Archive for January, 2013

I’m on a mission to get my hoop skills up to scratch in the next couple of weeks, ahead of a new class we’re starting up in Oxford. This means I’m grabbing spare minutes in my evenings to spin my hoop around my waist, shoulders, neck, or whereever. In the kitchen, in the living room, on the bed. There is a lot of clattering going on. Downstairs neighbours must be pleased. I’m also devouring YouTube for video tutorials, inspirational hoopers and I found the incredible Hoophub site today, which is a goldmine.

It was on this website that I found a quote that seriously blew my socks off. It rang more true than many inspirational quotes (and I’m a sucker for these) that I’ve read in recent times. I’m going to adopt this as my mantra to let myself know that it’s OK to play and have fun, even (cough) at my age…

“There is not one shred of evidence to support the notion that life is supposed to be serious.”

I don’t know who to attribute this piece of genius to, but according to the FABULOUS post that Gail O Brien wrote (who I now worship, having never met her and only having read this one post of hers so far), it was on a badge once. The fabulous post in question is titled “You are never too old to do ridiculous things“, and I urge everyone to go and read it immediately. If not to liberate yourselves, then to understand me 🙂

Don’t get me wrong, I want to get married (and plan to this year!!), I want to one day own a big house with a tropical garden overflowing with crazy plants. I want to have dogs (three, one big, one small, one in the middle) and maybe chickens for my own eggs, and perhaps a goat. I want to have children (multiple, better get started soon). I want to have a good job and work hard and be satisified, produce results and inspire people. I even want to hone my house-wifing skills (broccoli cheese in the oven as-we-speak!), bake cakes and perhaps even wash some windows.

I want all those things, AND I want to have fun doing it.

Seriousness is over-rated. Is it in the definition of “adult” in the OED? I’ll need to check…

Wonderwoman headband

Wonderwoman headband, at the ready!

So, I’ll create a home and continue to hula hoop around the living room. I’ll get dogs and dress them in glow in the dark collars. I’ll have children, and wear my wonderwoman headband to pick them up from school. I’ll grow up and I’ll dodge any seriousness that comes my way.

And it’s thanks to the wonderful, crazy, creative minds and words of people I’ve never met (such as Gail) that inspire me to continue to do these so called “ridiculous things” – bring it on!

Right, broccoli cheese is burning now, time to return to the real world 😉

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Today I started to participate in a MOOC. That is a Massive Open Online Course. My MOOC is on eLearning and Digital Cultures, an area that appeals to my inner-geekess, as well as helping me expand my ideas and understanding of an area in which I work. Having never participated in eLearning whilst in education (since the bulk of my education, aside from “on-going adult education and lifelong-learning” happened in the late 90s when this was all science fiction), it feels long overdue that I experiment with it now, and in one of the most recent online experiments itself – the MOOC!

So first of all, you need to understand what a MOOC is – watch this to find out:

My MOOC is hosted by Edinburgh University, home of the prestigious MSc in Digital Education. And tonight I started work on my first “Block” of work – on Utopias and Dystopias and how those themes of technology inform our own ideas about digital cultures and shape our relationship with technology.

Wow, this is a long way from bellydancing and travelling!

So, the first thing we had to do was watch some YouTube clips and react to them, which was stimulating and interesting for a Monday night. So I skived off my Monday night drumming class to get a head start on the course. We were presented with 4 films (below) and hereforth are my comments on each one.

Bendito Machine III

Message to me: Technology brainwashes, out of control destructive force that creates disorder and disfunction. Also a sense that technology itself isn’t stable and is the destroyer of worlds and society. A negative, harsh view of technology looking at its threat in the most basic form, that things will never be the same once it’s touched the Earth. It’s extreme, but a reality already in our world (especially in more remote parts of the world who are having the technological revolution artificially accelerated by outsiders).


Message to me: This is a really cute story that captures the feeling of connection with another person via email – instant connection and sudden profound intimacy with a complete stranger – causes intense initial bonding and revealing of usually well covered emotions and feelings with someone who you only know through one dimension (written word).
This story conveys technology in a positive way, showing the joy of communicating via email (or in this case, paper bag!), but there was an undertone of dystopia when the bag was torn – the instant come down when the romance was in jeopardy – the problem with creating such quick and intense highs is the likely fall, whether it’s at the failure of technology (the bag ripping), or when faced with the reality of meeting in person and bursting the fantasy bubble.


