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Author: Eric Gamble

Eric Gamble is in constant pursuit of new adventures and experiences, all pursuit of the many items on his bucket list. Come and see what his adventures are all about. With the Bucket List Project Blog he hopes to share once-in-a-lifetime experiences, people accomplishing them, & hopefully will inspire you to go out & do them.
The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award!

Recently, I received an email informing me that the Bucket List Project was nominated for Liebster Award by Andreea of 10TravellingTips. If you don’t know Andreea, she’s a Romanian ex-flight attendant that shares her traveling experience, after visiting more than 60 countries, by adding 10 easy travel tips for each place visited.

So what is the Liebster Award?

The Liebster Award exists only on the internet, and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. Earliest cases of the award go as far back as 2011. It is a way to be discovered, but also to connect and support the blogging community.

“In German, Liebster means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”

If you have been nominated for the Liebster Award and choose to accept it, you are required to follow these rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their site.
  2. List the rules of the award in your blog post & display an image of the award. Then write a post about your nomination on your blog.
  3. Answer the questions your nominee has asked in their blog post.
  4. Nominate 5-10 other deserving new bloggers for the award and ask them 10 questions of your choice.
  5. Revel in the winning of the Liebster Award!
The Bucket List Project won the #Liebster Award! Break out the Bubbly & read all about it! Click To Tweet

My Liebster Award Questions & Answers

Andreea of 10TravellingTips, with her nomination, asked me 11 questions and here are my responses:

  1. Which country left the biggest impression on you and why?

    So far I love everything about Spain. My first trip there was to Barcelona and then to Run with the Bulls in Pamplona. Though very different in personality, both were filled with history, culture, and great food! My second trip to Spain was to walk the entire Camino de Santiago from the Pyrenees to the Atlantic Ocean. Again, I was amazed by the culture and kindness of all the people in all the northern regions of Spain. Plus the physical scenery was often breath taking!

  2. Show us your most beautiful travel photo.

    The Taj Mahal
    Bucket List #69) Travel to the Taj Mahal, India (completed on 1-17-2017)
  3. Do you prefer to travel alone or accompanied?

    I think Andreea of 10TravellingTips is trying to get me beat up because this is a loaded question! To be honest, I don’t know. For the majority of my life until 2012, I, like most people always traveled with others.  There wasn’t another option in my mind and I always enjoyed the company of others. However, if people couldn’t or didn’t want to travel where I wanted to go, I often missed out and never went. Then in 2013, I decided I didn’t want to wait on others and their schedules and took my first solo trip to Spain. I loved it. For the next several years, any big international trip I took was always solo. There is just something about traveling on your own schedule without having to worry about the needs or feelings or cost of another person. Plus, when you travel alone, if you want, you can always make new friends. Now with that said, I did take a major trip with Darcee to India for nearly 4 weeks and it was great. Her company reminded me of how special it can be to share experiences with someone and that even when traveling with others, you can still make friends.

  4. What is your no. 1 dream destination?

    Everyone always asks me this question and it is so hard! Currently, I am enamored with Morocco, Antarctica, China, Argentina, Mongolia, and Myanmar. However, I would have to say if I had to choose one dream destination it would be to spend several weeks exploring my family heritagein Cuba.

  5. Where are you planning to travel this year?

    Planning where to travel is always fun for me as seen in my 2017 Bucket List Hopes and Goals. 2017 already started off with a bang, as Darcee and I were in India racing an auto-rickshaw for several weeks and then visited the Taj Mahal. As for the rest of the year, we have a list of places. First the plan is to travel to Scotland, England, and Wales in April and May. Then we hope to explore the national parks of Northern California at the end of Spring.  Near the end of July, we will be exploring Alberta, Canada and Banff National Park. Then come the end of September, we are flying to Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest with the possibility of a side trip to Morocco!

  6. What is your biggest fear while travelling?

    Tough question. I don’t know if I have any major fears while travelling because I am usually happiest being nomadic. I guess if I am travelling with Darcee, I worry about her safety since I often find myself in fun but “risky” situations.

  7. What are the 3 items that always go in your suitcase?

    First and foremost, I always pack several cigars. There is just something about sitting at a café or an outdoor area in a foreign country with a cigar as I relax and ponder my day of exploration. Secondly, it may be the Eagle Scout in me, but I never travel without a pocketknife. It’s not that I always seem to need it, but as they say in the scouts, “Always Be Prepared!” Third, I would have to say, a notebook and pens. Even in this day and age of social media instant posting, I find handwriting notes, travel plans, or even memories of the day in my notebook, help me to remember things better.

  8. What do you love most about travelling?

    I recently realized I LOVE that nervous feeling in my stomach before a major adventure or experience! With traveling, I often get that feeling and it makes me feel alive. When you are exploring, you are often seeing things for the very first time and processing new information through all of your senses. To hear strange sounds, taste new flavors, see great works of art, or touch different environments offers me a great way to learn and grow that I would never have had back home.

  9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

    Hopefully, 46! But seriously, I don’t really make plans that far off. But I would hopefully have checked off over 100 items off my Bucket List Project and perhaps added 50 more!

