I am 46 years old and although I have travelled quite a lot so far, there is plenty of places that I never visited or spent a very short time at. Therefore, by bucket list is still pretty long. Some Countries are cautiously re opening to foreign visitors after the pandemic, thus I decided to update my travel wish list while waiting for a full re opening of the travel industry.
To be on my list a place must offer outstanding culture, unique natural features and landscapes, memorable food and welcoming people. To be honest with you I have been very lucky so far at travels as such ingredients always mixed well in every trip of mine. However, that is also the result of the deep study I carry out before planning my travels. It requires quite a lot of time but the outcome is always good. I do not take for granted that a destination is good for me just because others say so, neither because the reviews are good on social media. I just think of a place and then I start studying as much as I can.
My 2020 bucket list is a mix of places I’ve never been to and others I couldn’t visit in their entirety such as Australia + one patriotic tip.
11 – Mongolia
If there is a place where it is possible to see immense empty spaces, these are the Mongolian steppe. I want to fly to Ulaan Baatar and then travel around as much as possible, including the Gobi desert, to understand how Gengis Khan made it possible to almost conquer the world starting from this arid and unlivable place, so cold in winter and so cool in summertime. We are used to think of deserts wherever we see sand dunes, however deserts are also found where extreme cold is the average temperature around, and that is the case of Mongolia.
10 – Nepal
There are 2 places I want to see in Nepal: Katmandu and Pokhara. The first is the capital city whose city centre had been quite damaged by the 2015 earthquake. However most of its heritage is still there. People look like Indians but they are not and the streets are very populated. Pokhara is a small city on the banks of the Pewha lake and it is considered the gate for those who want to climb the mountain massif of Annapurna. I am not a mountain climber but I don’t want to miss the chance see one of the most breath taking sunsets.
9 – Myanmar
I have been to Asia several times but I never managed to visit Mynamar. The south East Asian population are among the most welcoming, smiling and friendly people I ever met during my travel and in a place such as Myanmar where the tranquillity and serenity of Buddhism is the key to the local lifestyle it will probably be the same. I want to see the temples in Bagan and see the fisherman villages on the Inle Lake.
8 – Colombia
Recently I have watched a tv series on Netlix called Narcos. First of all it wasn’t dubbed, so I managed to exercise a bit my language skills in Spanish and secondarily I liked it because it tells the stories of drug lords I was used to hear about on the news when I was a kid and never had the chance to study in depth. The series made me interested in visiting Colombia to see some of the places shown in the various episodes such as Bogotà and Cali as well as the Colombian portion of the Amazon forest.
7 – Easter Island
This is pretty obvious, right? Do I have to explain why I want to visit Easter Island? Maybe just because I need to understand and see with my own very eyes the damages we can cause to humanity by irresponsibly cut trees. Apparently the people of the island died by the lack of trees which they cut down to roll the Moai to their final position, so they made the land sterile, limited the oxygen production and they had no wood anymore to build their canoes and go to see for fishing. However they left us some incredible and astonishing works of art.
6 – St Helena Island
Napoleon was nearly Italian. In fact, he was born in Ajaccio, the capital of Corsica, just one year after the Republic of Genoa ceded the Island to the king of France. I studied his life and career at school and even picked a poem written after his death by a master of Italian literature for my high school final exam. I have been to Corsica but have never visited the place where Napolen died, which is the Island of St Helena, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Beside the story of Napoleon, the island offer quite a lot of natural features being a tropical Island with a touch of Africa and a bit of British culture. Definitely in my bucket list.
5 – Disko Bay in Greenland
Before climate change thankfully became a discussion at the global political level, I never thought of visiting Greenland. Then I understood that ice melting is not just something we talk about but it is really happening putting the planet at a serious risk. Disko Bay is the area of Greenland that generates the Icebergs. Even the iceberg that sank the Titanic formed here. Although it’s not a good sign that so many iceberg start their journeys lately, it’s an incredible show of nature.
4 – Cook Islands
I felt the need to include this archipelago in the middle of the Pacific Ocean because it is commonly considered as a sort of heaven on earth. It might be true. I have seen pictures taken by friends of mine that are pretty displaying the natural beauty of the islands and the ocean. People are described as very welcoming and even unconscious of the place where they live. After the pandemic it might be good to have a relaxing holiday there just to recover from the dark mood we all fell a bit into during the lockdown.
3 – Australia – Purnululu
The national tourism board headline is “there is nothing like Australia” and I must admit that’s pretty true. Beside the world famous Uluru, Bondi beach, the tropical city of Cairns, the astonishing 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road, the most impressive barrier reef and the most beautiful beach on earth at whiteheaven, there still is a place that I want to visit in Australia and that is the Purnululu National park and the Gibbs river road. Those will complete my experience to the place like nothing else: Australia.
2 – Zambia
If there is something I am addicted to, that is definetly a Safari. I took my first Safari a while ago in Botswana which, at that time, was still a destination out of the most beaten routes. Therefore I had the chance to enjoy my safaris in full tranquillity with very few other travellers around. Nothing compares to a Safari that pumps adrenaline into your body every time you see a predator or a mighty elephant approaching you. If you behave properly and you Guide is good, there is nothing to be scared of, during a Safari. There just is one State in Africa where I miss going on a Safari and that is Zambia. So, my next photographic safari will be at the Luangwa National Park.
1 – Italy
Domestic travel will probably be the first option in the near future for many of us, hence I am very lucky because I live in what is probably the most beautiful Country in the world. The unmistakable silhouette of the Italian peninsula, shaped a boot, spans from the Mount Blanc to the incredibly beautiful beaches in the Island of Lampedusa. Italy offers arts at its best as well as the remains of the largest and enduring empire in world history. The most savoury food in the world is here (please forgive me if I sound pretentious at this point, but there really is no other place on this planet with a comparable food tradition). Roman, medieval, baroque and modern cities populate this unparalleled gift of nature called Italy. By the way did you know that Italy ranks first in the UNESCO World Heritage list? It is not by chance that Italy is usually referred to as “Il Bel Paese” (The beautiful Country).
I decided to go to Sicily this summer and I will post about it. I promise.