The last of our Top 100 Lists focuses on activities: Animal Encounters, Cultural Celebrations, Thrilling Adventures, Exploring Unique Environments, Learning new Skills and Finding Ways to Give Something Back. These are the experiences that we are most looking forward to over the course of our trip.
And now… here they are:
#100 Take in an opera performance, Austria – Opera festivals are a big part of the summer season in Austria. None of us are opera fans, but taking the chance to see one of the elaborately staged outdoor productions at the Bregenz festival seems like an opportunity that we shouldn’t pass up.
#99 Study the Coriolis Effect, Mitad del Mundo, Ecuador – The Coriolis effect is the science that supposedly explains why water spins one way down a drain in the Northern Hemisphere and the other South of the equator. No visit to the equator is complete with a demonstration of this phenomenon for visitors and Ecaudor is our opportunity to see the show.
#98 Gallop down a beach on Horseback, Costa Rica – Horseback tours are a feature in many travel destinations. To truly live out our romance novel dreams, we plan to find a tour during which we can gallop them boldly down the beach. The beautiful beaches of Costa Rica are one perfect opportunity to make this dream a reality.
#97 Feed the Kangaroos at Kuranda Wildlife Park, Australia – Our bucket list of wildlife encounters wouldn’t be complete without a couple of iconic Australian entries. At Kuranda Wildlife Park outside Cairns we’ll have a chance both to feed several varieties of kangaroo and cuddle Koala bears.
#96 Wonder at the Machines of the Isle of Nantes, France – Giant sized robot elephants, spiders and dragons walking around the streets and shooting water cannons. Sign us up! A few of their creations were recently featured on the streets of Ottawa to much fanfare for our 150th celebration, we missed them there and are excited to get a chance to watch them up close.
#95 Sleep in a Jungle Treehouse – We expect to use Airbnb for most of our accommodations during the trip. They boast an impressive array of options and one that we definitely want to include is a treehouse stay somewhere in the Jungle, location TBD.
#94 Connect with Canadian History at Vimy Ridge, France – The Battle of Vimy Ridge is often cited is a key moment in Canadian History the helped to define us as a nation. We plan to visit here to get a better appreciation of the role Canadian soldiers played in bringing peace to Europe and the World.
#93 Cruise the Mekong River, Laos – At over 4,000km, the Mekong (which translates roughly to “Mother of Water”) River is one of the world’s longest. Taking a river boat cruise down one of the many scenic stretches through South East Asia is an experience we’re really looking forward to.
#92 Learn about Guerilla Warfare at the Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam – The Cu Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City are a 121km long complex of tunnels and part of a large network that runs all over the country. These tunnels were used extensively by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam war to creatively frustrate American forces.
#91 Go Truffle hunting in the Woods in Italy – There is barely a food in the world that Wendy doesn’t believe to be improved by sprinkling some stinky truffle mushroom on top. While we are in Italy, we hope to experience a traditional hunt for this delicacy (which grows underground) complete with truffle-hunting pig.
#90 Try not to Freak out while exploring the Catacombs of Paris – These tunnels underneath Paris, built to assist with an overflow at city cemeteries in the 1700s and now open to the public as a City of Paris Museum, contain the remains of over six millions people.
#89 Watch a Soccer Game in Brazil – The beautiful game is played all over the world, but nowhere with more grace, and more passionate fans, than Brazil. We plan to experience this live for ourselves during our stay in Rio di Janeiro.
#88 Take a Junk Tour of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam – Sailing around picturesque Ha Long Bay in a beautiful Asian Tall Ship – a terrific way to spend an afternoon.
#87 Hang Ten: Take a Surfing Lesson, Coco Beach, Costa Rica – Our trip starts with a month spent along the beaches of beautiful Costa Rica. Sometime during this month we will try our luck at riding the waves on one of the countries famous surf beaches.
#86 Appraise the Merchandise at the Pushkar Camel Festival, India – The Annual Pushkar Camel Festival is a livestock fair and important cultural festival in the desert region of Rajasthan, India. Beyond the opportunity to see Camel’s at their most impressive, the 5 day festival also features tug of war, bridal competitions and a longest moustache contest.