  10. Tell us your favourite travelling quote if you have one.

    Live your Life by a Compass, not a Clock
  11. What motivated you to start your blog?

    Why post The Bucket List Project online? For 3 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 Complete 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!

The Bucket List Project nominates the following bloggers for the Liebster Award:

  1. Be|Esther – Esther give tips on how she has and continues to thrive and overcome good and bad experiences. In addition to this, she helps small business owners promote their businesses online!
  2. World in Paris – World in Paris is a team of quirky explorers with a preference for the local side of Paris and its less known sights. I love how they are continuously looking for new ideas to enjoy the best of Paris.
  3. Live Jennormously – Around mid-2015, Jennifer made a promise to herself to never stop having adventures or trying new things. She’s traveled overseas solo, hiked and camped in back-country, and scuba dived. I love her passion and her desire to share it with other adventurers.
  4. Danay – Danay is a Latina entrepreneur, mom and wife. She loves to share stories of her family and write about her journeys, challenges, wins and some of the interesting things she discovers and divulges about being an entrepreneur, a mom, a traveler, a proud Latina and trying to be awesome.
  5. Momming with Grace – Breeanna shares her story as a police wife, cancer killer, and God lover trying to make it through parenting our girl, Annabelle Grace, with a whole lot of Grace.
  6. Wandering with MI – A CPA by profession, on Maria’s free time she’s a traveler, foodie, chef (to her family and friends, haha), adventure seeker and just now, a blogger. I love reading about places she’s been to, the food that she’s tried, her lifestyle, and her personal experiences and thoughts on everything.
  7. A Baby Abroad – Dani is raising a baby while living abroad and making the most of it by travelling near and far. A Baby Abroad is about our journey into parenting, family life, and family travel because the world is too interesting and marvellous to miss out on it… even with a baby in tow. 
  8. A Touch of Bliss – Mikaela is a lover of all things beauty, fashion and lifestyle! Her blog is filled with everything but you may also find some more personal posts. Here she talks about her struggles with body image, self esteem, anxiety and other ‘normal’ daily struggles and my quest to combat them.
  9. Leave the Couch and Go – Anya and George created Leave The Couch And Go, because they’re passionate about happy and healthy living, and it’s high time they share their knowledge, talents and experiences with you.
  10. Ivy & Sprig – Ivy and Sprig is meant to depict moms who are still growing themselves in their interests and passions while raising little sprigs too.  Stephanie seeks to encourage your faith, give you practical ideas for your family and give you a laugh sometimes.

Look who The Bucket List Project nominated for the #Liebster Award! #blogger Click To Tweet

Questions for my Nominees:

  1. Of these four Wizard of OZ characters, which do you most resemble in your own life & why?
    • The Protagonist (Problems just happen when you’re around.): Dorothy
    • The Brains (You think of ways to avoid/escape problems.): Scarecrow
    • The Heart (Everyone loves your spirit when problems occur.): Tin Woodman
    • The Hero (“Who’s a coward now that your problem just got REAL?”): Cowardly Lion
  2. What is a scary moment you’ll never forget?
  3. What is a Bucket List item you have already completed and why was it on your list?
  4. What is the #1 travel destination item on your Bucket List and why?
  5. What is the #1 Non-travel item on your Bucket list and why?
  6. Pick one photo with a good story and tell it!
  7. How do you find inspiration and get new ideas for your blog?
  8. What is your favorite post that you’ve written?
  9. What is the Craziest or most Extreme thing you have ever done?
  10. What is your favorite and least favorite candy bar?

— Don’t Forget to Pin It! —

Win a Visit Cuba Coloring Book

Win a Visit Cuba Coloring Book

Win a Visit Cuba Coloring Book

How would you like to win a Visit Cuba Coloring book?

The Bucket List Project is having a giveaway where 3 people will win a chance to win a free coloring book.

This giveaway is open to everyone, wherever you are in the world!

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You can win 1 of 3 copies of our new Coloring Book: Visit Cuba

All you have to do is enter your Name and E-Mail address below!

3 winner will be chosen this Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 5pm CST

Learn more about our new coloring Book by Clicking Here

This contest expired.

 

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.

2017 Bucket List Hopes and Goals

2017 Bucket List Hopes and Goals

It’s that time again, time for reflecting and planning out my 2017 Bucket List Hopes and Goals!

I was home from India for barely a week when I started getting that same damn question, “So what’s next on the Bucket List Project?” It is a question that sometimes bothers me. I appreciate that people are excited for the next adventure (as am I), but sometimes I just want the chance to enjoy the items previously accomplished and tell that story before moving on to the next. Regardless, 2016 was a great year of amazing adventures, new experiences, and wonderful new friends.  See all the Bucket List items I scratched off in 2016 by CLICKING HERE!

So what’s next on the Bucket List Project?

Trying to figure out what I want to do next can be a rather daunting task, especially since I am such a bucket-luster (is that just a dreamer of buckets?) that dreams of big adventures. Being that 2016 was filled with amazing travel and personal experiences, continuing that level of success can add to the difficulty.

