Blog Post #008 – My Travel Bucket List

Life in General, Travel

‘To travel is to live’, a quote coined by Hans Christian Andersen and is one that resonates with me. I have been very fortunate to have explored outside of my home country and experienced the different cultures, architecture and landscapes of many countries. However, when calculated I have only travelled to 4% of the world’s countries. It makes me think about how much there is still to explore. That is why I have decided to compile a travel bucket list of places that are top of my list to visit if I got the chance. This list most probably is not the same list I would have made if I had thought about it yesterday and is likely to change tomorrow. But it’s a start. 


Destination #1 – The Great Barrier Reef, Australia 

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Pexels.com

My first destination on this bucket list had to be visiting the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. This has been on my list for years and ever since I became a qualified scuba diver and discovered a whole new world underwater it has only reinforced my desire to visit. This reef that is visible from space is built by one kind of animal: the tiny coral polyp. Thes polyps grow together like building blocks to create modular colonies – corals. I find this natural process phenomenal and its ability to support such a diverse range of life within its structure.  

The desire to visit also stems from my father telling me about when he spent a year living in Australia on a dive boat. His stories sound incredible and only fuels the fire inside me to get on a plane and visit. The sad thing is it sounds like the Great Barrier Reef’s golden days are limited thanks to global warming and ocean acidification. We must take steps to preserve this wonder of the world. 


Destination #2 – Barcelona, Spain 

Photo by Vitor Monteiro

I must admit that I have technically visited Barcelona, but before you ask why it is on my bucket list, I feel I haven’t visited as it was simply a facilitator for an activity, this meant that I did not explore the city and discover the beauty it has to offer. I have also seen the incredible architecture that it has to offer and it captivated my attention. It is the architectural style Modernisme influenced by Antoni Gaudi at the turn of the 20th century that I have heard so much about and wish to see with my own eyes. 

I am also a lover of the sea and this city provides both city sights and sandy beaches so it’s a win-win situation for me. I am also an avid rink hockey player in the UK and I would love to watch one of the top professional teams, Barcelona play a game at their arena called Palau Blaugrana. 


Destination #3 – O’ahu, Hawaii 

Photo by Braden Jarvis

Aloha!

I have to be wholly honest with where the inspiration for this particular destination stems from. Thanks to the long-running remake of Hawaii Five-0 of which I am a huge fan of, is strangely enough set in Hawaii. In particular the island of O’ahu. The television series depicts Hawaii as an amazing place to visit and of course, I may be viewing the place through rose-tinted spectacles but it has to be in my top 5 destinations. 

The diverse landscapes displayed through my television screen excite me massively with its sunny beaches and thick rainforest. It seems to be a perfect location for me, I think I might need more than just a week here to get my fix. 


Destination #4 – Athens, Greece 

Photo by Patrick Evmerrxas

Again this is, in fact, a location that I have already been to when I sailed the Greek islands and flew into Athens airport. But I feel that I saw nothing of the city apart from out of the window of our thankfully air-conditioned taxi from the airport to the port. 

This particular city is steeped in architectural history. The most famous piece of architecture in Athens has to be the Acropolis, which sits at the highest point of the city. This steep-sided, flat-topped structure of limestone rises abruptly 100m from its surroundings and has become central to the city that builds up around it as every modern city does. 

This heart of the city is somewhere that I want to visit, I am not overly sure what I will feel when I step onto the grounds and explore but it just feels right to be in my top 5. 


Destination #5 – Machu Picchu, Peru

Photo by Tomas Sobek

This particular destination choice owes it inspiration to a school friend of mine who visited Machu Picchu rather recently. She spoke very highly of the experience and motivated me to take a closer look into the location.       

Machu Picchu offers one of the most substantial legacies of the fascinating Inca civilisation, an empire that once stretched for 4000km. However, the thing that captivates me is the experience of making your way to this location. As my friend did most tourists travel on foot along the paved, former Inca road known as the ‘Inca Trail’ or the higher-still ‘Salkanty’, which climbs heights of up to 4600m. It does not sound like a stroll in the park but that’s what I like, I prefer the adventure of a trip. I will not settle for a week of sitting around the pool.        


There we have it, my travel bucket list, it was hard to narrow all the amazing places in mind down to just 5 but I feel rather content with the above list. Of course, visiting any of these destinations will not be as easy as it was previous to the pandemic. But can anyone be blamed for having some dreams of where they would like to go when it is safe for us to travel? This gift of time is simply making my mind wander and dream of the 96% of the world that is yet to be explored. 

