Top 3 Bucket List Destinations I’ve Yet To Experience

3 bucket list

My Top 3 bucket List Destinations 

A competition to win a trip next winter to experience the Northern Lights from the Arctic Circle is absolutely something I have to enter!

After my dip into Nordic Europe over the winter I have become obsessed with returning, to say that it has jumped to the top of my bucket list would be an understatement.

I didn’t make it anywhere near the Arctic Circle, but what I saw of southern Sweden and Finland left me desperate to return – and left me tongue-tied in Finnish grammar after deciding that I wanted to learn it!

The blogger competition is being run by Transun, an independent tour operator that specialises in trips to Northern Europe as well as destinations further afield.

The prize is a trip for two people to the Arctic Circle and it includes accommodation, flights, husky safari (yes, that!), visiting a reindeer camp and snowmobiles, oh, and hopefully the Northern Lights!

The Stuff of bucket lists dreams!

All I have to do to enter is share my top three bucket list experiences!

This was harder than I thought, I don’t have a list as such, just a muddled jumble of destinations and experiences in my head, how to pick the top three? I want to do all of them!

It turned out, a lot of them in there had already been ticked off!:

Top 3 Bucket List Destinations

The Trans-Siberian Railway ☑ dawn at the Taj Mahal ☑ Visit Piz Gloria (my top 007 location!) ☑ see orca in the wild ☑ road trip australiaexplore the ancient streets of DamascusPetrasleep in a ger in Mongoliastand on the Great Wall of China ☑ walk clockwise up the 8 levels of Borobudur  ☑ sunrise at the Ring of Brodgar, Orkney Islands to name but a few!

It was like giving my brain a spring clean!

Filtering out the achieved buckets I was still left with plenty of incredible destinations left to experience, here are my top three:

white nights

1. Experience the ‘White Nights’ of Nordic Europe

While seeing the Aurora Borealis is right up there on my list, I am equally keen to experience the summer phenomenon of the White Nights in the Arctic Circle. I want to experience days with no night!

Living in Scotland I get my fair share of short, dark days over the winter, and I absolutely crave the long days of midsummer. I really want to take it further and experience the magic of the midnight sun.

And I’m going to make it happen, this year! We have just purchased a new home on wheels (I’ll be revealing that very soon!) and I have every intention that our first big adventure in it will be a road trip this June to Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark, coinciding with the White Nights of Midsummer.

I want to drive up to the Arctic Circle, following Norway’s incredible coastline, then cut down into northern Finland to drive south through its spectacular forests and lakes. A ferry to Sweden then over the Øresund bridge to Denmark. It should be amazing!

I’ve heard that Midsummer is a time of celebration too, bonfires and maypole dancing: this is something I’ve been curious to experience for a long time.

Plus, I’m aching to return to the land I fell in love with, to Finland. And I still am yet to try a proper Finnish wood sauna where I can cool off in a lake: this needs to happen!

This top bucket should be ticked off by July!

007 next location

2. Meteora, Greece

James Bond doesn’t dictate my travel but he certainly inspires it! I’ve slowly been working my way through some of the best 007 locations over the last few years from the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (From Russia With Love) to Himeji Castle in Japan (You Only Live Twice).

My top Bond bucket list destination was Piz Gloria, Blofeld’s lair in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: this revolving restaurant in the Swiss Alps is an absolute must see! The views alone are worth the 4 cable car ride up the Schilthorn.

One location I’ve yet to visit is Meteora in Greece, where old monasteries perch on spectacular rock pillars: it looks incredible to explore. It was brought fresh into my head last week when I read this blog post by Nomad is Beautiful, reminding me: For Your Eyes Only!

It would make the perfect excuse to visit Greece, to see the Parthenon (to see exactly where those Elgin Marbles came from) and to visit the ancient ruins of Olympia. I adore ancient ruins and I’ve visited many Roman ones from all over the Roman empire, I need to see some Greek ones now.

One of my good friends has worked in Greece, she makes it sound so wonderful and her photographs of turquoise seas, white-washed towns, cliff top churches and secluded beaches stir the wanderer in me.

I think I could loose myself exploring pretty villages, eating in tavernas, hiking in the mountains and exploring legendary antiquity.

Yes: Greece is riding very high on my bucket list, an island hopping adventure with a nod to 007!