#85 Experience the Future Riding the Maglev Train in Japan or China – It’s a train that floats in the air on super-powered magnets and travels at speeds over 400 km/h. There are only six in operation in the World, all of which are in China or Japan. We expect to experience the smoothest ride on the plant at one of these locations.
#84 Fly over an Ancient Mystery, Nazca Lines, Peru – Created some 2000 years ago, the Nazca lines are a set of some 300 figures covering 50 square km, the largest of which is more than 1.1 km in length. The mystery is both how and why these figures, which can only truly be appreciated from the air, were constructed.
#83 Float in the Dead Sea, Jordan – Taking the opportunity to float, feet and arms up, in the Dead Sea is a classic travel moment we definitely want to include on the journey. After all, the opportunity may be gone before long. Water levels in the Dead Sea are currently falling at a rate of 3ft per year.
#82 Eat a Snake in Vietnam – A meal at the Le Mat Snake village, just east of Hanoi, is more experience than nourishment. Here, you can select a live snake and have it prepared for you while you wait, every part being put to use. The heart (reportedly still beating) is served in a drink, and the rest of the animal included in a variety of dishes to follow: snake soup, spring rolls, dumplings and crispy fried snake skins are just examples of the possibilities.
#81 Explore the Glowworm caves of New Zealand – There are a number of places in New Zealand with caves that offer one of the most otherworldly experiences going. These caves are filled with bioluminescent worms so plentiful that the experience is almost like staring up into the night sky. Our plan is to experience this wonder at the Kawiti Caves on New Zealand’s north island.
#80 Hang Glide over the mountains of Rio di Janeiro, Brazil – One of the most adventurous goals on our list, and likely to be taken up only by the bravest among us (i.e. Wendy). There are few places in the world better situated to experience the thrill of soaring through the air then Rio where you can take off nearby Sugarloaf Mountain and land on beautiful Ipanema beach.
#79 Fly a helicopter around Hong Kong – The island of Hong Kong, complete with magnificent landscapes both urban and natural in close proximity, is a perfect spot to experience a Helicopter Tour, something we definitely want to experience at one point on the journey.
#78 Cruise the Nile River, Egypt – The Nile River is one of the world’s great waterways and the spectacular scenery along its shores, featuring monuments and ruins of Ancient Nubia, make this cruise a “can’t miss” experience.
#77 Relive childhood dreams at Efteling, Netherlands – Efteling is one of the most visited theme parks in Europe. Its area of specialty is bringing fairy tales to life. They have rides too, but the focus here is much more on making childhood dreams a reality.
#76 Sleep in the Desert, Wadi Rum, Jordan – The Bedouin people of the middle east may have been the world’s first Glampers. We plan to spend a night among the sands in this tradition during our time in the region.
#75 Swim the Dolphins in the Wild, Kaikoura, New Zealand – Swimming with Dolphins is a common travel experience, but the Dolphins in question often live a difficult live, confined to small aquarium pools. In New Zealand you can swim with Dolphins in the wild for all of the appreciation without the exploitation.
#74 Sandboard to a Desert Oasis, Peru – We will have a few opportunities during our trip to explore Desert climate. One that stands out is our plan to visit a true desert oasis in Huacachina, Peru. The Oasis is surrounded by sand dunes where Sandboarding is a very popular activity
#73 Volunteer to help a Local Orphanage or Community in Arusha, Tanzania – Our stay in Tanzania is long enough to incorporate some time to contribute something to a community that is among those that need the most help. We plan to spend a week here volunteering at a local orphanage or community centre and get a grounding on what the day to day challenges are in this area.
#72 Walk the Way of the Cross in Jerusalem – Our visit to Israel will provide the chance to see many famed religious sights. We expect walking the Via Dolorosa (the Way of the Cross) to be among the most moving. The route through Old Jerusalem, which is believed to be along the path that Jesus walked on his way to the crucifixion, is marked by 9 stations along the way.
