Yemen + Socotra Island
Jordan – Wadi Rum, Petra
Syria – Damascus, Aleppo, Crac de Chevaliers
Lebanon – Beirut + Baalbek
Turkey – Istanbul (again), Sea of Marmara islands, Black Sea region, eastern Turkey, Pamukkale
Uzbekistan + Aral Sea
Mongolia + Trans-Mongolian Railway from Ulaanbaatar to Ulan-Ude (Russia)
Lake Baikal, Russia
Nepal + Bhutan + Tibet
Southeast Asia + the Pacific:
Hong Kong, China
Australia – Victoria + New South Wales
As you probably noticed, the most conspicuously missing part of this bucket list is Southeast Asia. And if you’ve read any of my previous bucketing posts, you will have already guessed the reasons. Yes, the climate of Southeast Asia is very probably the most inimical to me on this entire planet. I honestly think I would fare better in the middle of Australia’s Northern Territory or in Congo. And even if it weren’t for that, I just don’t find that much appealing in it. Sure, Angkor Wat looks fascinating and the beaches of Thailand are very attractive, but it’s not something that makes my heart beat faster.
And of course, there are places on this list that are once again very prohibitive to me (trekking in Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet, hello?), and would require months to prepare for, and then another couple of months in loco to acclimatize. But I have seen myself in Tibet since I was about 15 years old, and that’s that.
With central Asia, and the Russian portion of it in particular, I have a very deep and special relationship, and for years now I’ve thought of it as a kind of spiritual home; a journey I should undertake to uncover what I still don’t know about myself. I can’t wait for that to happen.