My (Updated) Bucket List

Two years ago, I published my bucket list (see here). My post for today is an updated version of it. I will colour any new additions to my list so they stand out and it is up to you guys to see if I have crossed any more stuff off (I hope I have).
Without keeping you waiting any longer, below is my list:
Europe
 
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Sleep in glass igloo, Finland.
  • Run with the bulls, Spain
  • Backpack over Europe
  • See a show at the Globe Theatre, London
  • Visit Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Celebrate St. Patricks Day, Ireland.
  • Visit the Guinness Factory, Ireland.
  • Live in Paris, France
  • Visit the Eiffel Tower, France
  • Visit Versailles, France
  • Eat French Food in France
  • Tour the South of France
  • Eat tapas in Spain
  • Visit my Grandfather in Portugal.
  • Visit Madrid, Spain
  • Visit Venice, Italy
  • Visit Rome, Italy
  • Visit Colloseum, Italy
  • Live in Italy
  • Rent a mountain villa, Italy
  • Visit Pompeii
  • Visit Vatican City
  • Visit Greece; see everything.
  • Eat actual Greek food in Athens
  • Visit Istanbul, Turkey
  • Have a Turkish Wet Shave, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Eat Turkish Food, Istanbul
  • Visit Sweden, Norway, Denmark
  • See the fjords of Norway
  • Visit Iceland
  • Visit Greenland
  • Attend tulip festival, Netherlands
  • Visit Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Visit WW1 sites in Belgium
  • Visit Ypres
  • Eat actual Belgian chocolate
  • Live in Sweden (or other Nordic country)
  • Visit Vienna, Austria
  • Visit Berlin, Germany
  • Live in Berlin, Germany
  • Celebrate Oktoberfest, Germany
  • Visit German Christmas Market
  • Visit Prague, Czech Republic
  • Travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia
  • Visit Moscow, Russia
  • Visit Budapest, Hungary.

 

Africa
 
  • Visit the Great Rift Valley, Kenya
  • Go on safari, Serengeti, Tanzania
  • Visit the Pyramids, Egypt,
  • Visit Valley of the Kings, Egypt
  • Visit Luxor, Egypt
  • See the Ramesseum, Egypt.
  • Visit the Aswan Damn, Egypt
  • Take a cruise down the Nile, Egypt.
  • Visit Cape Town, South Africa.

 

Asia
 
  • Tour Hong Kong
  • Tour Beijing, China
  • Visit Great Wall, China
  • Visit Forbidden City, China
  • Visit Mud Festival, South Korea
  • Go to Korea Burn, South Korea
  • Visit Ullengdo, South Korea
  • Visit Dokdo, South Korea
  • See Cherry Blossoms, Korea
  • Hike a mountain, Korea
  • Visit Penis Park, South Korea
  • Attend K-Pop Concert at least once.
  • See DMZ, South Korea
  • Go on North Korean Tour.
  • Visit Tokyo, Japan
  • Visit Kyoto, Japan
  • Visit Japanese Sex Shop
  • Find used underwear vending machine, Japan
  • Eat Japanese food in Japan.
  • Visit Okinawa, Japan
  • Visit Hiroshima, Japan
  • See cherry blossoms, Japan
  • Do temple stay, South Korea
  • Do temple stay, Nepal
  • Hike the Himalayas.
  • Climb Mount Fuji.
  • Celebrate colour festival, India
  • Visit India (Various cities)
  • Visit Japanese Comic Con
  • Visit Mongolia.
  • Eat Mongolian food, Mongolia

 

South East Asia
 
  • Visit Bali, Indonesia
  • Visit Thailand
  • Ride an elephant, Thailand.
  • Eat street food, Thailand
  • Relax with a tiger, Thailand
  • Visit Cambodia
  • Visit the Killing Fields
  • Visit Siam Reap
  • Visit Sihanoukville
  • Visit S-21 (Tuol Sleng)
  • Visit Laos. Trek.
  • Celebrate the Water Festival in one of the above countries.
  • Travel across Vietnam by motorcycle
  • Eat Vietnamese food in Vietnam.
  • Visit Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Visit Hanoi
  • Live in Vietnam
  • Live in Thailand
  • Visit the Philippines.
  • Volunteer at an orangutan sanctuary, Indonesia.
  • Visit Malaysia
  • Visit Singapore
  • Visit Myanmar Republic

 

