Right now I’d say the odds of the entire world coming to a catastrophic and sudden end is probably more likely than me dying.
Because a) I’m pretty much invincible and am gonna live forever no matter what science, biology, and sense dictate, ok?! and b) Kim Jong-Un.
That man baffles me more than the subjunctive form, Ronaldo’s sexuality and the offside rule combined, and the North Korea making the whole world implode fear is so real in my life right now that I’ve had not one but three Kim Jong-Un related dream-slash-nightmares in the last two weeks.
The first (and admittedly most bizarre) focused around us sending my mother’s ashes to North Korea because Kim Jong-Un was heading up this “innovative” new campaign which involved planting dead people’s remains at the base of a tree and then using nuclear warheads to shoot those trees off up into space, where the dead would come back to life and start a new civilization on a previously undiscovered planet. Very long sentence, very sorry.
In the second dream, I married a North Korean woman and our house caught fire because I forgot to remove the government-issued safety foil from the bottom of the saucepan before boiling water. We didn’t manage to grab our Kim Jong-Un portrait before the house burnt down, and so the next thing I knew we were being frogmarched to a public execution zone by armed guards. We weren’t executed but were instead sentenced to a punishment of eating 1000 dumplings in an hour. Then I woke up.
Disclaimer: As far as I’m aware there’s no such thing as government-issued safety foil in any respect, least of all when it comes to metal cooking utensils. Also, in case you were curious, the current World Record holder of the most dumplings eaten in two minutes is Australian Isaac Harding (GO ON AUSTRALIA!), with a quite fantastic 30.
In the third, most recent, and probably most believable dream, the North Korean Ballistic Missile Department (is there such thing?) aimed one of their prototypes directly at my office building in Cardiff Bay. Realistically I can’t imagine the Roath Basin being very high on any country’s list of targets, so I think I’m actually quite safe for now. Phew.
Can you tell I’ve read one too many books about North Korea in the past few weeks?
So, in light of the fact that the world is pretty much permanently teetering on the edge of doom right now, I decided I’d whip together this little listicle type post on a bunch of trips I really really want to take before we all turn into one big bowl of jam.
See India on the back of a motorbike
I’ve never been shy about letting my feelings towards India be known. It’s one of the most incredible yet infuriating and frustrating countries I’ve ever been to, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it. In fact, I’m planning on hopefully using up what little annual leave I have left just to squeeze in a week of Indian indulgence before Christmas, and if the willingness to spend 30 hours+ travelling just to spend 6 days somewhere isn’t testimony enough to how much I love it, I don’t know what is.
Read more about India here
The next time I go to India for an extended amount of time, though (i.e. longer than a short few days), I want it to be spent zooming through the hills and forests and deserts on the back of a motorbike. It has to be the back because a) I don’t have a licence and b) I wouldn’t trust myself to drive a toy car on Indian roads. I want to have the freedom to stop wherever a stop is deserved, to truly experience the nature and beauty of the country, and to see it through more than just a tourist’s eyes. I also want to drive really fast.
I actually asked one of my friends if he’d drive me from Kerala to Jammu & Kashmir on his bike and he said yes, but then he sold his bike to buy a plane ticket to the UK so yeah, one day.
Fan girl over Bob Marley in Jamaica
Back before I booked my ticket to spend the summer volunteering in Peru in 2011, the original plan was to go to Jamaica. The flight prices were almost the same, the cost of the volunteer program was almost the same, and the temptation to let my inner Marley run wild and free was almost too much. Eventually, common sense and thinking about my future (yuck) and what was best in the long run prevailed, and I ended up on an American Airlines flight to Peru via Miami because the 6 weeks of Spanish practice would put me in good stead for the degree I was about to pursue.
Fast forward six years and it’s not that I regret going to Peru, because I don’t, but I do wish I’d given Jamaica more weight in the internal argument with myself.
And believe it or not, it’s not the crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches and palm trees that are calling me, but everything Bob Marley. Specifically, the Bob Marley Museum, which I’ve heard mixed things about BUT is situated in his ACTUAL HOUSE so how could I not want to go there?! I also read Aisha’s post about bamboo rafting down the Rio Grande a few months ago and found myself drooling at her Instagram pictures and so Jamaica, YES PLEASE!
Hike Venezuela’s Mount Roraima
Hiking is not in my list of top 100 favourite things to do. If I absolutely had to rank it, it’d probably come in at around 120th, somewhere between eating gravel and changing my bed sheets. Still, hiking Mount Roraima has been an absolute dream of mine ever since I missed out on the chance due to lack of time (and money!) on my last trip to Venezuela.
I want to stand above the clouds without being on an airplane. I want to be able to easily imagine a time where dinosaurs still roamed without any modern structures or inventions getting in my way. I also want to pretend I’m Russell from Up, trying to find the elusive Kevin.
Venezuela isn’t exactly the most stable of countries right now. And for that reason, I’ll probably give it a few years before I go back, but I will go back. And I will make that 6-day hike like I’ve never hiked before (because I kind of haven’t really).
Fulfil my mother’s dream in Egypt
To put it simply, I want to do what my mother couldn’t. She always wanted to visit Egypt but didn’t get the chance. In fact, it was her desire to see the Pyramids that led me to fulfill my own dream of seeing all of the New 7 Wonders of the World so I guess I kind of owe her this.
The history behind the Great Pyramids fascinates me, and it’s just incredible to think how these beauties must have been built before modern technology and forklifts existed! If you’ve ever tried to build a pyramid out of Lego, just imagine the levels of frustration the Ancient Egyptians must have felt when they had to try and build the same thing but about a gazillion times bigger?!
Take a campervan around New Zealand
New Zealand was never really big in my mind as a place I have to visit. That is, until it became a reality that I kind of definitely almost certainly can visit it next year for as long as I like. Or at least for as long as a 6-month visitor visa would allow me. So probably six months.
Ever since it became an option, I haven’t been able to stop myself searching different routes for a road trip that stretches across both the islands, taking in the most recognisable of New Zealand’s sights such as Milford Sound, Franz Josef Glacier, Lake Wanaka and, of course, Hobbiton, as well as the lesser known yet equally lush destinations dotted around the country.
Now I want nothing more than to source driving lessons, pass my driving test, buy an open-return ticket to New Zealand and rent a campervan to slowly navigate my way around the country.
Take the Maya Route through Central America
I’m not sure if the Maya Route is an actual thing or not, but I once read about it and now can’t for the life of me find anything officially declaring it an actual route. Anyway, it’s basically a route through Central America, taking in any and all Mayan archaeolgical sites along the way.
These are included, but not limited to, Chichen Itza, Tikal, Copán and the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave. The first two I was lucky enough to visit during my last jaunt across the pond, but I missed out on the latter thanks to Hurricane Earl and the chaos he left behind him. And you know how sometimes when you go out for dinner you’re torn between ordering two things, so order one and then spend the rest of your life regretting your decision not to go for the other? That’s how I feel right now after choosing to climb a not very exciting volcano in Guatemala instead of heading south to Honduras to see Copán.