Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The One Where I Tell Myself Where To Go

It's not really what it sounds like. I have no intention of telling myself to eff off. Well, not in the traditional sense. No, as part of my 101 Things challenge I decided that I needed to figure out ten places that I want to visit in this lifetime. It's taken me a while to decide because various items crop up and bump others off the list, but I've finally pulled something together. I guess the list can change because it's not like I have to actually visit these places during the lifetime of this challenge, but it's a good starting point. Bear in mind also that I haven't included places that I am fairly certain to visit in the next year or so, or places (like Mexico) that already appear on my list (Africa is on the list, but I meant "safari-style" Africa, not "spectacular monuments and lost civilizations" Africa).

Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, this is how I plan to increase my carbon footprint (and Frequent Flyer status! And personal debt!):

1. Santorini, Greece. There have been a number of movies and books that make the Caldera region sound like quite an appealing place for a holiday - good food, beautiful weather, stunning scenery (honestly, you could have sold me on the good food!). I am vaguely ashamed to admit that one of those movies was Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants... but only vaguely.

Photo of the Week: Oia, Santorini Greece
2. Egypt, specifically, Karnak. Of course I want to see the Pyramids of Giza, and wander through the Cairo Museum, and sail down the Nile, but Karnak always captured my imagination. I think it was the columns that did it. That, and a scene from a James Bond movie. Only, without that Jaws guy chasing me about trying to kill me.
File:Hypostyle hall, Karnak temple.jpg
From Wiki
3. Antarctica. It feels like a bit of a w@nk having it on the list, especially given the hypocricy of a tree-hugger flying all the way to Ushaia and then travelling by a boat that could very well spring an oil/fuel/sewage leak and foul the relatively pristine environment, but c'monnnnn, it's Antarrrrrrcticaaaaaaa!!! I think the draw is partly all the documentaries I've seen of the place, plus the rugged beauty of ice crystals being blown across the snow - I've hiked remote beaches and seen similar things with sand - not to mention my desire to see it before it melts and/or is otherwise ruined by humans. Stupid humans. I wouldn't mind spending a season down there helping out with scientific research, but I somehow suspect they wouldn't be all that interested in me and my dodgy heart...
Blus Snows of Antarctica
4. Alaska. Not only did my mum visit there in the 70's and pique my interest in the place with her stories and slide shows, but The Proposal made me fall in love with it. I would prefer  it if my visit there came complete with Ryan Reynolds and that beautiful house his family owns in that movie, but let's face it, I'm dreaming! I'd also like to see the Aurora Borealis.

5. Galapagos Islands. I was supposed to go there back in 2008, but my previously undiagnosed heart condition had other thoughts on the matter! This is where the cogs started turning for Charles Darwin and his theory of Evolution, so that, coupled with the high number of endemic species, makes it a tree-huggers' paradise.
6. The Caribbean. I'm not quite sure why. Probably a James Bond film first made me want to visit there. The combination of island paradise (never mind the hurricanes!) and being a bit of a cultural melting pot with an interesting history certainly appeals. Melting pot = interesting food.
7. The South (of the US of A). Again, probably a desire borne of a movie. Sweet Home Alabama is one of my all-time favourite movies, but I don't think that's what sparked my desire to head South; more likely it was a movie made in the 50's or 60's filled with women in beautiful clothing sipping iced tea, whilst well-dressed men rolling in money payed them attention. But I'm certainly a sucker for a Southern accent. And don't get me started on the food. Or the possibility of bumping into Harry Connick Jnr at a jazz bar in New Orleans...

