Most visitors to my blog know by now that I am in the midst of planning a trip to Central America. I'm getting there but there's just one more critical part of this trip that I just cannot decide on; whether or not to stay in Costa Rica for the entire two weeks (I'll have 5 days to just kick around San Jose and visit some active volcanoes after my stay in Montezuma) or venture off into Panama and visit Panama City and the Canal. So it comes down to this; visit one of the world's most famous man-made wonders that joins the world's two largest oceans or explore active volcanoes. Both are on my bucket list but with time and money restraints, I can only do one. My original plan was to do both but work obligations made me have to cut a few days off my trip in order to be back in my desk by April 18th. Technically speaking, I could do it but, taking into consideration travel times and flight delays, if I were to fly from San Jose to Panama City, I would end up with around 12 hours in which to explore the city and the canal. To me, it does not seem worth it to spend all that extra money for a mere 12 hours. Or is it? I've received many suggestions and most people seem to think that, unless I am an architect or have a specific interest in canals and marine navigation, I probably wouldn't get much out of a visit to the canal. I find that hard to believe.
When I dig a little deeper into my subconscious, it really does come down to wanting to get that extra stamp on my passport so I can say I was in Panama. The smarter side of my brain is telling me that it would be really stupid to spend all that extra money just so I can have another stamp on my passport. Having those bragging rights would be pretty cool but not if I didn't get anything out of it besides that. Now the juices are flowing! I think I made up my mind; stay in Costa Rica and explore the many wonders that country has to offer. Besides, I have my whole life in front of me and I don't plan on retiring my passport or backpack any time soon. I can see the canal another time. It's strange how all this trip planning has got me thinking about future trips. I should be focusing on this one but my mind is constantly wandering and thinking to next year's adventure and the many more after that. There are so many things I want to see! I have already seen so much in my lifetime of travels so far and I haven't even left The Americas yet. I still have Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania to explore and many bucket list items have yet to be crossed off my list. Some of the items on my list are places while others are experiences and each will be crossed off one by one. So here is my ultimate bucket list:
1) Junk Boat cruise in Halong Bay, Vietnam
2) African Safari in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
3) Aerial tour of Victoria Falls, Zambia
4) The Egyptian Pyramids
5) A fly-over of Mount Everest
6) Bungee jumping and skydiving in New Zealand (and just everything about New Zealand...it's my number one destination that I must see before I die even if I don't get to bungee jump but I would love to see the Waitomo Glowworm Caves!)
7) Scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef
8) Swimming with whale sharks off the Caribbean Coast of Mexico
9) A walkabout in the Australian Outback
10) Shark cage diving with Great Whites off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa
11) Tour of the Grand Canyon by mule
12) A Nile Cruise
13) A well-planned and well-thought-out extended expedition on the Amazon including the surrounding jungles and rainforests
14) Machu Picchu
15) The Great Wall of China
16) The Taj Mahal
17) Camping trip in Hawaii (not sure which islands yet, but island hopping would definitely be in order on a trip like this!)
18) A multi-country backpacking trip through Europe. Some notable must-sees on this trip include the Paris Catacombs, Ibiza, Venice, the ancient ruins in Greece, Rome and Vatican City, the Scottish Highlands and the Irish Countryside Even if it takes a few months or close to a year, I must set foot in every country on the continent(or almost every country)
19) Trekking in Tibet
20) Travel way up north for the sole purpose of three things: Dog sledding, sleeping in an Igloo and viewing the Northern Lights.
21) Hang Son Doong Cave in Vietnam
22) The Galapagos Islands
23) Riding the rails on the The Trans-Mongolian Railway
24) Easter Island
25) Hot air balloon excursion over Cappadocia, Turkey
26) Newfoundland. Yes I know I lived there for 12 years but the island is so big, I only got to see a small portion of it!
27) Antarctica. Yes I may be really dreaming on this one but its nice to dream!
28) And of course, I can't forget this most important item on my list and believe it or not, its a tour of my own country. After all, Canada is massive and each and every province is different in its own way and what better way to see it than with a cross-country train trip from coast to coast!
Maybe I'm just dreaming when it comes to many of these bucket list items but only through dreaming do dreams every come true! My list is fairly long and, while some of these items are cliche and on the well-beaten path when it comes to bucket list items, others are seemingly so far flung that maybe I will just have to work harder at knocking them off my list!