My 10 Ultimate Travel Wish List Destinations

My travel bucket list // Dutch Girl in London

While I’ve been lucky to have been to some amazing destinations already, I’m still always dreaming about discovering new places and immersing myself into new cultures. Curious to know what’s on my travel bucket list? Then keep on reading!

But can I tell you a secret first?

I hadn’t experienced this ‘relaxing on holiday and breaking away from your daily routine’ feeling until recently. ‘Huh?’ you might think. ‘But aren’t you on the go all the time?’

Yeah sure, I do travel a fair bit, but these (often short) trips are usually related to hubby’s work. When he’s invited to perform or work somewhere, we sometimes extend the trip by 1 or 2 days so it’s worth for me to join him. And although it’s great to be able to visit new places and make new friends this way, it’s also quite exhausting. It might sound very glamorous, but in reality these work trips imply a lot of waiting and hanging around in dark venues.

Catching the sunrise in Captiva, Florida
The great thing about jetlag is that you wake up early and get to greet the sun.
During our first weeks in our little slice of paradise (also known as Captiva, Florida), I’d start each morning with a session of sun salutations and a fresh cup of coffee. 

It wasn’t until our 6-week artist residency on Captiva Island, Florida, in the spring of 2017, that hubby and I decided we should try to take more time off to enjoy life and each other. To reinforce our new resolution, we went to New Zealand for 3 weeks last year. And I have to say, going away for so long was truly liberating!

3 weeks was just long enough to not have to think about work projects that were waiting for me back home. I finally understood why my friends were always going away for 3 to 4 weeks in summer! For some this might be common practice, but for me this was like a real ‘life hack’. (Did I really use that awful phrase?!)

10 destinations on my travel bucket list

Wonder why New Zealand is still on my travel wish list whilst I just wrote we had already been there? Well, first of all I wrote the first draft version of this article in 2017 already. And secondly, we’re going back there this year!

Want to see what other places I visited last year? I wrote all about it in this article on my travel blog Done That Been There: My Travel Highlights of 2018

1. Mind-blowing landscapes in New Zealand

New Zealand: my travel bucket list // Dutch Girl in London
This crooked tree is possibly New Zealand’s most famous tree! Search for it on social media using the hash tag #thatwanakatree.

Even before Peter Jackson chose his home country as the perfect backdrop for his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, I’ve been dreaming about going to New Zealand. Stunning nature, geysers, volcanoes, impressive mountain landscapes (even more impressive if you’re from a country as flat as the Netherlands!), amazing wildlife, and all this without the chance of bumping into scary or deadly animals as in neighbouring Australia – ideal, right?

2. Land of the Rising Sun, ancient culture and sushi: Japan

Japan: my travel bucket list // Dutch Girl in London

Japan has probably been on my travel bucket list longer than New Zealand. I’ve always been fascinated by this faraway country where ancient traditions and the principle of Zen go hand-in-hand with a modern culture that seems absolutely ‘bonkers’ – I can’t find another, more sophisticated word for this.

I’d love to first lose myself in the manic lifestyle of metropolis Tokyo for a few days before exploring the serene countryside. It’s funny to realise that although I’ve done quite some travelling already, I have only been to European countries and transatlantic trips to English speaking countries. The high costs of visiting Japan are the main reason for not having been there yet, but it will happen. Mark my words!

3. Chasing the Northern Lights in Iceland

Iceland: my travel bucket list // Dutch Girl in London

This picture just says it all! I’d love to visit Iceland and hopefully see the magical Northern Lights dancing in the sky. Judging from the growing number of TV series and films set in Iceland, I’m not the only person who has included Iceland on her travel bucket list.

Obviously I can’t use distance as an excuse for not having visited Iceland yet. I’ll just have to admit that I absolutely cannot bear cold temperatures and am scared I’ll be freezing my bum off when I do make it out there one day!

4. Whisky, lochs and more mountains in Scotland

Scotland: my travel bucket list // Dutch Girl in London

It’s funny that my dream destinations so far all seem to have grand mountain landscapes in common. Might I be unconsciously making up for the fact I grew up in the Netherlands, a country that’s characterised by its flat landscape?

I’ve been to Edinburgh and Glasgow, and enjoyed both cities, but it would be so fantastic to go out and explore the country by car. Visits to whisky distilleries would be compulsory of course! (Don’t worry about possible drink & driving. Hubby doesn’t drink so whilst I’ll be drinking responsibly, he’ll be the responsible and reliable driver!)

5. Cambodian temples & Vietnamese cuisine

Cambodia: my travel bucket list // Dutch Girl in London

Number 5 of this travel bucket list actually consists of two countries: Cambodia and Vietnam.

I must have first learned about the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia in the 1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom movie. This impressive temple complex is the world’s largest religious monument. Because it was abandoned for a few centuries, it’s overgrown by the jungle. Imagine what an impressive sight this must be!

After a tour of Cambodia, I’d like to make my way to neighbouring Vietnam. I’ve heard so many great stories about how lovely the people are. The food would be a great draw as well. Actually, just the thought of Vietnamese cuisine makes my mouth water!

6. Road trip along the English coast

Living in England, I don’t really have to travel far to see stunning landscapes. From the magical Lake District that brought inspiration to some of England’s most famous poets to the soaring cliffs on the coast.

A lot of our friends have moved out off London in the last years and now live in different coastal towns such as Margate and Hastings. I’d love to go on a road trip along the English coast later this year and meet up with friends again. The nice thing about this is that we wouldn’t have to fly for this at all, but just hop in the car. Ideal!

7. Indonesia, the former Dutch colony

This South Asian island country used to be a Dutch colony. As a result, the mouthwatering Indonesian cuisine is just as common in the Netherlands as Indian curries are here in the UK. Besides the amazing food, I’d also love to visit to see the rice fields, incredible volcanic landscapes and wildlife (while there’s still some left…).

8. Reliving ‘Game of Thrones’ on Malta

Malta hadn’t appeared on my radar until last year when I saw photos of it appear in my Instagram feed. Reading up on this island in the Mediterranean, I discovered it has a very long history and houses ancient temples. The narrow meandering streets in the picturesque towns looks truly mesmerising, not to mention the striking unspoilt coastlines! Not surprising that the island has been used as a film location for Game of Thrones!

9. Scandinavia road trip

I’ve been on a few city trips in Sweden and Denmark, but never set foot in Norway before. My ideal ‘Scandi trip’ would be a road trip through the breathtaking forest landscape. To see the Northern Lights there would be pretty awesome as well. And while I’m writing about my travel dreams here anyway, a close encounter with a deer would be pretty perfect too!

10. Visit the nine national parks in California

So far I’ve only seen bits of the East Coast of America. I’ve been to New York City twice and on both trips took a train to another city, following the Hudson river. This already gave me a glimpse into the natural beauty of America, but I would actually love to visit the West Coast.

More specifically, I want to go to California. First I’d spend some time in San Francisco and Los Angeles to visit friends and pretend I’m in a movie. Then I’d rent a car and drive along the big American roads and visit the nine epic national parks in California. This would be my little American dream. Sounds pretty good eh?

Tell me, what’s on your travel bucket list? Are you dreaming of going backpacking through South America or would you prefer seeing more of your own country? Remember, you don’t need to travel far to see the world, you just need to open your eyes and mind.
Zarina xx

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