The Radical Dreamer's Travel Bucket List - 2016 Edition

In a bit of a change of pace from last week's very personal story, I'd like to take a moment to check in and provide an idea of what I'm hoping to do and where I'm hoping to go in the near future. As it is the very nature of such lists that they are subject to change, I’ll update this list periodically as I check things off and discover new ones along the way. For now, here are my top choices for 2016:

Bicycling the Pacific Coast Trail

Lone Cypress - Monterey, CA

From one of my very favorite cycling routes along the 17-mile drive in Monterey, California. The stunning coastal views here are but a small glimpse of what I hope to see along the way.

This has been on my personal bucket list for years. Admittedly, I'm not the strongest cyclist (though it is one of my very favorite things to do) and when I was originally planning this I had hoped to go from San Diego to Vancouver. After sitting down to do some serious research on routes, I learned that I would be biking into headwind the entire way in that direction and have since reconsidered. I will be continuing my training over the next few months in the hope that I'll be able to make this happen this summer. Wish me luck!

Hobbiton, New Zealand (2015)

"The Road goes ever on and on / Down from the door where it began. / Now far ahead the Road has gone, / And I must follow, if I can, / Pursuing it with eager feet, / Until it joins some larger way, / Where many paths and errands meet. / And whither then? I cannot say." - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Photo by Ashley Osborne. 

This is a more specific goal than the Middle-Earth tour that I had on my list last year, and I wanted to highlight Hobbiton specifically for its significance to the journey. I grew up reading Tolkien's work, and it has been a profound influence on my life. Bilbo's journey of self-discovery and change is something that I find has been manifest in my decisions over the years, and I find the sense of adventure and hope in "The Hobbit" to be particularly inspiring.

As a tradition, I have been reciting this quote from "The Lord of the Rings" when leaving on longer trips for years. And I hope to for many years to come!

Sakura festival and cherry blossoms in Japan

Taken during a night festival held in Kyoto's Maruyama park. 

Taken during a night festival held in Kyoto's Maruyama park. 

To be fair, this was just crossed off the list right before the site launched. Of the times that I have visited Japan in the past, I had not yet visited in the spring. Having an opportunity to visit again on my way back to the United States over the last month has been extraordinary. May this picture do some justice.

Antarctica

Photo by Marc-Andre_LeTourneux/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Marc-Andre_LeTourneux/iStock / Getty Images

While this is unlikely to happen anytime in the near future, Antartica is a major goal of mine. As a place that is rapidly changing, and one of the most incredible and unique environments on the planet, Antartica is an experience that I feel should not be missed. I would love to find a way to share it with you all.

Scuba Diving in the medeterranian, Indonesia, French Polynesia and Australia

Photo Credit: Nicolas Voisin Photo taken during my Open Water certification dive with Easy Divers in Koh Samui, Thailand

Photo Credit: Nicolas Voisin

Photo taken during my Open Water certification dive with Easy Divers in Koh Samui, Thailand

I enjoy learning new skills regularly, as they provide opportunities to experience the world in new ways. Learning to scuba dive was an incredible experience, and I am so excited to see all of the new places that I can go because of it.

Trekking in the swiss alps

Photo by fisfra/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by fisfra/iStock / Getty Images

As someone who enjoys hiking quite a bit, I still have a lot to learn about multi-day camping and serious mountaineering. The swiss alps are my next major milestone, and from what I have seen and heard, should be utterly breathtaking. Stay tuned!

Comparisons

For reference, here was the list I had written for last year: 

1) The Camino de Santiago from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago
Status: Complete! This was by far the most meaningful and extraordinary experience that I had last year. I will be revisiting this (probably several times) on the site in the future.

2) Riding a camel near Casablanca or Fez in Morocco
Status: Half complete! I rode a camel, but haven't yet made it to Morocco or Africa.

3) The Edinburgh Military Tattoo festival (will likely be doing this for my birthday)
Status: Complete! I was very glad that I was able to see this, but even more so for encountering the Fringe festival in Edinburgh that happens concurrently that I had a blast with.

4) Visiting the Coliseum and the Catacombs in Italy
Status: Half complete! I missed the Catacombs, and I guess that I'll just have to go back someday. Too bad.

5) Riding the Starry Night bicycle path in the Netherlands
Status: Complete! Very difficult to find, and somewhat short, but all kinds of magical.

6) Middle-Earth tour in New Zealand
Status: Incomplete, and on the current list.

7) Viewing the sunrise at Angkor Wat in Cambodia
Status: Incomplete, and definitely something that I hope to do in the future.

8) Taking the Zephyr line from Chicago to San Francisco
Status: Incomplete. After spending several days on a train in Russia by myself, I think that I may reconsider this until after I have some friends to come with me.

9) Climbing Machu Picchu in Peru
Status: Incomplete, and I'd like to spend some significant time in South America. I'll save this until after I've gotten some well deserved rest!

10) Visiting the remaining 6 modern wonders of the world (found the CN tower today and it was amazing)
Status: Incomplete, and in retrospect I think that this was kind of cheating. In the future, I'll try to avoid lists with a numerical head count.

Conclusions

I hope this gives you a good idea of some of the things that I hope to accomplish in the future (along with my relative success rate. Four out of ten isn't that bad). Please feel free to comment with any suggestions or questions, I'd love to discover what your favorite places are!

See you next week,
The Radical Dreamer