#71 Swim in world’s largest rooftop Infinity pool in Singapore – Our boys love a great swimming pool. We will be close to many of the largest/most distinct pools around the globe on our trip, but the one that most piques our interest is the one with the best view.
#70 Meet the Giant Tortoises of the Galapagos Islands – The Galapagos Islands have been a bucket list destination for us for a long time. There are all kinds of wildlife encounters to be had here that can’t be had anywhere else, but the most iconic are the giant tortoises.
#69 Enjoy a Blast from the Past with a Ryokan Stay in Japan – A ryokan is a type of traditional Japanese inn that typically features tatami-matted rooms, communal baths, and other public areas where visitors may wear yukata and talk with the owner. Many Ryokan also feature or are situated near Onsen (hot springs) that can be enjoyed during your stay.
#68 Scuba Diving at Gili Islands, Indonesia – There are many iconic Scuba sites on our journey, and at least one Caleb hopes to take his first dive (Kieran will not be old enough). The Gili Islands of Indonesia sport some of the most accessible waters and is a likely spot for this adventure.
#67 Take a Cooking Class at the Cordon Bleu School in Paris, France – All of us enjoy cooking and all of us love to eat. Learning how to make French pastries from the masters at the Cordon Blue School in Paris (where Julia Child learned how it’s done) would be a dream come true.
#66 Honor the Birthplace of Lego, Demark – We’ve got a lot of Lego in our house, we find it everywhere small things can get stuck. Touring the factory where are all of that mess comes from in Billund, Denmark seems like a fitting way to spend a day along the way.
#65 Hang out with the Holy Rats at Karni Mata Temple, India – The Karni Mata temple offers an opportunity for one of the quirkiest religious experience on the planet. This template is home to some 25,000 revered black rats.
#64 Eat something at the World’s Best Restaurant, Noma, Copenhangen – Noma has been rated as the World’s Best Restaurant 4 times, and most other years among the top few. While we don’t plan to do a lot of eating out during our travels this is one spot we definitely plan to make an exception.
#63 Shop at a Floating Market in Vietnam – Nothing says South East Asia more than shopping for fruits and vegetables at a market full of boats. The Cai Rang Floating Market near Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam is one of the country’s largest and draws hundreds of shoppers each day.
#62 Stalk the World’s Greatest Stalker In India – Our safari repertoire would not be complete without a search for Tigers in one of the amazing Natural Reserves in Eastern India.
#61 Volunteer for a Rainforest Conservation Project, Peru – Looking for opportunities to give something back is an important part of this trip. For one of these experiences we’ve planned a week to work in the Amazon Rainforest helping out at a conversation project there in whatever way we can be useful.
#60 See the Passion Play at Oberammagau, Germany – Every ten years, the residents of Oberammagau stage an elaborate theatrical retelling of the Passion. The practice started in the 1600s when the town was spared entirely from the Bubonic Plague after a related heavenly promise.
#59 Ride “The Demon” at Tivoli Gardens, Denmark – Tivoli Gardens (opened in 1843) is the 2nd oldest operating amusement park in the World (the oldest, by some 300 years!, is only a few kilometers away from there, but the rides are less spectacular). Among the most exciting attractions at Tivoli is the 4D Rollercoaster called “The Demon”. This one may be also be only for the braver among us.
#58 Cuddle Baby Panda Bears at Dujiangyan Panda Base near Chengdu, China – The Dujiangyan Panda Base is the world’s only centre for research, care, conservation and disease control in the Giant Panda population. One highlight of a visit here is the opportunity to cuddle with some of the bears.
#57 Bathe a baby Elephant at Elefantastic in Jaipur, India – There are lots of places in the world where you can interact with or ride an elephant, but many of these do not treat their animals well. Elefantastic is a sanctuary for elephants that ensures these beautiful animals are happy, healthy and respected. Visitors have the opportunity to feed, walk with, wash and otherwise assist with the care of residents.
