ll even finish the race.

I finally found the un-suspecting co-pilot I needed to join me in the January 2017 Rickshaw Run. Darcee and I will begin the race on January 2nd from Fort Kochi near the bottom of India. For the next two weeks we will race along the west coast toward Jaisalmer in a 3-wheeled Tuk Tuk (a tricycle with an engine). There will likely be many wrong turns, mechanical and mental breakdowns, mutinies and a love-hate relationship with Indian food, all while we are raising money for two charities dear to us.

We will race our highly unstable glorified tricycle, that will break down continuously. While travelling without a set of directions, we will attempt to overcome more obstacles in our path than contestants on a Japanese game show. We will battle the 1.2 billion people and 140 million vehicles in India while experiencing one crazy adventure and trying not to die!

So why on Earth am I doing this?

The short answer – Why not?

Those of you who know me, know that each year I actively tackle many of the over 200+ items in the Bucket List Project as well as try to assist others in going after their personal bucket list dreams.  It’s driven me to accomplish my dreams as well as given me the opportunity to help others!  The Rickshaw Run is helping me accomplish several of my Bucket List items:

14) Participate in 1 Adventurist Race: the Rickshaw Run

165) Learn & Play Cricket with Locals in a Foreign Country

69) Travel to the Taj Mahal, India

199) Raise thousands of dollars for charity

Now of course adventure is the name of the game when it comes to the Rickshaw Run. However, amid the insanity, it has allowed me to do something amazing before even starting the race, give back! One of the major pre-requisites of the Rickshaw Run is to raise funds for charity. Together with friends, family, and even some generous strangers, I was able to raise over $5,600 for both Angels’ Place New Orleans & Cool Earth! You can see & still donate to these great causes via our GoFundMe page at www.GoFundMe.com/EricGamble

The Rickshaw Run looks like the ultimate Bucket List Adventure Race! #RickshawRun #bucketlist Click To Tweet

Still don’t understand what we are about to do?

Still not sure what exactly this Bucket List Adventure Race will look like? Then watch this promo from the Adventurists themselves.

 

The Bucket List Guide to the Thailand Lantern Festival

The Bucket List Guide to the Thailand Lantern Festival

chiang mai floating lanterns in the sky

On the evening of the full moon of the 12th month (November) of the Thai lunar calendar, the city of Chiang Mai celebrates The Thailand Lantern Festivals of Loy Krathong and Yi Peng.  It is an experience that should be on everyone’s Bucket List.  Hopefully the Bucket List Guide to the Thailand Lantern Festival will inspire you to attend this amazing festival of lights.

The Bucket List Guide to the Thailand Lantern Festival: Loy Krathong and Yi Peng 

When is it?

The city of Chiang Mai celebrates both Loy Krathong and Yi Peng festivals simultaneously over several days during the week of the full moon in November.  Actual dates in November fluctuate each year depending on the cycle of the moon.  The festivities are said to be over the course of a week but essentially the entire festival takes place over three days.  The dates for the few years is as follows:

  • Loy Krathong date in 2016: November 14, 2016
  • Loy Krathong date in 2017: November 4, 2017
  • Loy Krathong date in 2018: November 23, 2018
  • Loy Krathong date in 2019: November 13, 2019
  • Loy Krathong date in 2020: November 1, 2020

 

Enjoying the Celebration

When in Chiang Mai, we recommend you find a list of events for Loy Krathong/Yi Peng as they seem to shuffle around each year.  But for the most part, the days were filled with Food, Bazaars, Parades, Pageants, and of course lights!

The Lightslights-along-the-river

During the 3 days of the festival, the city of Chiang Mai is covered in lights. Interestingly, the city still uses candles to light the majority of the lanterns used in the celebration.  To begin the festival, university students will light candles along the rivers surrounding the old town. The entire Ping River area and bridges around the old city are lit up with hundreds and hundreds of small candles.

leaving-a-little-candleMuch of the surrounding old wall in the original city is dilapidated, however the university students use these ruins to set up dedication sites, where visitors can leave a candle as a devotion to someone not able to be there or whatever they wish.

The tea lights are handed out for free, so feel free to ask some of the students for a candle and always be respectful of others who may be praying as they leave their devotional.

The Pageants and Activities

miss-yi-pengDuring the 3 days of celebration there are many activities to enjoy.  They have Handmade Krathong Contests, Yi Peng Kids contests, Boat Races, and small Aot Air Balloon Contests. The majority of these events can be seen near the Office of Chiang Mai Municipality.

The Thapae Gate, and entrance to the old city, is also a hot spot for many activities.  Here you can witness the Miss Yi Peng Pageants.  Though not unlike typical beauty pageants, what is interesting is the traditional costumes, head pieces, and dance routines.

The Parade

floats-of-yi-peng-paradeThe Loy Krathong parade is a beautiful spectacle for all ages.  Starting around sunset, many groups line up in traditional costumes with bands of flutes and drums blasting away fun and entertaining music.  Gorgeous floats are made to look like Krathongs floating on the Ping river with unbelievable details and thousands of lights.