Keep dreaming. 

All the best. 

Blog Post #004 – Lockdown Boredom: Top 100 Films Of All Time

Life in General

Now that everyone has settled into this rather strange, new way of living thanks to the lockdown restrictions that have been placed upon us, people are starting to look towards certain activities to pass the time. It is so unusual to be given this period of time which allows us to take a moment to slow down and reflect upon our own lives. It has given some the time to start projects that have fallen by the wayside due to in most cases a lack of time. This could be writing a book, learning to paint or taking up yoga.

I thought that it’d be fun to share one of the projects amongst others that I have undertaken in these strange times. I decided to compile a definitive ‘Top 100 films of all time’ and work my way through the films during this difficult period. I felt that this would be an opportunity to experience a whole range of films differing in age and genre. Some of the films on the list are said to be extremely impactful and hold great significance. 

I turned to IMDB, an online database of information related to films and television programmes. From their website, I selected their ‘Top 100 films of all time’. 

I have included this particular list below: 

  1. The Shawshank Redemption
  2. The Godfather 
  3. The Dark Knight 
  4. The Godfather: Part 2 
  5. Pulp Fiction 
  6. Schindler’s List 
  7. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 
  8. 12 Angry Men 
  9. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 
  10. Forrest Gump 
  11. Inception 
  12. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 
  13. Fight Club 
  14. Dangai 
  15. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back 
  16. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
  17. The Matrix 
  18. Goodfellas 
  19. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 
  20. City of God 
  21. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 
  22. Seven Samurai 
  23. Interstellar 
  24. Your Name. 
  25. The Silence of the Lambs 
  26. Leon 
  27. Seven 
  28. Saving Private Ryan 
  29. The Usual Suspects 
  30. Spirited Away 
  31. Life is Beautiful 
  32. Untouchable 
  33. One Upon a Time in the West 
  34. It’s a Wonderful Life 
  35. City Lights 
  36. My Father and My Son 
  37. Alien 
  38. The Prestige 
  39. Gladiator 
  40. The Dark Knight Rises 
  41. Whiplash 
  42. Memento 
  43. The Green Mile 
  44. Apocalypse Now 
  45. Psycho 
  46. Raiders of the Lost Ark 
  47. Terminator 2: Judgement Day 
  48. The Pianist 
  49. The Lives of Others 
  50. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 
  51. American History X 
  52. Back to the Future 
  53. Casino 
  54. Die Hard 
  55. The Elephant Man 
  56. Finding Nemo 
  57. Gran Torino 
  58. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 
  59. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 
  60. Jurassic Park 
  61. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 
  62. Logan 
  63. Monsters, Inc. 
  64. Night of the Living Dead 
  65. Ocean’s Eleven 
  66. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 
  67. Quantum of Solace 
  68. Rocky 
  69. Shrek 
  70. Taken 
  71. Up 
  72. V for Vendetta 
  73. WALL.E 
  74. X-MEN 
  75. Young Frankenstein 
  76. Zulu 
  77. Casablanca 
  78. Rear Window 
  79. Sunset Blvd. 
  80. Grave of the Fireflies 
  81. Cinema Paradiso 
  82. The Great Dictator 
  83. Modern Times 
  84. Paths of Glory 
  85. Like Stars on Earth 
  86. Aliens 
  87. Django Unchained 
  88. American Beauty 
  89. The Shining 
  90. Requiem for a Dream 
  91. Braveheart 
  92. Oldboy 
  93. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi 
  94. North by Northwest
  95. Amélie 
  96. Once Upon a Time in America 
  97. 3 Idiots 
  98. Princess Mononoke 
  99. Vertigo
  100. Citizen Kane 

Some of the films listed above I have already watched but I shall be rewatching them as part of this challenge that I have set myself. I will also write a short response to each film to reflect upon the film and offer my opinion. At the time of writing, I have watched 5 out of the 100 films, so I have a long way to go yet but I am looking forward to it. 

This was one of the challenges that I have set myself over this unusual time but it doesn’t necessarily have to become one of yours. Just take some time to think about if there is anything that you want to do but have been putting off, a new skill to be learnt perhaps. Use this newfound time as an opportunity for self-improvement and evolution and avoid remaining stagnant during this period. You’ll see it as a missed opportunity and regret it in time to come. 

Strive to improve and have fun. Stay well, everyone.