There are affiliate links in here. I get a small commission if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you.
I’ve never really sat down and made a bucket list before and I still don’t know if I’d count this as one, but it kind of is. Obviously, I want to do a lot more than whats on this list but this is kind of like, a priority list.
I want to do these things first (even though I’ll do other things between them) but these are the top of my never-ending list. I guess that makes it a bucket list haha.
This list feels like it changes a lot and sometimes I want to go somewhere really bad out of nowhere but these have been at the top of my list for a very long time. Well, most of them have.
I have so many actual helpful posts from this fall to write but I just really want to do this instead. If you’ve been here for any amount of time, you know I love visiting the national parks in the US, but there is so much else I want to see out of the US that I never really talk about.
I just want to share some of the other places I want to go and things I want to do. It’s a mix of cities, nature, single countries, big trips, and even a couple of places I’ve already been. I’ll get into specifics for all of them though.
And of course, I couldn’t pick just twenty places so there are seven honorable mentions at the bottom. Some of the big trips and specific places overlap but I know smaller trips are more likely, not that any of this is official in any capacity.
I’ve also been trying to surround myself with books, photos, and shows/documentaries about all of these places to help me stop spending money so I can go to all these places sooner haha. I thinking writing about them might also help keep me excited and on track.
Some places I have a very specific thing I want to see or do but others I’ve just been interested in for years for some random reason. I’ve just wanted to go because of a picture or blog post I saw one time and it stuck.
So, here, in no particular order, are the top twenty places on my bucket list and seven other places that just missed the cut.
I literally just bought a book because it mentioned Greenland in the first paragraph of the preface. It sounded interesting anyway, but that really sold me. (I’m working on this a few days later, too, and just got another artic book.)
For years I’ve had this fixation on visiting Greenland and all kinds of other nordic and polar places (as you’ll see on this list) and I really don’t know what started it.
I remember Amanda from A Dangerous Business was going to have a group trip here and I thought about going pretty hard but I didn’t. It just looks so vast and beautiful and desolate. Ugh. I love it.
I won’t lie, I’m not even sure what I would do there or what there is to do there. I just Googled and the things I would definitely like to do there are seeing icebergs and glaciers, whale watching and kayaking.
I also want to do all the hiking around Ilulissat (everywhere, really) and see all the little towns. And if it’s the right season, see northern lights and maybe go dog sledding. And seeing the midnight sun! So many thingsssss!
In the meantime, I’ll just keep reading about Greenland to hold me over.
Ahh, Madagascar. I ask almost everyone I know if you were a tree, what kind would you be? and Baobabs are one of two answers I have. (The other is a nice Christmas tree, but like, homemade ornaments from family and childhood, more sentimental than department store.)
Again, I really don’t know that much about Madagascar but I think the lemurs really sold me. I actually even have a lemur onesie.
Like before, I have no idea what to see and do in Madagascar other than Baobabs and lemurs which is all I need. Oh! And chameleons. Another fun fact, I almost got a chameleon because I love them so much. I almost got a lobster once in college, too, that I was going to name Janet.
I would also love to visit the two national parks and all the beaches because I love me a good beach.
This one I actually know how it got on the list: I saw someone I knew went there and shared a picture almost like this one and that was it. I had to go.
I haven’t yet but it has not left the top part of my list since that picture probably ten years ago and I don’t think it will until I actually get to go.
I also actually know a few things I want to do when I do eventually go! I want to see these mountains , Dallol, the crazy red, orange, yellow, and green thermal pools, the underground churches of Lalibela, and all the national parks which there are a surprising number of.
And of course, the food. I don’t really know anything about Ethiopian food and I’ve never had it but I always hear how good it is and can’t wait to try all of it.
This one I also know how it landed so high on this list! Way back in 2014, Liz from Young Adventuress went to Mongolia and that sealed the deal.
Then I watched the show Departures over and over and specifically the Mongolia episodes even more. That just really reinforced it’s place on my list, which will also be at the top until I actually go there.
I would even ride a horse here and that’s saying something since two days ago I said, exactly, “I don’t care for horses and I don’t care if I ever ride one.”
I want to experience the steppe, the Gobi desert, literally everything there is to experience in Mongolia. It’s not my number one priority to visit, but it is very high on the list that I said was in no particular order. Top five for sure.