8. Turkey. I think the fact that it is perceived to be both Asian/Middle Eastern and yet European enough to be visitor-friendly contributes to this one. I have also seen photos of Istanbul and am keen for a visit. This photo of a market does a lot to sum it up - I have had a thing for the smells and colours of markets ever since my mum took us to the Preston Market as kids. And don't get me started on the food...
Egyptian Spice Bazaar Istanbul Turkey
From The Guardian

9. India. I read Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts, the first time I was on my @rse with this stupid heart of mine (thanks for the lend, John! You can come get it any time, you know - I've had it for four years now...), and something in it kindled an interest in observing the chaos and the noise and the colour. Add to that a few movies, including black-and-white-tiger-hunting-colonial-era ones as well as Bride and Prejudice and Slumdog Millionaire; the fact that my favourite book ever (The Secret Garden) starts there; a brief stop in Sri Lanka at the age of ten, en route from London to Melbourne, which gave me a small glimpse of the region; and the memory of an Indian workmate of my parents cooking us the most delicious meal have all converged into a storm of wanderlust for this place. Plus of course seeing the Taj Mahal, and the Ganges, and the Golden Temple, and the crazy-packed trains...
The Taj Mahal
From WikiTravel
10. Hawai'i. I'm not sure whether I inherited the desire to see this place genetically (my nanna was apparently completely obsessed with the place), or if it was the Brady Bunch Goes to Hawai'i special, or Elvis' Blue Hawai'i, but the place looks like somewhere I would like to visit. Beaches, plus national parks, plus cool stuff (=volcanoes!!!), plus food, and I'm happy :) Oh, and I hear they do a mean roast pork there. When they're not eating Spam.
From AOL Travel
Did anyone else notice that I seem to be guided by my stomach??

There are other places I would love to see. The Cinque Terre in Italy. Disneyland. The Red Square in Russia. Neuschwanstein Castle (or any other Disney-esque castle, for that matter). Anzac Cove. Easter Island. Re-visit a lot of the places I visited on my trip to Europe and spend more time and more money there (gondola ride in Venice. Going to the TOP of the Eiffel Tower. The Moulin Rouge. The Sound of Music tour. Eating more than just cheese sandwiches...). The Trans-Siberian Railway. Japan. Morocco. A million and one places in Australia, mostly (but not all) in the outback. I don't know whether I'll see them all in this lifetime, but I'd sure like to try!

So, dear readers, what's your Top 10?


  1. I desperately want to go to Greece, Italy and Iceland. I just went to Hawaii for the first time in the fall. My friend was able to switch her disney timeshare there and invited me along. The only thing I had to pay for was my airfare and food. It was breathtaking. We visited Maui and Oahu (as that is where Disney's resort is). Most beautiful sites. The nicest people. I loved it. I didn't like the flinestone feet that I had on the flight home, but they were a necessary evil I guess. Long flight.

    1. That sounds like a wonderful holiday. Next time you go, can you stow me safely in the overhead compartment? :)

      I discovered on a 27 hour bus ride across Argentina that what the airlines recommend to combat DVT actually helps with puffy feet (shocking, I know!) - wriggle your feet and squeeze your calves and thighs as much as you can possibly remember to for the duration of your trip. It seems that every little bit helps, even if you only remember for the first few hours.

  2. Hi!,
    I've tried emailing you but I've not heard back... we're ingredient swap buddies for the Makey Cakey ingredient swap! :) You can email me on jono.ellis [at] gmail [dot] com to exchange addresses. I'm in Scotland so I'm thinking of sending you something random and Scottish!

    1. Hey Jono :) Sorry, haven't checked my email in a little while. I emailed you a couple of hours ago with my address when I saw this comment. Now I'm pondering what goodies to send you...

  3. I'm going to brainstorm my own list, thats such a fun thing to think about. I can't settle on just 10 though! I'd have to include Italy only I think thats cheating because I've been a couple times, I could live there forever :) All of those gorgeous pics are making want to hop on the next flight out!

    1. Daydreaming about travel is one of my favourite activities EVER. Good thing dreams are free :) I avoided putting places on the list that I've already visited, but I was quite close to putting Tuscany or the Cinque Terre or even Napoli on the list for the same reason - I've flitted through Italy, but I could spend so much more time there. One day.

  4. What a great list. My favourites on your list are Alaska and Santorini. I wonder if I could cross off both of those in the one trip xx

    1. I think you can. My trick is to visit another place "on the way home/there" so that I feel like I'm being less extravagant. So, this year I will pop into Africa, via the UK, on "my way home" from my intended trip to Mexico and the USA. And you could visit Santorini on your way home from Alaska! That's the quickest way back to Australia, right? ;-)


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