I’m going to be honest with you. I have a love-hate relationship with lists. If you take a quick peek at my messy desk, you’ll find that it’s littered with lists: ideas, to-dos, my schedule, etc. They keep me “organized.”
But a bucket list is different. It’s lifelong to-do list. Of places to go, people to see, and things to experience. The problem is that goals are so fluid. They’re ever-changing, especially for a millennial like me (we can’t make up our minds to save our lives). So this is more of a loose interpretation of a life plan. An incomplete one, because my “complete” list is much longer.
In my 20-something years of living, have I completed anything on my bucket list? The answer is – of course! How sad would it be if I hadn’t completed a single bucket list item by this point? I’ve celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, marveled at the Iguazu waterfalls in South America, danced the tango in Buenos Aires, ridden a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, and lived abroad somewhere where I didn’t speak the language. Did that sound a little braggy? Forgive me. I’m trying to take over the world here.
Are you compelled by my rambling introduction yet? If not, the actual bucket list should do the trick.
The Travel Bucket List:
See the Northern Lights – Let me be clear. I absolutely despise the cold. I’m from Southern California, and my family is Arab so I’m much more comfortable in a heat wave than a snowstorm. But, I’m totally willing to don my abominable snowman outfit to gaze at these beautiful particles lighting up the night sky.
Cage dive in South Africa – If you’ve followed my blog from its early stages, you know that I have a tendency to plunge ahead with decisions that scare the crap out of me. What’s a fearful adventurer to do? For those of you who don’t know what cage diving is, let me break it down: you get put into a cage, lowered into the ocean and “swim” with great whites sharks. Sounds super terrifying thrilling, doesn’t it? Update 2019: I’ve been told there are some ethical considerations to this so it’s no longer on my bucket list. I still want to visit South Africa though!
Bungee jump…anywhere – Funnily enough, I almost bungee jumped when I visited Chile back in 2012. If it weren’t for a poorly timed rainy day, this would have been crossed off the list. I’m still determined to complete this one, though.
Hike Machu Picchu – I mean, I’m not the most fit person in the world, but hiking Machu Picchu shouldn’t be too hard, right? Plus, there’s always that shuttle that takes you up the mountain. <- Let’s pretend I didn’t just say that. Update: I hiked The Inca Trail in March 2019 with the stomach flu and survived (barely).
Soak in the Blue Lagoon – It’s a natural spa located in a lava field in Iceland. The Blue Lagoon is like the coolest of the cool kids. And it’s warm. Those are plenty of good reasons in my book.
Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos in Mexico – Guys, can you believe I still haven’t been to Mexico? It’s really quite embarrassing that I live 120 miles from the Mexican border and still haven’t visited. While I’ve experienced full-blown celebrations here in Los Angeles, there’s something to be said about seeing it in real life, in its place of origin. Update: I visited Mexico for the first time in September 2017 and celebrated Dia de Los Muertos in Oaxaca and Mexico City in October/November 2019.
Go zorbing in New Zealand – Ever since I heard about zorbing, I’ve been dying to try it. You get placed in a giant plastic ball and rolled down a hill – who wouldn’t want to do that? Zorbing was first done in New Zealand, so naturally I want to go straight to the source, but I have to admit – I plan on doing this at the first opportunity I get!
See the Thailand Lantern Festival – The Yee Pang festival (also known as the Festival of Light) changes dates according to the lunar calendar and coincides with Loi Krathong – a holiday in which all of Thailand pays respect to Buddha. The photos alone are awe-inspiring…I can’t imagine how it would feel to see the lantern release in person!
Live abroad for at least a year – I’ve lived abroad for in a foreign country for one month (Argentina), two months (Egypt and Indonesia) and even 5 months (Ireland). Those were some of the most fun and challenging experiences I’ve ever had, and if everything works out, I’ll be well on my way to fulfilling my year-long goal soon! Update 2020: After traveling non-stop for a few years, I’m content with living in the U.S. for now!
The Non-Travel Bucket List*
*Also known as the embarrassing / amusing items
Be in a dance off – I know this one is so ridiculous, especially because my chances of winning said dance off are quite slim (side note: where are the world’s worst dancers? Asking for a friend). But I think this would be a hysterical and embarrassing situation to be in – which is the best for later storytelling.
WWOOF – No, I didn’t just accidentally add a letter to the sound a dog makes. I’m referring to World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, which is exactly what it sounds like – volunteering on a farm in exchange for room and board. For those of you who know me personally, my utter lack of outdoorsy tendencies and my deep hatred for bugs actually makes this one of the more challenging bucket list items. Seriously guys, I haven’t even gone camping before because of this insect fear.
Be on TV – As I was writing this, I remembered that I actually made my TV debut (first and likely last) this past summer in Spain. I made a fool of myself conducting an interview about the volunteer program I participated in…luckily it was on Spanish TV and will never see the light of day in America. So this is effectively off the bucket list. I’ve been on TV several times, most notably on Arab-American talk show, Beiny w Beinak in January 2018. Check out the clip here!
Eat at Ithaa, the undersea restaurant – Of course I had to include a foodie item on this bucket list! Eating at the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant that was rated the most beautiful restaurant in the world? This might be the only time where I say I won’t actually care what the food tastes like. Actually, that’s not true…but I’ll care less!
Win a fight – Wait, whaaaa. I know I know. I promise I’m a pacifist. More or less anyway. My preferred manner of fighting is with snarky comments that have earned me the nickname “Sassy Sally” amongst quite a few friends. But, I’ve always envisioned the highly unlikely scenario that if I were ever to get into a physical altercation (not started by me, of course), then I would undoubtedly beat the other person. I totally got this, guys. I do go to a weekly kickboxing class, after all.
Anyway. In an effort to keep this somewhat short and sweet (ha!), I’m ending the list here. However, I do have to say that there are tons of places and things on my bucket list – it gets longer by the week – so don’t think I’m limited to these items. So follow along- let’s see how many of these I actually complete!
Now, it’s your turn! Tell me – what’s on your bucket list?