But, for the past several weeks, I have been pondering what exactly my 2017 Bucket List Hopes and Goals are going to be.  Some of the items came easy, as they are items I’ve had on my mind, while others popped up for various reasons.  So, with the use of a modern technology (pen & paper) and a time tested strategy (the line graph), I believe I have come up with a great rough draft of my 2017 Bucket List Hopes and Goals.

Now I know that this technology is somewhat foreign to many, therefore I will post below what is written on my 2017 Bucket List Hopes and Goals graph for easier reading.

Reading the 2017 Bucket List Project's Hopes & Goals. Have you seen this list yet? #bucketlist Click To Tweet

Here is my 2017 Bucket List Hopes and Goals:

February

  • #129) Learn How to Make “GrandMom’s Pizza Pie”
  • #130) Eat weird things:
    • #18) Eat Pop Rocks & Drink a Coke and Not Explode

March

  • #17) Travel to The Republic of Ireland
  • #143) Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland
  • #210) Explore the Giant Causeway & walk across the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in Northern Ireland

April

  • #18) Travel to Scotland
  • #130) Eat weird things:
    • #8) Haggis in Scotland
  • #16) Travel to England

May

  • #5) See my 6 Pack Abs

June

  • #188) See the Synchronous Fireflies in Elkmont, Tennessee
  • #100) Do 3rd of 4 Urban Adventures in random city in the U.S

July

  • #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)
  • #198) Witness Pink in Nature:
    • c) See a Pink Waterfall
  • #118) Geocache in the 2nd of 4 Cities (Edmonton or Calgary)

August

  • ????

September

  • #66) Travel to the Berlin Wall
  • #132) Drink Beer at OktoberFest in Germany
  • #189) Travel to Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany

October

  • #156) Travel to Chefchaoueh (the Blue City) of Morocco
  • #158) Visit my 5th of the 7 Continents (Africa)

November

  • 197) Go to Notre Dame vs Navy football game in South Bend (11-18-2017)

December

  • ???

Whenever Possible this Year

  • #200) Continue to Explore my home state of Louisiana
  • #203) Continue Reading my 11 Classic Adventure Books
  • #37) Be in a Movie: Be seen
  • #38) Be in TV Show Episode
  • #39) Be in a National Commercial
  • Try to Make Amends with 1 Person on my List
  • #103) Fullfill 1 Bucket List Item for Anyone who helps me with 1 of mine!

Now this definitely looks like a lot.  Obviously, this is just a rough draft because with life, especially mine, things are always subject to change. But as a list-maker, I feel writing it all out not only allows me to maintain focus but keeps me accountable.

So what do you think about The Bucket List Project’s 2017 Bucket List hopes and Goals?  Is there anything on the calendar you think is missing that I need to put on there this year? Please let me know in the comments below!

Also , what is on your 2017 Bucket List? I would love to hear about your hopes and goals for 2017!

Visit Cuba – A Coloring Book For Those With A Passion For Cuba

Visit Cuba – A Coloring Book For Those With A Passion For Cuba

Visit Cuba

 A Coloring Book For Those With A Passion For Cuba

 

A Book Review:

Visit Cuba is the perfect gift for travelers, children and artistic adults alike. The Bucket List Project’s first travel inspired coloring book is a fun, lighthearted journey through vintage tourism posters, encouraging the artist to make the colorful heritage of Cuba their own. Travel enthusiasts will find themselves dreaming of the tropical island and wanting to book a trip immediately. Children will love to color the enchanting pictures and stay busy for hours. And adults will sit down to a beautiful canvas of pages that will help relieve stress and transport them to another world. You can’t go wrong with Visit Cuba, and we can only hope that this is merely the first in a line of coloring books from The Bucket List Project that showcase the world’s beauty and heighten our wanderlust in the best way.

Visit Cuba is a fun coloring book for kids & adults! Get 1 Today! #ColoringBook #Cuba Click To Tweet

How To Purchase

Visit Cuba is published and shipped by Lulu Publishing.  Lulu offers the expertise, independence and flexibility to buy and share what you love with the world. They are passionate about providing a remarkable experience for you to tell stories, share knowledge and fulfill your creative potential. To obtain your own Visit Cuba Coloring Book CLICK HERE!

Product Details

Title: Visit Cuba
ISBN: 9781365589577
Publisher: The Bucket List Project
Published: January 27, 2017
Language: English
Pages: 44
Binding: Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink: Black & white
Weight: 0.45 lbs.
Dimensions (inches): 8.5 wide x 11 tall

Get your Visit Cuba Coloring Book by Clicking Here!