#56 Take a Leap of Faith – Bungee Jumping in Queenstown, NZ – For the brave among the family (Wendy!) we hope to incorporate a bungee jumping experience somewhere along the journey and New Zealand (birthplace of the Bungee jump) makes sense. On a past Journey Wendy successfully attempted “The Ledge” in Queenstown, this time out perhaps Kawarau Bridge (offered in both Wet and Dry flavours).
#55 Zorb down a Hill, New Zealand – Zorbing is another activity invented in New Zealand. It involves climbing into a giant plastic ball and allowing yourself to be rolled down a hill. More fun than a barrel of monkeys!
#54 Play Video Games at World’s Coolest Arcade, Anata no Warehouse, Japan – The Anata no Warehouse is an arcade in Tokyo, designed to look like it is straight out of a steampunk future. There are a number of fantastic interiors to enjoy, and hopefully some great gaming as well.
#53 Travel through time at Futuroscope, France – Futuroscope is a Theme Park in France specializing in multimedia experiences, some of which you cannot find anywhere else in the world. “The Time Machine”, a dark ride based on the Raving Rabbids, is one of their most popular experiences.
#52 Walk around the world in 10 minutes at Verdenskortet, Denmark – Soren Poulson was working in his fields one day when he noticed a stone that looked like the Jutland Penninsula. He was inspired, from that moment, to recreate an entire map of the world using grass and stones. We are inspired to honour this whimsical landmark with a visit to recreate our trip in miniature.
#51 Ride the Glacier Express in Switzerland – One of the most amazing train rides in the world, the Glacier Express travels from Zermatt, just below the mighty Matterhorn, to St. Moritz. Over the course of the 291km journey there are 91 tunnels and 291 bridges.
#50 See the Andes by Cable Car, Telerifico, La Paz – Subways, streetcars and busses are fine, but for a truly interesting urban transit system we go to La Paz, Bolivia which boasts the world’s largest aerial cable car system (with a planned 11 lines including 30 different stations) to cover its hilly terrain.
#49 Take a Segway Tour of an Amazing City, Czech Republic – Segway tours are popular all over the world and we’ve yet to give it a try. Finding a grand old city that will make the most of the opportunity shouldn’t be hard on our road trip around Europe. The tour in the Historic Centre of Prague including the castle, jewish quarter and the Charles Bridge is reportedly one of the best.
#48 Capture the Milky Way through the Clearest Sky on Earth, Atacama Desert, Chile – Working on our photography skills is one of our general learning objectives as we travel, all the better to communicate back to all of you the experience we are having. Astrophotography is definitely one skill area to work on, and there’s no better place to practice than here, capturing memories of the night sky much more brilliant than what we are used to seeing here in Toronto.
#47 Ride a Gondola in Venice, Italy – A classic travel experience, floating through the canals of Venice on a Gondola is one of those things we just have to do, no matter how “touristy”.
#46 Watch Climate Change in Action, Fox Glacier, New Zealand – There will be lots of opportunities to see up close the impact of rising temperatures on the Globe during our travels, but perhaps the most dramatic will be a trip to the Fox Glacier in New Zealand. One of the fastest shrinking glaciers in the world, it can retreat up to seven metres per day during the hottest temperatures.
#45 Volunteer to help a school or library in Rarotonga, Cook Islands – The last stop in our Journey is spending a month in the Cook Islands where we will slow down a little and reflect on the amazing things we’ve experienced and learned across our trip. We’d also like to spend several days of this time contributing to support the education system here, given how much our trip will have contributed to our own education.
#44 Enjoy a Turkish Bath in Istanbul – A hammam or Turkish bath is a centuries old tradition of cleansing and relaxation in the Islamic world. The ritual includes heated rooms, a cold water wash and vigorous massage.
#43 Witness the Good Friday Processions at Seville, Spain – Holy Week (or Semana Santa) is celebrated across catholic Spain with great ceremony, music and massive processions continuing from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday in one form or another. The most spectacular of these processions happens in Seville where the 70 church brotherhoods set to the streets on Easter Thursday night to arrive at the Cathedral at Dawn on Good Friday.