The parade starts at the Thapae Gate and rolls through a street route to the Office of Chiang Mai Municipality.

Loy Krathong Floating Lantern Launch

loy-krathongs-on-the-riverOn one of the days there will be an official start of Loy Krathong.  Throughout the day there will be plenty of activities going on.  However, an official launch starts at Nawarat bridge & Office of Chiang Mai Municipality at about sunset along the Ping River.

You can easily find people selling Krathongs or “decorative floats” around the city through the day for around $5 USD.  Each one is made uniquely of a banana tree base and covered with banana leaves, decorations, incense sticks, and a candle.  Once you find one that you like, make your way down along the banks of the Ping River.  Be careful as it can be slippery on the mud and rocks along the Ping.

When at the river, light the candle, take a moment to reflect.  The modern history of Loy Krathong is  that the lights that are floated down the rivers are meant to symbolize the drifting away of bad luck and misfortune.  However, for many Thai people it is also an opportunity to honor the goddess of water.  So please remember to be respectful of the many others that will line the banks of the river with you.

Yi Peng Sky Lantern Releases

little-girl-with-her-lanternYou have a couple of options when dealing with the Yi Peng Sky Lantern Release.  First, you can participate in the tourist only lantern release held at Mae Jo University in Chiang Mai that requires you to book tickets from $100 USD per person. It is by far the biggest release around with often 500+ people participating.

Another option is to participate in the melee of people releasing from around the Nawarat bridge.   You can find vendors selling the paper hot air balloons around the city for about $5-$10 USD.  They are essentially paper cylinders held together with light metal wiring.  At the bottom there will be a metal ring of cotton that is soaked in kerosene.  At 9pm you are allowed to open up and then light your sky lanterns.  It tends to take about two people to manage the balloon.  When you feel that your balloon is filled with enough hot air and can float away, let go. You are supposed to make a wish for the new year while asking for forgiveness for the faults of the last year.

Warnings: It is illegal to fly lanterns before the city has stopped air traffic for the night.  Also, please note that these balloons are highly flammable, therefore it is recommended to be far away from tree lines, electrical areas, or other flammable sources.

The Thailand Lantern Festival is definitely on my Bucket List Now! Click To Tweet

The Food

street-food-of-chiang-maiThai food is arguably some of the best food in the world and Chiang Mai is no exception!  Whether its during the festival or not you will always find a great assortment of street food available for cheap.

What is unique is that these Thai chefs bring out their own little tables and set them up next to their booths so that you can join them for dinner.  Just walk up to the booth, tell them what you want, sit down, and wait to be fed!

Around the main entrance to the city (during the festival) you will find countless booths selling skewers of meat, dumplings, mixed stir fry noodles and yes even sushi.  You will also find a a small assortment of desserts like ice cream, sweet sticky rice, fried bananas, and small sweet cakes

khao-soiIf at all possible we highly recommend you find and try Traditional Khao Soi. It’s an egg noodle mixed with chicken where you can add crunchy pickled veggies, sliced shallots and a lime in a spicy curry Broth.  One of the interesting things is to watch them make and cut the rice noodles from scratch.

Other Things to do in The City of Chiang Maithe-walled-city-of-chiang-mai

In 2014, TripAdvisor listed Chiang Mai as number 24 of 25 Best Destinations in the World.  Founded in in 1296 the “New City” was developed due to its location near the Ping river and many trade routes.

The old city is beautiful and easy to navigate.  With the many temples and museums there is plenty there to keep someone occupied.  The original city was built within a wall surrounded by a small river or moat.

The Temples (the Wats)

Chiang Mai has over 300 Buddhist temples (“wat” in Thai).  Each are open to the public and nearly all are free to enter and explore.  Most are located within the original walled city and have their own unique personalities worth exploring.  Here is a list of some that should be seen:

  • Wat Muen Toom: Wat Muen Toom was built by the soldier “Toom” around 2012 B.C., or 1478 C.E.  It is said that before being enthroned, every king of Lanna Kingdom wore white and came to Wat Muen Toom to have a three day-retreat in order to practice meditation and participate in the Long Live Ceremony.
  • Wat Pan Tao: Wat Pan Tao is one of the only wooden wats built from teakwood in Chiang Mai.  Its name, meaning “temple of a thousand kilns,” probably derives its name from the ovens used to cast Buddha images for another temple.  During the festivals they hold a beautiful night time celebration of light.
  • Wat Chiang Man: Wat Chiang Man is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai.  The temple houses two important and venerated Buddha figures, one in marble and another in crystal.
  • Wat Bupbharan: Wat Bupbharan is home to the largest Teak Buddha in the world
  • Wat Chedi Luang: Wat Chedi Luang houses the biggest and most famous pagoda in Chiang Mai.
  • Wat SriSupan: Built in 1502, Wat SriSupan is Chiang Mai’s silver temple.  The attention that was given to the detail within the silver work is amazing.
  • Wat Phra Doi Suthep: Wat Phra Doi Suthep which is about 40 minutes outside of town up in the mountains overlooking the city. It is famous for its 344 + steps leading to the temple and is guarded by two dragons that line the stairs all the way up.