Trace Silk Routes

3. Trace The Ancient Silk Routes to China

Out of these three choices, this is the ultimate: travelling overland from Europe to China following in the footsteps of the ancient traders is a journey I dream of doing.

This world is traced with ancient routes that awaken our nomadic souls; I remember exploring Xi’an, in China, back in November 2013, a city that stands at the end (or beginning depending on which way you’re heading) of the many routes crossing the great expanse of central Asia, and wishing I could head west along one of these well trodden ancient roads. Xi’an still feels like it is on the end of a great trading route, it is a melting pot of different cultures, the coming together of east and west.

Travelling along one of the ancient silk roads ticks so many travel boxes for me it’s a wonder I’ve never embarked on it already.

I have a great love of ancient Islamic architecture and I could fill my life with beautiful tiles (Istanbul is heaven on earth in these respects!). To see the majestically tiled, symmetrically perfect Registan in Samarkand will probably reduce me of overwhelmed tears, I want to see it that much!

I’m fascinated by nomadic people, as someone who has lived in a van for the past few years I am interested in cultures who live nomadically or semi-nomadically. It was wonderful to experience Bedouin culture in the Syrian desert, and sleeping in a ger with a nomadic Mongolian family in the Gobi desert is a life-highlight for me. I’d love to see and experience more on the central Asian steppe.

Long, overland journeys enthrall me more than any other type of trip. To slowly meander through a country, or a continent, immersing myself in the world at ground level is my favourite way to travel.

I am happiest in wide open spaces with big skies. Deserts, grass steppes and vast savannahs intrigue me, they are so different to our compact, populated islands.

Just hearing the names of the ancient cities of Central Asia conjures up such wanderlust: Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand, Bishkek, Kashgar! 

It’s an adventure of epic proportions, it’s on the list!

No road signs in the Gobi Desert. Part 4So there you have it, a trio of adventures, and a peek into my travel-filled mind.

If you want to enter the competition, write a blog post listing your top three travel bucket list destinations and tweet it to @Transun using the #TransunLights. You can find all the details here. Good luck!

Which three destinations are topping your bucket list? Let me know below, or even better: share your Top 3 post using CommentLuv❤!

By Rachel A Davis

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6 Responses

  1. Lisa says:

    I initially voted for you without reading the full post, sorry! Who is this friend in Greece you have? 😉 x

  2. Ayla says:

    Ooh great choices Rachel! Although I’m not so sure I could do the White Nights as it would just confuse my brain too much and cause major jetlag!

    • Rachel Davis says:

      haha, we won’t get jet lag as we are going to overland drive there! That is the only way to avoid any jet lag! I’ve visited Hong Kong without jet lag 😉
      I’m currently in training for the everlasting daylight, getting up early as I can to get used to long light days!

  3. Jayne says:

    Great post Rachael, you have inspired me to put together my own bucket list post! but where does one start, I have many 🙂 Well I can say the top of Vaughan’s is also the northern lights so when we eventually get back to Europe we will plan for that one. We experienced the midnight sun in Iceland it was was strange to be sitting there at 2am in the morning and have daylight pouring through the window. I shall be posting on this at some point.

    Well here is our bucket list for the next two years..:

    Skiing Queenstown New Zealand – Always talked about it but never got around to it so August this year we make it so. It would be lovely to see NZ in the winter

    Tongariro Circuit NZ – One of the premier hikes of NZ. Ive done the crossing but this time we want to do the circuit which also incorporates the crossing. Vaughan has never been to North Island NZ either. We are going in December when the weather warms up a bit!

    Japan – Always wanted to go to Japan so we plan to tick this one off in March 2016

    Antartica and Patagonia – Antartica is right now on the top of my list and we are currently researching a cruise for end of 2016 start of 2017 and while we are there we can tick off another bucket list item, hiking Torres Del Paine. This trip we are very excited about 🙂

    So that is ours while we are still home. Once we get back on the road again we can start ticking off the rest!!

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Wow, great list Jayne! We’ve only experienced NZ in summer, I’d love to see in glisten in winter. You are going to love Japan, Vaughan will be like a kid in a sweetshop, it’s just so amazing!

      We just found out there is a ferry from Denmark to Iceland! We can (if we throw a substantial sum at it) drive our new home to Iceland, how cool is that! I’m so excited about the white nights, very pleased to hear you’ve experienced it!