Message to me: Wow. This film is brilliant. It actually moved me close to tears. I felt like it was hardwiring lessons straight into my sub-conscious about the dangers of technology. The message is old school – very Big Brother, Brave New World, Metropolis… reminding me of scenes from films from the last ten years, probably starring Matt, or Leonardo, or Keanu… It was scary because this is life, this is, in part my life. Moving from device to device, driven my wireless and connection and electricity, always plugged into the mainframe, pulling the blinds down to block out the sunlight (heaven forbid), and when the power gets cut, spinning on the swivel chair because frankly, there is nothing else to do. But hang on “bleep” thank god, mobile phones still work.

The birds are poignant. Beautiful. Renegade. They see the world as it was. They see worms in wires. They’re off the grid. I want to be the bird. I associate with the bird.

And the humans, who had forgotten what beauty was in the world, had to take the special Great Glass Elevator up into space to get that extra-terrestrial view, that glimpse of a beauty still left in the world (albeit creatived by the technology) to ignite the spark behind the eyes again. But just a little (not too much as they may want more…) before they got sucked down the tube and back to the conveyor belt of life.

New Media

Message to me: Super-cool zombie-alien apocalypse. This reminded me of the latest advert for a Playstation game (based on a film of the same name). Chernobyl meets Top Gun (it’s the specs), at least there is one human left, and he’s wearing aviators, so we know it’ll all be OK… The only thing I fear that this represents is that all those people who have grown up playing PSP games in their bedrooms believe this is a reality and go out on a rampage…

So having watched and reflected, I’m feeling really engaged and interested with the perception of “technology”, scanning my own brain for emotions around this I do have a slight negative view of the world that’s totally wired. Watching these videos makes me want to go outside and roll in the grass, interact with a spider, notice the small things that nature takes time to carefully construct. I want to meet a stranger and have a genuine interaction, and let the muscles in my eyes relax as they remember how to focus on things far away.

I’d like to, and I want to, but the reality is that I will now move off my PC and head to the living room, where I will sit and watch TV whilst trying to not boot up my laptop to browse some shopping sites, whilst trying not to check my work emails on Blackberry but probably wanting to scan my Newsfeed on Facebook and of course, keeping an eye out for reponses to this post.

Groan. I’m part of it. I need to accept that. Let the zombie-alien apocalyspe begin. Armed with my aviators and new buddies from my MOOC, I’m ready for anything that the infonet and social spiderwebs can throw at me…

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Last November, whilst on a business trip to New York I had my first proper “immersive theatre experience” at the hands of Sleep No More, and something inside me clicked. Theatre will never mean the same thing to me again. When I got back to the UK, I was raving about it to all who would listen, and one of my nearest and dearest friends pushed me in the direction of my next full-assault on the senses theatre experience – which had just been announced was in town (i.e. London) for 4 weeks only over Christmas and New Year. I booked tickets immediately.

So this weekend, I prepared myself for the unexpected and headed down to London for what promised to be “The biggest natural high in town” (according to the leaflet) – FuerzaBruta.

As with all these things, the anticipation is an important part of it. We arrived pretty early as I wasn’t sure how the whole thing worked and knew it was standing up, so didn’t want to get a bad spot on the floor. We all milled into a holding area and then we were allowed into the big round dark room. A few coloured lights in the gloom, everyone staring up to the ceiling, trying to work out what was coming.

FuerzabrutaWhat came was amazing – a full attack on the senses. Starting with a band of brazillian samba drummers blasting out south american rhythms at full pelt, voices screaming tunes over the top, a full on rave. The audience were a little “British”, some swaying slightly to the cranking music, others just trying to work out what was happening. Them, without warning, the smoke machines blasts out, wind machine up full, confetti and glitter rain bursts from the sky above and four of the characters swing out over our heads, tangled and shouting, but you can’t hear what they’re saying over the music and confetti storm overhead.