As you can see, The Thailand Lantern Festival needs to be on everyone’s Bucket List.  Whether you just want the chance to witness thousands of beautiful lanterns in the sky and floating lanterns down the Ping River or you want to participate because you need to find a way to start off the new year with a clean slate , it is definitely worth it.

Hopefully, The Bucket List Guide to the Thailand Lantern Festival will get you excited about attending the next festival in Chiang Mai. However, if there is something you’re still curious about, or if you have any follow up questions, please feel free to reach out in the comments below.

asian-couple-with-their-lantern

 

 

The Bucket List Guide to Iceland – Part 2: Iceland’s Outdoor Adventures

The Bucket List Guide to Iceland – Part 2: Iceland’s Outdoor Adventures

As I shared in my previous article, The Bucket List Guide to Iceland – Part 1: Reykjavik, Iceland is a land of unbelievable adventure, great food, and amazing beauty!  I felt an overwhelming sense of discovery everywhere I went. I couldn’t shake the feeling that every time I saw a waterfall, the coastline, or some other unbelievable landmark, it was as if I had never seen anything like it before.

I went to Iceland in April of 2015 to complete 3 Bucket list items:

95) See the Northern Lights (aka: Aurora Borealis)

134) Swim in the Thermal Blue Lagoon in Iceland 

130) Eat weird things
          #17) Harkal (Fermented Shark Meat) – Iceland

 

Despite my valiant efforts, I failed seeing the Northern Lights.  However, what I did discover was a geothermal land of unbelievable adventure and incredible beauty! Wondering what you should do in Iceland? To help you out, I have split up my review into two parts:

Part 1: Reykjavik (Click Here to Read)

Part 2: Iceland’s Outdoor Adventures 

Iceland’s Outdoor Adventures

With the tourism slogan, “Pure. Natural. Unspoiled. Iceland. The Way Life Should Be!” you can assume that Iceland is going to be a clean, natural, unspoiled destination.  Though Reykjavik is phenomenal, make sure you get out and explore everything the country has to offer in the outdoors!

Rent A Car

walter-mitty-my-rental-carThere are no trains in Iceland and though there are cheap public buses in the city, there really isn’t a decent public transit system for travel around the country. That doesn’t mean you have to subject yourself to expensive restrictive tour buses. Iceland is an easy country to navigate – it is an island with one major highway, the Ring Road (aka: Route 1). The Ring Road is about 831 miles long, extends around the entire coast of Iceland and offers the freedom and unrestricted views you will be craving!

If you want to drive yourself, SAD CARS offers the cheapest car rentals in the country.

Here are a few driving tips you should know ahead of time:

  1. Most of the rental cars are stick shift
  2. Speed limits in Iceland are 50 km/h (30mph) within cities & 90 km/h (55mph) on all other paved roads
  3. Off road driving is illegal in Iceland
  4. There are Speed Trap Cameras everywhere & the fees can be very expensive

Visit the Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations and for good reason. It is a 200 mile road outside of Reykjavik and it includes 4 natural sights that should be on everyone’s outdoor Iceland bucket list:

  1.  Þingvellir National Park: The national parliament of Thingvellir, IcelandIceland was established at Þingvellir (Thingvellir) in 930, and held sessions there until 1798. The area became a national park in 1930 and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004. In addition to its historical importance, Þingvellir (Thingvellir) is also the location of the separating North American and Eurasian continental shelf plates, causing a visible rift in the valley.
  2. Gullfoss: Gullfoss (the Golden Falls) is a 3 tier stair case waterfall that will take your breath away! The waterfall is formed as the Hvítá river rushes southward flowing over Gullfoss at an average rate of 109 cubic meters per second. While enjoying the beauty of these magnificent falls, make sure you read the monument devoted to Sigríður Tómasdóttir of Brattholt, strokkur-eruptswho is considered the savior of Gullfoss.
  3. Geysir: The world renowned geothermal hot spring area around Geysir includes several mini geysers and 2 big ones, Great Geysir and Strokkur. Although the original Great Geysir is not currently active, its neighbor, Strokkur, erupts every 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Kerið Volcanic Crater: Kerið is a crater formed some 5,000 years ago, with a pretty deep lake in the bottom.  While I was there, in April, the lake was frozen and tourists were allowed to climb to the bottom of the crater. During warmer months, it is said that the lake is a mesmerizing blue surrounded by gorgeous colorful vegetation! Please note that it does cost about 400ISK (About $3.50 USD) to enter the area, but it is worth it.

