Our Bucket List 2014

Posted on January 2, 2014 by

**An update in November 2015: I’ve already crossed off all the items on this bucket list except for West Africa (which I’ll be going in 2016) and Everest Base Camp Trek! I’ll be writing a new bucket list shortly, stay tuned!**

With 2014  already upon us, we found ourselves drawing a mental list of places we want to visit in the new year. There’s Cuba – a country we’ve been wanting to visit but still haven’t had the chance to. There’s Brazil – again we missed Carnaval this year. Oh and Papua New Guinea… and the list goes on.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to write down our bucket list — hopefully this gets us more motivated to make it a reality. But keep in mind that this bucket list changes constantly. I’ll be keeping this list updated and I hope to tick some off and add new ones each year.

Witness a Sing-Sing in Papua New Guinea

As a unique far-flung archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, Papua New Guinea is made up of over 600 islands and 800 indigenous languages, creating a spectacular cultural mosaic. Adventure travel has really taken off in Papua New Guinea, with the Kokoda trek taking center stage — but what really interests me is the chance to witness the flamboyant and extraordinary sing-sings that locals put up in the villages of Papua New Guinea. I’ll be traveling to PNG in mid-January — it’s definitely a dream come true!

Flickr photo by ThePaperBoy

Celebrate Carnaval in Brazil

We’ve long dreamt of visiting Brazil during the Carnaval to join in the world’s biggest street party and explore the country’s wilderness at the same time. On our four-month trip around South America in 2008, we had left Brazil out of the itinerary as we knew such a big and diverse country needed more time to explore just on its own. It’s about time we head back to the continent we love so much. I’ll finally get the chance to visit this coming February (2014) – stay tuned for my report!

Carnaval in RioFlickr photo by kingjn

Wander through the Back Alleys of Cuba

Cuba has always been on our radar, not just for its unique flair and culture, and its time-warped feel. Having been closed to the outside world for decades, Cuba continues to be one of the few remaining destinations that’s relatively undisturbed by external influences. Now that the embargo is about to be lifted by the US government, we’re worried about the possible impact of tourism. We’ve definitely set our sights on visiting in August 2014.

Flickr photo by VisualStandpoint

Take the Trans-Mongolian Train to Mongolia

At the beginning of 2012, we had planned to go overland from Asia back to Europe and experience the Trans-Mongolian journey, a voyage that’s been on our wish list for many years. We didn’t end up taking the train due to time and budget constraints; but in 2014, I really want to make it happen. I hope to time the trip to coincide with the annual Nadaam Festival in Mongolia, when locals put on their best traditional garb and compete in wrestling competitions and other traditional activities.

Flickr photo by scott.presly

Criss-Cross Central Asia

I’ve been intrigued by the Central Asia region since watching a show on Discovery Channel a few years back. Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakstan and Azerbaijan interest me for their mix of cultures and history – being located in between Asia and the Middle East, they seem to have an identity that’s part Asian part Arabic. I’d love to take some time to explore the region and tread the Silk Road just like the ancient traders used to.

Flickr photo by Adam_Jones

Cruise West Africa

The only place I’ve been to in West Africa is Gambia, and it definitely piqued my interest in the traditional music and intriguing Voodoo culture of the region. G Adventures recently launched a West Africa cruise that sails along the entire coast from South Africa, through Congo, Benin, Sierra Leone, and all the way to Dakar. The voyage is on board the MS Expedition, the same ship that I sailed with to Antarctica and Arctic. I’m definitely hoping to join the trip in the near future.

Djenne mosque in MaliFlickr photo by Juan Manuel Garcia

Do the Everest Base Camp Trek

My recent trip to Nepal not only swept me off my feet but also got me hooked to trekking. It was a short three-day trek through the rice terraces of the Annapurna foothills and I thoroughly enjoyed the dramatic landscapes that we feasted on as well as the physical challenges and the camaraderie that came along with it. I’m hoping to do the Everest Base Camp Trek in a few years’ time when I get my fitness level back on track. From what I’ve heard, it’s an extremely challenging trek considering the altitude and the terrain but I really hope to do it someday.

Trekking in NepalFlickr photo by Steve Hicks

Walk the Camino de Santiago

Strange enough, even though we live in Spain, we still have yet to walk the Camino de Santiago – something that’s been on my bucket list for years. The ancient pilgrimage route stretches across northern Spain and ends at the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela. The most popular route is the Camino Francés which stretches 780 km and starts from St. Jean in France. My friends and I plan to do this in July 2014 – let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Walking the caminoPhoto by my friend Candace Rose Rardon from her walk

What’s Done

Over the past decade or so of intensive traveling, we’ve done some amazing stuff and managed to cross quite a few items off our old bucket list:

Go on an Antarctica Expedition

See the Northern Lights

Spot Polar Bears in the Arctic

Gorilla Tracking

Cage Shark Diving (twice!)

Swim with Whale Sharks

Go Skydiving

Climb an Active Volcano

Go on Safari in Africa (we’ve done this many times now – in KenyaZimbabweSouth AfricaBotswana and Namibia)

What’s on your bucket list? Share with us here!

About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

3 Responses to “Our Bucket List 2014”

  1. Debby January 2, 2014 11:00 am #

    Uff, Spain is way too hot in summer! Good luck :)

  2. kristy January 6, 2014 11:47 pm #

    I am also looking forward for the next 365 days of fun & adventure this year. I will be off to HongKong this Saturday with my friends for our reunion getaway. Oh I miss them.

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