About Our Book Reviewer:

Darcee Snider is a Wyoming native, who appreciates the work ethic and strong values that growing up in the Cowboy State afforded her.  New Orleans has been a part of Darcee for a long time and she is excited to now be a part of New Orleans. She believes there is truly nowhere else like the Big Easy and the experiences it affords its citizens; she can’t wait to share them with the family and friends that are sure to visit.  Passion for literature, food, history, adventure and music are reasons why living in New Orleans is such an important part of Darcee’s story. She writes each chapter by enjoying the wonders of the Carousel Bar, exploring the WWII Museum, walking the streets of Uptown, navigating the hidden gems of the French Quarter and eating a Po-Boy at Mahony’s. Visit Darcee’s blog at http://www.BackRoadsAndBootStraps.com

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.

 

Bonfires on the Levee – A Louisiana Christmas Tradition

Bonfires on the Levee – A Louisiana Christmas Tradition

Joyeux Noel!

December is a magical time of year as many people celebrate the holiday season with traditional customs passed down from generations of their family and community! In Louisiana, this is especially true as we celebrate the coming of Christmas and the New Year in beautiful and unique ways.  One of the rarest ways locals show their holiday spirit is through a Christmas tradition known as ‘the Bonfires on the Levee.’

The History of Bonfires

The history behind how the Christmas bonfires began is a bit blurry.  This is perhaps due to the fact that the area of Louisiana now known as the River Parishes were settled by both French and German settlers who celebrated the holidays in various traditions. According to research, when they first arrived, the people of the area often only celebrated Christmas as a church obligation while New Year’s Eve was the time of gift giving and revelry. According to local history, families and friends would gather on New Years Eve for a feast of gumbo and eggnog. Then they would gather on the levee to watch the burning of a large cone-shaped bonfire to say goodbye to the previous year while celebrating the coming of new one. As with many traditions, this revelry gradually evolved toward what we now know as a Christmas celebration.

The more common modern and most cherished story is that the Christmas Bonfires on the Levee is a Cajun tradition developed to celebrate the coming of “Papa Noël,” the Cajun Santa Claus. It is said that the residents of the River Parishes (St. James, St. John and St. Charles) would light bonfires along the levees of the Mississippi River to light the way for Papa Noël with his pirogue drawn by alligators named Gaston, Ninette, TiBoy, Celeste, Suzette, etc. as they would deliver gifts.  This wonderful story is recounted in the popular children’s book, Cajun Night Before Christmas.

Gettin in the Holiday Spirit reading Bonfires on the Levee - A Louisiana Christmas Tradition! Click To Tweet

Building of the Bonfires

The residents of the River Parishes take great pride in the building of their bonfires. To create a bonfire, a family must first file a permit with Pontchartrain Levee Board. This is to be insured in case of an accident as well as notifying proper safety authorities.  Then teams called the ‘Boys of the Bonfire Club’ will deliver logs, branches, kindling, and spars to help the families create their bonfires.

Each family often creates the traditional conical style – a center spar planted dead center in the ground while 3 or 4 other long spars are used as corner edges – meeting at the top of the center spar to create a pyramid.  Next, shorter logs are stacked log cabin style to develop the outer wall of the pyramid. It is then filled with kindling, cotton doused in kerosene, and left over pieces of wood.  Each bonfire averages about 20 feet high.

In recent years, whether it was to celebrate the holidays, their favorite sports teams, or unique Louisiana symbol, families have become more creative with their designs, adding a little flare to the tradition.

How to Experience the Bonfires on the Levee

If you can make it, the most popular way to experience the Bonfires on the Levee is as a family gathering on Christmas Eve. You should arrive at sunset, around 7pm, when the bonfires are set ablaze and bowls of hot gumbo and eggnog are served. However, if you can’t make it on Christmas Eve, there are also 2 other ways to experience the Bonfires on the Levee earlier in December:

  1. Oak Alley Plantation’s Annual Christmas Bonfire Party: Usually held the 1st Saturday in December, this is a bit more of an organized event held in nearby Vacherie, Louisiana at the famous Oak Alley Plantation.  The party starts at 7pm where you are treated to an unbelievable Cajun/creole buffet style feast by workers in period plantation style costumes. Then around 8pm the brass quintet second line parades everyone to the levee where the bonfire is lit and Christmas carols are sung.  From there, you can stay or return to the plantation for more great food, dancing, and fun. Don’t lollygag though because every year this event sells out quick and reservations are required. Please call 800-44ALLEY to purchase your tickets.  Otherwise to learn more about the event, visit online at Oak Alley Plantation.
  2. Festival of the Bonfires: The Festival of the Bonfires is a wonderful small festival usually held the 2nd full weekend (Friday – Sunday) of December in Lutcher, Louisiana.  Their slogan is “CHRISTMAS ON THE RIVER…CAJUN STYLE!” and they live up to the hype.  Of course, you are there to see the bonfires, but the festival offers fun for the whole family.  With live entertainment, crafts, Santa’s Very Merry Forest and carnival rides, it is easy to get in the holiday spirit as you wait for the lighting of the bonfire.  Be ready to eat. There is a large variety of main courses like gumbo, jambalaya, boudin sausage, potato salads, and miscellaneous fried foods. But leave room for dessert as the Cajun Christmas treats arrive in full force with various types of bread pudding, brownies, funnel cakes, and even deep fried Oreos and Twinkies for the adventurous soul. Make sure you grab some hot cocoa or eggnog around 6:30pm. Then head outside to special buses that will shuttle you to the levee. Here at 7pm the Queens of the Festival will light the Bonfires. From there you can catch any of the shuttles back to the Festival to enjoy more food or dance the night away to live music. To see a calendar of events, visit Festival of the Bonfires.