See the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)

So I totally struck out seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland, but that doesn’t mean you will! The best chance of seeing the Northern Lights is when the sky is clear. Often, when it’s cold and dark outside – the aurora activity is high. Take a drive away from the city lights of Reykjavik for an unobstructed view of the night sky. It is said that the best time to see the northern lights in Iceland is from October to March, however there is no guarantee. Vedur is the national weather website that forecasts predicted visibility of the lights.

Visit with the Icelandic Horses

icelandic-horsesThese small, pony-sized horses are a majestic breed.  According to Wikipedia, the breed is used for traditional sheepherding work, as well as for leisure, showing, and racing. They are everywhere, but I found many of them lined along fences on the Golden Circle.  Bred to carry adults smoothly and willingly over difficult terrain, Icelandic Horses bring their cheerful demeanor and sensible attitude to each ride.

Visit a “Foss”

In Icelandic, the word “Foss” translates to “waterfall.”  Iceland is enveloped in waterfalls of all shapes and sizes.  Each one offers a unique beauty that is unrivaled anywhere else. Gullfoss in the Golden Circle is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland. ensku-husin-waterfall However, there other waterfalls that should be part of your Iceland Bucket List.

  1. Gullfoss (The Golden Waterfall): See above
  2. Skogarfoss: Located in the village of Skogar, Skogarfoss is a beautiful waterfall that you can walk up to. It is a popular destination and easy to find if you follow the tour busses.
  3. Oxararfoss: Located in Þingvellir National Park, you can walk along the continental rift wall which flows into the river Öxará.
  4. Ensku Husin Area Waterfalls: Hraunfossar and Barnafoss are two waterfalls in the Ensku Husin area. These were the 1st waterfalls I encountered along my drive into the northwest.
  5. Detifoss: Is the largest waterfall in Europe in terms of water flow, and is said to be the most powerful as well. It falls 150 feet down.

Explore the Land of Fire and Ice

skeidararjokull-glacier-and-the-mighty-vatnajokull-watching-over-usIceland is home to beautiful glaciers and active volcanoes.  When out east, you can also visit Jökulsárlón ice lagoon. It is filled with large chunks of ice crashing about in the darkness of the Atlantic ocean. You may recognize it from the movies, including two James Bond films. From there, make time to visit Vatnajökull National Park.  It is the largest glacier cap in all of Iceland.  You can climb a path along Skeidararjokull glacier, while doing so, you will see the amazing blue glacier ice along the side.

Please note that glacier climbing is considered dangerous and should not be done without professional assistance.

Along the same trek, you will see Grímsvötn above you, a basaltic volcano which has the highest eruption frequency in all of Iceland. In May 2011 it erupted, causing major disturbances, not only in Iceland, but to air travel in the United Kingdom, Greenland, Germany, Ireland and Norway.  On beautiful days, you will even see lenticular clouds hovering over Grímsvötn.

Explore the Beaches in Iceland’s Suderland

Driving along the Ring Road (Rte 1) in the southland of Iceland is an adventure in itself and you’ll pass many of the popular tourist attractions. However, the road along the southern coast offers beautiful views of the coast line and will take you to the black beaches. To get there, head to Dyrhólaey or the city of Vik.  kirkjufjara-beachNearby you will find two popular destinations:

  1. Kirkjufjara Beach: Kirkjufjara beach offers gorgeous views, where the Atlantic ocean comes ashore, powerfully crashing waves onto the black sand beach. You can hike leisurely along the top of the cliff or make your way to the bottom and the beach. However, please note all signs. In 2015, authorities regulated the area due to loose rocks.
  2. Reynisfjara Beach: Reynisfjara Beach is a natural black sand and pebble beach with large boulders. However, the highlight is the interesting basalt caves. The basalt columns resemble a rocky pyramid and form an extraordinary cave, Hálsanefshellir.

reynisfjara-beach-the-hallsanefshellir-cave

Go Swimming!!

Whenever I go to the beach I want to go swimming!  However, please note that swimming at any of the beaches listed here or anywhere connected to the Atlantic is not recommended or considered safe. Swimming in them is ill advised due to the temperature and severity of the ocean.

With that said, Iceland is full of geothermal pools that offer the chance to soak in warm waters all around the island. Water from these geothermal hot springs can range from 37–39 °C (98-102°F).  Here are several pools that you should definitely explore:seljavallalaug-pool-in-iceland

