We’ve all dreamed about living our lives to the fullest and no matter what that may mean for you, there are just some experiences that remain extraordinary.
While you may have a bucket list of your own, consider adding these to it because if articles, testimonials and pictures are anything to go on, you do not want to miss having these ‘must do before you die’ experiences.
Here are the top ten must do experiences, in no particular order.
10. See the Northern Lights
Otherwise known as Aurora Borealis or the Polar lights, it doesn’t matter what you call them because once you witness the magic our world truly holds you will be speechless anyway.
Whether or not you understand how these wonders of the sky work, the adventure stands static.
Green, blue and purple lights dance across the sky in waves of ever-changing hues.
Sleep in a glass igloo, retreat to a luxurious resort or camp beneath the stars in places like Finland, Norway, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Sweden and Alaska, depending on what time of year you decide to visit. Cameras might not do as much justice to these awesome sights, but the experience will live on in your memory in high definition.
9. Go on an African Game Drive
The African sky seems to contain the essence of life within its breath-taking sunsets, stunning sunrises, and luminous star-studded night skies. There is no better place to set the scene of witnessing wild animals in their natural habitat and having a drink or two to the sweet songs of the African Grey Hornbill and majestic hippo.
If you love getting in touch with nature and if getting away from city life sounds like the perfect escape, then going on a game drive is the experience for you. There are many lodges and guest houses that offer group and private game drives while you’re booked in. These drives usually take place in the early morning and late afternoon.
Aside from the aesthetic aspect, there is much to learn and take in from these drives in the bush and you are likely to return with a new appreciation for the wonderful wildlife and unique landscapes.
8. Go Hiking in Cape Town
There is a reason they call Cape Town the ‘Mother City’ of South Africa. It’s beauty and inexplicable energetic vibe come together to form a city for every type of person.
Hiking is an incredible experience on its own, but when accompanied by ocean views and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, it becomes an unforgettable one. Hikes around Cape Town can range from two hours to eight hours, or even two or more days if you’re up for the challenge. Not only are you able to soak up the forest, sea-scape and mighty mountains, but you might even get to see whales and African penguins, depending on which trails you take, and there is a hike for all budgets too.
The Whale trail and the Otter trail are two of the most popular hikes in Cape Town and everyone who has been interviewed about doing these hikes has said that it was challenging but well worth the experience. Many people even go back to do it again!
If anything is worth going back for seconds, it is worth doing the first time.
7. Get a Tattoo
This experience can range from 45 minutes to over three days. It could be a one-time thing or an ongoing artwork. This is one of the many reasons why this experience is so special- it’s a completely personal experience and almost everyone who experiences it once wants to experience it one more time. Another unique feature of getting a tattoo is the pain that accompanies it. But just like many artworks, pain is part of the experience- it makes it that much more worth it.
Getting a tattoo represents strength, resilience, patience, and a love for art in the person who gets one. Above all else, who wouldn’t want a beautiful piece of artisanal design imbedded in their skin for life?
It becomes part of who you are in terms of how people recognize you, and if your tattoo has a special meaning to it, it then becomes a part of who you are as a person too.
The smell of a strictly sanitized workspace, the buzzing sound of the needle, the enthusiastic chatter between you and your friendly artist and the magnificent onset of masochistic hedonism. (That’s a joke.)
The best part about this experience is that the result of it will stay with you for life!
6. Go on a Road Trip
There are tons of films and books that include a famous road trip scene and it always seems to be the best part of the adventure. Well, that’s because it is. There’s a reason as to why there is a saying that ‘life is about the journey, not the destination’, because while your destination may be an exciting element to the trip, the point of a road trip is to become overwhelmed by your excitement and channel that energy into making the most of your drive there. Music and bad karaoke, snacks, feeling the wind in your hair and the sun on your face, energy drinks, good conversation and candid scenery, the opportunities to enjoy the present moment and make memories are endless.
5. Journey Along a Wine Route
There’s more to wine than getting hammered off of it, believe it or not. Wine has always had a refined essence to it. Some have earthy undertones and some smell of citrus, while others have hints of chocolate and oak. Indulge in your senses and become present in the moment.