Have you ever seen the Bonfires on the Levee in the River Parishes of Louisiana? Do you have Christmas traditions that are unique to your family or community? Tell us all about them in the comments below.

And as Papa Noël says at the end of the Cajun Night Before Christmas:

“An’ I hear him shout loud

As a splashin’ he go

‘Merry Christmas to all

‘Til I say you some mo’!”

 

Gift Guide for the Bucket List Adventurer

Gift Guide for the Bucket List Adventurer

gift-guide

Every December and in February around my birthday, my mother calls me with the same dreaded question, “What do you want for a present this year?” Gift giving can be stressful overall, but it can be even worse for that bucket list adventurer in your life.  What do you give to a person who is constantly skating around the world searching for adventures?  Well, I began scouring the web to find gifts ideas to give my mom and came up with a handy Gift Guide for the Bucket List Adventurer!

I categorized my Gift Guide for the Bucket List Adventurer to make it easier for you to use.  So feel free to click on any of the links below or scroll down to see them all!

 The Gift Guide for the Bucket List Adventurer has so many gifts I want! #bucketlist #adventure… Click To Tweet


Gifts to Make Traveling Easier

Angel Baby Car Seat Travel Bag

car-seat-travel-bag

When I fly, I inevitably see parents lugging around their child’s car seat in the most awkward way – along with their own carry on bag and of course their child.  It looks quite uncomfortable, but no more! With the Angel Baby car seat, you receive a universal bag that fits most Car Seats, Booster Seats, Infant Carriers, and more! It also has convenient carrying handle and drawstring adjustable lock for easy open/close with an ID TAG for identification.

Buy it from: AngelDirectProducts


RFID Blocking Leather Passport Wallet

rfid-passport-walletHandcrafted in soft leather, this ultra sleek passport cover not only looks smart, it protects your passport and credit cards in this RFID-blocking leather Passport Wallet. This will help prevent identity theft by stopping sensitive personal data from being stolen. Knowing your personal and credit card information is protected from digital thieves will allow you to travel in confidence .

Buy it from: ETSY


Travel Checklists for Packing, Outfit Planning, and Shopping

travel-checklistsI am a list person because I get distracted easily.  So these lists are great to help you stay organized while preparing for your travels.  With the TRAVEL PACKING CHECKLISTS  you can instantly download a 9 page organizer to make packing for your next vacation smooth and simple.

Buy now From: PeoplesLifeOnPaper


Water Bottle Holder

water-bottle-holderEveryone drinks bottle water while traveling, but carrying around those bottles can be annoying.  These water bottle holders are great for travel, taking a walk or bike ride – anywhere you are on the move and want to take a drink with you. You can clip it to your belt loop, your bag or backpack, fanny pack … you name it.

Buy it From: Amy’s Red Threads


Custom Luggage Handle Wraps

custom-luggage-handle-wrap

So probably one of the worst parts of travel is trying to find your bags on the carousel at baggage claim, especially since most suitcases are black.  But now you can create your own monogrammed luggage finders! These Custom Luggage Handle Wraps are sure to keep your bags safe and stylish, sporting your own custom design.

Buy them from: ChicMonogram

 


Travel Insurance from World Nomads

worldnomads-logo

Travel insurance isn’t always high on the Bucket List Adventurer’s list of gifts, but it is probably one of the most important.  Don’t get me wrong, I hope you never need to use it, but Travel Insurance from World of Nomads is an important safety net when things go wrong while traveling.  What I like is that they cover all kinds of things: illness, theft, flight cancellations, and of course accidents – even from adventure sports. 

Get a Free Quote from: World Nomads

 


 

ELECTRONIC TRAVEL ACCESSORIES

Engraved Portable USB Power Bank

engraved-portable-power-bankPortable Power Banks are life savers when your devices are dying but you can’t find a place to plug in.  This portable bank charger fits in jean pockets, purses, includes a USB charger and comes in three colors: black, pink, or blue. Use it to recharge  mobiles, tablets, laptops, or hybrids plus FastSelling can engrave your name, logo, or whatever you like to personalize it at no extra cost.

Buy it from: FastSelling


Leather Travel Cord Organizer

leather-travel-cord-organizer

We experienced the frustration of digging your earphones out of the bottom of a bag, only to find them all knotted up.  Well with the Leather Travel Cord Organizer you can keep your earbuds and Lightning iPhone charger untangled and organized. This handy leather keeper is available in tons of colors too!

Buy it from: Exsect

 


Handmade Leather Cord Wrap Organizer

handmade-leather-cord-wrap-organizer

In today’s day and age cords are a necessary evil.  With the Handmade Leather Cord Wrap Organizer you can store all laptop, mobile, camera, portable power cell, or any electronic plug adapter.  These beautiful handmade leather wraps can even be personalized with your initials or name.