Penguins. That’s it. That’s why I want to go. I’m kidding. Sort of. I think this one can be attributed to the show Frozen Planet which I watched A LOT of in college. Like, so much.
The wildlife, the vastness, the ice, everything! I will watch every Antarctica documentary I come across and have started reading Antarctica books, too.
I know this trip will be incredibly expensive but I cannot wait to go. Because of the cost, I know it won’t be super soon unless something crazy happens, but I think about it a lot.
I also think this could be combined into one major amazing trip with Argentina and Chile. A few on this list could be combined or broken up and this is one of them. I WANT TO GO TO ANTARCTICA SO BAD.
This one is number one on my list (that’s in no particular order haha) and my number one priority because I want to see polar bears before I can’t anymore. It sounds dramatic but that’s for a reason. The ice is melting.
I know there are other places I can go to see polar bears but this is where I want to see them first. I think I can also thank Amanda Williams for this one. It’s another one I know will be expensive but it will be SO worth it.
I want to see polar bears, kayak with beluga whales, see all the other wildlife, see northern lights, everything. I know I’ll do this one as a tour because it sounds pretty tough to visit without one and cost is pretty comparable.
Ugh. I just can’t wait to go here and I think about it so much. It just looks so amazing!
South Pacific island hopping
You’ve probably noticed most of these places I have no, or very little, idea of why I added some of these places to my bucket list. The other big chunk of them were added because of travel bloggers I’ve followed forever.
This one I know I ca. thank Lauren Juliff from Never Ending Footsteps for. I had read a book set in the Marshall Islands in college, too, which also made me want to go, but her island hopping trip sealed the deal.
There are so many islands to choose from in the South Pacific and I know it’s also pretty expensive to visit this region and do lots of island hopping but it just looks so dreamy and totally worth it. Another trend for this list? So many places or experiences are very expensive which makes them harder to get to.
I don’t know which islands specifically I’d want to see, but Tonga, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, are on this list for sure. I’ll even snorkel here which I am not a fan of but how could I not? For now I’ll just keep reading about the South Pacific, too.
When I started my seasonal job in Bullfrog in 2016, I had plans to go to Argentina and Chile after. I didn’t but I still really wanted to and I think that year for Christmas I asked for the Lonely Planet books for Argentina, Chile, and South America on a Shoestring.
I still haven’t been but man, do I know quite a bit about both from all my planning! I think these landed on my bucket list because of Along Dusty Roads. You’ll see them again later on this list.
I would love to be able to spend like, a month or two road tripping Argentina and Chile from north to south. I love the variety of landscapes, the desert, the mountains, the forests, all of it.
I want to see the Atacama and its flamingos, Salta, Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Calafate, Perito Moreno, Ushaia, Patagonia, literally everything. I will also watch everything I can about both of these places. Also, I cannot wait for all of the food.
Ahh, I. eland. This is a more recent addition to the list (within the last couple of years) mostly because of Iceland with a View. Lately, though, Crime by the Book has moved it up more and she just write s about Iceland books!
I’ve followed a few Iceland accounts on Instagram for a while, but now I think I’m following like, 60. II’m probably following every Nordic account possible.
This is another place I’d love to have like, a month to road trip around the whole island (and then go back because it’s so amazing) but I’m torn between visiting in summer or winter! Also, I know how expensive a moth there would be, but again, So worth it.
I want to see all the waterfalls, hike everything, see the moss, the volcanoes, the puffins! Beaches, northern lights, geysers, glaciers, Icelandic horses, Reykjavik, seriously, everything.
This is the first one on the list that I’ve already been to and I love it so much I want to go back. I think about going back all the time and it’s definitely a priority for me.
I spent a month there and would love to do that again. This is one of the places that, flight aside, would be much more affordable to visit meaning I may be able to go back sooner than later.
Another month here would be amazing so I could eat all the food, hike everything, and visit lots of little islands, too. I even started making a hiking list for Taiwan on AllTrails. I also have a lot of Taiwan books I want to read before going.
I want to go back to Taipei for at least a week, to the cute little artist market in Hualien, to Taroko Gorge, Kenting, Penghu, Lanyu, Taichung, Kaohsiung, Jiufen, I just love it all so much. I even have a whole Taiwan bucket list.