#42 Zipline over the Rainforest Canopy, Costa Rica – Costa Rica has protected a huge portion and variety of its native Rainforest in National Parks. The most famous of these parks (the Monteverde Cloud Forest reserve) is already on our list of Top #100 sights. We plan to enjoy many of the other rainforest parks during our visit as well and there is no better way to enjoy this marvel then zipping through the canopy to see it from a different perspective.
#41 Drive through World’s Longest Tunnel, Laerdal, Norway – Our 5 month road trip through Europe will give us a chance to drive many famous stretches of road, the Grossglockner Alpine Road and the Autobahn to name a couple. One such iconic experience will be the chance to drive through World’s Longest Road Tunnel (at 24 km) in Norway
#40 Sleep in a Castle, France – We won’t make it to the UK on this trip, but still want to have our Hogwarts moment. France has a number of castles where you can book a stay for a night and feel like royalty.
#39 Contemplate the dark side of Humanity at Auschwitz-Berkenau, Germany and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Cambodia – Most of the manmade top sights on our list are there to celebrate the great achievements of humanity; some are there for more educational purposes. While the experience may be too intense for all of us to participate, we hope to learn something from visiting the sites of some of our worst chapters.
#38 Soak in the Hotsprings at Pamukkale, Turkey – All of us enjoy a nice hot soak and will be missing regular access to our hot tub during this trip. While there will be lots of spots en route to get our fix, none are more beautiful than the travertine pools of Pamukkale.
#37 Cycle across a Starry Night, Van Gogh Bike Path, Netherlands – The Netherlands is famous for its infrastructure for, and popularity of, cycling. With fancy glow in the dark bike pathways like this one it’s easy to understand why.
#36 Summit a Mountain, Japan – We love to hike as a family and a mountain adventure is definitely one moment we want to tick off our to-do list. The kids are really inspired by the stories they’ve read about Mount Fuji, and climbing to the summit to see the sunrise here is a popular activity.
#35 Attend a meditation retreat in Bali, Indonesia – Working on our mindfulness will be a theme throughout our Journey. As Bali is synonymous with centering activities like Yoga and Meditation, we expect to get a crash course during our stay here.
#34 Navigate world’s largest outdoor maze at Samso, Denmark – The Samso labyrinth was recognized by Guiness as the World’s Largest outdoor maze in 2013. Spread across a 15 acre nature park it has 8 different goal points to try depending on your chosen level of difficulty. We plan to reach them all.
#33 Get lost in the world’s most difficult hedge maze, the Villa Pisani Labyrinth, Stra Italy – The boys in the family all appreciate a good maze. We hope to get the opportunity to try out several life size ones on our Journey. The Villa Pisani is reputed to be the most difficult hedge maze in the world – we’ll get back to you on that (or not if we fail to find our way out).
#32 Experience a Tea Ceremony in Osaka, Japan – No one does an afternoon tea quite lack the Japanese. We plan to have a chance to slap on a kimono and experience this ritual that sometimes goes along with the simple pleasure of a cup of tea.
#31 Learn a new Language, Latin America – One of the many things we hope to do with our time over the course of the trip is to expand our language skills. The best opportunity we have for this is the first four months of the trip which are (almost) all in Spanish speaking countries. We don’t expect to become fluent, but do hope to be functional by the time we get to Spain
#30 Check out the World Expo in Dubai – A World Expo happens every 5 years and is an opportunity for nations around the world to display the best of what they stand for and can offer. The UAE has spent some $40B in preparation for this event in 2020 where 137 countries will come together to “Connect Minds and Create the Future”
#29 Challenge the World’s Toughest Maze, Desperation Fortress, Fuji Q Highland Theme Park, Fujiyoshia, Japan – Billed as the World’s toughest indoor maze, the Fortress of No Hope is a video game style maze with a tight time limit, challenging riddles and invisible doors. Out of 1.8 Million attempts to date only 3 teams have completed the challenge, now on its 3rd incarnation. We will do our best to beat the odds.