Fuerzabruta mermaidsSo the performance begins, and continues at full steam ahead, it’s all a bit of a blur like a crazy dream, a bizarre climate of puff of smoke, wind, glitter rain, and real rain every now and then, oh and of course all with a performance in the middle – a man running on a long treadmill, running through piles of boxes, climbing a big ladder and jumping and running into the wind and rain, meeting people on the way. Girls running round the edge of the walls, the walls covered in silver material, tumbling, rolling, changing direction… loud music blaring.

A huge silver sail construction is hauled into the centre of the room, the audience are expertly shepherded around the room to make way. Two characters are clinging to the sail on either side, it’s whirling and twirling, the music amps up, they’re chasing each other, bashing the sail skin, hair flying, spinning on their harnesses, round and round, the sail is huge and looms over the room, all controlled my a team of whooping and hollering guys on the floor, using pulleys and ropes – it’s crazy!

Fuerzabruta mermaids

Girls appearing as surreal mermaids in shallow swimming pools with clear plastic bottoms, jumping and sliding and splashing around, the swimming pools are hoisted high up in the ceiling and then lowered so we could see more, lowered right down to a foot above our heads – we could reach out and touch the dip where their bodies pushed the plastic of the pool floor down.

Fuerzabruta BigglesA giant plastic bubble skin pulled over the top of the audience and then inflated with air. Hole in the top, a guy dress as Biggles and a girl scampering over the top of the surface and peeking through the holes, then being lowered to pick up random members of the audience before winching them up through the holes, metres above the audience, then they got to run on the surface and peek through the skin to the audience below.

Then the final ‘rave’, music up, confetti and wind going wild, the actors were amongst us, blowing whistles and dancing like crazy people, smashing pizza boxes over random peoples heads, boxes exploding with glitter and confetti and raining down on the rest of us.

The closing piece, the DJ in his booth, grinning like a mad man, honking his trucker horns, even the most sensible of audience-goers now bouncing unashamedly at the knees now, a final rush of rain from the ceiling above, into the middle of the audience, the young and un-abandoned rush in, forgetting it’s below zero outside in Camden, dancing and wildly flailing their arms around, getting soaked to the skin.

Then bam. Lights out, music off, it’s over.

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On New Year’s Eve of 2012 I was lounging by the pool at our cabanas in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. It was seriously hot and we were enjoying the final few hours of the fabulous sunshine that had pretty much made an all day appearence that day. I was chatting to my new friends, a couple of Swedes and a German girl and we were discussing New Year’s resolutions and whether we had made any ahead of the imminent flip over into 2013. It was the last thing from my mind. I was more interested in the giant hooded lizard that was slinking around the deep end and whether we could get a good photo of it before it hot-footed it into the shrubbery.

The question came up again several times over the next couple of days, as it naturally would given the time of year, and a few interesting conversations were held, including one idea from our Canadian friends where each year, instead of deciding what you are going to do in the New Year, you decide what you are going to let go of that year. You write it on a piece of paper and throw it into some flames. Ceremonial and very poignant I think. I really like this idea. I still wasn’t comfortable with thinking of resolutions, and the act of achieving and striving, but I really like this idea of release and letting go. There’s always plenty to let go of.

And I finally returned to England, 8 days after 2013 had begun, luckily this is already quite late into the year and resolution-chat has pretty much dried up, so I didn’t really need to face it, although still blog posts and facebook advertising still pop up – it’s not too late to lose some fat, become a nicer person, or donate more money to charity.

So now, 24 days in, I’m slowly adjusting to 2013. Each week that I’ve been back the dark murmur of New Year’s Resolutions has been getting a little louder in my head, which has manifested itself in gentle lunchtime urges to go to the gym, trying to peel myself off the sofa to do something more productive with my evening, trying to not eat that profiterole. But it’s JANUARY for goodness sake. It’s cold, it’s dark, we should all still be hibernating and stop punishing ourselves for not achieving impossible resolutions.

What a ridiculous time of year to start major life changes.

So I’m officially rolling it over, into Fabulous February. A much better month. It’s shorter, for a start. Maybe a little milder, and we’re all a bit more “in the swing” of the year. So in February there is no doubt in my mind that I will start my efforts to become a happier and healthier citizen. I will eat things with higher nutritional content, I will exercise more regularly, and I will get more sleep.