Buy if From: Sinevir 

 


Gifts for the Male Bucket List Adventurer

Travel Mini Bar

travel-mini-bar

Reminiscent of the days of traveling snake oil salesmen, is this quaint original design from Cold Creek Brewing. A vintage-styled wooden container which comes with four 2oz. bottles (approx 1 1/4″ shots per bottle!) with aluminum screw on lids, and it’s own little funnel. The Travel Mini Bar is a perfect accessory for camping, planes, or wherever your going!

Buy it from: Cold Creek Brewing


Custom Map Cufflinks

custom-map-cufflinksI love cufflinks!  Even for the Bucket List Adventurer, there are times when you want to dress up and look sharp!  With these Custom Map Cufflinks you will make an impression while exploring your favorite travel destination or at events at home!  Brass And Chain can help you create your own vintage map cufflinks made of Antique Brass or Silver Plated.  You provide them with your preferred location (any city, state, or country in the world) to showcase.

Buy them from: Brass and Chain


Real Compass Cufflinks

real-compass-cufflinks

Like I said, I really love cuff links and I personally love my Real Compass Cufflinks.  There is something about wearing them that always strikes up a conversation about travel.  These handmade silver cuff links feature an actual working compass set in silver plated cufflink bases. The red arrow points North in case you get lost in your Tuxedo!

By them from: BjeweledVintage


Personalized Wood Pocket Knife

personalized-wood-pocket-knife

Growing up in the Scouts, everyone had a pocket knife and as an adult traveler, I don’t ever leave home without mine.  Sin City Engravers offers a beautiful wooden multi-tool pocket knife that can be individually engraved on both sides. Every knife is 5/8” thick and offers 7 individual tools.  All tools are stainless steel and the handle is solid hardwood.

But it from: Sin City Engravers 


Gifts for the Female Bucket List Adventurer

Travel Infinity Scarf with a Secret Pocket

travel-infinity-scarf-with-secret-pocket

The 100% cotton Travel Infinity Scarf is the perfect gift, measuring about 66 inches around and about 10 inches wide. It is made to wrap around twice, resting nicely on your neck and chest.  The best part? It has a SECRET POCKET with a hidden zipper to hold your passport and tickets while you’re bustling through the busy airports. Amazing, right? The pocket measures about 7 inches wide by 6 inches tall, which is the perfect size for a passport, ID card, credit card, etc.

Buy it From: Pierron Designs


Extra Large Hanging Toiletry Bag

extralarge-hanging-toiletry-bag

The Lilliput Hanging Toiletries Bag will be your perfect travel companion: with its functional design, sturdy construction and attention to details, it reinvents your organizational needs when you need it most. You can now keep a large variety of products and travel essentials in ONE single bag.

Buy it from: Lilliput Bags


Personalized Map Pendant

personalized-map-pendant

The Personalized Map Pendant necklace makes a thoughtful gift for any traveler, wanderer, or long distance love.  This custom map necklace is the perfect piece of map jewelry to keep any place close to your heart. Choose a place that is special to you and memorialize it forever in a beautiful recycled piece of jewelry that you will love and wear for years to come!

Buy it from: Favoring Brave

 


Aqua Border Zebra Print Sarong

aqua-border-zebra-print-sarong

A sarong may be one of the most essential items of clothing a woman can bring while traveling.  Obviously, you can wear a sarong over a bathing suit, however xTheScarfShop offers beautiful sarongs that can be used in many ways.  Wear it as a cover-up, scarf, shawl, skirt, dress, or wrap.  The possibilities are endless.

Buy it from: xTheScarfShop


Books for the Bucket List Adventurer

Viva Cuba Coloring Book by Eric Gamblevisit-cuba

Do you wanderlust about Cuba?  Viva Cuba by Eric Gamble is a fun coloring book for children and adults alike. It is filled with ready to color pages for those dreaming of traveling to Cuba. The coloring book is presented by The Bucket List Project.

Buy it from: The Bucket List Project via Lulu


 Bucket List Travel Journal

bucket-list-journal

 The Bucket List Travel Journal is a great journal for listing and planning all the goals and dreams you will complete in this lifetime.  It is made with 60 lb. unlined paper for writing, planning, sketching and keeping all the little tokens from the road.  Each journal contains a different set of repurposed maps to inspire travel beyond one’s comfort zone.

Buy it from: Tremundo Journals


How to Travel the World on $50 a Day by Matt Kepnes

how-to-travel-the-world-on-50-a-day

I love this Book! How to Travel the World on $50 a Day by Matt Kepnes will show you how to make the system work for you in order to gain free flights, hotel rooms, find alternative accommodation, get into attractions for free, websites to find the best deals, as well as detailed costs and saving tips for destinations around the world. If you’ve ever dreamed of traveling the world – or maybe just taking your family to Disney or a trip to London, How to Travel the World on $50 a Day will give you the practical, step-by-step instructions to get your there.

