Top 20 Unique Bucket List Experiences

“Collect memories, not things”–these are some words that I’ve been really wanting to live by. Especially after moving to Bali, I realized how little I really need to not only live, but also to be very very happy. Growing up in a privileged American household, our ideals could not be further from that. It’s taken some time to adapt but I hope to slowly convert more to a minimal-ish lifestyle. It’s so true that memories and experiences are worth so much more than physical possessions! When I look back at my past, I think so fondly of $2000 trips but see $2000 designer purses more of as burdens. That’s why I’ve created this list of top 20 bucket list experiences I hope (or should I say plan) to knock off during my lifetime.

I know there are a billion bucket list blog posts out there but I truly find mine to be unique. I promise there’s at least one unique experience on my list of 20 that you didn’t know even existed before! If you want a less mainstream vacation or love animals, then this list is made for you!!

Originally I started this blog post with an intention of naming the top 10 things I hope to do in my life but as I started to list them, I couldn’t stop at just 10!  Also, there’s just wayyyy too many things I want to do on this planet. Life is too short to not dream big! I’m a huge believer in manifestation so I’m just gonna throw all these wants out there into the universe and slowly take action to churn these dreams into reality.

1) Fall Asleep to the Northern Lights in a Glass Igloo

via CNBC

Can’t believe this straight out of a fairytale experience is something we can feasibly have nowadays in Finland. What a time to be alive!!! Who needs bedtime stories when you can fall asleep in your bed while watching the Northern Lights through your glass igloo? I was fortunate enough to see them last October when I visited Iceland but I’m sure this setting would elevate the show! This is definitely one of the most dreamiest bucket list experiences!!

2) Light Candles in Petra

via Osoris

You’ve probably seen pictures of Petra slowly start to infiltrate your IG feed but did you know that they light this place up with thousands of candles every night?! Truly looks as magical as Disney World!!

3) Prance on Bolivia’s Salt Flat Mirror

via Roadtrippers

This is not a Photoshopped; I can’t believe this is a place on Earth! During the rainy months of Feb-April, water rests on this bed of salt and it creates a mirror-like effect! If I lived in Bolivia, I would totally come get ready here every morning and ditch the mirror–talk about minimalism (just kidding)! This is definitely one of the most surreal bucket list experiences out there! Beware: during all other times of the year when it isn’t as rainy, you most likely will just see salt.

4) Be Enchanted by Uzbekistan’s Walls

via Passport Index

I’ve never been to this part of the world! I also think the Middle East is highly underrated. Judging from the photos, the entire city looks like a giant art museum. This is probably the most Instaworthy of bucket list experiences; I would love to get lost here!!

5) “Chill” w/ Penguins in Antarctica

via Science News for Students

The only time I’ve seen penguins in the wild was in South Africa which was for sure amazing! But also felt sort of odd since heat and beaches don’t intuitively come to mind when we think of penguins.

This is also probably not a very obvious pick given my fear for the cold. I hate freezing weather so much that I’ve been fleeing my hometown of Boston every Winter to spend in Bali. Fact.

But for some reason there’s something really cool to me about being in a land where you can see endless stretches of ice! Also, I am a sucker for cheesy puns so I couldn’t resist this caption hehe.

6) Sleep in Dubai’s Aquarium

via The World and Then Some

Ok disclaimer, you don’t literally get locked up at night in an aquarium with an air mattress. But the Atlantis in Dubai offers an underwater suite that allows your bedroom to look out to an aquarium of 65,000 sea creatures! This only costs a casual $10,000 😅

7) Admire the Southern Lights in New Zealand

via Smithsonian Magazine

The Aurora Australis is the Southern equivalent of the Aurora Borealis. I’m not sure why people don’t talk about this nearly enough, I personally find these warm color tones to be so much prettier than the Northern Lights!!

You can see the Aurora Australis in an array of areas in the Southern most parts of the world. I mentioned New Zealand specifically because I’ve been dying to check out all the epic hikes there. In addition to New Zealand’s Southern Island, the other places you can see the Southern Lights are: Australia (Victoria, Tasmania), UK (Falkland Islands), South Georgia Island, and Argentina (Ushuaia).

8) Eat Lavender Ice Cream in a Hokkaido Lavender Field

via Chihako

This one has been on my list ever since I was a child! I am a huge fan of lavender flowers, the color purple, and ice cream (duh hehe).

