28 at 28: A Travel Bucket List - MapNomads
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28 at 28: A Travel Bucket List

Today I’m one year older. Well, technically just a day older, but you get the gist. I’m one year closer to 30, fact that freaks me out more than I’m willing to share here. So, in the spirit of being as young now as I’ll ever be, and striving to live a life I will remember (thanks Avicii), I created a travel bucket list for this year. If not to have as a constant reminder of the things I want to see, do, and eat, then for the sake of imagining them. This list in particular may be a bit ambitious, but I’m looking forward to a great year. There’s no harm if I can’t cross every single item in here, I just gotta try.

I feel inspired. I hope I can inspire you too.

So, in no particular order, here is my 28 at 28: A travel bucket list of the things that I’d love to do while I’m 28.

1) Move again

Evidence has shown that I prefer not to stay in one place for long periods of time. Maybe someday this will change. For now, however, I’ll keep on listening to the voice that tells me that it’s time to venture somewhere new. I’ve been living in California for almost two years now (the most I’ve been in one place since 2011), and although I LOVE it here, I think it’s time to see what else is out there, settle in a new city, and start again.

Luggage                                                           Photo by: Rob Faulkner

2) Camp under the stars in Africa

It seems that whenever I see a picture advertising travel to Africa, they’re always selling these ridiculously expensive safaris. Although they look great, I feel like ‘roughing it up’ in the continent is the way to go at 28. Camping under the stars, with no facilities, listening to lions roar at night just sounds too exciting to pass up.

Namibia Desert                             Photo by: Angel Heransáez

3) Go on a safari

If I’m camping in Africa, I might as well track some wildlife while I’m there. Jump inside a massive overland truck, get my hair dusty, and be on the lookout for the big 5: lions, buffalos, leopards, rhinos, and elephants. Watching them roam freely through Africa’s diverse landscapes must be a truly unforgettable experience.

African Safari                             Photo by: David Berkowitz

4) Visit the Amazon

Speaking of wildlife, now that we saw the big guys, we can’t leave the little ones behind. Did you know that more than 100,000 species of insects per hectare live in the Amazon, and it’s home to more than 400 species of reptiles? Believe me when I say that I look forward to seeing that many insects and reptiles as much as I desire to be naked in a snow storm, but a trip to the most diverse rainforest in the planet is not just about that. It’s about learning about the local culture, and indulging in their food, about appreciating nature, hiking to waterfalls, taking hour-long rides in canoes, and relaxing in hammocks. It’s about opening my senses, and learning as much as I can.

Ecuatorian Amazon                             Photo by: A.Davey

5) Try sandboarding

Flying down a dune and successfully getting sand in Every.Single.Crevice? Sign me up!

Sandboard                             Photo by: Frank_am_Main

6) Win in Vegas

Las Vegas is one of my favorite destinations, and truth be told, I always have a great time playing blackjack. It’s embarrassing to admit that I’ve never been able to walk away while I’m winning, because it’s just freakin fun! This year, however, I think I’m strong enough to bring some cash back home. Or so I hope.


7) Go backpacking again

The last exclusively backpacking trip I took was to South East Asia 8 years ago. It was the first time I traveled without knowing where I would sleep each night, the very first time I heard the bells of relief that ring in your ears when you finally find a hostel with availability, after hauling your belongings everywhere looking for one. It was also the first time I traveled across countries by long ass bus rides, and when I first discovered that toilets and showers may inhabit the same exact square foot. It’s time to do that again. I’m ready for strapping on my backpack and heading out for some new adventures.


8)Attend a music festival

There’s something about the crowds, the music pulsing from the ground and up to your head, filling every tiny space inside of you, until you stop thinking. I’ve always been attracted to the freedom of movement, of anonymity, of camaraderie that represents being part of a music festival. Or at least that’s how I imagine it, since I’ve never been to one. Sad, I know. It’s time to remedy that. 28 will be my year.

