Bucket List: noun. informal. A number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.
Writing down this list, and choosing from my many dreams wasn’t as easy as I had thought, but here it is. This is my heart put on the table here, my highest dreams, as this summer I’ve been able to cross out going to New York and travelling to Japan.
1. Ascend Mount Fuji – 富士山
There is a very old Japanese proverb saying that:
“He who climbs Mt. Fuji is a wise man; he who climbs twice is a fool.”
This may well be my highest hope, and my oldest one at the same time, the one trip I shall never forget in my life. This may sound stupid to some people, but I intend to experience this almost religiously. To me, ascending Mount Fuji at daybreak, sleeping at the top, and waking up at 4 a.m. just to be able to witness the world’s earliest and most incredible sunrise will be a dream come true. Ephemeral yes, but that’s what makes it an absolutely unique experience, and most of the best things in life usually are ephemeral anyway.
I know this won’t be an easy ascension, I’ve read and heard so many people talk about how difficult it was, and how prepared you should be before doing it. But all of this seems little trouble compared to the amazing feeling I will have when at the top of the most famous volcano of the world, I’ll be able to watch the sunrise in the actual Country Of The Rising Sun.
I plan on doing it next time I go to Japan, hopefully with my best friend. Hopefully next year, during August.
2. Walk On The Great Wall Of China – 长城
3 facts that should make you want to go and see it too:
- It is more than 3,000 years old,
- It can be seen FROM SPACE (!),
- And it is one of the New Seven Wonders Of The World.
It this still doesn’t interest you, let me tell you this fortification is 21,196 kilometers long (13,171 miles) and runs across China, from east to west. It stretches from Shanhaiguan, on the Bohai Sea, to Lop Lake in the Gobi Desert.
It was initially constructed at the command of the first Chinese Emperor, from 221 BC, and was a combination of the various protective walls that had been built by the smaller states which he had conquered and merged to form China.
This wall is a direct link with legend: it reflects on how powerful China’s emperors once were. Its beauty and “incredibleness” cannot seriously be grasped in only one trip, and I’m planning on experiencing it over at least 10 days of travel, going from one end to the other, staying at the numerous hotels alongside it – you can even sleep in a watchtower!
3. Enter The Pyramids Of Giza – اهرامات الجيزه
Should I really introduce them to you?
Those pyramids are located on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, in the actual desert. The complex is more than 4,500 years old. It includes the three Great Pyramids (Cheops/Khufu, Khafre/Chephren and Menkaure), and of course the Great Sphinx. The Great Pyramid of Cheops or Khufu counts as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Who hasn’t flipped through an atlas or an encyclopedia during childhood, and wished they had been able to see the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World invariably listed? Of all those amazing wonders, the Pyramid of Cheops is the only one still standing, which is absolutely incredible as it also is the oldest one. The Great Pyramid remained the tallest man-made structure in the world until the advent of modern skyscrapers.
Now, if that still doesn’t convince you to go and see it as well, I will tell you those pyramids still hold mysteries we haven’t been able to unveil these last 200 years. And you can actually visit the insides of the pyramids, although it requires some planning and a good amount of money.
4. See The Salar De Uyuni With My Own Eyes
When I first saw a picture of this site, I just couldn’t believe my own eyes.
This massive salt flat located in Bolivia, South America, formed by several ancient lakes, is the largest in the world with over 10,000 square kilometers (4,000 square miles). But this is not even what makes it incredible: during rainy season, this salt flat becomes so reflective that it is effectively the world’s largest mirror and is used to calibrate satellites!
For one breathtaking sight, it’s a pretty good one. I don’t even have anything else to say: I just want to see it for myself because this seems incredible!
5. See Inside The Taj Mahal – ताजमहल
Most people don’t know two things:
- It is actually very hard to get to the Taj Mahal,
- And you can’t take any picture of what’s inside.
Of course you can find documentaries showing you the inside, but they are still rare. The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum located Agra, India. In Hindi, it means “Crown of The Palace“, and was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan out of love, to contain the tumb of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is now part of the New Seven Wonders Of The World.
If I can go to India some day, I will for sure stop by Agra to see this breathtaking palace, symbol of the One Thousand And One Nights to me. What we couldn’t do for love…
6. Take A Boat Trip In Halong Bay – Vịnh Hạ Long
As many places I’ve listed here, this bay is here because of the feeling I’m certain I will get while being there: peace.
Seeing the “Bay of the Descending Dragon” (“Ha Long” in Vietnamese) and the beautiful colours of its waters has always been a dream of mine, and can best be experienced on boat. The bay is officially part of Vietnam and is more than 330 square kilometers in size. It also has thousands of limestone karsts and more than 2,000 isles in various shapes and sizes!