Buy this Book from: Thrift Books


1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz

1000-places-to-see-before-you-die

1,000 Places To See Before You Die reinvented the idea of the travel book as both wish list and practical guide. As Newsweek wrote, “it tells you what is beautiful, what is fun, and what is just unforgettable everywhere on earth.”  There are 600 full-color photographs along with suggestions of places to stay, restaurants to visit, and festivals to check out.  As a result, you will find multi starred restaurants and historic hotels such as the Ritz, while also seeing moderately priced gems that don’t compromise on atmosphere or charm.

Buy it from: Books-A-Million


Learn with Babbel

babbel-1

When you can speak another language, your world becomes bigger, richer, and more inspiring. Learn with Babbel is fun, easy and effective. Their motivation is to provide a user-friendly, solution that allows learners to acquire a foreign language in a fun but targeted way, regardless of time or place. Anyone can learn languages; this vision has driven the Babbel team since 2007. The market-leading app for online learning makes it easy to access languages from English to Indonesian either from home, or on the go with a smartphone or tablet.

Buy it from: Babbel


101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die by Matador Network

101-places

Looking for a guidebook that isn’t full of tired, lame, or even BS travel information? 101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die brings together the most irreverent and legit accounts of drinking, nightlife and travel culture around the world. Part guide, part social commentary, part party invitation, 101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die gives you all the info and inspiration you’ll need to find a good time!  

Buy it from: Books-A-Million


Gifts for the Home of a Bucket List Adventurer

Scratch Map of the World

scratch-map-world

If you ever come to my house you will see my Scratch Map of the World hanging on my wall.  This scratch off map is an ideal gift for people who love to travel and explore the world. It will be a symbol of your past travels, all while reminding you that there are still many more exotic places, languages, cultures, foods, and people to explore.

Buy this from: SimaxLLC


Travel, Vacation, Adventure Fund Jartravel-vacation-adventure-fund-jar

The Travel,Vacation, Adventure Fund Jar is so much fun. It’s the ultimate vacation fund jar. Put it in an accessible place, an area where everyone can contribute to the fund and watch it grow.  The front of the jar is etched with an ADVENTURE license plate and world continents. The left and right sides are etched with travel and passport stamps, plus a map of Rose Wind.

Buy it from: LaserScribeIt


World Map Shower Curtain

world-map-shower-curtain

I don’t know about you but I do some of my best day dreaming in the shower and these World Map Shower Curtains will have you thinking about where you want to travel next.  Mapology makes World Map Shower Curtains from vintage maps they restore.  They print each beautifully printed curtain in soft polyester fabric and will change the entire look of your bathroom!

Buy if from: Mapology


Bucket List Ballpark Map Tracker

bucket-list-ballpark-map-tracker

Back in October, The Bucket List Project shared John Alo’s story, My Ultimate Baseball Bucketlist, of how he was on a mission to visit all Major League Baseball stadiums. With the Bucket List Ballpark Map Tracker, you will have an awesome way to track your mission of visiting all 30 baseball stadiums.  Each map features the 30 current ballparks, fun facts about the history of some of those parks, plus a section for you to personalize.

Buy it from: Northern Liberties


So what do you think of Gift Guide for the Bucket List Adventurer?  Did you find new gifts for yourself or the Bucket List Adventurer in your life?  Is there something you recently found that would be perfect to add?  Let me know in the comments below!

6 Reasons You Need To Attend The Louisiana Renaissance Festival

6 Reasons You Need To Attend The Louisiana Renaissance Festival

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Every weekend in November the small town of Hammond, Louisiana, takes people back in time to a historical 16th century village (Albright) in England.  The Louisiana Renaissance Festival (aka: RenFest) has been a popular destination since the year 2000, celebrating all things from the renaissance era.  Here are the top 6 Reasons You Need To Attend The Louisiana Renaissance Festival:

1) The Shows & Events – There is no lack of entertainment at RenFest.  At the festival (open at 10am) you’ll find many free shows that will transport you back to days of old.  Whether you like comedy, music, juggling, or action, there is something for all ages.  Each show lasts 20 – 40 minutes depending on the show.  I recommend that you acquire a map & schedule of daily events at the entrance (for free) so you know when and where things are going on.  Also, if you want a seat, you should get to the shows about 5 to 10 minutes early.  Some of the fan favorite shows and events at RenFest are:

