Bucket List of Experiences
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So many people are driven by lists of *countries* to go to – including me – but writing that post I started thinking about what things I want to experience that aren’t necessarily anchored to a particular country.
Travel The Length of The Nile
This obsession started young – I was 8 years old when The Mummy was released, and I was obsessed with Egypt from that moment on.
Later I discovered fantastic books and programs which talked about finding the source of the Nile. Joanna Lumley (or as I like to call her, The Incomparable JLums) explores the Nile from Alexandria to (one of the) mountain sources – and is fabulous while doing it!
There are also some fantastic books out there about the Victorian explorers, and some modern ones, who walked the length of the Nile.
My dream is to take a boat, and sail the whole way. But I KNOW that the complications to this – warzones, controlled passage, and boarders crossings in Africa aren’t always easy. I think I would be content with a mixture of boats, trains, and motorbikes!
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An Epic Train Journey
There are a few options for this one – The Orient Express, The Maharajah Express, the Trans-Siberian.
The Orient Express was made famous by Agatha Christie, and the companies that run that route now make sure guests do it in the height of style. It was originally created in 1883 by Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. It’s most popular era though, was the 1930’s. This train route really treuly saw history, it was suspended during the world wars because … well… war. These days the name is used by private companies to sell you the experience – but that is what i want, the experience!
The Maharajah Express, now this is a luxury train. 23 carriages long you stay in complete luxury while you wind your way through India. This is one of those experiences that I would probably need a sponsored trip or a lottery win to justify, a week long journey starts at $6800 USD and if you want the presidential suite (which includes 2 bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a living/dining room!) you can push that up to $23,700. That is a comma, not a decimal point or error. Twenty-three-THOUSAND-seven-hundred USD. Worth it? If I had it, I’d spend it!
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The Trans-Siberian, probably a pipe dream considering recent political events. But this journey itself has so much cool history associated with it. I was talking to a woman when I was travelling through Nepal, she took this journey about 30 years before.
“I had to fill out a form, which included all the languages I spoke and all the countries I had lived in or visited – a long list! When I got to my cabin, not a single person spoke to me. Until a young German man came in, who started whispering to me in various languages – we found Italian as a common language and he explained that he did this journey before, and that they ask you the languages you speak so that they can ensure that you don’t share a cabin with anyone you can speak with. We must have been overheard because a few hours later he was replaced with a diminutive woman who didn’t even look at me for the first few days!”
I have no idea if this German guys story was accurate, but I LOVE the idea that he was right!
Walk the Camino De Santiago or the Via Francigena
“…You want to walk 2000 kilometres to a church …. you’re not even religious….” my boyfriend, recently.
Well actually yes! I do, becaise both of these, the Camino de Santiago and the Via Fracigena are incredibly beautiful, have an immense history being them, and it is just something epic!
I perplex him further by saying “I should probably start with the Camino de Santiago – because it is so much shorter – only 735 kilometres!”
If I had my way I would also engage CaminoWays.Com to help me organise it. This company is amazing, they are experts.
Before I met CaminoWays I didn’t realise how many different “Ways” to Santiago there are! With a huge range in lengths and focuses, you could take the Original (and very mountainous!), or the most popular French Way. You DO have to walk a minimum of 100km to get the pilgrims certificate.
I first really got into the idea of doing one of these walks from Harry Bucknall’s book Like a Tramp, Like A Pilgrim: On Foot, Across Europe to Rome
In this awesome tome you follow him through the whole experience, from Canterbury to Rome, and I just love the people he meets and the places he stays!
The big thing that would tip me in favour of using a company like Camino Ways is that they organise the accommodation for you, so there is no rushing to get the the hostel to make sure you get a bed! The other thing is the luggage transfer, I don’t take much but for 700+kms even a kilo is heavy!
Proper Long Motorcycle Trip
I am not too proud to say that this bucket list experience is at least in part related to McGregor and Boorman’s Long Way Down/Around adventure.
There is a bit of a joke in the biking world about the Long Way DownAround Obsessive.
Have You seen Long Way Down? They ride R1200GS BMW’s so I’m going to buy a R1200GS BMW because they’re the best bikes, did you know they use them in the Long Way Down?
The R1200GS is absolutely a great bike, and I would 100% own one. Except for the rather limiting factor that I would need to lug around a step stool and somehow perfect flinging it down every time I wanted to stop. It can be done, a fellow short AF friend of mind does this with a milk crate on the back of her dirt bike.
But a three month trip? That might get old. Plus, I am not particularly coordinated so i think it is probably a recipe for disaster. So I am limited to a custom built adventure bike, or the Triumph Tiger 800 with the factory lowering kit and scooped out seat – anyone want to donate £12,255? Yeah.. didn’t think so. Worth asking though right!
I’ll enjoy riding my Harley though Europe for as long as that is possible, but I want to do some real adventure riding! Something iconic through Africa, or India, on an old hero – a work horse Honda or Yamaha.
I was told a fantastic story by an older gent who came into work, when I worked at the bike dealership –
Three friends and me, all bought bikes for under 100 pounds. We set off from Cornwall with no destination in mind. We rode around for six months, wherever took our fancy, and fixing the bikes however we could when they broke own. When we got back a mechanic friend was looking at the rear shock absorber, and he asked me – that doesn’t look right – where did you get that fixed? I looked a bit closer and realised, I had pinched that bolt out of a bus stop frame in Moscow because my spring had fallen off and sheared the original bolt. The other one was held in with a broken off screwdriver shaft. You couldn’t fix bikes these days like that.
Now I know that this type of adventure is beyond me, the time is missed, but I will have my biking adventure. Whether it be in darkest Africa, though mystic India, or over the USA horizon.
Run the Western States 100 Trail Race
Ok , so this is KINDA destination based, but my motivations are race based not California based.
This course starts in Squaw Valley, California and ends 100.2 miles later in Auburn, California, Western States.
I love how this started, In 1955, Wendell T. Robie with a party of five rode the Western States Trail from the post office in Tahoe City to Auburn, proving that you could cover 100 miles in a day by horse. He founded the Western States Trail Foundation and organised the annual Western States Trail Ride.
Then, in 1974, Gordy Ainsleigh, was partaking in the horse race when his horse was declared lame, he decided to join the horses of the Western States Trail Ride. Twenty-three hours and forty-two minutes later Gordy arrived in Auburn, proving that a runner could indeed traverse the rugged 100 miles in one day.
This attitude of ‘well let’s see if I can’ – then actually doing it! This is the spirit of the thing that I love. With so many entries now and the standards SO high I know that it will be SEVERAL years until my application is no longer an amusing prank.