“Only mountains accept to be old, but Ha Long sea and wave are young forever” – Nguyễn Tuân
7. Travel To The Holy City Of Jerusalem – יְרוּשָׁלַיִם / القدس
Jerusalem is the oldest city in the world, and is more than 6,000 years old. It has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.
Surely this incredible history goes alongside its place in the holy world: it is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In fact, both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital.
According to the Bible, King David conquered the city from the Jebusites and established it as the capital of the united kingdom of Israel, and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple. The Western Wall of Temple Mount still stands there.
According to the Quran, Muhammad made his Night Journey in Jerusalem, ascending to heaven where he spoke to God. Al-Aqsa Mosque now stands in Jerusalem to commemorate this event.
According to the New Testament, Jesus Christ was crucified there, on the Dome of the Rock, where the Church Of The Holy Sepulchre now stands.
Charged with history, this place is arguably the holiest point on Earth, and is also very difficult to reach: you would need a guide to travel inside its walls.
And for all those reasons, it is on my bucket list, because even though I am not a believer in either religion mentioned above, never going to Jerusalem would seem like a terrible fault.
8. Bathe In A Hot Spring While Watching Aurora Borealis
Visible 8 months of the year in Iceland, Aurora Borealis are still a very rare atmospheric phenomenon that you would have to track down to be able to observe.
I’ve read you should go to Iceland for at least 5 days during the right season to maybe catch a glimpse of one during a Black Night. But it sure is worth the trouble: to be able to see one with my own eyes would be unbelievable.
And do it while bathing in a hot spring would be an absolute dream. Me? Too greedy? Don’t know what you’re talking about 😉
9. Ride A Camel To The Rose-Red Hidden City Of Petra – البتراء
Maybe I’m desperate for real adventures or maybe I’ve watched Indiana Jones one time too many, but I’ve always wanted to see it. And if I do it, I’m going to do it right: riding there by camel seems like the perfect and sensible thing to do.
This incredible sight is again one of the New Seven Wonders Of The World, and is actually on the verge of becoming inaccessible because of the Jordan authorities.
Petra, or Raqmu, is a historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan. Petra lies on the slope of Jabal Al-Madbah in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah valley that run from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Petra is believed to have been settled as early as 9,000 BC, and it was possibly established in the 4th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataean Kingdom. – Wikipedia
You need another reason to go and see it as well? Well as you can see on the picture I’ve chosen, this city was directly carved into rose-red stone using a technique we still aren’t able to understand!
Take a moment to read this unbelievably beautiful poem by John William Burgon, on the hidden city of Petra and its colour:
“It seems no work of Man’s creative hand,
by labour wrought as wavering fancy planned;
But from the rock as if by magic grown,
eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!
Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,
where erst Athena held her rites divine;
Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,
that crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;
But rose-red as if the blush of dawn,
that first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;
The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,
which Man deemed old two thousand years ago,
Match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,
a rose-red city half as old as time.”
John William Burgon
10. Walk The Golden Bridge Of Da Nang – Cầu Vàng
This list cannot be in a right order and this site doesn’t deserve the 10th place here, but it is actually impossible to rank all those places.
This breathtaking bridge is located in Bà Nà Hills, Da Nang, Vietnam, above the clouds: it was built at 1,400 meters above sea level in Thien Thai Garden and opened in June 2018! It was only designed to provide a scenic overlook and be a tourist attraction, but it way too beautiful not to experience!
Bonus. Spend Time At Tianjin Binhai Library – 天津滨海新区文化中心图书馆
I’m a bookworm, have always been. So when this absolutely incredible library opened in October 2017, I immediately put it on my mental Bucket List. Nicknamed The Eye, Tianjin Binhai Library is a located in Tianjin, China. It holds 1.2 million books, and features floor-to-ceiling, terraced bookshelves, as well as a large, luminous sphere in the center that serves as an auditorium with a capacity of 110 people. It is nicknamed The Eye because the sphere, which appears like an iris, can be seen from the park outside through an eye-shaped opening.
I’m hoping to go to China several times, because one time will definitely not be enough to see all the great places this country has to offer, holding arguably one of the oldest cultures of the world.
“Collect memories, not things.“
Maybe one day, I’ll have done all of these things. Will that make me happy? Not per se, but I’m a great believer into the richness of memories, not things. Having great experiences to share, and something to tell to the future generations, that’s something every single one of us should aspire to.
So go, don’t be afraid, make your own list, go crazy with it, who knows. Maybe writing it down will inspire destiny to give you what your heart truly wishes.
But remember: you can cheat destiny as well, by never forgetting your goals and work towards them, always.
I hope this post has inspired you and has made you dream with me…
Signing off for today,
Lilly, aka The French Hat