Oceania
 
  • Do LOTR Tour, NZ
  • Visit NZ.
  • Visit Wellington, NZ
  • Visit Christchurch, NZ
  • Visit Auckland, NZ
  • See Kiwi Bird, NZ
  • Visit family in Sydney, Aus.
  • See the Opera House, Sydney.
  • See kangaroos, Aus.
  • See a wallaby, Aus.
  • BBQ on the beach, Aus.
  • Explore the Australian Outback.
  • Visit Melbourne, Aus.
  • Go to Steampunk Festival, Melbourne.
  • Scuba dive, Australia.
  • Scuba dive, Great Barrier Reef.
  • Visit Tasmania.
  • Work on a NZ sheep farm for a summer.
  • Move to Australia
  • Live in Melbourne

 

Antarctica
 
  • Visit Antarctica
  • See penguins in the wild
  • Visit the South Pole
  • Boat around icebergs.

 

South America
 
  • Backpack South America
  • See a wild llama.
  • Take a selfie with said llama.
  • Visit Ecuador.
  • Visit Macchu Picchu, Peru. Selfie with another llama.
  • Boat the Amazon, Brazil
  • Trek the Amazon Rainforest, Brazil.
  • Experience a festival in Brazil.
  • Visit Chile.
  • Bike through Argentina (Motorcycle Diaries style).
  • Visit Peru

 

North America
 
  • Road trip across America
  • Road trip across Canada
  • See Rocky Mountains, Canada
  • See Niagara Falls
  • Visit Newfoundland.
  • Dogsled in Canada
  • Visit Toronto
  • Visit Vancouver.
  • Visit Montreal.
  • Visit Ottowa.
  • Experience the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
  • See Montreal Rocky Horror for Halloween
  • Visit all US States
  • Visit Atlanta, Georgia
  • Visit Austin, Texas. Attend music festival.
  • Visit NYC at Christmas
  • Visit Statue of Liberty.
  • See Times Square.
  • Go to Empire State Building.
  • Visit Detroit, Birthplace of Soul music.
  • Eat Southern Food, New Orleans.
  • Visit Disney World, Florida
  • Visit Seaworld, Florida
  • Experience Burning Man
  • Visit San Diego Zoo.
  • Visit L.A.
  • Chill on a beach, Hawaii
  • See volcanoes, Hawaii
  • See Aztec ruins, Mexico
  • Eat authentic Mexican food, Mexico
  • Attend Festival of the Dead, Mexico
  • Eat Mexican street food.

 

Central America
 
  • Visit Havana, Cuba
  • Stay in Cuban Resort
  • Visit the Panama Canal, Panama
  • Visit Costa-Rica
  • Visit Colombia
  • Attend Mardi Gras, Trinidad.
  • Visit Jamaica. Eat food.

 

Life
 
  • Become bilingual.
  • Become trilingual.
  • Live in another country for at least 12 months
  • Teach myself to play the guitar again.
  • Be in a band.
  • Have a book of poetry published.
  • Write more poetry
  • Write for fun.
  • Learn to drive.
  • Get a motorcycle.
  • Get at least one tattoo.
  • Dive with sharks
  • Write travel articles whilst travelling.
  • Get a BA.
  • Get an MA
  • Get a PhD
  • Qualify as a Teacher
  • Get CELTA Certified
  • Lecture at University.
  • Volunteer at Orangutan Sanctuary, anywhere.
  • Go on archaeological dig. Put my degree to use.
  • Go on paleontological dig and fulfil childhood dream.
  • Visit Las Vegas. Go to Casino. Cry.
  • Go to SDCC.
  • Go to any Comic Con
  • Surf
  • Snowboard
  • Ski
  • Ice Skate
  • Teach English Abroad
  • Live in at least 5 countries for a minimum of six months.
  • Write a song. Have someone perform it.
  • Visit every continent.
  • Get better at photography.
  • Have a photo published somewhere.
  • Try craft beer from every US State.
  • Try a craft beer from every UK County.
  • Start to exercise regularly. (In Progress)

 

A Terrible Truth: A Day At The Cambodian Genocide Museum And The Killing Fields.

Part Two: The Killing Fields

The first full day that Marta and I were in Cambodia saw us travel to both the Genocide Museum and The Killing Fields. In the next two posts I will be posting largely factual articles, with a touch of my own personal thoughts. Please note – this post will contain some images and stories that some may find disturbing.

In my last post, I wrote about the horrors of S-21, an infamous prison camp used by the Khmer Rouge during their four year hold over Cambodia. This post will detail what would become the inevitable next step for the prisoners of S-21 – the Killing Fields.

Continue reading “A Terrible Truth: A Day At The Cambodian Genocide Museum And The Killing Fields.”

