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Trip Leader Niyati Saxena: Travel Bucket List

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My personal travel bucket list

Ask anyone who truly loves travelling about their bucket list and they’ll tell you its endless. I want to sit around a bonfire and stargaze when I’m camping out on a snowclad mountain top. I want to swim in possibly all of the continents. I want to live and breathe the culture of so many folks. Heh, basically I want to pick up an Atlas and get lost in each of its pages. I wish I was a witch from Harry Potter’s world, I would simply “apparate” to one page’s location each day. But as I’m a mere muggle I shall make my peace with making this list and ticking places off one after the other (while simultaneously adding more places!). So, in no particular order. Here’s my wish list for Santa!

  • Rome, Italy

Rome Italy

I could say I’m a history enthusiast to sound fancy. But basically, I’m that nerdy kid from school who loved her History lessons more than anything. Italy is the country with the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites across the entire globe. Now when you say that to someone like me, I envision it to be Disneyland! I want to lounge my legs across the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Stairs) as I read a book about the Roman Empire. I want to sip Italian coffee around Trevi Fountain as I make wishes in the world-famous fountain. I want to slowly walk through the Colleseum, not just at night but even in the broad daylight when I can actually picture the gladiator battles that it was once home to. The convent school girl inside of me can’t even wait to enter St. Peters Basilica. Oh Rome, I have dreamed of you for too long.

Trevi Foundation

Also, let’s not forget just how good the food is going to be there. When I was 14 years old my parents visited Rome and I begged them to bring me an actual authentic Italian pizza. I doubt they ever realized that a square pizza is all it would take to make their little girl happy simply because she knew where it’s coming from. (Weird fact: The city of museums even has a museum dedicated purely to pasta).

On his own trip

Those close to me know of my one month in Rome dream. There is a difference between visiting a place and between experiencing it. So, visiting Rome isn’t in my bucket list but living in Rome for minimum one month is. I want to visit the smallest country in the world, the Vatican City. I want to learn about the she-wolf who is believed to have protected the mythological creators of Rome, brothers Romulus and Remus. I want to finish entire history books in the very places for which they were written. I want to hear the local anecdotes and folklore from the old countrymen and women. I want to experience this open-air museum in a way that lets me live a lot more than what my books let on.

  • Guna Yala islands

Guna Yala islands

In Panama’s Caribbean coast, there are 365 tiny islands that together form the San Blas archipelago. If you are a water baby, then trust me and go search for “Guna Yala”, the yummy blue waters will leave your mouth watering or your wanderlust lusting (Erm? ? )

If there’s a water body around I must jump in it. It’s usually hard to get me out of the water because I will swim and float and soak it all in till time permits. I once met an Italian woman who was headed to the island of Koh Rong for 10 days. Everyone kept asking her what she would in a tiny island for so long. She retorted in her thick accent, if there is a beach where I can dip myself, dig my feet in the sand and hear the sound of the waves, trust me I needn’t move from that spot for days. I smiled widely hearing that because I related to each word.

Guna Yala

Beyond the beauty of Guna Yala, is its added mystery which simply invites me further. The island is home to the Guna tribe who are the first indigenous group in Latin America to gain political autonomy. The Guna people have embraced a few aspects of urban living but greatly wish to preserve their own local traditions. I wish to say “Na” (Hello) to them, forge a friendship without a common language but with a smile and get a close look at what their culture truly is. In these islands, the women are the major decision makers. While our traditional concept of “development” may have us believe that the islands are far off in that regard, there is reason to believe that they are truly very developed in some aspects. The Guna people are per se very gender neutral. In fact, it is perfectly normal for a male in Guna to assume and adopt a female gender identity if she associates to it. The islands have so many customs unique to them, that it takes my attraction to Guna a notch higher.

Best islands of the world

Who knows, if I’m lucky enough I’ll one day attend the Nogapope, a traditional dance celebration on February 25th to mark the victory of the Guna people in their revolution. Let’s just hope I can sing; I’ve got the moves like Guna!

  • Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov

I joke that I belong to a different era. Now the veracity of that statement is debatable but well until then I can at least let myself get lost in places that belong to a different era, right? La di da, folks, let’s jump into why Cesky Krumlov seems like such a dreamy delight.

Renaissance architecture

How best to recall the tales of the Renaissance era than to tread into the labyrinth of laneways that are tucked around with true Renaissance architecture? We’d start off by visiting the aristocratic rulers’ Cesky Krumlov Castle. To see Baroque theatre and even climb its bell tower. To roam amidst the tapestries and paintings of a picture-perfect place. Growing up, my family and I moved around a lot. What my father would ensure was that each city we lived in or each place we visited we definitely went to the museum. So, of course when in Cesky I wish to visit its museums to understand my surroundings better. When I dream of my visit there, I think of bumping into some locals or some fellow travellers, walking through the old streets in Art City and sharing a story or two. Because hey, aren’t we all suckers for a good story?

Cesky Krumlov

Maybe we’d get a drink at a cosy little pub tucked away in corner. Maybe we’d have ourselves a small picnic on the Vlatava riverside. Maybe the town square tales will temporarily transport us to a different time. And maybe that would be enough to remember it all till the end of our own time? ?

  • South Africa

South Africa

A few months back I wrote a small article on places to visit. South Africa was in the list and can I just say that the post took me a really long time to finish because I started reading more and more about South Africa, I started pining for it a little more! If you’re a creature of varied interests who cannot pick which one to go after, then this one is for you. Wildlife, history, adventure and food – all together served on a platter – that is what South Africa is all about.

Kruger National Park

There’s always been this inclination and rather a fascination towards national parks. So, South Africa’s very own Kruger National Park had me wondering. It is so large that it is stretched across three countries – Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. It prides itself for having some of the best wilderness trails and I’m all but throwing on my shoes to go hiking. There’s a quiet you only get to truly ear inside of a national park or a forest. To be quiet and to observe wildlife up close and personal excites me in ways I cannot explain.

Capetown South Africa

The trip to be would not be complete without setting foot in Capetown. Beaches and waterfronts are of course a major reason. But if that sounds exciting, then you’ll be happy to know that Boulders Beach in Capetown gives you the chance of walking on the beach and spotting penguins. Yep, just a stroll on the beach and you see penguins. Casual. (Yeah, right!) Happy Feet, here I come.

And just what would life be without a little adventure? Bungee jumping, Sandboarding, Skydiving – I’ll tick off everything from my bucket list! To try something truly adventurous, I want to take a shot at blokarting. A blokart is a land yacht for you to zip about. Sign me up! There’s also shark cage diving. But I’m going to sit that one out. :p

  • Lord Howe island
  • Lord Howe island

It is a tiny Australian island in the Tasman Sea. Known for hikes to dreamy tops overlooking breath-taking views, Lord Howe is a gem away from commercial Australia. Seabirds can be spotted easily over here as they breed in hundreds. Not only that, we can also hand feed fish at Neds Beach.


I’ve always loved snorkelling and diving. There’s a vacuum in which you can only hear the soft waves as you swim around gazing at different fishes and species. This island let’s you spot about 500 species including turtles and reef fish. I’ve seen adventurers diving at the Eye of a Roach which is a cavity of limestone rocks with the water flowing through and you get jump right in between!

Eye of Roach

What’s an island destination without a sunset that leaves you sighing? ?

Lord Howe island

What I love is that the island allows only 400 visitors at a point of time. A little closer to nature, a little further from the regular business.  Lo mai aayi aayi aayi :p

So, there’s um just the beginning of my travel bucket list. I shall go back to daydreaming now. Well, until I get to check something off my bucket list. Soon. ?

  1. Note: Images are sources from Google and belong to their rightful owners.
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