Music Festival                             Photo by: Global Stomping

9) Study abroad

I’ve been thinking of going back to school to study creative writing, and I’d like to do it somewhere new. Someplace where I can meet new types of people, where I can explore a new city, eat new food, make new friends, all while I get better at my craft.


10) Take a multi-day hike

I love hiking. Being outside and exploring places that are only accessible by foot is one of the most gratifying experiences. Now, it’s time to step up my game and embark on multi-day journeys that test my inner strength.


11) Swing at the end of the world

Ever since I saw a picture of this swing deep in the Ecuadorian wilderness, I’ve been yearning to get on it. Adrenaline is what makes the world go round. Isn’t that what they say?

Swint at end of the world                             Photo by: Rinaldo Wurglitsch

12) Take a night bus

The road is long. The night seems to stretch on for hours, and it feels like you’ll never, ever, arrive at your destination. But (yes, there’s a silver lining here) you’re on your way to a new place, to an exciting ‘end of the line’.  Also, you’re saving some bucks on plane and hotel. So, I look forward to getting comfy (or as close to it as I can), reading an amazing book, and watching taillights speed by. Being stuck in a bus for more than 10 hours sounds rough, but let’s admit it’s also got a special quality to it. One that I’d like to experience again.

Bus                             Photo by: Scania Group

13) Overdose on Vitamin “T” in Mexico City

I don’t care what people say, Mexican food is simply the best in the world. And no, it doesn’t taste authentic anywhere else. What I miss most is what we call vitamin “T”: tacos, tamales, tostadas, tlayudas, and we could throw is some sopes, and huaraches as well. It’s been a while since I ate my weight in these world-class delicacies, and it’s about damn time I did again!

Mexican Tostada                             Photo by: FlyingCrimsonPig

14) Go canyoning

Few activities have been so challenging yet rewarding like canyoning has been for me. The first time I tried it in “The Subway” in Zion National Park, it was eye-opening. I proved to myself that I was stronger than I thought I was, and at that particular point in my life, it meant the world. I ended up exhausted, but prouder of me than I’d been for a really long time. Then, I was lucky enough to do it again in New Zealand and it was amazing as well.

I don’t want this year to go by without going out there again.

The Narrows Zion

15) Do something that scares the hell out of me

“Do something that scares you everyday”  This year, I’d like to go overboard. I don’t know what exactly it is that I want to do, I just know that I want it to send my heart racing, palms sweating, and lungs screaming, for all the right reasons.

Paragliding Queenstown

16) Sip a hot Rooibos tea in South Africa

For those of you who don’t now me, Rooibos is my favorite type of tea. No competition. It would be incredible to go on a tea safari at one of the tea plantations in the Cederberg Mountain, where it’s grown. I get warm and fuzzy feelings just thinking about it.

*Gets up to brew a cup*

Harvesting tea                             Photo by: Skip Russell

17) Hug a Lama in Machu Picchu

Admiring one of the greatest treasures left by the Inca Empire, which also happens to be one of the New Wonders of the World and a UNESCO heritage site, just wouldn’t be enough. I’d need to hug a lama for the experience to feel right.

Lama                             Photo by: Geraint Rowland

18) Buy a beanie at the Saturday Otavalo Market, Ecuador

They say it gets cold in the Andes. Like, lips-turning-blue cold. The solution is to buy a colorful beanie (representative of the area), hand woven, and sold in one of the most lively markets in the world. Obviously.

Otavalo                             Photo by: Sara Yeomans

19) Have a picnic in Yosemite

In my mind, I’m eating a hummus, avocado and sundried tomato pesto sandwich, surrounded by crystalline lakes and snow-capped mountains  If reality turns out to be different, though, I bet I’d still be amazed. Yosemite National Park is the Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, and has held one of the top spots in my list since I moved to California.

Yosemite                                     Photo by: Edward Stojakovic

20) Freeze my butt in Salar de Uyuni

They’re the largest salt flats in the world and I gotta see them. Look at all the salty gorgeousness! If you tell me it’s from another planet, I’ll believe you.

