Top 10 Bucket List Destinations

We all have those places we feel we need to see in life. I believe it's important for everyone to get out and see the world. There are so many special experiences you can't get at home and you should try to explore if you can. If you don't have anything in mind, maybe reading this will help you with some ideas. With that, here are my bucket list destinations.

1. Northern Scandinavia

Northern Lights over Lofoten, Norway. Exploration Always
Northern Lights over Lofoten, Norway

My idea of good weather is quite different than most people. I love cold weather and as much snow as possible. Visiting Northern Scandinavia checks off every box for an ideal winter trip. While I am terrified, of polar bears, I am willing to get past it in order to see this amazing location. The real thing that makes Northern Scandinavia rank number one on my list is the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. To me, there is no sight more spectacular or beautiful. It is something that few people get to see and requires you to be patient and willing to venture beyond the cities and into the dark wilderness. As luck may have it, I will get to scratch this place off my list quite soon. I will be venturing to the Arctic Circle in Norway and Sweden this December to chase the Northern Lights. While normally I try and travel for cheap, it is a bit more expensive in terms of flights, food, and hostels than I normally care for. However, with most of the things I want to do being in nature, my daily cost aside from food and accommodations should be relatively low. But even if it were the most expensive trip in the world, I would find a way. When people ask me how I can afford to travel I tell them two things. One, I can't and I'm usually broke by the end of my trip. Two, if I know I want to go somewhere, I can (with minimal effort and at least a part time job) avoid lots of expenses and save up within a few months. The Northern Lights mean that much to me and it would be worth any price to see them.

2. Japan

Beautiful Japanese Landscape, Asia. Exploration Always
Beautiful Japanese Landscape

As an individual country, Japan is the highest for me. I have always loved Japanese culture, architecture, and most of all food. As I have only visited Thailand in Asia (aside from Israel but that’s only technically Asia) I want to experience the diverse experiences Asia has to offer. Tranquility, honor, respect, and humbleness are among the highest ideals in traditional Japanese culture. Although I usually love chaos while traveling, Japanese tea houses and Onsen (hot spring spa) are quite intriguing to me as a way to relax. Mt. Fuji stands near the top of my list of things to walk up and the view from the top is spectacular. But like I said, there is nowhere better in the world for an amazing food tour than Japan. Foods we know like ramen, sushi, and hibachi are often Americanized and I would like to experience the authentic versions of these foods. Foods like takoyaki, yakisoba, gyoza, and imagawayaki seem like some of the best street foods in the world to me. The nightlife and hostel situation in Japan are amazing as is the transportation, nature, and people of Japan.

3. Antarctica

Antarctic Iceberg in the Sea. Exploration Always
Antarctic Iceberg

When I said I like it cold, I was not kidding. The least visited continent is one of the most unique. Though hard to get to and even harder to afford, I am determined to get there before global warming melts it all away. The process for getting to Antarctica is to fly to Argentina, Chile, South Africa, or New Zealand and joining a group boat. Group boats to the frozen continent can cost a minimum of $4,000 and can easily be over $10,000. While you can charter a plane from the mentioned countries, you'll be looking at a $20,000 - $30,000 ticket not to mention a very small plane. The only true way to get there cheap is for someone else to pay you to go there. That is exactly what I'm determined to do (eventually... somehow) because there is no way I will die before seeing the vast glaciers and amazing wildlife.

4. Great Barrier Reef

Diving with Manta Rays in the Great Barrier Reef. Exploration Always
Manta Rays in the Great Barrier Reef

I love marine life. I've always loved whales, fish, sharks (yes I know they’re fish), and most other things in the ocean. The greatest marine habitat in the world is a must for anyone who loves snorkeling and diving. The sheer amount of animals you can see and interact with is breathtaking. Like most places on my list though, it is going fast if not already gone. So if you want to see it at some point in your life, you may want that ticket to Australia sooner rather than later.

5. Australia Zoo

Koala at the Australia Zoo. Exploration Always
Koala at the Australia Zoo

While I'm keeping this next place in Australia, the Australia Zoo is not exactly the same as the rest. When I was a kid there was one reason I was so interested in animals and traveling. It’s safe to say without it, I would not have the sense of adventure I have today. That reason is Steve Irwin. The greatest man to ever live in history, Steve Irwin was and always will be my hero. The lack of fear and pure wanderlust from The Crocodile Hunter was entertaining, inspiring, and (to someone like me) almost holy. As he had and continues to have such a big impact on my life, I want to go see his home and also see if there’s a way I can sneak into being part of his family.

6. Mt. Everest

Mount Everest Summit. Nepal. Exploration Always
Mount Everest Summit

One of the natural wonders of the world (along with Great Barrier Reef and Northern Lights) it is the number one place for any adventure traveler. Taking over two months to climb, it is a challenge unlike anything else in the world. While most places you go, even in nature, there usually isn't a real sense of danger and threat from anything but people. Everest is one of the exceptions as danger looms for anyone willing to attempt the beast. On top of the cost and time of the trip itself, Mt. Everest also takes months if not years to train for and should only be attempted by those in peak physical condition. Lucky for me and you, this bucket list destination isn't going anywhere.

7. Tanzania

Baby African Elephant at Safari in Tanzania. Exploration Always
Baby African Elephant

Said to be the wildlife jewel of Africa, Tanzania is the best country in the world for safaris. Seeing nature close up is always impressive but it is taken to another level here. While it will probably gross me out and give me trauma, I would love to see something like a cheetah or lion chasing prey. Watching nature in action is such a rare sight but the chances of it here are much higher. While the country does have notable cities that are supposed to be great for solo travelers, I know that there's nothing that could make me leave the planes and forests of one of Africa's most exhilarating countries.

8. Bucharest

Downtown Bucharest, Romania. Exploration Always
Downtown Bucharest

Over the past few years, I have realized that I have quite a love for Eastern Europe. While I am normally not someone who loves city life, Eastern European cities have a very different feel to them. They are both busy and full of life, while at the same time authentic and traditional. Bucharest is the most appealing city in Europe to me currently. What's strange though is that I don't actually know much about it. But when you have a certain feeling about somewhere, chances are you should trust your gut. This summer I decided last minute to go to Bratislava, Slovakia. I knew nothing about it but I had a feeling it would be good. It ended up being one of my favorite cities and I had the best time there. I know that Bucharest is another example of this feeling and I can't wait to learn what it has in store for me.

9. New York City


9. Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru. Exploration Always
Machu Picchu

To me, Peru is the most intriguing place in South America. The cities of Lima and Cusco are full of culture, great people, and absolutely amazing food. I've also been doing research of backpacking and hostels in South America and Peru is one of the top rated places for travelers of this nature. Nightlife and hostels in Peru are supposed to be great and from what I've seen they are welcoming and engaging for everyone. Of course, there is Machu Picchu. One of the current Seven Wonders of the World, it is so significant and if I may say so, just so cool looking and it’s crazy th