Too many places to choose from!

I like planning trips – who doesn’t? It’s probably 25% of the fun. Staying up late trolling through hundreds of Google images as you imagine yourself climbing that mountain or rafting that river or lolling on that beach.  The problem is you need to have somewhere to start – you need to know where you want to fantasize about.

Over the weekend I was simultaneously sick and broke, the weather was amazing, the birds were singing blah blah… I didn’t have the energy to leave my couch. Instead I decided to plan my hypothetical round the world trip.

Lolling on this beach!

Lolling on this beach!

The question is how to start planning this? I read a blog recently that you should look at a map and mark down all of the places you want to go… and then cut out all the ones that aren’t realistic due to time/funds/war zones.

First problem – I don’t have a world map.  No problems that’s what Google is for. WRONG! What I needed was a detailed map of the world that I can view in one glance.  Google maps when zoomed out so you can see it all isn’t very detailed – you can zoom in, but then you lose perspective in where in the world you are – which is important when you are thinking if you are trying to work out which direction to travel round Europe so that you can meet your Dad in Russia (Dad if you are reading – get saving!). Its times like these that I miss having the good old-fashioned world map book… Christmas present idea for any takers!

Second Problem – Oh well, I can still flip through my lonely planets and write-up a list of places that I want to go for me to plot on a map later. WRONG! I grabbed my 1000 Ultimate Experiences and the Top Travel and within 5 minutes was completely confused about my chronological order and what I wanted to do.  Maybe half of the problem is my brain – I like to think things through laterally.  In my hypothetical trip I am starting in London and then working my way around the globe. These fantastic guides jump all over the place, dividing the world up by genre such as “Top 10 Best Big Objects” (Goulburn’s Big Merino didn’t make it – but Canada’s big Beaver did) or “Strangest Museums” (British Lawnmower museum…?) but although this was greatly amusing it didn’t help me visualise how my trip would play out.  These books would be great once I have decided on a route and could look up fun activities for the places I was going – but they weren’t helping me work out where to start.

Third Problem – what I needed was a book that covers every country in the world in either time zone order (or I would settle for alphabetical order).  In my lunch break I went to check out the book store.  I found several books that detailed were devoted to the “World”… Lonely Planets was called “The Travel Book” it was huge – with great pictures! It was also so heavy that I couldn’t easily hold it one hand (I am a weakling). That wasn’t the problem though – because it is trying to fit so much in and it’s already a huge book much of the important detail was lost.  It was only a brief summary on each country with no real information to help me narrow down my search.

Having said all of that – I now have a rough idea of where I want to start and when I get paid I am going to buy a map and then use my variety Lonely planet guides to plot a fun hypothetical itinerary.


Down with Bucket Lists – Bring on the Wish List full of – Boiling Lava, Snapping Sharks, Delectible Feasts

As I have stated previously I really don’t like the term Bucket List – I hate the idea that I will one day kick the bucket with a scribbled list of failures.  Also, as previously stated I think that they are so constricting.

For example on my first “Life List” I had “Travel East Coast in a Combi Van” – when on holiday in Cairns when I was 14 I saw so many bronzed backpackers living their lives on the road – away from parents, away from distractions, living life fast and lose – well that’s how it appeared to my adolescent eyes.

Years later I did travel all of the East Coast… but instead of doing it in a Combi Van I did it in my little Ford Festiva.  After seeing all the dark campsites and Wicked Vans on the side of the road I was so happy to be in my little bomb of a car, with cheap petrol – hostels seemed like a luxury! So does that count, can I claim that? Or do I have to wait until I buy a Combi Van and go again?

So I have decided to make Wish Lists and let them be as flexible as needed – the aim is not to have items crossed off so that one day I have a long list of crossed out items.  Instead once an item has been completed it will be removed and another will take its place – therefore the list will be ever growing and evolving – like a tree – like life itself!

