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Havana to Heaven: Bucket List Destinations

Patagonia Cycling
Written by Kirstie Pelling

My bucket list destinations -Havana to Heaven

Kirstie Profile SmallWhat countries or cities would you like to see before you die? I know it seems morbid, but if you don’t plan for these things they may never happen. In this post (which includes some video content sponsored by Cuba Travel Network) I consider some of my bucket list destinations for some significant milestones in the journey that is my life … 

Places to see before I die…

A while ago I came across a fun microsite from called Places to see before You Die. You type in your age and the kinds of things you are interested in and it makes you a personalised bucket list. Amongst other things I was told I should visit Japan’s Hitachi Seaside Park when I’m 69, and take a trip on the Trans-Siberian railway when I’m 75. Inspired by this, I thought, what about significant birthdays? I probably have only five or six left. Where would I like to be as the clock strikes midnight?

Cuba in 2017 when I will be 50

The microsite suggested a visit to Cuba when I’m 50 and I’d also like to add it to my bucket list for the same year. Vintage Havana is a trip back in time, with its glorious yet crumbling architecture, classic cars, fat cigars and effervescent, ever present music. “It’s like going back to the 50’s, life is simple, but there is a real spirit about the place,” says a friend who spent a month biking Cuba. “You can also get a pretty good mojito.” If you want to hike or bike while you are there, you’ll find Cuba to be rich in natural beauty, with plenty of adrenaline filled activities on offer as you can see in this video:

Mongolia in 2027 when I will be 60

My late forties may well find me in the middle of my mid life crisis. But instead of buying a Ferrari I vow to sign up for the Mongol Rally; a ‘race that’s not a race’ from the UK to Mongolia. When the kids and I finally limp into the capital Ulan Bator (Ulaanbaatar) in my mother in law’s clapped out Nissan Micra, we’ll welcome the chance to try other modes of transport. We’ll walk with yaks into the Terelj National Park. We’ll stay in a Ger camp, meet the nomadic locals, and eat sheep’s head. We’ll take camels across the desert-scape and we’ll hike to faraway temples and meditate. (Don’t mention the sheep’s head to my kids!)

Mongolia Orkhon Valley Image by Jeanne Menjoulet & Cie

Mongolia Orkhon Valley. Image by Jeanne Menjoulet & Cie under CCL

Greenland in 2037 when I will be 70

I finally made it to Iceland last year, and my next bucket list ambition is the world’s largest island. In Greenland’s frozen wilderness I will kick start my heart (or kill it off altogether) by going diving amongst jagged icebergs, I will trace the gentle curve of the humpback whale and I will race around on a husky dog sled. I will charter a boat and set sail on a voyage of discovery in the ultimate wild place. I will watch the northern lights mark the way to eternity. And I will catch and eat a fish for my tea.

Greenland Ice by Christine Zenino

Greenland Ice. Image by Christine Zenino under CCL

New York in 2047 when I will be 80

My eighties will find me setting up home in New York. I will be a Quentin Crisp figure; an artist, a raconteur and an eccentric. I will wander the streets dressed in a tweed suit, camera to the ready. I will spend long days studying street life from my sixth floor fire escape, and long evenings studying still life in art classes. I will get acquainted with the work of the classical painters at the Guggenheim, and the rebel artists at the MoMA. I’ll make my own modern masterpiece from my little corner of Manhattan. And I’ll eat lots of satsumas for Vitamin C.

Statue of Liberty New York

Statue of Liberty New York. Freedom in retirement!

Chile in 2057 when I will be 90

It’s time to consider my place in the universe and how small I am compared to this big and beautiful planet. So in my 90th year I intend to set out for the Atacama desert, one of the driest, wildest, most open places on earth. Having spent a life rushing around, I will finally slow down and examine in detail the natural world around me. I will take a llama, and go in search of the grasshopper in the pebbles and the toad in the sand. I will examine each and every spine of the seven foot tall cacti, chase butterflies and explore abandoned mining towns. I will sleep out without a tent and let shooting stars catch in my eyelashes as I drift off to sleep.

Atacama Desert by

Atacama. Photo by under CCL

My last place to see before I die; Heavenly, Lake Tahoe

By the time I reach 99 I’ll be winding up my quest to be the world’s most active granny. But I’ll bow out ungracefully by customising a pink mobility scooter and flying down Heavenly’s incredible powder filled runs. And as it’s a Nevada resort I’ll win the jackpot that will allow my kids to live the life they are always telling me they deserve, while I’m chugging back champagne. And as I take my last sip, I’ll be safe in the knowledge that Heavenly is only two consonants away from heaven!

Heavenly Mountain Resort Image by jcookfisher

Heavenly Mountain Resort. Image by jcookfisher

Over to you

Do you have a list of places to see before you die? Send us a comment to let us know what you have in mind for the hip replacement era and beyond …

Washing line in Kotor

Where do you want to go before you have to hang your socks up?

Disclosure Note: The video in this post is sponsored content brought to you in partnership with Cuba Travel Network. The ideas and opinions around it remain, as ever, entirely our own.

About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.

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We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...


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