  1. Nautholsvik Geothermal Beach: Read all about it in Part 1: Reykjavik
  2. Seljavallalaug: Seljavallalaug, also known as the Seljvavellir pool was built in 1923 and is the oldest pool in Iceland.  However, it is not on any tourist guide list or main tour map.  To find this hidden pool, drive the Ring Road until you see a sign that says Seljavellir. Pull to the back right of the area until you find a newer pool where you can park. From there, walk about 30 minutes towards the bottom of the valley. There are worn paths that are easy to follow. You will have to jump over a little waterfall (be careful), but it’s an easy walk. After you cross the waterfall, follow the river, you’ll come to pipes pumping hot water – they will lead you to the pool – just around the corner.
  3. The Blue Lagoon: The Blue Lagoon is probably the #1 item on everyone’s Iceland Bucket List.  It is spa is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula – southwestern Iceland, near the airport. Although this is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland, its definitely worth it. The drive is easy and there is ample parking. Another option is finding the ticket center in Reykjavik, there you can pre-purchase your tickets and get a bus pass to the Lagoon. The bus runs hourly. The Lagoon offers general entry, but you can also purchase various spa services. Entry includes a wristband, which acts as a key for your electronic changing room locker and allows you to keep an electronic tab if you partake in the outdoor bar or restaurant.  To learn more or purchase cheap tickets online visit The Blue Lagoon Online world-famous-geothermal-blue-lagoon
Swimming in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland is Definitely on my Bucket List! #BlueLagoon #Iceland Click To Tweet

Find the U.S. Navy Plane Crash

In 1973, the United States Navy was flying a DC 3 over Iceland when they ran out of gas and crashed on the beaches of Sólheimasandur. Everyone survived the crash, but apparently they just left the plane there and went home. The plane has been there ever since.  Unfortunately, it is stripped clean, but the shell of the plane remains at its final resting spot on the black sand beach.

There are no signs or much information readily available when trying to find the plane, you just have to do some research. When you park on Ring Road, please remember that off roading in Iceland is illegal. Park your car on the highway and hike 4km in to the plane.

To locate this hidden piece of history, use these GPS coordinates: 63.459523, -19.364618

The easiest thing to do is to plug these coordinates into the search bar of the Google Maps app. Once entered, you will see a marker on the Google Maps titled, Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck.  If you are in Iceland, hit the 3 lines at the top of the search bar to open the menu and select “start driving.” This will give you directions to the spot on the Ring Road where you park and start your journey.

us-navy-plane-in-icelandus-navy-plane-in-iceland-2

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, there is a reason that Iceland is at the top of everyone’s travel list recently. The unparalleled beauty, friendly people, unspoiled landscape and opportunity for adventure make it a fantastic travel destination. Whether you want to spend time in the city or take an outdoor adventure, Iceland is right for you. Give it a try – you many be surprised!

The Bucket List Guide to Iceland – Part 1: Reykjavik

The Bucket List Guide to Iceland – Part 1: Reykjavik

observation-tower-view-from-the-hallgrimskirkja

In April of 2015, I decided that Iceland was my next major bucket list destination!  But why?  Why would anyone, who dislikes the cold as much as I do, want to travel Iceland?  Easy, I was on a mission to complete 3 Bucket list items:

95) See the Northern Lights (aka: Aurora Borealis)

134) Swim in the Thermal Blue Lagoon in Iceland 

130) Eat weird things
          #17) Harkal (Fermented Shark Meat) – Iceland

 

Though I failed seeing the Aurora Borealis, what I did discover was a land of unbelievable adventure, great food, and amazing beauty!  There was a thrill of discovery everywhere I went.  It was the first time in forever that I felt like everything I saw was a new revelation.  I loved that childlike feeling of discovery and amazement.

In my humble opinion, Iceland is not just a “quick trip.”  So, I have decided to split up my review into two parts:

Part 1: Reykjavik

Part 2: Iceland’s Outdoor Adventures (Click Here)

Welcome to Reykjavik

Reykjavik is the capital and largest city in Iceland.  Being the world’s northernmost capital, it is a popular tourist destination.  Its long history states that it was established by Ingólfur Arnarson from Norway around AD 870.  Reykjavik is not just a Viking heritage site but a modern city filled with remarkable food, unbelievable art, and exciting history.  So here are my top bucket list items to see or do in Reykjavik, Iceland:

The majestic Hallgrímskirkja Lutheran Church

the-hallgrimskirkja-lutheran-church

The Hallgrímskirkja Lutheran Church is Iceland’s official church and is the 7th tallest structure in Iceland at 244 feet.  As you walk up to the church you are greeted by a statue of explorer Leif Eriksson.  Inside, the simplicity of the Church is breathtaking and the columns and ceilings are said to resemble the basalt lava flow pillars similar to those witnessed along the Southern Shores of Iceland.  Above the entrance, the church houses a large beautiful pipe organ by the German organ builder Johannes Klais.

One of the cool things to do is to purchase a ticket to the observation deck.  This allows you to take the elevator and then hike up 3 flights of stairs up from the clock of Hallgrímskirkja Church where you will have a bird’s eye view of the beauty of Reykjavik, the ocean, and mountains.

