My Travel Bucket List for 2013!

Thar Desert Rajasthan, Sand dunes Rajasthan, Rajasthan desert

As the New Year lurks around the corner, I often go to sleep wondering what opportunities might come my way in 2013. Maybe I’ll mend my ways and end up saving a fortune for a trip I’ve (secretly) been dreaming about. Or maybe, I’ll be tempted to spend what I’ve saved every now and then, and land myself in adventures I had never imagined, like I did in 2012. Maybe some unexpected press invites or sponsorships will come my way, or that mysterious uncle will finally appear and leave me a handsome inheritance! I hope Santa knows I’ve been a good girl *looks innocently*

I know, only too well, that these are much too ambitious dreams for a single year, but as the Spanish would say, soñar no cuesta nada, to dream costs nothing. So here goes, a bucket list of travel adventures I’d love to have in 2013:

1. Watch the Northern Lights

Come winter, my timeline on Facebook and my Pinterest feeds start to fill with pictures of the Northern Lights; stunning, colourful, magical pictures, taken in Norway, Finland, Iceland and Alaska. While I’m in awe every time I see one of these pictures, I know I have to see the lights in person to believe that the pictures are not photoshopped! And of course, it will pretty awesome to spend time along the postcard countryside of Scandinavia.

Northern Lights photos, images of northern lights, northern lights pictures
The Northern Lights, as seen from Alaska. Photo by Jim Trodel.

2. Attend TBEX in Canada 

TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) is THE event of travel blogging that every serious travel blogger must attend, almost as a right of passage. Unfortunately for me sitting in India, TBEX is always held somewhere halfway across the globe. In the summer of 2013, TBEX will be held in Canada, and I sure as hell hope I’ll be there in person this year instead of following it virtually on Twitter like every other year. Plus, I’d love to stay until autumn and lose myself in the colors of Canada.

Canada autumn, Canada country photos, Canada photo gallery
Maple country. Photo by Patty O’Hearn Kickham.

3. Experiment with Slow Travel

Earlier this year, I read a blog post by Stephanie on Fast vs. Slow Travel, and it got me thinking. I experience something of a heartbreak each time I leave a place I’ve really loved, and sometimes hopping from one small town to another every 2-3 days can get tiring. In 2013, I would love to take it slow, and spend a month or more when I fall in love with another small town like Ordu in Turkey. That does mean dealing with visa limitations, finances, and the greed to go further and see more!

Ordu Turkey, Turkey people photos, Turkey photos
By the Black Sea in Ordu.

4. Volunteer Travel in Northeast India

I’ve experienced so much beauty on the Indian countryside this year that I almost get goose bumps when I think of the entire northeast region, which I’m yet to set foot on. The scenic valleys and the postcards villages of the eastern Himalayas beckon; I must explore atleast a handful of the seven sisters in 2013.

Assam photos, Assam photo, Assam tea
Tea Picking in Assam. Photo by Arun Bharali.

5. Revisit Southeast Asia

I’ve been thinking about Southeast Asia a lot lately. I miss my favorite cafes in Singapore, hopping across to my second home in Malaysia, and the untravelled delights of Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. I never thought I’d say this, but feels like the 6 years I spent there were not enough! I need to go back and continue exploring the interiors of the countries that first gave birth to my wanderlust.

Vietnam photos, Vietnam photo gallery
Terraced slopes in Vietnam. Photo from Vietnam Travel Facebook Page.

6. Go on a Working Holiday

Having an Indian passport, unfortunately, doesn’t entitle us to working holidays, i.e. we can’t (legally) keep part time jobs while travelling through a country. Reading fellow bloggers who afford their travel that way, and reading how the Globetrotter Girls spend months housesitting, makes me want to do it too. Maybe 2013 will be the year when I find a way!

norway photos, norway pictures, Norway photo gallery
How lovely it’d be to work in a pretty city like this! Photo from Visit Norway Facebook page.

7. Discover New Zealand

Ever since my cousin sister moved to New Zealand last year for work, I’ve been teased with glimpses of her everyday life in Auckland; rainbows, rolling meadows, beautiful people, like she’s living in a postcard. I can’t wait to visit the country of wine and sheep, and fall head over heels in love with it.

New Zealand photos, New Zealand photo gallery, New Zealand images
Postcard country. Photo from New Zealand tourism Facebook page.

8. Witness Autumn in Japan

Oh, the cherry blossom country! I’d like to visit Kyoto, Tokyo, or other parts of Japan with parks dedicated to hanami aka flower viewing, apparently an integral part of the culture. If something’s teased me as much as the northern lights this year, it is pictures of autumn in Japan. I’ve already been floored by the glimpses of autumn I saw in the south of Spain, but Japan in autumn is what I envision my heaven to be (even though chances are, my vegetarian self will be starving)!

Japan photo gallery, cherry blossom Japan, cherry blossom tree Japan
Cherry blossom! Photo from Visit Japan from India Facebook page.


What travel adventures are on your bucket list for 2013?


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  1. Wow! that seems like quite a list. Cheers to new travel frontiers 🙂

    1. Isn’t it? It’s good to have a dream to put you to sleep every night 😉 Cheers!

  2. Beautiful pics, & beautiful thoughts to turn them into reality! Good going! Wishing you luck! 🙂

    1. Thanks Gayatri, I will need tons of luck to do even half of these 🙂

  3. Gr8 calendar.. wish u all the very best.. hope u have a gr8 time visiting them all.. 🙂

  4. Woah! Lots to do there… And I hope you achieve a substantial chunk of those sO that we can read about them- visit them through your words and through your lens. All the best! And happy new year.
    P.S- I really want you to make it to the Northern Lights!

