Just Wanderlust Blog » A discerning, food-loving, & culturally curious road warrior seeks the world's beautiful and bizarre destinations.

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12 Unforgettable Travel Experiences I’m Eyeing Right Now

I don’t keep a bucket list because items on it would constantly evolve as my interests change, life plans change, and as I find out about new experiences (there are just so many!).  So instead, I take mental notes of all of the epic adventures I’m totally down to do.  Then, when the timing is right and I’m planning my next vacation of a lifetime, you can bet good money that I’ll be checking something off this list.

As always, if anyone’s done any of these and has stories to share, let me know!

1. Hike The Narrows

(Photo from here)

I’m not exactly an outdoorsy girl, but when a saw a friend’s photos from his hike in The Narrows, I wanted to yell, “sign me up!” right then and there.  With the Virginia River cutting through this legendary slot canyon, most of the hike takes place in the river (seriously, how cool is that?), and it’s a scenic hike that meanders through the towering Navajo slabs that making up the canyon walls.

2. Bike the World’s Most Dangerous Road

(Photo from here)

43 miles long, no wider than 10 feet, a lack of guard rails, and a 1,968 feet drop.  Also known as the “Death Road”, this famous road in the Yunga region of Bolivia stretches from La Paz to the Amazon rain forest.  While it sounds like a death-dyfying endeavor, I’ve met some people who have done this and they’ve reassured me that as long as you pay attention to what’s ahead of you, there’s plenty of room to cycle safely.  I can’t think of a better way to “live on the edge” – literally!

3. Trek for Gorillas

(Photo from here)

There are only three places in the world you can go gorilla trekking: Rwanda, the Republic of Congo, and Uganda.  While this experience involves hefty permit fees (e.g., $750 in Rwanda, $500 in Uganda) and potentially hours of trekking through dense forest until you spot the gorillas, this would undoubtedly be one of the most memorable travel experiences ever.

4. See the Wildebeest Migration

(Photo from here)

While I’m already on the topic of Africa, I’d love to see the wildebeest migration!  Over two million wildebeest circle the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masa Mari in Kenya throughout the year.  This is total Planet Earth material and it’d be stunning to witness in person.

5. Sunbathe in Zanzibar

(A Zanzibar beach; photo from here)

Heck, if I’m already hanging out with gorillas in Central Africa and in awe of the wildebeest in Eastern Africa, I mind as well cap off the trip with a little island getaway in Zanzibar.  I’ve always wanted to go to Zanzibar if for nothing else than its exotic name.

6. See the Northern Lights in the Arctic

(Photo from here)

This would let me tackle two things I’ve been dying to do – finally cross the Arctic circle (I’ve been so close twice) and witness the beauty of the aurora borealis firsthand.  I really, really, really want to do this and it kills me that magnetic activity is at its peak last year and this year and I’ve haven’t been able to solidify plans to go yet!  Ahhhh! I gotta do this one pronto.

7. Swim with Whale Sharks

(Snorkeling with a whale shark in Cancun; photo from here)

Any time there’s an opportunity to hang out with animals in the wild, I’m all over it so of course, I’ve been eyeing the opportunity to swim with whale sharks.  Whale sharks are one of the biggest mammals on earth.  They can grow up to 65 feet and weigh 75,000 pounds!  Sitting on my comfy couch at home, I cannot even begin to fathom the enormity of the whale… so naturally, I have to go see what the big deal is!

8. Take Silly Photos on the Uyuni Salt Flats

(While the miles of salt, Salar de Uyuni is the perfect backdrop for snapping photos that distort your perception; photo from here)

I first wrote about the world’s largest salt flats here, and although I was lucky enough to visit the Salinas Grandes Salt Flats last year, I still want to go to Salar de Uyuni.  After all, it is the biggest in the world – miles and miles of salt as far as the eyes can see.  Plus, I want my chance at a proper photo op this time.  As an extra bonus, I’ve heard that the drive up to the flats passes through some of the most gorgeous scenery – a green lake, a red lake, and a field of flamingos (in Bolivia of all places!).

9. See Rice Terraces Up Close

(Yunnan, China; One of the most colorful rice terraces; photo from here)

I find something so peaceful about viewing photos of rice terraces that I want to see the terraces in real life, too.  I’d elaborate but I think the above photo speaks for itself.

10. View Lavender Fields in Provence

(Photo from here)

Mr. T and I love the calming scent of lavender.  I also love the the violet hues of the flower and when tons of these flowers are lined up together during the right season, you get the jaw-droppingly gorgeous lavender fields famous in Provence.  I almost added this to my summer trip this year but I opted to hunt for Tuscany’s sunflower fields instead… so maybe next year.

11. Swim with Jellyfish in Palau

(Photo from here)

Every now and then I’ll see a photo that takes my breath away and seeing photos of people swimming in a lake full of jellyfish was one of those moments.  I thought jellyfish were dangerous!  Apparently, not the ones in Jellyfish Lake on the island of Palau. The jellyfish there have been isolated from the rest of the world for over 12,000 years, and as a result do not have the stingers that are commonly found in jellyfish, setting the stage of one of the most surreal snorkeling opportunities anywhere in the world.

12. Take a Culinary Tour Through Italy

(Truffle hunting in Piemonte, Italy; photo from here)

I probably won’t be doing this one any time soon, but at some point in my life, I would love to combine my love for good food with my love for travel… and when that day comes, what better place to do that than Italy?  These tours are abundant in Italy and usually include cooking lessons, olive oil samplings, wine tastings, and cheese tastings that are specific to the region(s) you’re visiting – I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

Now that you know what what’s on my travel hit list, what do you have on yours?  Let’s inspire each other!

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Mark - April 12, 2013 - 10:32 pm

Hey your #3,4,5 sounds really familiar… 😉

Just Wanderlust - April 14, 2013 - 12:10 pm

Yep! Those were SOOOOO close to making it on my trip… arggh now they are just future trip ideas.

Clara Kelly - December 18, 2013 - 6:36 pm

Hi, I like to travel as well and linked into your blog for some winter reading. My favorite travel is on foot or bicycle. I see that you want to hike the Narrows. I was inspired by some photos like that a few years ago – and then I saw some other photos online which were more like your Hungarian baths – super crowded. As it happened, I had time to go there over Christmas week and I can assure you it is not at all crowded then. At that time on year, you have to wear a dry suit to go into the narrows. My husband and I hiked 8 or 9 miles in there and we only saw 4 other people – sure my hands got cold and we looked like Loch Ness Monsters hiking out past tourists in our dry suits – but it was beautiful and quite memorable.

JustWanderlust - December 18, 2013 - 7:25 pm

Hi Clara – That is a great tip. I’ll do whatever I can to avoid crowds so it sounds like I’ll be planning a trip to the Narrows in its offseason then… 🙂

Joanne Williams - January 19, 2014 - 10:39 am

This site is so inspiring! I’ve been to a lot of places and now it’s time to go to some more.

JustWanderlust - January 28, 2014 - 5:45 pm

Thanks, Joanne!

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