An Englishman On Tour: Cambodia Photography #1

A flower growing in the Killing Fields, Cambodia 2015
A flower growing in the Killing Fields, Cambodia 2015
Otres Beach, Cambodia 2015
Otres Beach, Cambodia 2015
Otres Beach, Cambodia 2015
Otres Beach, Cambodia 2015
Boats, Otres Beach, Cambodia 2015
Boats, Otres Beach, Cambodia 2015
Tiny Crab, Otres Beach, Cambodia 2015
Tiny Crab, Otres Beach, Cambodia 2015
A cock strutting, Cambodia 2015
A cock strutting, Cambodia 2015

Don’t You Pho-get About Me (Or Cooking Class/Cu Chi Tunnels Combo Tour) Part 4

“Finally”I hear you say! After a 3 part series of articles, we are getting to the Cu Chi tunnels. Welcome, dear reader, to the 4th and final part of my series on the cooking class and Cu Chi tunnel tour. The tour itself began with a short introductory movie, the details of which I have all but forgotten. Luckily, I remember much more of the information given to us by our guide. She told us how ingenious the tunnel system was; protecting the population of Cu Chi by having them (effectively) all living below ground; how the tunnels were virtually undetectable to enemy soldiers; and how key there were to Vietnamese victory in the war.

The tunnels were one of the biggest advantages the Vietnamese had over the American army. They were well constructed, with the main living chambers constructed a few feet below ground and bomb shelters constructed deeper and reinforced with an A-frame structure design. To ensure that the smoke from their kitchen did not give them away, they constructed several small vents and only cooked in the early morning, so the smoke was better camouflaged. This is demonstrated in the image below.

The design of the tunnels. Image from Vietnam Discovery.
The design of the tunnels. Image from Vietnam Discovery. 

The ventilation shaft exits were sprinkled with chilli powder, to stop the American Army dogs from sniffing them out. Entrances were extremely small and well hidden in the ground. They were covered with leaves and just wide enough for a human to get into. Marta, our guide and I each tried to get into the tunnels. I was far taller than both Marta and our guide, who became stuck in the holes and needed help to get out. I used my super long arms to heave myself out. The size of the tunnels not only made them hard to detect but meant that most enemy soldiers would not fit in with all their equipment.

Me in the Cu Chi Tunnel entrance. Note how small it is. Photo by Marta.
Me in the Cu Chi Tunnel entrance. Note how small it is. Photo by Marta. 

Following this, Marta and I were taken into the tunnels by a guide working at the museum. They were tiny, to say the least. Despite being expanded for foreigners to visit, Marta was forced to walk at a 90 degree angle. I couldn’t even manage that and shuffled along like a penguin, my head dangerously close to the ceiling. For reference, I am 6 foot 3 inches and Marta is about a foot smaller than I am.

Next, our guide took us to a display showcasing the various traps used by the Vietcong. The traps themselves seemed almost medieval in look, and effect. Originally designed to assist with the hunting of boars and other animals, they worked just as well on the US Army.

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See-Saw trap. Once you stepped on it, you would fall into the pit and be hit by the spiked side as it swung around. Photo by Marta.
Souvenir Trap, so called as, once an American caught his leg, there was no getting out and the Vietcong would find him as a souvenir at the site.  Photo by Marta.
Souvenir Trap, so called as, once an American caught his leg, there was no getting out and the Vietcong would find him as a souvenir at the site. Photo by Marta. 

After this, we visited a few mock-rooms (such as a dining hall and hospital) but Marta and I were pretty exhausted by this time and we soon decided to leave. Seeing the Cu Chi tunnels has shown me that they played a big role in the Vietnamese war effort and eventual victory.

Thanks for sticking with me through this (long) series of posts, folks.

Keep checking back for more content.

Ricky

Don’t You Pho-get About Me (Or Cooking Class/Cu Chi Tunnels Combo Tour) Part 3

So, when I last left you, Marta and I had just completed our cooking class and were preparing for the rest of our day. This would involve a visit to a rubber tree forest, a traditional village making rice paper and the Cu Chi tunnels. Our first stop, our wonderful guide told us, was to be the traditional village. One quick bus ride later (I think Marta and I fell into food comas as neither of us remember this part of the trip), and we were told the plans had changed slightly. We would be beginning with the rubber tree forest.