Take A “Free” City Walk Tour

The City Walk tour takes you on foot around the heart of Reykjavík with English speaking locals. The main focus is the general history of Iceland and the evolution of Reykjavík as a town. They also tell you about elves, vikings, food, nightlife, music, economic aspects and political affairs. Additionally, they include the funny facts about Iceland and the places you must see in Reykjavík. The “free” City Walk runs 100% on donations from guests, which are offered to the guide at the end of each tour. The tour runs daily, even multiple times a day starting at a park, named Austurvöllur in front of the House of Parliament.  To learn more or reserve your spot on the tour click here: CITY WALK TOUR or visit http://CityWalk.is

Walk down Laugavegur Street

Laugavegur Street is the main street of Reykjavik.  The name means “wash road,” as it used to lead to the hot springs in Laugardalur where in olden times the women of Reykjavík took their laundry for washing. As you walk along the cobblestone road, you will find tons of restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and unique shops to satisfy any explorer or souvenir collector.  At night, Laugavegur becomes the center for fine dining as well as music and entertainment.

tourism-board-ideasOne of the novelty highlights is to visit The Icelandic Phallological Museum where you can explore according to their mission statement, “the serious study into the field of phallology in an organized, scientific fashion.”

Visit the Tourism Information Center

One of the coolest things about traveling is finding all of the fun and free local stuff to do –  maybe next Thursday I can compete in the Tom Selleck mustache contest!

Visit the Perlan Observatory

The Perlan Observatory offers fantastic views of the entire city both from a viewing platform open to the public and a rotating restaurant at the top. If the restaurant is too expensive for you (it is for most), there is also a small cafeteria on the same floor as the viewing platform.

Check out the Cemeteries

Perhaps this is a New Orleanian thing, but in my opinion, cemeteries are always beautiful outdoor museums of art and history.  In Reykjavik, both Fossvogskirkjugarður cemetery beside a bay called Fossvogur and Hólavallagarður cemetery, on the western edge of Tjörnin pond offer a unique beauty. I visited the extraordinary Fossvogskirkjugarður cemetery which has a unique memorial that commemorates the vessels which were lost in the North-Atlantic Ocean during the Second World War.  Another beautiful nuance was tons of gravesite ornaments and lanterns around the headstones.

There is so much to do in Reykjavik! Its on my bucket list now for sure! #Reykjavik #Iceland Click To Tweet

Watch the Birds at Tjornin

tjornin-the-beautiful-city-pond

Tjornin, the beautiful city “Pond” is a small lake in the center of the city where the locals often gather to feed the ducks. The southern end of Tjörnin links it to the Vatnsmýri swamp, a small bird reserve with paths open to the public except during egg hatching season.

This is a perfect place to sit, relax, and perhaps have a picnic.

Go to the Beach for a Swim in the Atlantic

From May 15th until September 15th, use the city’s small airport to take a trip over to Nautholsvík Thermal Beach. Here you can swim in the Atlantic, because they pipe hot water into the ocean. A beach of golden sand has been created and a “pool” enclosed nearby, where the water temperature is about 20ºC.

Visit the Höfði House

hofoi-houseThe Höfði House is a beautiful white house that sits alone on the shore of the Reykjavik coastline. It is best known for being the spot where Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War once and for all in 1986.

Renowned guests of Höfði House include celebrities and heads of state, amongst them the Queen of England, Winston Churchilll and Marlene Dietrich. In addition, the house is believed to be occupied by a ghost, “The White Lady,” and experienced by its former resident, a British Ambassador.  She caused so much distress that he persuaded the British Foreign Office to sell the home.

Eat Hot Dogs, Puffin Birds, and Rotting Shark meat – then drink Black Death

hot-dogsApparently the #1 street food in all of Iceland is the hot dog! Known as pylsurs, the hot dogs are made mostly with lamb (and sometimes a little pork) and traditionally topped with mustard, ketchup, fried onion, raw onion and remolaði, a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish. You can find them anywhere and they are all delicious, but the king of the pylsurs is Bæjarins Beztu, the stand located down by the harbor on Tryggvagata! In 1998, Bill Clinton ate here and declared it was the best hot dog in the world.  James Hetfield, vocalist of the popular heavy metal band Metallica apparently couldn’t get enough either! To find Bæjarins Beztu CLICK HERE or visit www.bbp.is.

You will also find tons of micro brewery restaurants, casual sit down places, and fine dining all throughout Reykjavik. For those who love seafood, this may be a foodie paradise with the many fantastic fish restaurants serving fresh ocean to table menus.

icelandic-food-samplerHowever, for those more adventurous or wanting to tackle unique Icelandic fair, take a trip over to Íslenski Barinn (aka: the Icelandic Bar).  Here you will be able to sample small plates of Hákarl (Fermented shark), harðfiskur (dried haddock), Grillaður lundi (Grilled puffin), and Langreyður (Whale Fin Meat).  

When eating Hákarl you’re supposed to wash it down with Brennivin also known as Black Death. I don’t know which tasted worse, the fermented rotting shark meat or the horrible liqueur, but it was a fun culinary experiment and the Puffin was phenomenal.