Overlanding Central Asia
Silvia from Heart my Backpack is responsible for this one. This one could tie in with a trip to Mongolia or just be it’s own thing. Lost With Purpose has reinforced that this needs to happen. I mean, look a this!
Adventures of Lil Nicki was another blogger I’ve followed for a while for her Central Asia content. This is another region I’ll read and watch everything about.
Unless I was visiting each country individually, I don’t think I would want to do this trip in less than two months. It’s such a vast region and there is so much to see, I would want as much time as possible.
I want to see the weird Turkmenistan, the Silk Road architecture, the mountains, try the food, meet the people, all. of it. This region just fascinates me and it’s so shockingly. beautiful in the cities and nature.
The next two could technically go together, but the Amazon looks amazing enough to warrant its own spot on my list. The bugs sound terrible but I’ll deal with it to see the rainforest.
I think I’ve always wanted to go to the Amazon but reading a few books about the Amazon really ramped that up. Its yet another place on this list that I will read and watch anything about that I come across.
I would love to go on a Tamandua Expeditions trip but would like to see more than one area of the jungle. I don’t really know specific areas I’d want to go through.
I just know I want to see the Amazon River, the plants, the pink dolphins, the bugs (not the mosquitos or bitey ones though haha), and all the critters. I don’t want to kayak the river from source to sea or traverse the entire thing on foot, I just want to experience it.
Overlanding Central/South America
I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million more times, I love Latin America and want to see all of it. While I want to road trip Argentina and Chile, I just want to do an OG overland Central/South America trip.
There is no particular person that landed this on the list but I think Along Dusty Roads really helped, especially when it comes to learning about more off-the-beaten-path places.
I’ve been to Central America and Ecuador and the Galapagos and would love to go back because there is so much more I want to see. I would go for smaller trips to individual countries, but like, 2-6 months for a major trip would be a dream. Even a few two-month trips to different areas.
I want to visit Machu Picchu (more on Peru below), the Uyuni Salt Flats, La Paz, Guatape, Banos, the Colombian coast and its cities, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana, Brazil, and so many places in all of these, I can’t even list them all.
And that’s just South America. Can’t forget all the Mayan ruins, the islands of Panama, Somoto canyon, beaches of El Salvador, everything Guatemala, and of course the volcanoes, jungles, and beaches in Costa Rica.
This is the final place on the list that I’ve been to and just really want to go back to. Even more now than usual. Japan is such an amazing place and I don’t think it would be on this list if I hadn’t already been there, but honestly, who. knows.
I went there at the last minute and have been thinking about going back pretty much since I left, but more now than usual.
I would love to go back for like, a month to eat all the food, especially in Osaka, see snow monkeys, do all the weird things in Tokyo, temple hop in Kyoto, see Mount Fuji and Kawaguchiko and Aokigahara, the beaches of Okinawa, hike all over, see the national parks, everything.
I can’t even list everything because you’ll be here forever. You can check out my Japan bucket list if you want to see more specific places and activities.
I think Brenna from This Battered Suitcase is responsible for this one. Five or so years ago she went to Bhutan and I’ve really wanted to go since then.
I don’t want to go as much as other places on this list, but it’s still pretty high up there. I know it’s expensive to go there (like, minimum $200 per day) but they keep it like that to keep tourism numbers down and not overwhelming.
This isn’t somewhere I want to go for weeks or months (not that I would say no to going for more than a week) but I also just don’t know much about it other than the Tigers Nest Monastery.
I think this would be a good place to add to another trip to the region, like South Korea, Japan, or China. It just looks like such a beautiful place!
I’ve wanted to go to Chernobyl for like, ten years. It’s always fascinated me and I love abandoned things. It’s another place I’ll watch everything I see about it and there are quite a few Chernobyl books I also want to read.
There isn’t a whole lot to say about this one because there is only so much to do there but I can’t wait to go. I have no plans for this in the near future whatsoever but it’ll always be on the list.
Now here’s a controversial one. North Korea. I know I’ll probably never visit but that doesn’t mean it can’t go on my list. I’ve been so fascinated by it for years, since 2016 when I got my first book about North Korea.