Also, I want to do it right. This means a 4-day jeep tour passing through some of the most amazing-and high altitude- landscapes of Bolivia and staying in basic (and freezing) accommodations, and not a single shower in between. For being a part of that, I can bear the cold. I think.

Salar de Uyuni Bolivia                      Photo by: Tomas Rawski

21) Visit my city like a tourist

Traveling is one of the greatest things ever. So why not do it where we live? Let’s stroll the streets as if we’ve never been here before. Go to the beaches as if  we are on vacation, and enjoy it all in that same fashion. I want to experience my neighborhood in a new way and catch things I never noticed before.

Balboa Island California

22) Go salsa dancing in Colombia

Isaac and I met at a salsa class. We’ve been dancing our way around the world ever since. We’ve been dying to check out the salsa scene in Colombia. Thinking of fun, sweaty, hot nights, surrounded by people who know how to move, letting the music lead the way makes me want to jump up and get there, now! Hopefully 28 will be the year to actually live it.

Dancing                             Photo by: Vladimir Pustovit

23) Drink 2 5 chai lattes in Melbourne

In our 11 Amazing Reasons Why Melbourne Rocks post, we wrote about how we thought the best chai latte in the world can be found in Melbourne. Having a creamy, hot, spicy deliciousness in one of Melbourne’s hip cafés is something I’ll probably want to do every year, over and over again.

Melbourne Chai Latte

24) Track mountain gorillas in Uganda

Gorillas are my favorite animal to watch. They’re just so fascinating. This is the year to put on my hiking shoes and trek through Uganda’s rainforest in search of a face-to-face with the giant silverbacks.

Gorila                             Photo by: Joxeankoret

25) Go on a road trip

I’m a sucker for road trips. Our time driving around New Zealand left me craving for more. The open road, one smashing playlist, awesome travel companions, and a map. What more could you possibly want for an adventure?

Road Trip

26) Learn to ride a bike

Please don’t laugh. Ok, you can laugh a little. I would if I were you. No, I never learned to ride a bike and I’ve regretted it since, well, forever. One of the things I want to do most is to explore a city by bike. Maybe even go on a bike tour, but hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. First things first, let’s start by learning to ride one. (No, Dany, tandems and training wheels don’t count).

Bike                             Photo by: BLM Nevada

27) Swim under the waterfalls in Krka National Park, Croatia

A couple months ago, during my trip to Spain, I thought I’d be able to squeeze in some time and travel to Croatia. It turns out that I was being too optimistic, and it didn’t happen. I was so excited to visit its National Parks which seem straight out of a fairy tale. I mean, I gotta be there to believe they’re real, you know? So, yeah, Croatia stays in my list for a second year in a row.

Krka                             Photo by: Vacation2

28) Blog all about it

If I’m fortunate enough to experience all these amazing things, I plan to document every single one of them. Write every detail, every memory, every sensory experience, as a way to relive them over and over again. And most of all, to connect with you all.


Here’s to kicking ass at 28!

What are some of the things you want to do this year? Let me know in the comments below! 

  • Alana
    Posted at 11:04h, 12 October Reply

    Happy Birthday! Wow! That is quite the list and sounds like a blast! It also sounds like overlanding in Africa might be the way to go for you. You would be able to cross a lot off your list!

    • mapnomads
      Posted at 22:55h, 14 October Reply

      Hey Alana!
      Thank you so much! Yes, there’s a lot I would love to do this year, but I also love just daydreaming about going to really cool places.
      Also, you read my mind! Yesterday we finally decided to do it, and we booked an overlanding trip to Africa!!
      I’m super excited. Hopefully I’ll get to cross a few points off my list!
      Have you ever gone overlanding?

  • Alana
    Posted at 00:21h, 16 October Reply

    Yes, we did a two month overland trip in Africa early this year. It really was amazing. We’ve written about portions of our trip (website is called Great Big Globe). We’re happy to answer any questions you have as your trip gets closer!

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