Sit and watch the sun set by the Solfar (the Sun Voyager)

The Sólfar (the Sun Voyager) is a unique piece of art in Reykjavik. This sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason, is located next to the Sæbraut road in Reykjavík, Iceland. According to Árnason, “Sun Voyager is a dreamboat, an ode to the sun. Intrinsically, it contains within itself the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom.”

solfar-sun-voyager

Planning a trip to Reykjavik, Iceland soon?  Hopefully this guide will help you make the most of your time in this magical northern capital city.  If there is something you’re still curious about, or if you have any follow up questions, please feel free to reach out in the comments below and look for my next post: The Bucket List Guide to Iceland – Part 2: Iceland’s Outdoor Adventures (Click Here)

 

Where have I been?

Where have I been?

Where have I been?

More like where haven’t I been! Here is a map of all the places the Bucket List Project has travelled in my 40 years of life and it only covers 11%. Oh well, I guess it just means that I need to start travelling more! On a positive note, I have been to 4 out of the 7 continents and I will have added India which is a big section of Asia to the map by mid January!

So where should I go to next? Which country do I need to visit as soon as possible? In terms of continents, should I hit up Africa, Australia, or Antarctica next?

Let me know what percentage of the world you have travelled is, which continent I should go to next, and which country I need to get to soon in the Comments Below!

 

My 2016 Summer Bucketlist Plan

My 2016 Summer Bucketlist Plan

Camino De SantiagoI think I need to take a little walk!

Every year around mid January, I sit around and contemplate about what I want to accomplish in the coming year, especially with my Bucketlist project.  I compare what I have been wanting to do versus what is going on in my life.  Then I make out a very raw outline (as seen at My Hopes & Goals of 2016) and share it with everyone.  Personally, I love it when I finally “figure it out” cause it then allows me to start dreaming of the great adventures I am going to take on or the projects I want to accomplish.  Plus I am a list-maker by nature and this allows my scatter brained mind to maintain some sort of focus.

But with life, things are subject to change.  With me, things change can be for millions of reasons but usually its because my heart sees an opportunity and overtakes my brain.

Originally, my Summer 2016 plans were as follows:

June

  • #188) See the Synchronous Fireflies in Elkmont, Tennessee
  • #5) See my 6 Pack Abs

July

August

  • #54) Go to a Summer Olympics
  • #124) Travel to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
  • #185) Visit and Stay with 3 Different Friends who live in Foreign Countries so that I can Reconnect with Old Friends & See that Country through Local Eyes (My Brazilian Friends I met in 2012)

Seemed like a great set of Summer Adventures, but I have decided after much contemplation that I don’t want my first trip to Brazil to be in the insanity of the Olympics and I am missing the fireflies as I type this post.

So what are my new plans???

Well Here goes:

June

  • On June 27th I will fly the red eye to Boston & then on to Philly where I will spend a 12 hour layover exploring Independence Hall hopefully
  • June 28th – June 29th: Fly from Philadelphia, PA to Lisbon, Portugal
  • June 29th – June 30th: ride the overnight train from Lisbon, Portugal to BIARRITZ, France and then onto ST JEAN PIED DE PORT, France.

Julycamino-de-santiago

  • July 1st – ????: #109) Walk the Camino de Santiago from France to Santiago, Espana (I will be walking the entire 490 miles of the  Camino Frances and then possibly the additional 50 miles to the coastal area of Finisterre, Espana)
  • July???: #185) Visit and Stay with 3 Different Friends who live in Foreign Countries so that I can Reconnect with Old Friends & See that Country through Local Eyes (My Family in Leon, Espana while I am Hiking the Camino)

August

  • August??: Figure out how to get from Finisterre, Spain and get to and explore Porto &/or Lisbon Portugal where I will complete – #153) Drink Port Wine in Portugal
  • August 10th: Fly from Lisbon Portugal back to Boston
  • August 11th: Go with my two Yankee loving cousins (I am a RED SOX FAN!!) &  complete – #55) Return to Fenway Baseball Park to See the Red Sox Play the Yankees

So these are my new updated plans.  Look for new blog articles before I go.  I will be discussing the Camino de Santiago, why I am doing this 490+ mile walk, and some other great insights before I go!

Have big summer plans this summer?  Please let me know in the comments below!  I love to hear about other adventures of all kinds!

My Hopes & Goals of 2016

My Hopes & Goals of 2016

Benjamin Franklin

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

~Benjamin Franklin

Ok So I realize that it is already mid May and that 1/3rd of 2016 is already over but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t plan it out!  I just didn’t share it yet!   In fact, every January, I tend to sit down post Christmas and start Bucketlistlusting (is that a word?) from my Old Notebook.  Then I literally create a year graph and draw out how I think I can manage it.  Then I place it by my notebook in a place where I and anyone can see it to always remind me of my commitment to my dreams, hopes, and goals of the year!

My Mad Plan to Take Over the World?!?!
My Mad Plan to Take Over the World?!?!

But if you read my Welcome Page, I stated that I needed to always post it online for 3 Main Reasons:

1) I need Everyone’s help…keep me accountable, help me find ways to accomplish my goals, or just cheer me on!!