    1. Aww, thanks Ramya! Comments like these make me hold on to the camera and keep my live updates and blog alive. Sometimes, I just want to take a trip without any of it, but that makes me feel selfish! I sure hope to catch the Northern Lights this year too, fingers crossed 🙂

  5. I hope you get to do everything on your list. We are planning to be in Lapland next year for Christmas, which should be fun. Apart from that I will be back in Italy soon and I am planning a side trip to New York to visit my son.

    1. Thanks Debra, I’ll be happy if I could do half of it 🙂 Lapland for Christmas sounds so lovely. Will you take a detour to Latin America when you visit New York?

      1. I will fly from Pisa to New York for a week or 2. My son is working at a vineyard on Long Island so I will just stay in that area, he tells me it is very beautiful, with some day trips into Manhattan, which I love.

        1. Sounds beautiful. Can’t wait to read all about it 🙂

  6. Hi shivya, if anybody can cross off that bucket list,its you 🙂 Good luck!
    WE were in NZ last winter (summer there) and it was so gorgeous that after a few days I put my camera back inside my bag. There was just no point in clicking a lovely photo every other minute 🙂

    1. Wow! Lucky you, Aparna. My cousin says the same, that you turn anywhere off the highway and you’ve found a postcard. I can’t wait to visit, really 🙂

  7. All the best Shivya… Wish I could go to Japan and North East… !!! Looking forward to travel all these places thru’ your blog..!!

    1. Thanks Sumit, I hope I can make it to Japan, given just how expensive it might be. I have more conviction that I’ll make it to the North East 🙂

  8. Doing #1 in March, hope I’ll be lucky. And hope to achieve #3 and #6 as well. All the best in checking all these off your list in 2013! 🙂

    1. Wow, lucky you Brooke! Will be following your blog to hear about your northern lights experiences. All the best for #3 and #6 too 🙂

  9. Wonderful blog! I liked the 2013 travel bucket list. I also have a huge pending wishlist…. “HOPE IS A GOOD THING”.

    1. Thanks Sumeet 🙂 Pray share your wishlist with us too!

  10. Wow what a wish list it is….I can assure this that u will not starve in Japan. In our 40 days stay we could manage even without eating eggs. And we could not see the beautiful autumn which was still a month away so traveling to Japan in autumn is also in my wish list.

    1. Oh wow, that’s really a first. Curious to know, were you mainly in Tokyo, or did you travel along the smaller towns as well?

      1. It was not a travel trip as such . We stayed in south west of Japan in Kyushu province. Yes we did get a chance to visit many smaller cities like Kokura, Moziko, Tobata, Fukuoka during our stay & closely experienced their culture and festivals. We also visited Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe & Hiroshima during those 4 weekends.

        1. That’s awesome. Will get tips from you if a trip does happen this year!

  11. I hope you can come to TBEX! Would love to meet you. 🙂

    Perhaps a working holiday in New Zealand? Tick two things off at once… though I would say come to Australia since we’re such a cooler country 😉 hehe.

    1. You’re going for TBEX? Super awesome. I’m going to try my best; flying there from India is a bitch, but let’s see what I can come up with 😉

      Oh yes, a working holiday in NZ is what I really want to do, but unfortunately, India doesn’t have a working holiday agreement. I plan to write to their embassy to figure if there’s a way; fingers crossed. And yes, if I do come to NZ, I better make it to the cooler neighbour too 🙂

  12. NZ is on my wish list and current flight rates will help in staying there for long time :). But hopefully I will be able to go there one day.

    Wish a happy new year to you and hope you finish your list soon to start a new one 🙂

    1. Likewise, the flight prices are keeping that trip at bay! Hopefully, we’ll both find a way. I’ll be happy to do half the things on this list 😉

  13. Hi Shivya,

    Happy New Year! I have a visa-tip for you. If you hold a valid US visa (Indians get a multiple entry 10 year visa), you get to go visa free to a few countries. Taiwan, Turkey and Costa Rica are some examples. So, get yourself a US visa. That gives you visa to another country + visa-free travel to a few countries.

    A greater tip however would be to write an email and take a print out confirmation from the embassy of the country that it is indeed visa-free this way. 🙂

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks Prav! I’d love to have done that, but I’m quite apprehensive about applying for a US visa. Given that I neither have a steady income flow nor an employer, it might be really tough for me to get a visa, unless something work-related pops up.

  14. Shivya,
    The list looks very exciting. 🙂
    About Cherry Blossoms in Japan, they blossom in spring and very rarely in autumn. So, you should plan your Japanese holiday in the 1st week of May.

    Have fun!

    1. Ah, thanks Saba. I’ve only ever seen pictures on my timeline close to Autumn, hence the assumption!

  15. seems like some travel plan :D…wud luv to learn ur way f life….keep posting 🙂

  16. wow….hope ur bucket list is all done in 2013 even before time and you get to add more travels wishes to the wish list…:)

  17. Love your bucket list, and glad you’ve been able to check some things off already! Working Holidays fascinate me too, and I’m always looking at options. It IS a pity that our passport is holding us back this way 🙁

  18. hi,
    really i want to say.. more and more… but i have do not think and write a single words. i do not why…
    But i remember all my travelling experience almost situation.
    I think … the main reason is that..
    And.. continue i am reading your FAQ.

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