Passport & Plates: My Bucket List

Passport & Plates: My Bucket List

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?


What's on your travel bucket list? Check out which places and experiences made it on mine, and share yours in the comments! |

23 thoughts on “Passport & Plates: My Bucket List

  1. Vicki Louise says:

    Great list! I’m definitely with you on seeing the Northern Lights, Zorbing in NZ and going to Machu Pichu (I haven’t decided if i’ll shuttle it or not yet!) – and I’ll be cage diving with great whites in Cape Town later this year (I am super excited!).
    It’s really nice to have travel goals and you feel such a sense of accomplishment when you tick them off. Good luck & Happy Travels!


    • Sally E says:

      Thanks Vicki!
      I am beyond jealous that you’re going cage diving this year! I can’t wait to see how it goes on your blog :).
      And yes – I love having these goals! I found my old list from a few years ago and found that I accomplished a few which was extra exciting.
      Best of luck with your travel goals!

  2. Stephanie Rose says:

    This is such a hard thing for me. I think about it on the surface level often, but I am afraid to sit down and make a list because it’s almost like writing a plan for failure! I need to rework my job situation to allow more travel. 🙂

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      I know exactly what you mean! It’s a bit of a challenge for me as well and this list is far from complete. I think goals change often and that’s fine. But it’s definitely a great feeling when you feel like you’ve accomplished something on your list!

      It’s definitely much more challenging to travel with a full-time job! Perhaps you can negotiate working remotely for a week or so… a “workcation” can do wonders for productivity and it’s a great way to sneak some sightseeing in!

  3. Carmen's Luxury Travel says:

    Bucket lists are great because you’re right – they can be fluid and change! This incomplete list looks pretty diverse and interesting to me! Especially the Northern Lights and Ithaa. How exciting!

    • Sally E says:

      Thanks Carmen! Agreed – so I’m just counting this one as a mini list! Hopefully I can complete a couple sometime this year 🙂

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Thanks! It’s at the Giraffe Manor in Kenya – you should check them out. It’s the coolest place!

  4. Erin Klema says:

    Great list! You know, the buses that take you up the mountain to Machu Picchu are great, but you still have to hike from the entrance to the top for a great view. It’s doable but still not easy when you’re out of shape (speaking from experience). Others in my group did a partial Inca Trail hike the day before we visited Machu Picchu for our guided tour, and they said it wasn’t as strenuous as they had expected. The full hike takes three days, I think. Any way you do it will be incredible!

    • Sally E says:

      Oh I had no idea about the hike for Machu Picchu. In that case, might as well hike the whole thing and be sure to train beforehand, right? Lol. I don’t think I’m in shape for a 3 day hike. So jealous that you’ve done it though!

  5. Jetplane Jean says:

    Love this list! I’m hoping to hop in the Blue Lagoon this September! Had to laugh at the last item on your bucket list, after six months I’m testing for Level 2 in Krav Maga this Sunday. It’s basically an aggressive form of self defense that works on real-life scenarios and is one of the most intense things I’ve ever done. I definitely recommend seeing if you can take a few trial classes when you’re home (I’m pretty sure the main Krav Maga facility is in LA as well!)

    • Sally E says:

      Thank you! I’m so jealous that you’re going to the Blue Lagoon! Iceland is getting to be such a popular destination, but everyone raves about it. Have so much fun!

      LOL funnily enough I just saw a video this morning with a girl defending herself using Krav Maga. I had NO idea what it was before and the video was jaw-dropping, to say the least. Good for you for getting trained…I know who not to pick a fight with ;). But I’m definitely going to have to check them out! A girl can never have too much self-defense training!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. Assia Shahin says:

    Now I really feel like creating a bucket list on my blog! The only thing is that I’m scared not to be able to fulfil the points.. I should still venture into it I think. I’ll start considering it. 🙂


    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      You should definitely do it! i made one years ago and stumbled upon it recently and found that I had done 3 things on the list. You never know what opportunities to fulfill them will come your way 🙂

  7. Julie @ Millennial Boss says:

    I feel like you can totally check that dance-off item off your list soon! Next time you’re out on the town just go up to someone and start dancing wildly! I tend to initiate dance offs when I have a little too much to drink at weddings. The key is committing to the moves, however strange they are!

    • Sally E says:

      Hahah I am the queen of impromptu dancing (especially at weddings) although I’ve never had someone actually participate in return! Next time I’ll have to be more in someone’s face about it 😀

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