2) I want to help others with their own Bucket List Items.  #103 on my list is to Help anyone Complete an Item on their Bucket List within 1 year of them Helping me Completing one of mine!!

3) I want to Inspire People to Dream & then to GO OUT & COMPLETE THEIR BUCKET LIST!  If I can do this, then ANYONE CAN!  Too many people, my Friends & Family included, just go through life living a mediocre existence!

Therefore, I am here now to post up my 2016 goals for The Bucket List Project & perhaps some insights on how I am going to pursue these items this year.

Now 2016 is a Special year for me in that on February 25th, I actually took my 40th lap around the Sun!  So I decided to go after a couple of big ticket items. So Below, I will list what I had written on my Graph and add or tell you what I have already changed.  Let me know in the comments below if there is anything that is on your list this year or is there anything else that I should add or subtract.  Also, let me know if you want to join me on any of these adventures or projects!

February

  • #199) Raise a Minimum of $2,500 for a Charity I Care for Angel’s Place in New Orleans
  • #200) Explore my home state of Louisiana
    • c)  See the Preservation Hall Show Live

March

  • #202) Ride in a Submersive Underwater Bubble (S.U.B.) in the Bahamas

April

  • #118) Geocache in 4 Cities (#1 New Orleans)
  • #200) Explore my home state of Louisiana
    • b)Visit Tabasco on Avery Island
    • g) Boudin & Beer at Fred’s Lounge in Mamou
    • h) Zydeco Brunch at Café Des Amis in Breaux Bridge
    • s) Drive the Bayou Teche Byway

May

  • #78) Experience the Kentucky Derby
  • #104) Finish Reading the 5 Major “Arts” Books
  • #203) Start Reading my 11 Classic Adventure Books
  • #77) Experience the Indy 500

June

  • #188) See the Synchronous Fireflies in Elkmont, Tennessee
  • #5) See my 6 Pack Abs

The Next 3 were added to June/July 

  • #109) Walk the Camino de Santiago from France to Santiago, Espana
  • #185) Visit and Stay with 3 Different Friends who live in Foreign Countries so that I can Reconnect with Old Friends & See that Country through Local Eyes (My Family in Leon, Espana while I am Hiking the Camino)
  • #153) Drink Port Wine in Portugal

July

August

  • #55) Return to Fenway Baseball Park to See the Red Sox Play the Yankees
  • #54) Go to a Summer Olympics
  • #124) Travel to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
  • #185) Visit and Stay with 3 Different Friends who live in Foreign Countries so that I can Reconnect with Old Friends & See that Country through Local Eyes (My Brazilian Friends I met in 2012)

September

  • #187) Travel to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada
  • #108) Do 4+ OutDoor Adventure “Mud Races” (4th & Final is the Spartan near Banff, Alberta, CA)

October

  • #167) Celebrate Dia De Muertos in Mexico
  • #185) Visit and Stay with 3 Different Friends who live in Foreign Countries so that I can Reconnect with Old Friends & See that Country through Local Eyes (Stay or Visit with Mike Poissenot for Dia De Muertos in Mexico)

November

  • #70) Climb the Statue of Liberty
  • #79) See the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Person in NYC
  • #89) Travel to the Niagra Falls

December

  • PREPARE FOR THE ADVENTURE OF MY LIFE!!!!!

 

It is Better to Live 1 Day as a Lion than 1,000 Days as a Lamb!

 

 

The Time Has Come, The Walrus Said….

The Time Has Come, The Walrus Said….

(Originally published on 03/09/15)

People keep asking me, Where are you Travelling to Next? What Bucket List are you going to attack Next???

Well, you asked…DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!

At the End of March, I will Travel for 1 day to Toronto, then off to ICELAND for 6 Nights, and ending my trip on Easter in Washington, DC for Family!

God Willing, I will be Completing the Following Bucket List Items:

#130-7 Eat Poutine in Canada

#134 Swim In Blue Lagoon Geothermal Pool in Iceland

#130-17 Eat Hakarl (Fermented Shark Meat) in Iceland

#95 See the Northern Lights aka Aurora Borealis

#103 MY NEVER ENDING BUCKET LIST ITEM: To Fulfill 1 Bucket List Item for Anyone who helps me do one of mine –  (My Cousin Graziella has always wanted to Run/Walk a Color Run so I will end my trip in Washington DC and help her complete this after she helped me see the Rockettes Christmas Show in New York City)

For anyone who knows me, I truly HATE THE COLD, however, to Ever have a chance to see something as Remarkable as the Aurora Borealis, you have to break out of your comfort zone and do things you thought you would Never, Ever Do to Get Something You would Never Ever Get sitting at home in Comfort!

What Do you think of this Bucket List Adventure?  Have you ever been to Iceland Before?  Leave me Comments below by clicking on the link!!

“It is better to live one day as a Lion than a thousand days as a Lamb.”