My list below has been growing ever since I was little – some things have been removed after they have been completed, like seeing Uluru and learning how to Ski in New Zealand – my insperation for the items below have come from far and wide… but the biggest contributor would have to be the man himself: David Attenborough!


  • See Pemba with my Mum – where she volunteered for three years in the 70s in Africa
Mum learning how to eat coconuts in Pemba.

Mum learning how to eat coconuts in Pemba.

Photographer: Chen Fei - Temple Apollo Pompeii

Photographer: Chen Fei – Temple Apollo Pompeii

Irish funny

The Ever Evolving Life List

Bucket lists, life list, lists in general have been on my mind a lot lately.  It all started when I found out about My Destinations Biggest Baddest Bucket List Competition which in turn lead me to spending a couple of weeks running around Sydney filming myself (for the competition video and not because I am strange)

When I grew tired of flipping through my Lonely Planet Best in Travel Books I turned to the unending tool of the internet, where, while wandering around the Internet looking at other people’s bucket lists I found this blog by Colin Bennett –

Which I loved because:

  • I also disagree the name “bucket list” it’s a list about living not about dying.
  • When I was 22 I wrote up a list which I have kept in my wallet ever since… hmmm
  • The items on my list are un-focused and generalised
  • I had some of the same items on my list

I do have a slight issue with whole idea of a bucket list/life list – I find it constraining.  Through my short years of travel I have learnt one thing – nothing happens the way you plan.  If you are to do a life list it should be a short-term thing so that it can adapt with the experiences that you have and not constrain you to ideas that might become outdated when you learn of new and exciting things to do.  That’s why I like reading Lesley’s blog as her list is created yearly

Here is the list that I have been carrying around in my wallet since I was 22. Its been in my wallet getting tatty and creased, I pull it out at odd times when I am bored and want something to think about. However, it now feels outdated and constricting. But predominately I find it tame… and a little bit lame.

At 22 I hadn’t seen much and so most items on the list involved just leaving and seeing something new – now if I were to win BBBL I would want to do things a little bit more exciting than what 22-year-old Helen thought up.

  1. Get a motorbike licence – Still something I want to do
  2. Write a novel – it’s a long slow work in progress
  3. Learn to surf – planned for next month, half TICK
  4. Travel Australia in a combi van – did it in a Ford Festiva… does that count?
  5. Finish my degree – TICK
  6. Learn to ski – TICK in New Zealand
  7. Own my own place – fat chance in Sydney
  8. Create my own library – to keep my plethora of books in
  9. Ride a camel in a desert
  10. Visit Pemba, where Mum lived in Africa
  11. Party in Greece with my cousin Kerry (we made this plan when we were 13…)
  12. Visit Istanbul – Now, one of my dream trips would be to travel from Cairo to Istanbul
  13. Live in Europe – Does England count?
  14. See the great pyramids
  15. See the African Savannah, David Attenborough style
  16. See Emperor Penguins in Antarctica, David Attenborough style
  17. Go to Russia – I was obsessed with the Disney film Anastasia…
  18. Sleep on a beach – WHY, sand flies?
  19. Paraglide across the Grand Canyon
  20. Own a walk in wardrobe
  21. Participate in the tomato throwing festival
  22. Fly first class –Oh yeah
  23. See Uluru to Broome – Half TICK, have been to Uluru
  24. Spent New Years in New York – New Years is always over rated, don’t want to ruin New York
  25. Live in Sydney – TICK
  26. Drink in an Irish pub in Ireland – Assume it would feel just like going to any pub in Bondi
  27. Sleep in an igloo – WHY….?
  28. Get to base camp one on Everest – Still in a constant state of training for this one
  29. See a grizzly bear in Canada
  30. Drive a Porsche
  31. See Viknaslodir Iceland
  32. Get my diving ticket – Now I want to do this so I can dive with hammer-head sharks in Belize
  33. Eat in the Djemaa El Fna in Morocco
  34. Walk the Inca trail

My bucket list

So to help me fulfil my own exciting bucket list vote for me in My Destinations competition. DO IT – VOTE NOW!

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