Wine routes are fantastic day-out activities if you’re interested in immersing yourself in the culture and underlying flavors of fermented fruits, and learning about the process they go through to get to your local supermarket shelves.
It’s an extremely enjoyable experience, especially with good company, and only good can come of learning something new. If wine isn’t your cup of tea, as it were, then there are actual tea-tastings and whiskey routes too.
4. Visit Rock City of Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
If you’re not a culture vulture already, a trip to Rock City in Sri Lanka will make one out of you for sure!
A trip to the Sigiriya Fortress and a trek up this rich-in-history rock is the epitome of the very definition of an experience. Once a protection fortress to a King and later a Buddhist monastery, the history and aesthetic of this adventure makes every penny worth it.
Fresco rock paintings pepper the walls and heritage runs deep within the soil. You will be drenched in culture and endorphins by the end of your trip, with more knowledge packed into your bags than you came with and memories to follow you for the rest of your life. Aside from the archaeological features and the beautiful gardens surrounding the World Heritage Site, about halfway up you can see a huge lion carved into the rock, which was done by King Kasyapa himself so as to form a gateway into his fortress. The Sigiriya was later discovered by a British Army Soldier while he was riding his horse through Sri Lanka.
Not to mention, the view from the top of the rock is phenomenal to say the least. It’s no secret as to why this made the top ten experiences to have list!
3. Camp (Not Glamp)
Glamping is more comfortable, sure, but nothing beats living like a primitive Homoerectus.
Seriously though, camping is a great way to connect with nature, as well as yourself among the great, green lungs of the earth, luscious landscapes and invigorating vistas. Something I will always fondly remember from my childhood is camping on the river banks of the Vaal, fashioning swords and spears out of sticks with my brother. It’s the perfect way to escape the busy buzz of the city and life in general and just relax. Not only will heavenly horizons steal your heart, but there is something special about sitting near a crackling fire and looking up into space at our clusters of stars- which are ten times more visible out there.
Walk barefoot on the grass, have a swim in the nearest river or dam if there is one, throw some ribs or potatoes on the fire, smell the sweet evening air, read a book under a tree and see the adventure there is in getting back to your roots.
2. Hike Among History in Peru
Hiking, history, Peru? Need I even say more? If those three words don’t get your adventure engine running, I’m not sure anything will. Machu Picchu- a sacred World Wonder, Rainbow Mountain, pink dolphins, the Peruvian Amazon Forest, oceanic panoramics, wild animals, healing mud from Huacachina, good indigenous food, the Colca Canyon, learning new things every day and agricultural Incan history are only to name a few of what you could expect from visiting Peru.
Culture and heritage live among the locals harmoniously and if you never experience anything else in your life but hiking in Peru, you would have a life well-lived. No matter which destination you choose to hike in, each place offers an experience unlike any other that will leave you gasping for more.
1. Slip Away to a Yoga Retreat
Whether you prefer the African landscape, a seaside escape or being surrounded by fetching forests, there is a yoga retreat for you. You will find adrenaline junkies, spiritual souls, business people and even moody teenagers diving into this experience at the first chance they get. Yoga isn’t only for religious or spiritual people and you don’t have to be able to bend your leg around your head to partake in this rejuvenating retreat.
Practice mindfulness and feel yourself become in touch with your body and mind by joining yoga classes depending on your skill level, visit the local spa for some premium pampering, enjoy lavish landscapes, have a drink on the porch and get away from the hustle and bustle of life. A yoga retreat is the perfect experience if you want to feel more in touch with yourself and the earth. It’s good exercise and relaxing at the same time, who wouldn’t want that?
If you’re someone who enjoys extreme sports and these seem too mild for you, consider getting in touch with your sensitive side and exploring the rich culture and enjoyment these experiences have to offer. There is nothing wrong with trying something new!
If you aren’t really the adventurous or spontaneous type, consider the mental and physical benefits that you could gain from these experiences. Stepping out of your comfort zone only brings memories, good stories and growth.
Adventure is out there and all around us- it’s a mindset and we can experience the most magically euphoric things when we allow ourselves to get out of our comfort zone and to ‘live our best life’.
Whether you rewrite your bucket list to include all of these or only think one of them could be fun, all of these are worth the experience, alone or together.
List Created By: Justine Maidwell