And the great news about that is that now I can relax and enjoy the rest of January, the pressure is off (at least for a week), AND I can reach for that final profiterole.

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In the UK, January is a long month. A long, cold, dark month. And it’s made even longer by the bright sparks of recent memories from my amazing trip to Costa Rica rapidly receding into my past. Over the past weeks colleagues, friends and family that I bump into ask me about my trip, and I retell the stories, flicking through my memories, and I notice a subtle shift in my perception as time passes…

My trip was incredible, of course, full and fresh, technicolour detail can be read here, with posts in real time here, here and here. However, it was not without hitch or incident.

Honey Lime and Ginger

Staying home with lime, honey and ginger, whilst the others went White Water Rafting in La Fortuna

Unfortunately I was blighted by a horrible cold throughout, which morphed into something a little more grizzly with the humidity and my constant refusal to slow down, stop enjoying myself and allow my body to heal. However now, as the experiences start to imprint as memories, the snotty nose and hacking cough fade into the background and the other memories stand out brighter.

That’s the wonderful thing about nostalgia, in fact about travelling in general. A lot of the time travelling is really hard work. You’re constantly tired, on the road, having to get up early to move on. Living out of a backpack (and a toploader at that), so unpacking and repacking nearly every day, stuffing your life possessions back into the bag. Adjusting to new surroundings, getting your bearings, consulting another map. Always get some kind of sickness, whether it’s food related, altitude related, a cold you pick up on the plane, a twisted angle from falling off a bike or hiking down a mountain, travel sickness on a long distance bus or “should of been decommissioned years ago” rusty boat, home sick, sick of eating the same bland food for breakfast every morning…

Hiccups, hitches, and set-backs are absolutely part of the blissful experience that is travelling, but I think it’s that ‘hardship’ (ridiculous to use that word, considering we spend thousands of pounds for the privilege and the context compared to other hardships in the world, but you get my point) that makes it all the more satisfying to get through the other side. The accomplishment of getting from A to B. To have ‘survived’ the journey. And it creates stories. Ultimately that’s what we’re all doing as travellers, we’re creating and collecting stories, to tell our friends, our families, future random travel companions, and to one day recount to all those grandchildren, gathered around the roaring fire (optional chestnuts roasting…).

Now, looking back, there are definitely memories that have pushed my snivelling cold to the back of the queue – the trip on the river boat, the last night with the cocoloco cocktails, the rush and release when jumping off the tarzan swing, the catamaran ride, the hillarious moments with new travel companions… all bright, all overwhelming, all wonderful (sure to get bigger and better as time passes).

I came across a quote today, part of the Rough Guides’ 50 Inspirational Travel Quotes, which sums it up nicely:

“Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” Benjamin Disraeli

My tan may be fading, but my memories are only getting brighter…

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Snow is falling outside, I’m polishing off my hot-cross-bun breakfast and booting up my laptop to start thinking about my work day ahead. So, before I get on with that serious stuff, I’m returning to some unfinished business… finishing my review of the Rough Guide bucket list!! So here we go…

  1. Witness Tibet’s true spirit

    I know Tibet is a magical place. I know this and I’ve never been. I feel drawn there and know that I need to go so, as I’m sure it’s becomming more spoilt by the second. There’s something about the place that intimidates me a little. Perhaps it’s the feeling that if I go there, I’ll never want to come home, or never feel the same way about big bustling cities and western life ever again. True spirit, oh yes…

  2. Hike in Brazil’s Chapada Diamantina

    Brazil is absolutely on the list. My idea of Brazil is more beaches, favelas, dancing, waterfalls. I once had to make the decision about South America – East or West Coast. It came down to Peru versus Brazil. On the one hand it was sunshine, beaches, parties, living life to the full, on the other was adventure, achievement (Inca Trail), an authentic South America (not that Brazil isn’t authentic) and visiting one of the most mystical places on Earth (Machu..). After a lot of deliberation, I chose Peru (and did not regret it). So I feel I have unfinished business with Brazil. I’m also becomming more appreciative of hiking. Hiking is something I always thought was reserved for strapping Scandanavians or fresh-air thirsty Canadians, not indoorsy Brits like me… but as I get older I really appreciate being out in the wilderness, soaking up the horizon and immersing myself in the landscape. So, yes, I’d be willing to entertain this one, so long as I have a Caipirinha and samba sesh the following day!