9) Be Mesmerized by the Pyramids of Giza

via Travel Addicts

The Pyramids of Giza is one of the main reasons why I believe in aliens. I know, I sound like a crazy person right now. But to be honest, how else do you explain the precision and vastness of these structures?! Seeing these in real life should be on everyone’s bucket list experiences radar.

10) Dance til Sunrise in Ibiza

via Ibiza Disco Ticket

Ever since I fell in love with electronic music in 2010, Ibiza has been on my radar. I’ve never heard a single bad thing about the island and can’t wait to finally get to experience this dance paradise for myself!!

11) Hike Kilimanjaro

via REI

Africa is one of my favorite continents so I definitely want to explore more parts of it during my lifetime! I’m also a huge adventure junkie that loves animals and a good challenge so it’s no wonder that this made it to my list of bucket list experiences. Now to convince someone to go with me…..

12) Sip Mint Tea in a Moroccan Riad

via Riad Rcif

As a culture obsessed and visually oriented traveler, I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon on vacation than by sipping on some signature Moroccan mint tea while being surrounded by vibrant walls.

13) Find Nemo in the Great Barrier Reef

via Sunlover Reef Cruises

Okay maybe not literally find Nemo but as an ocean lover/mermaid wannabe, diving in the Great Barrier Reef has ranked super high in my bucket list experiences book ever since I got scuba certified in 2012!

I’m also extremely fascinated by life underwater. I sometimes think it’s such a shame that humans are so obsessed with space when we know so little about what goes on underwater. My friend Laura, of Laura in Waterland, made such a great point–this planet should really be called Waterland since water makes up 97% of Earth! It’s also so neat to me that humans are only physically capable of reaching certain sea levels. I wonder what it’s like beyond that point!

14) Selfie w/ Llamas at Machu Picchu

via Intrepid Travel

I’m not sure how much of my love for llamas is induced by Tina from Napoleon Dynamite but I find these creatures to be absolutely adorable! Nothing really beats seeing awesome animals in their natural habitat. Oh and ancient ruins are really cool too I guess hehe. After all, it is one of the seven wonders of the world!

15) Ride a Hot Air Balloon in Cappadocia

Whether it’s riding a hot air balloon or admiring them while immersed in a stack of colorful carpets, Cappadocia is a must for me! This is the definition of Insta goals; it almost feels like the type of bucket list experiences that only exists in fairytales! I’m also a huge fan of Turkish food and coffee so I seriously cannot wait to go to Turkey!!

16) Flock w/ Flamingos in Aruba

via Travel & Leisure

Can you believe a place like this exists?! I love that Flamingo Beach restricts the number of permits they issue to visitors to ensure that they can protect these animals and their ecosystem. I find flamingos to be so amusing looking! Plus pink is my favorite color in case you couldn’t tell already hehe.

17) Run the Boston Marathon

via Rainier Fruit

Probably not a common one as far as bucket list experiences go but as a native Bostonian and runners high addict, this one ranks pretty high on my list (it’s lower in rank because it’s not as epic but I do think the likelihood of me ticking this one off is higher)! It’s one of the most popular marathons of the world and definitely one of my favorite times to be in Boston. Everyone is in such a cheery and supportive spirit during the week before and after Marathon Monday! There’s really nothing quite like it. #BostonStrong

18) Island Hop in Croatia

via The Yacht Week

There are so many nooks in Croatia and there’s definitely no better way to explore it than by via yacht. When I think of island hopping on a luxurious yacht, all I can ever think about is the models in the Netflix Fyre Fest documentary! So yeah, I’d love to recreate something like that someday but probably realistically one notch down. Croatia Yacht Week sounds pretty darn rad too!

19) Devour Gelato on a Gondola in Venice

via Trip Savvy

The last time I visited Italy was more than half my life ago! It was one of the last massive extended family trips I went on but I’m excited to announce they’ll be visiting me in Bali this April. I can’t believe there will be 11 of us in total! Anyway, during our Italy trip we went to Rome and Florence but didn’t make it to Venice unfortunately and it’s totally a city I want to hit up before it’s too late! Based on data, scientists predict that it will be submerged by 2100.

20) Lay in a Hammock On a Lagoon in Maldives

via Flip Flops Only

Probably requires very little explanation and is the epitome of bucket list experiences. I can’t think of a better place to wake up to than in a dreamy hammock above turquoise blue water. If I ever get married, the Maldives is definitely where I want to go for my honeymoon!

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