The average American woman lives to be about 82, if you believe what Wikipedia tells you. Although, sometimes I think my current candy corn consumption rate will shorten my lifespan significantly. (Don't tell me your opinions on mellow creme pumpkins or chocolate candy corn. I don't wanna hear any of it.)
What do I wanna do with however much time I've got left? Ideally, travel. The problem with that is my travel bucket list keeps getting longer, not shorter, the more places I visit. I bet I could take a year off of life to just travel, and I'd come back with even more places to visit.
I'm annoying, I know.
But something's gotta give, right? In the name of being practical, I've actually tried to narrow it down to my top 10 places on a seemingly endless list. It wasn't easy. If any of you saw my bucket list destinations notepad, you'd roll your eyes out of frustration. And I wouldn't even blame you.
So here it is. 10 places I'm actively aiming for at some point. Stay tuned for the inevitable edit where I'm all, "No wait: I also forgot (insert 20 destinations here)."
1. Machu Picchu, Peru
Honestly, Peru as a whole entices me. From the Rainbow Mountains to Ballestas Islands, this country has no shortage of incredible sights worth seeing. Lord help us all when it's time for me to actually visit. I don't know how I'll narrow everything down.
Either way, Machu Picchu will most certainly be the main draw. It attracts millions each year for a reason.
One thing I'm hoping to do is visit twice; during the morning and the day. Apparently, both times are so gorgeous that it's hard to pick a favorite.
2. The Northern Lights
I wasn't specific here, since realistically there are a bunch of places you could go to for optimal viewing (Alaska, Iceland, Norway, etc). I just want to see the Northern Lights. In some place. In some form. In regards to the time and place, I'm remarkably chill. Which is saying something. I'm usually chill about absolutely nothing. But as long as I see the Northern Lights unobstructed, count me as a happy camper.
3. The Grand Canyon
Narrowing it down to one National Park when my list is ever-expanding was a challenge. Shout out to Yellowstone, who came in a strong second. And basically every other park who tied for third.
What made the Grand Canyon shoot to the number one spot were the amount of people who insist it's unreal. Photos don't do it justice. That's a phrase I hear/use a lot, but it's really driven home by those who have been to this park. Plus, it's an excuse to visit Arizona. I hear good things.
Nature and I don't get along too well, in spite of nature trying it's best. I'm super heat-sensitive and easily annoyed by bugs that don't take a hint to leave me alone. Hiking in any National Park mid-July sounds awful. So come some fall/winter season, when the air is dry and frigid and the mosquitoes are in hell where they belong, I plan to make a visit to the Grand Canyon. 40 degrees Fahrenheit sounds heavenly.
Part of the appeal of Namibia as a whole is how few people live there. It's the most sparsely populated country, meaning light pollution is a foreign concept. Result? Stargazing. So. Much. Stargazing.
That alone is enough to make me hop into a plane and pretend like I enjoy camping. But it gets better. Namibian safaris are A Thing, and Etosha National Park is equal parts huge and wildlife diverse.
Look at all those animals! Couldn't you just stare at them for hours, then stare at stars for hours? I know I could and definitely will.
5. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China
Nothing about the movie Avatar was worth remembering except for how it was inspired by the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. Who knew a movie so utterly shitty and forgettable could've introduced me to a land so stunning?
For that at least, I am grateful.
The park looks otherworldly. How do you get there? How do you walk around? How many hours do you give me until my phone battery dies because I won't be able to stop taking pictures? Hard to say. But this is a park that I simply must experience.
6. Petra, Jordan
This photo more or less convinced me that visiting Petra was a great idea. The human to structure ratio is way off, and I love it. Most things are taller than me (I'm 5'2") but things that are way taller than me? Awesome.
I'm so gonna pretend I'm some lost princess returning to her castle. Try and stop me.
7. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
"Maggie, you seem to have a thing for outrageously cool man-made structures." Hell yeah I do. Look at this!
It's huge! It's still the largest religious structure because nobody would dare try and top such a masterpiece. They even sell three day passes because Cambodians know this place is too magnificent to even try to cover in a day.
I mean, you could. If you're short on time or whatever. But like... three whole days? Sounds perfect to me.
Honestly, Japan in general would be the trip of a lifetime for me. But I should probably be more specific. I want to visit Japan when the cherry blossoms are blooming. Doesn't this picture look 100% unreal?
It's so beautiful. Imagine being there. Smelling the flowers. Enjoying the landscape. Being in Japan.
I guess if I had to make time for one place, Kyoto would be my top pick. It's gorgeous and there's so, so much to see.
But ideally, I'd traverse around the country. See Mount Fuji, Tokyo, Nikko and then more cherry blossoms because life is short and flowers are pretty.
Anyways, Japan, I'm super excited to make your acquaintance someday. I've heard great things.
9. Taj Mahal, India
I know, I know, I'm such a cliche. Everyone and their mother goes to India for the Taj Mahal. And... same. Look at it, photos alone are mesmerizing.
You're also talking to someone who loves royal palaces. One of the reasons Vienna holds such a special place in my heart is it's fantastic preservation of royal history. I was in my element at Schönbrunn Palace, totally worth waking up early to be first in line. Pretty much all you have to do to get me to want to visit a place is tell me there's a castle/palace. Why on earth do you think Ireland is basically number 11? Castles for days, friend.
Anyways, Taj Mahal, be on the lookout. I'm psyched as hell to see you in person.
10. Waitomo, New Zealand
I think this one is self explanatory. Shout out to New Zealand for existing.
Do you have a ridiculously long bucket list that annoys your family and friends? Where do you wanna go most? Let's chat in the comments and exacerbate the problem!
about the author
Great hair, average personality.