  3. Sleep wild in central Sweden

    I may get a chance this year – I’m attending a wedding at Midsummer, and we don’t have accomodation booked! Love camping, and love Sweden, so yeah, alright then.

  4. Stay in a Japanese capsule hotel

    Is it weird that I (seriously) have wanted to do this ever since I saw it on telly a few years ago? Bonkers, completely mad. Japan is on the list in general. I am fascinated, and this is one of many things that I’m sure will make my eyes pop out on stalks. Jeeesh, if I ever got my feet to Japan, I would have sooooo much blog-fooder my laptop would explode.
    I think they have these kind of pods at some airports now. Possibly even in the UK. So I may get to experience it closer to home (Japan IS a hike..). It looks hillarious though, like curling up for a snooze in a filing cabinet.

  5. Sleep beneath the stars in the Sahara Desert

    Have I done this? Hmmm. I don’t think so. Come to think of it have I even been to the Sahara. It’s one of those familiar places but I’m not even sure I have. I’ve ridden camels in Sahara sand (Gran Canaria), been to Egypt, but I didn’t make it to the desert. I’ve also slept beneath the stars in other places (Wadi Rum, Yosemite…). This needs to happen at some point!

  6. Swim with pink river dolphins

    When I was flipping through this bucket list, THIS was the one that made me click on the info button to find out – WHERE CAN I DO THIS?!?! It’s the Bolivian Amazon (of course), which feels very remote. Perhaps one of my regrets (don’t really believe in regrets but..) was that when I did my trip to Peru and Bolivia that I didn’t make it to the Amazon. The Amazon is in the bucket, what a mad and wonderful place. Swimming with dolphins would be the cherry on the cake. But unlike the Rough Guides, I’d be happy to do it at SeaWorld…

  7. Take the kids to Tobermory, The Isle of Mull

    This looks pretty. It looks a bit like Bergen in Norway. I know Mull is stunning, my mum and dad took a trip there a while ago and I was taken aback at the photos – a beautiful wilderness with turquoise water. One day, when I have kids (or borrow someone elses), I’ll take them there.

  8. Visit North Korea

    YES. I went to South Korea last April, which was a blast. I absolutely loved it and was completely suprised at how interesting it was. When in South Korea I took a trip to the border (and actually stepped over the border at the DMZ, so technically I HAVE done this already!!) and I met a guy who had taken a trip to North Korea – it sounded fascinating. He had to go in with a tour group, I don’t think everyone is allowed (some nationalitites are banned) and he was sure that they bugged his room, always asking questions). It sounded like something out of a spy movie. They also played propogada videos to him about the prosperity and so on in the North (in the same way they play propoganda to you in the South on the DMZ). Anyway, it was so interesting and my friend and I were plotting how we could work in a trip to North Korea in the future.

  9. Watch ballet in Cuba

    I just want to go to Cuba. I don’t think I’d have enough time to watch ballet, there’s so much other stuff I’d need to be getting on with. Beaches, Havana, 50s cars, cigar rolling, rumba, and just watching life there.. amazing. On. The. List.

  10. Visit Tikal in Guatemala

    Tick. I went to Tikal in 2001 and it felt like the biggest adventure of my life (it was back then). This was real Indiana Jones stuff. Looking back I think it was difficult to get there, which was part of the adventure, and we were able to walk all over the ruins, climbing those craggy rough steep steps up and up, getting breathless and popping our heads out at the top to get a view over the jungle canopy and meeting strange animals (cotimundis) on the ruins. I want to say that everyone should go here as it’s very special and part of what travelling is all about, but I don’t want everyone to go there because it is so special. I don’t want to imagine tourists with their big cameras and bright shirts crawling over those cracking steps!

  11. Tour the bodegas of Mendoza

    I once had a spanish teacher who told me Argentina is the three Bs – bueno, barato and bonito – good, cheap and beautiful (or something like that, my spanish never was that good). ANYWAY it made an impression and ever since I’ve had it on my list. My cousin now lives there with his wife and children and asks me to visit, so really have no excuse now (and I don’t want to make excuses). I think Argentina tops Brazil by a hair, and of course the vineyards would be a must, once I get there!