We got out of the bus and crossed a quiet country road (a nice, if not weird, change from Ho Chi Minh City) and were stood on the edge of a large looking forest. Each tree had blue ribbons tied around the trunk

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Each tree was covered in claw-like gashes and our guide explained they were cut to harvest the sap. The sap would leak from the cuts into a spile and then into a small bowl, made specially for collecting it. Our guide warned us that we could not go in too far as this was private land, owned by the government, but they allowed visitors around the outskirts. Our guide also insisted that Marta and I take a picture together. I am glad she did, as this was one of our only photo together for the whole trip.

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Marta and I
Marta and I (Picture from her blog, which you can find here)

After the picture was taken, we were told that we could go to the traditional village. This was actually a small hut across the street, but was one of the best parts of the whole trip. Outside was a traditional machine for sifting the rice. Stepping inside the hut, we saw a woman sat on a little stool. She had some watery batter in a little bucket and was next to an old-fashioned steamer. Scooping up the batter with a small ladle, she would spread it evenly over the hot surface of the steamer, cover it with a wicker lid and then, about twenty seconds later, would effortlessly roll it onto a drying rack. Marta and I tried, with no where near as much success as the woman and it makes you realise just how talented she is to not only do it but make it seem so easy too.

After finishing up here, it was time to go off to the Cu Chi tunnels. But that tale will have to wait until tomorrow, dear readers.

Ricky

An Englishman On Tour: Vietnam Photography #3

Stall selling various baked goods, Vietnam 2015
Stall selling various baked goods, Vietnam 2015
Shopping at the market, Vietnam 2015
Shopping at the market, Vietnam 2015
A bird at a Lunar New Year festival, Vietnam 2015
A bird at a Lunar New Year festival, Vietnam 2015
Display at Lunar New Year Festival, Vietnam 2015
Display at Lunar New Year Festival, Vietnam 2015
Fireworks above Ho Chi Minh City for Lunar New Year, Vietnam 2015
Fireworks above Ho Chi Minh City for Lunar New Year, Vietnam 2015
Firework above Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2015
Firework above Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2015
Scooters, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2015
Scooters, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2015
A Vietnamese flag waves in a calm evening breeze, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2015
A Vietnamese flag waves in a calm evening breeze, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2015

Don’t You Pho-get About Me (Or Cooking Class/Cu Chi Tunnels Combo Tour) – Part 2

So, in my last article I ended by telling you the menu that Marta and I had picked out (See it here if you missed it). So, without any messing around I will get stuck back into the cooking class with this article.

We started by preparing the pho. Even though it was the third dish we would eat, it took the longest time to prepare for. This was so the chicken bones and spices could simmer to make the perfect stock. Our chef and host told us that pho restaurants in Vietnam keep their spice mix a closely guarded secret.

Our pho stock bubbling away. The spices are wrapped in a towel.
Our pho stock bubbling away. The spices are wrapped in a towel.

Following on from this, we made the bahn mi. This was absolutely amazing to make, and even better to eat. As I mentioned in the last post, both Marta and I were so hungry that we failed in taking any pictures of this particular dish. But let me assure you, dear reader, that it was mouth-watering, succulent and exactly what I needed (even if I didn’t know it ). A combination of cucumber, carrot, mint, chicken (barbecued to perfection) and a sweet sauce, with just a hint of salt.

Next up, we began preparing for the salad. Our pho broth was left to boil away during this whole time so that it would be just right when it came to serving it. The salad consisted of carrots and cucumbers cut with a “fancy knife” as our chef called it. This was, in reality, a knife to give them a nice serrated edge. The dressing was a simple squeezing of cumquat juice. It made the salad equally refreshing and (with chilli) spicy.

2015-vietnam-green-papaya-salad

Finally, it was time for us to get back to the pho. We began by removing the bags of spices and the bones. We added a little more water, fish sauce and sugar to get the taste just right. Marta’s was so good, the chef even called it the best.

For the final dish, we dragged our now bloated bodies out of the chairs and back over to the workstations. Using a wok, we barbecued the banana and caramalised it with honey. Adding vanilla powder, coconut milk and salt into the pan, we created a thick sauce with which we would drizzle the banana. As the sauce thickened, we sliced the banana ready for serving. The last thing to be added was a sprinkling of sesame seeds and peanuts – this made the dish ready for serving.

After eating our deserts with now very full stomachs, the chef had one more surprise for us. One by one, he called us up to him and presented us with certificates and the recipes we had used. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect start to our day.

Getting our certificates
Getting our certificates

With this done, we paid (and tipped generously – I urge you to do the same. The class is more than worth it) and got ready to go on to the Cu Chi tunnels, rubber tree farm and traditional village where they made rice paper. But, alas, you shall have to wait for my next post to hear about that.

Ricky

All photos from my amazing girlfriend Marta over at Down From The Door.