This was another place I saw on Departures and watched the episodes multiple times. I will watch almost anything about it, it’s just such a strange place.
Obviously, if I ended up going before things change there which is not likely (there’s basically no chance of this) there would be no say in what to see or do. I also can’t say 100% that I wouldn’t go now, it would just entirely depend on the situation.
I also just don’t know if I could even let myself visit in its current state (not post 2020 state but its pre-2020 state) even though I want to. I’ve also accepted I may never go here. And no, the DMZ wouldn’t count for me but I would still go to that.
This is a hard one to put into words. I want to go now, and I would consider it, but I also don’t want to. I know everything in the last four paragraphs is contradictory but I just don’t know.
I have no idea how this ended up on my list but it’s been there a long time and I don’t see that changing. I even started planning a trip to the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Iceland one time with no immediate plans to go.
I don’t know any specific things to do here, but I do know I want to do all the hiking, kayaking, and puffin watching. I would love for this to be part of a bigger arctic or Nordic trip.
Overlanding Southern Africa
There isn’t anything specific that landed this on my list, just a general love of wildlife and it just being one of those places. I mean, look at it! Giraffes! Lions! Elephants!
I will also read all of the books about travel in Africa. Nicole Eddy and Helen in Wonderlust didn’t ignite this need to visit but they definitely helped it out.
This is another trip I would love to have a month or two to do, whether it’s a road trip or just Overlanding with trains or buses or something else? Even just joining a safari group or something? I really know nothing about the best way to get around the region.
I do know I want to see Table Mountain, all the wildlife and national parks, the Okavango Delta, Deadvlei and Sossusvlei, the Skeleton Coast, Kilimanjaro, and so much more. I think this one is a little further off, too, but you never know.
This is a recent addition to my bucket list (like this week) but now I just NEED to go. It’s been on and off my radar but never had a solid spot there. Until now.
I really don’t even know what got me hooked on this one. One of the people I met in Taiwan worked there and I think that started it but I also think just random pictures recently really sealed the deal.
I don’t know how long I would want for this trip but 2+ weeks would be best. I always think that’s best. I briefly suggested a big trip to Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, and Taiwan the other day for a couple of months and that sounds pretty great.
I don’t know much about what to see there, but I do know Seoul, Jeju Island, Busan, the DMZ, and that’s it. I also want to eat everything.
Finally, the honorable mentions. These are the places that I also really want to visit, but maybe not as much as others or that would be part of a bigger trip above but could also warrant their own trip. If that makes sense.
I won’t go into these as much as above but I’ll mention a few things I want to do there or why it’s on my list. They’re all places that look and sound wonderful to me that have attracted my attention for some reason or another.
You’ll notice a little more Europe on here, which is almost non-existent in the list above (Greenland, Iceland, and Faroe Islands aside) but still not much. They all have one thing in common though: food.
- Morocco – Morocco is a place that has sounded interesting for a while but also very intimidating. I have no idea when I’ll get here but I want to explore the souks, eat all the food, see Chefchaouen, and visit the Sahara.
- Peru – Peru! I put this on the big list, then switched it with overlanding South/Central America, then put it back then moved it here. I think it will firmly switch between them. I want to see Machu Picchu, of course, the Nazca Lines, the Amazon, Rainbow Mountain, Huacachina, and more.
- Paris – I have no idea why I want to go to Paris so badly, but I do and I have for years. I’ve even heard how much people I know hate it but I still want to go very much. i want to wander the streets, go to all the bookshops, and eat all the pastries.
- Italy – I want to see all the great places in Italy, but I really just want to eat my way around the country. Pizza, pasta, gelato, sign me up!
- China – I actually looked at a transit visa for China to go through Beijing for a few days on my Taiwan/Philippines trip. I ended up not doing it but sometimes I wish I did! I want to see Beijing, the Great Wall, temples, mountains, all of it.
- Greece – I want to go to Greece to eat olives. The islands are a bonus, but the olives are the main attraction. If you know a better place to go just to eat olives, I’d love to hear it.
- Norway – Finally, Norway. This is part of my newish Nordic fascination. I want to see all the nature and the northern lights and that’s about all I know other than I can’t wait to go.
Have you been to any of these places? Which ones? What did you think of them? What places are on your bucket list?