So, that’s it, the Rough Guide Bucket List has provided plenty of inspiration, and having only completed 3 of the items on the list, I need to get saving! But now, unfortunately, it’s back to reality, morning TV is kicking in and I need to power down and head back to the land of spreadsheets and marketing strategies.

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An email dropped into my inbox this morning that I was excited to read. It was a complete distraction as I was supposed to be getting on with some complex spreadsheet. Nevermind. It was a more than welcome distraction.

Rough Guides have got a new website, it’s not yet launched, but it’s up for perusal. It’s here.

So there are a lot of cool articles and things that I have yet to explore, but one thing that caught my eye (particularly because of the beautiful photos) was their Bucket List.

Now, I know about Bucket Lists, in fact we recently discussed them amongst fellow travellers on my trip to Costa Rica, but I’ve never actually put one together. So I’m happy to reflect on the Rough Guide Bucket List, and see which ones I may add to mine, should I concoct one at some point, and which ones I may already have nearly conquered…

*All images below are from the Rough Guides new website. If you want to witness the list in it’s proper glory, please go here. *

  1. Get Lost in Fez El Bali

    I once got very lost in Marrakesch. It was a sweltering day and I was getting very frustrated and overwhelmed as I couldn’t find the entrance to a particular fort. I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I didn’t enjoy getting lost in Morocco in that instance. I like wandering round souks, but I’m not sure that I ever like getting lost. Perhaps I need to learn to let go more. This one can stay off my list.

  2. Take the Trans-Mongolian Express

    Trans Mongolian RailwayYes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I’ve been trying to plan this for years. I first heard about this about 15 years ago when one of my best friends did this trip. The romance of travelling by train across barren and unfamiliar landscapes, facing harsh weather and remote wildernesses. I like the idea of piling on the wool and sheepskin layers and big hats to stay warm whilst slugging vodka from a hip flask to keep warm. Riding with Mongolian horsemen and meeting people who stare at you like you’re an alien. That REALLY feels like travelling to me. That is on the list.

  3. Conquer an Icelandic glacier

    I’ve never really had the urge to put on crampons and sling a pick over my shoulder and head up a glacier. I’m not really an ice person, more a snow person, happy to board down a glacier on a plank of wood… I’d love to look at icebergs from a boat and definately do some whale-spotting. And Iceland appeals massively – in fact it’s a hot contender for my honeymoon later this year – but that’s more midnight sun and Blue Lagoon. I’ll leave one this to Ranulph Fiennes wannabes.

  4. Travel to the Teatime islands

    Now, I have never heard of the Teatime Islands, but BOY do I want to go there! What a name! Provided they have tea, I’m there. But seriously, I love the idea of visiting remote islands out in the middle of the planet’s oceans and particularly the romance of arriving there by boat, again, really feeling the distance. I’m not sure I’ll ever get to the Teatimes, but maybe one day an island in the South Pacific… please..?

  5. Visit Herculaneum in the Shadow of Mount Vesuvius

    This summer I had a FABULOUS holiday romping around Italy. It was completely amazing and a major highlight was visiting Pompei, which is incredible, and then going to the top of Vesuvius. At the time I read that we should visit Herculaneum, but we just didn’t have the time. I’m sure that this would have completely blown my mind and I would absolutely be interested in going there next time we’re in that part of the world. Fascinating.

  6. Hike China’s Great Wall

    Great Wall of ChinaI REALLY want to go to China and see the Wall. I don’t have to hike it, although I’d like to go to a more remote part than the main tourist part so I guess that means I’d need to! When I look at photos of the Great Wall it looks so majestic, and of course there are never any people on it. Probably carrying out a hike is the only way to experience the “Great”ness of it. You can see it from space for goodness sake. This is 100% on the list.