#28 Peer into an Active Volcano, Italy – What’s more exciting than climbing a mountain? Climbing one that has a history of exploding of course! There are a few places in the world where you can experience the highly unusual environment found at the top of an active volcano. Mt. Etna in southern Italy is one such location that is active, but carefully monitored for the risk of eruption so it can be visited when there is no risk.
#27 Celebrate Diwali in New Delhi, India – Diwali is the Festival of Lights, celebrated by Hindu’s, Sikhs and Jains around the world in the Autumn. We will be in India during this 5 day festival and hope to experience many different ways of celebrating.
#26 Ride the Rails in India – Train trips are one of our favourite ways to travel and India is renowned for its extensive and historic trail network. We’re not sure where yet, but we definitely plan to take in some of the beautiful countryside by rail.
#25 See How People Pray around the World – World travel will give us a chance to see how people live and eat around the world. It also will give us chance to get a better understanding of religious practices different from our own. We hope to attend services from as many different traditions as possible during our voyage.
#24 Cycle along the Li River, Yangshuo Country, China – The Li River valley near Guilin serves up some of the most beautiful country side scenery in China, complete with mountains, fisherman and the famous Long Li Rice Terraces. A great spot for an afternoon bike ride.
#23 Sleep on a Deserted Island, Indonesia – Sleeping in a Treehouse, a Castle, a tent in the Desert and a Glamping get up are all a part of this list, but the grand-daddy of all of our interesting accommodation plans would be to find an opportunity to live out our Pirate dreams and spend a night on a deserted island
#22 Hike the Path of the Gods in Italy – A clifftop trail above the Amalfi Coast. The main section of the hike is 6.5 km between the villages of Bomerano and Nocelle and features views of the coastal towns and sea below.
#21 Celebrate Cherry Blossom Season in Kyoto, Japan – Japan’s most iconic celebration, cherry blossom season in Kyoto. The blossoms typically bloom between the last week of March and first two weeks of April.
#20 Enjoy a Natural Mud Bath in Hell’s Gate, New Zealand – Kieran never misses an excuse to roll in the mud it seems. For the rest of us, a specific invitation will probably be required. The Natural Mud Baths of Hell’s Gate, where the mud is warmed by geothermal activity in the area, may just be tempting enough to get us all very dirty.
#19 Go Glamping in the Forest, Sweden – Some of us in the family love to rough it in the woods, but to get all of us to sleep under the stars a little bit more creature comfort is required. The forests of northern Sweden host some luxurious glamping options that will give us a chance to connect with nature without having to sleep on the ground.
#18 Cycle the Shimanami Kaido, Japan – The Shiminami Kaido is a 60km expressway with a dedicated bike lane. It connects Japan’s main island to 9 of the Geiyo Islands, including Oshima, Umashima and Innoshima.
#17 See the midnight Sun in Rovaneimi in Finland – Summer in Scandanavia will give us the opportunity to travel up to the Arctic Circle for the first time. We’ve timed our arrival there to co-incide with the Summer Solstice so we can experience 24 hour sunshine (the Midnight Sun) while participating in local “Mid-Summer” celebrations.
#16 Ride World’s Steepest Funicular, Gelmerbahn, Switzerland – Funicular systems are used in many parts of the world to move people up and down steep hills. In some places, they look exciting enough to cross over into roller coaster territory. The Gelmer Funicular is one such location and we look forward to giving it a whirl.
#15 Tube the Lazy River in Vang Vieng, Laos – One of the most famous backpacker attractions in Laos, the Nam Ngung river in Vang Vieng offers a lazy 3 hour drift down the water, complete with several bars and restaurants where you can stop along the way for some refreshment with tube in tow.
#14 Hike Trolltunga, Norway – One of the most beautiful day hikes in Norway. It’s a 23 km march culminating in a gorgeous view of the amazing “Troll’s Tongue” rock formation over a glacial lake.
