Five Places To Add To Your Bucket list…NOW!

If you’re like me, there is almost no place on the planet you don’t want to visit. Here — in no particular order — are five of the latest additions to my “bucket list.” Which do you find inspiring?

1. Mongolia:

A Yurt. Image courtesy of HappyCow.net

The rise and fall of an empire is endlessly fascinating. But the pattern isn’t always about large-scale global domains. Think about Valparaiso in Chile. The Panama Canal ended its reign overnight.

That said, the ultimate example of the rise and fall of an empire is the story of The Mongols. There’s was largest contiguous empire in history. In the 13th and 14th centuries, there was nothing more frightening than a Mongol Horde running toward you.

Today, Mongolia’s economy is centered on agriculture and mining. Much of the population are nomadic. A visit to Mongolia is incomplete without some Airag. That’s fermented mare milk mixed with more ferment from the year before. You drink it from a leather bag. A few swigs of fermented horse milk will surely make it easier to fall asleep in your yurt.

2. Madagascar:

A Baobab Tree. Image courtesy of Projects-Abroad.org

Islands in the Southern Hemisphere have figured prominently on the blog. From Fiji to King George Island, from Tasmania to New Zealand and even – dare I say it – Australia, there’s something special about these islands.

Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island (behind Greenland, New Guinea, and Borneo). The capital is Antananarivo and the country is home to more than 24 million people who speak largely Malagasy or French. But here’s the kicker: More than 90% of the flora and fauna on this island is found nowhere else on planet Earth.

There are some fascinating stories from the 19th century about coups and queens. And, let’s face it, who doesn’t love stories of coups and queens?

3. Mt. Kilimanjaro:

19,000 feet high. Image courtesy of HuffingtonPost.com

The highest point in Africa is also the tallest freestanding mountain on the planet. At about 19,000 feet, summiting Kilimanjaro is – apparently – not easy, but is a task that about 35,000 people begin each year. Statistics of how many people complete the climb are elusive. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to do it.

Located in Tanzania, near the border with Kenya, Kilimanjaro is an extinct volcano. Climbing it is apparently one of the most beautiful experiences a person can have.

I’ve only been to Africa once. I visited Cape Town back in 2012. The visit is certainly one of my favorite memories and, like most people who visit Africa, it’s impossible to escape the desire to return.

4. The “Rest” of South America:

The Opera House in Manaus, Brazil is unreal. Image courtesy of the Brazilian Government

Visiting all of the countries on a given continent is quite an accomplishment. I’m relatively close to accomplishing the goal in South America. However, the remaining countries are challenging ones:

  • Venezuela would be difficult given their ongoing economic troubles (and the fact that they’re not known as big “fans” of the United States).
  • Guyana is South America’s only English-speaking country.
  • Suriname is, from what I’ve heard, a very dangerous place.
  • French Guiana is an overseas region of France rather than an independent country.
  • Brazil intimidates me because I speak no Portuguese and I met some Brazilians in a restaurant in Buenos Aires and haven’t been the same since. That said, I really want to visit the inland city of Manaus. It was once home to the rubber barons and contains some unbelievable architecture, even though it’s some 2,300 miles from the coast.

5. L’Anse aux Meadows:

It’s pretty much just an archaeological dig. Image courtesy of the Canadian Government

Everyone knows that it was Chris Columbus who discovered North America. Back in 1492 when he sailed the ocean blue…Right?

Not so fast! Some five hundred years earlier in the year 1,000 A.D., the Vikings were walking around Newfoundland in Canada. They colonized the area and traded with Native Americans. They would have stayed longer, but couldn’t make it economically feasible.

Today, L’anse aux Meadows is a Canadian National Park that’s accessible only a few months every year when visitors battle giant mosquitos instead of snow.

Conclusion

So, there they are — the latest additions to my “bucket list.” What about you? Are any of those appealing? If not, where in the world would you most like to visit?

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