  • wp-1479856810163.jpgJousting: This is by far the top event to see.  The Jousting Arena is set up at the far end of the property and has several bleachers set up for viewers.  The show is great.  There is an emcee who narrates the events as two knights come out bearing their colors and the narrator divides the crowd to root for their knight!  Of course, there is actual jousting as the knights race toward each other with their lances and strike each other for points.  There is also hand to hand combat as well.  Besides the action, you will find yourself laughing as the two knights play to the crowd.
  • Falconry Show: Another great show at the Jousting arena that has owls, hawks and falcons flying freely in this demonstration.  Nearby is a tent where you can see these magnificent birds on their perches before and after performances. You can also have your picture taken with some of them.
  • Pandorium Belly Dancing: Over by the Lakeview stage, you can watch gypsies belly dancing.  What is great is not only do they do the typical belly dancing to the accompanying troubadour band but they also tell stories with their dances that kids of all ages enjoy.
  • Shakespeare Approves: This show replaces the Robin Hood Presents at the Queen’s stage.  If you want to experience Hamlet in a comedic fashion, then this is the show for you.  the-duelistsWilliam Shakespeare hosts as he tells the story of Hamlet using people from the audience to as his characters.  Its a great way to get the family involved and laugh the whole time.
  • The Duelists: Outside of Jousting, this may be one of the best shows at RenFest.  You can find 3 showings of The Duelists at the King’s stage.  The Duelists demonstrate the 10 steps in every epic duel.  They showcase hand to hand combat using a variety of weapons—rapiers, daggers, swords and shields, axes, the halberd, maces, whips and more.  On top of the exciting sword play, the show is chocked with humor and innuendo that will make you laugh out loud.  Be warned, although they invite hecklers to jab at them throughout the show, they do jab back in a fun and comedic way.

2) The Food & Drink – No festival in Louisiana would be worth its salt if it didn’t have unbelievable food and drinks – RenFest doesn’t disappoint.  At the fest you will find all kinds of fair and festival foods typical of both Louisiana and the Renaissance era.

For unique Renaissance foods, look for Turkey Legs, Pretzels, Scotch Eggs, Beef on a Stick, Shepard’s Pie, and a variety of warm soups served in bread bowls.  If that doesn’t appease you, there are burgers, nachos, Chinese food, Mexican food, and even a donut tent.  For dessert, you can find an array of treats like fudge, cotton candy, brownies, candy apples and frozen chocolate covered cheese cakes, among the many options.

To wet your whistle, you will find plenty of beer and wine options throughout the fest.  They even have several pubs in Albright Village where you can grab a pint, sit, and listen to troubadours or catch a show.  For non alcoholic options they have root beer floats, bubble tea, and a make your own flavor of soda booth. For the less adventurous drinker, colas, water, tea, and coffee are also available.

3) archeryRides and Games – At any festival or school fair you can always expect to see rides and games of chance or skill.  However, at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival expect to see unique versions that test your medieval skills.

The rides are not only a sight to witness, but fun to experience.  You might recognize various carnival rides from modern festivals, but with the twist of old school mechanics.  You will see merry go rounds with powered by small horses, the swinging sea dragon ride made to look like a hippogriff and swung with pullies, or a tea cup like ride called the Crow’s nest spun by men around a pole with ropes and pegs.  There are also a couple of renaissance era themed rides such as a Sliding Joust where you ride a wooden horse and slide down a track while holding a lance hoping to spear the hoop against an opponent coming from the opposite direction.

As for carnival games, there are tons of options for the knight in training.  You can showcase your skills at archery, knife throwing, axe throwing, blow darts, cross bow shooting, catapults, and a rotten tomato throw at the village jester.  If you have little ones that you don’t want hurling weapons around, don’t fret there are plenty of fun activities for the wee ones as well.

4) The Shopping – One of the fun things to do at any festival is window shop the various arts, crafts of miscellaneous merchants pawning their wares.  At The Louisiana Renaissance Festival you won’t be disappointed in the merchants and what they have to offer.  RenFest offers everything from jewelry, hats, and toys to weapons, magic wands, kilts, and period costumes. It is one of the few places perhaps in the world where even children will be happy to explore the shopping booths.

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5) louisiana renaissance festival costumed-musiciansThe Costumes – As you would expect, there are countless volunteers and workers decked out in full costumes throughout The Louisiana Renaissance Festival.  Dress includes a wide assortment of costumes from pirates, knights in armor, simple medieval renaissance peasants, scots in kilts, and characters dressed as royalty.

What is interesting, is that not only are the workers of RenFest dressed in costumes, but also many attendees.  You will see men walking into the festival wearing a kilt while holding the hands of little princesses and even a little Iron Man.  Feel free to wear your favorite renaissance costume to the festival, you will fit in just fine as it is actually encouraged by RenFest with their daily costume contest held at the Queen’s Stage.

6) Ye Royal Village of Albright – As said earlier, The Louisiana Renaissance Festival has created a historical 16th century English village (Albright) on their 16 acre property in Hammond, Louisiana.  The village is built around a small wp-1479856779682.jpglake located in the center of the property.  The experience the beauty of the property as you stroll amid pine trees.

Walking the Royal Village of Albright is an experience in itself.  Of course there are shops, food booths, rides, games, and shows but the village comes alive as characters reenact the renaissance period.

You will various period demonstrations, including baking, butter churning, glass blowing, blacksmithing, and sewing. You can even take a tour of a medieval dungeon museum where you can learn different torture techniques used during the renaissance era.

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For more information about purchasing tickets or seeing the schedule of events about the Louisiana Renaissance Festival visit their website at www.Larf.net. However, if you would like to ask us questions or share with us your RenFest experiences, leave a comment below!  Huzzah to the Commenters!