#13 Master the Freestanding Handstand and L-sit – Taking 18 months off work means having more time to keep our fitness up, but travelling means less access to gym facilities to do so. As a result, the plan is to work on Calisthenics as one way to stay fit. Robin’s fitness goal for the trip is to work on being able to achieve a good freestanding Handstand and L-Sit by the time the trip is complete (and maybe even the ability to transition between the two).
#12 Crush Grapes into Wine, Mendoza, Argentina – We love a good glass of wine and hope to have a chance to see a number of famous wine regions around the world on the trip. While we’ve made some of our own wine before from pre-made grape juice, we’ve never done the process all the way from the grape. We hope to close this gap during the few days we will spend in the home of the Argentinian Malbec.
#11 Live out our Survivor Dreams at Palau Tiga, Borneo – Our weekly Survivor Episode is one our guilty pleasures as a family. Palau Tiga is the location that started it all (for North American viewers), walking the same beach as Richard, Rudy, Sue and Kelly, and playing in their mud volcano will be a thrill. We should also get to see some Survivor locations up close in the Cook Islands, but the original is the most exciting.
#10 Spot the “Big 5” on Safari at Serengeti National Park, Tanzania – Getting the chance to go on Safari in one of the world’s most famous wildlife parks is a true privilege. Robin’s safari experience in neighboring Kenya 15 years ago is among his very top Travel experiences. While the list of animals we hope to see is too long too name, chief among them are the so-called “Top 5”: Lions, Leopards, Rhinos, Elephants and Water Buffalo.
#9 Hike a portion of the Nakasendo trail in Japan – Part of Feudal Japan’s network of highways. At full length (534 km) the trail connects Tokyo to Kyoto and features several beautiful day hikes along the route. The section between Tsumago and Magome (8km) is one popular portion we’d like to experience.
#8 Stroll around the Shire, Matamata, New Zealand – ‘The Hobbit’ is one of many family reads we have enjoyed together. While there are many Hobbit centric sights to see in New Zealand, the chance to walk around Hobbiton together is probably the one we will enjoy the most.
#7 Celebrate Carnaval in South America – Carnaval is a four day festival celebrated widely across Catholic South America with parades and parties. The name literally translates to “the end of meat” as it signifies the last few days of robust eating before the beginning of Lent. We plan to celebrate in Cusco, where both Catholic and Andean tradition will be on display with lots of water fights in the streets.
#6 Celebrate Lunar New Year in Singapore – Chinese New Year is celebrated in most countries around the world, but Singapore is reputed to be one of the best places to experience this event. Parades, Fireworks, Street Bazaars, there will be lots of excitement to take in as we ring in the Year of the Ox.
#5 Hot Air Balloon Ride at Capadoccia, Turkey – Enjoying a hot air balloon ride is something we’ve always wanted to do. One of the most amazing places to have this experience is Capdoccia, land of the fairy chimneys.
#4 River Rafting, Padas River, Borneo – Whitewater rafting is another activity on our to-do list for the trip. The Padas River in Borneo, not far from Kota Kinabulu, offers Class III and IV rapids that should keep us awake.
#3 See Penguins in the Wild, Bartolome Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador – Of all the animal encounters he hope to achieve Kieran is most excited about being able to see penguins (his favourite animal) in the wild. The Galapagos Islands is one of a small number of places we will visit where you can find penguins, given that South Africa, South Argentina and Antarctica are all off the list.
#2 Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand – The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is rated by many people as the single greatest day hike in the World. The park was used as the setting for Mordor in the Lord of the Rings movies. It covers 19 km of thermal pools, mountain views and volcanic earth.
And finally… our most anticipated experience….
#1 Attempt The World’s top Escape Room: Ghost Hunter Ernie Hudson and the Wailing Woman, Hamburg, Germany – We’ve enjoyed escape games individually and as a family in a number of spots in Toronto: some high quality and some less so. Skurrilum, in Hamburg, Germany, has been rated by escape game enthusiasts as the highest quality in the world and the Wailing Woman is their crown jewel.
Well, that’s the list. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback. What would be your top choice? Anything you think we’ve left out?
Drop us a comment if you like… before too long we’ll be sending back evidence of ticking these off of our bucket list.