  7. Climb Cadair Idris, Wales

    I’ve been to Wales a couple of times. Cardiff, to party, Rhyl and Bangor, for work. They were pretty nice. I know Wales has a wild and beautiful side, and this could be a great start. For some reason I still feel that I have to spend 5 hours on a plane, or move into a hotter climate in order to travel and explore. I should spend more time looking on my doorstep…

  8. Hunt for icebergs in Newfoundland

    This is in the bucket. If I’m on a boat and I’m looking at icebergs, I know I’ll be happy. So beautiful, so magical and mystical, mother nature at her most glamourous. Think of the photos, the feeling of fresh air. And Canada, I’m realising I need more of Canada in my life. It’s mostly Canadians that tell me this, but I believe them. Nature is BIG there.

  9. Tickle whales in Mexico

    Whale spottingI desperately want to see whales. I don’t care where, as long as they are big whales. I love all creatures underwater, whales, dolphins, killer whales, sharks. I’ve swum with sharks, spotted dolphins up really close, whales is the dream. Or killer whales. Both incredible. Mexico is beautiful and I’d happily go there to see them, or somewhere else. If I get to tickle them, all the better.

  10. Sail around the Galapagos

    Ever since we visited the Balasteros Islands in Peru and my jaw dropped and heart raced at the amount of life those islands were teeming with, I have had my sights on the Galapagos. It is the ultimate untouched paradise when it comes to interacting with nature. Friends who have been send back incredible pictures of up close encounters with the local wildlife. I want to go, badly, it’s just so darned far away and takes a lot of money to get there… I can dream and put it in the bucket.

  11. Swim with Manatees in Florida

    I saw one when in Guatemala, gliding under our boat. They’re crazy and beautiful in an ugly way. A nice alternative to swimming with dolphins, which I’d also like to do.

  12. Go volcano boarding in Leon

    volcanoWhy not? I’ve done snowboarding in europe and sandboarding in africa, why not ashboarding in Nicaragua? Just back from Costa Rica, it’s unlikely I’ll be there in a while, but the bucket lasts for a while. I felt like I once did this when descending Pacaya (Guatemala) on foot. Slipping and sliding in the dark whilst inhaling sulphur gas. A lasting and fun memory…

  13. Take a slow boat up the Nam Ou

    mekongNow, I’m trying to work out if I’ve done this. I definately took a boat from somewhere in North Thailand to Luang Prubang in Laos, on the Mekong, perhaps not this part. The one thing I do know, it wasn’t slow. It was fast, very fast. We crammed around 4 big westerners into this cramped longboat with a huge outboard motor, put crash helmets on and sat for around 4 hours whilst the motor was buzzing in our brains. The slow boat would be the way to go next time I’m in town.

  14. Watch elephant bathing in Nepal

    I love elephants, and had the pleasure of watching elephant bathing in Sri Lanka. I want to go to Nepal badly. Again a trip I’ve been trying to do for the last couple of years. It feels like it’ll complete my spiritual education, so perhaps not to watch elephants bath, specifically, but that would be a nice bonus.

  15. Eat steak in Buenos Aires

    That would be lovely. Thank you.

  16. Drive from Vinales to Cayo Jutias by scooter

    My friend and I once hired a scooter, or it may have been a motorbike, on Ko Samui in Thailand. We thought it looked easy (having never ridden one before) and a great way to get around. Within minutes it had leapt out of our hands and thrown itself onto its side in the middle of Chaweng high street. It was then too heavy to pick up. After that we decided to pay locals to drive us round and we’d cling to them and scream as they zipped around the island. That’s more my style, and Cuba is super high on my list, so I’ll just need to find someone to ride pillion with.

  17. Spend a night in Wadi Rum

    TICK! Yes, finally, one that I’ve done! And yes, HUGELY recommend this, one of the best and most memorable experiences of my life. So stunning, so peaceful, such a view of the bright moon and stars. Jordan is a fabulous country to experience, do it, do it soon.

  18. Feast on oysters in Bouzigues

    I discovered my love for oysters in New Orleans, and then followed it up with a visit to the Oyster bar under Grand Central Station in New York, I didn’t need to even go that far!

  19. Steam in a temazcal, Mexico

    Second mention of Mexico, one of my favourite countries and trips ever, albeit it a while ago. I love a good steam and recently experienced another recommended experience at South Korean bathhouses. I’d put that on the list instead.

Phew! That’s a lot to ponder and I’m not all the way through. Still, the bucket is filling up, and I’ll review the remainder soon!!

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