99 experiences

I stole this idea of including a list of 99 things that I want to experience during my RTW year of a few blogs that I have come across while preparing for our big trip, as I really liked the thought of listing things I want to do (I like lists a lot, although I am usually quite bad in following them) and ticking them off as we travel ahead.

Although preparing the list has allowed me to dream ahead and already travel in my head, so far I have only managed to come up with 82 entries out of the 99. I somehow never thought it would be difficult to come up with all 99, and probably once we actually take off I will be able to think of hundreds more, but as I do not want to include easy things like 'travel to Cuba', 'travel to Argentina', 'travel to....' - you get the picture - it has actually been quite difficult.

And I therefore need your HELP! Please help me to come up with the missing 17 experiences by either commenting at the end of this post or sending me an e-mail with your suggestions, and if I like your proposals I will include them in the list below. And you know what? By proposing additional things for me to experience during this dream year abroad, you actually get a chance to influence where I am going and what I will be doing!!! 

It seems like this post about the 99 experiences I wanted to have during my travel year somehow fell out of our blog without either of us noticing. Sorry about that. I just realised it now as I wanted to update the list with which of these things I have actually had the great pleasure to experience, and which have to wait for another trip :) 

As you can see, I did manage to fill out the missing 17 experiences for a full list of 99! Hope you enjoy this updated read. I for sure enjoyed each of the 55 experiences that I can now tick of this list! And I'm looking forward to try to fit in the missing 44 in my next trips.

So, the 99 things (among others) that I want to experience during the 12 months of our RTW trip include:
  1. Learning Spanish in Latin America - YES (although I still need a lot more practice)
  2. Take a scuba diving certificate -YES, even three, Open Water (thanks to my lovely Geneva friends who gave me money as a goodbye gift for a cool experience), Advanced (thanks to the best mummy in the world and her lovely birthday gift) and Nitrox!
  3. Do a Malbec wine-tasting in Argentina - YES
  4. Volunteer  (but only if meaningful and helpful work) - YES, in an orphanage in Guatemala where I worked for two weeks taking care of some 12 kids under the age of 6 mostly by myself. Lovely, difficult, love thirsting kids. Including 5 still in diapers. Very interesting, love filling and heart wrenching experience that left me in tears after the first day of working.
  5. Tango in Buenos Aires - YES, we even took a couple of classes
  6. Swim with dolphins - YES!!!!!
  7. Eat Mexican in Mexico
  8. Taste a new fruit - YES, several but my favourite was Luloin Cartagena, Colombia. Best fresh juice ever!!
  9. Watch a sunrise/set at the top of a volcano - ALMOST, as watching one overseeing a volcano
  10. Dance with a Salsero in Cuba - YES
  11. Learn Portuguese on the road from my main global travel partner
  12. Sleep in a hostel - eah, duh, what was I thinking here?
  13. Ride on an elephant - YES, in Livingstone, Zambia
  14. Pack my 4 wardrobes and loads of boxes into a 45 litres, maximum 12 kilos backpack – and live out of that for a year! YES
  15. Horseback ride on a beach - ALMOST as several horseback riding tours so far, including through a lake to a small island in Cuba, but none on a sand beach
  16. Take a several days long bike tour - YES, around Luang Prabang, Laos
  17. Travel in business class on a intercontinental flight
  18. Learn basic Bahasa – the Indonesian or Malaysian version
  19. Travel for an extended time – YES, 11 months in total
  20. Live on less than 30$ per day (accommodation, meals, local transportation and leisure included) for minimum 14 days non-stop - YES, my average in for example Nicaragua was about 18$ per day (however, as there were other countries, such as New Zealand, Australia and Brazil, where it was difficult to spend less than 100$ per day, the average for the full year came to around 50$ per day and person)
  21. Order a hair-cut without speaking the local language - No, as I haven't actually gotten a hair cut in some 18 months! Nuno however had a nice one in a small hole in the wall in Bangkok.
  22. Try a new brand of beer YES, at least one per county. Favourites: Club Colombia and Beer Lao
  23. Learn how to play a song on a local instrument
  24. Taste a mango right off a tree
  25. Learn to cook Thai in Thailand
  26. Join a camel trek
  27. Stay on a floating island - YES
  28. Take a cooking class in Vietnam - YES
  29. Spend a night in a 5-star hotel at a heavily discounted rate
  30. Star as a Bollywood extra
  31. Visit 1/3rd of all countries in the world, or approx. 65 countries (counting 196 countries in the world). - Not quite yet as 54 visited so far, including 24 during this trip.
  32. Study a martial art
  33. Eat ‘real’ Japanese sushi
  34. See the Himalayas
  35. Go to a concert of a major local artist – but one that was previously unknown to me
  36. Sky dive - YES!!! Yes!! YEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSS! :D (thanks to my lovely mummy whose Christmas gift paid for this awsome experience, possibly against her will...)
  37. Do a random act of kindness to a stranger à la ‘pay it forward’. - YES, many small things, although nothing big enough to make a movie out of.
  38. Rhino walking safari- YES
  39. Couchsurf (as so far I have only tried couch hosting) I tried a couple of times, but never got a positive response. Perhaps because we are not great planners, and hence only know where we're going next a couple of days ahead at the most.
  40. Write an article of interest for a newspaper - YES, although about Chamonix and not about the trip
  41. Hike to Machu Picchu - YES
  42. Join the carnival in Brazil - YES
  43. Try yoga in India
  44. Get a great massage – YES, in Ubud, Bali we treated ourselves to one of the best massages I've ever had. More than twice the price of the cheaper places in that city, it still only came down to around 12$ per person.
  45. Watch a water-puppet show in Hanoi
  46. Ride in a tuk-tuk - YES, in Guatemala, in Thailand...
  47. Bike around the Angkor Wat - YES
  48. Ride the death railway
  49. Float down the Mekong - YES, or rather up it
  50. Experience the wonders of Galapagos
  51. Hike through a jungle - YES, to get to the Lost City in Colombia
  52. Spend a night in a hammock - YES (same trek)
  53. Walk in the footsteps of a hobbit (but skip the fight with dark side) - YES
  54. Spend a night in a bamboo beach hut - YES
  55. Cuddle a koala - ALMOST, we didn't cuddle them but we were as close as we will ever be
  56. Live without electricity- YES
  57. Snorkel with sea lions - NO, but kayaking next to furry seals is a great second
  58. See a kangaroo jumping down the road YES, although inside the zoo, but in an area where it jumped right across our path
  59. Pretend to be on the moon at the big salt lake Uyuni - YES
  60. Visit the world’s highest capital - YES
  61. Taste a caipi in Brazil - YES
  62. See live corals - YES, in Panama snorkling and in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines while diving
  63. Go for a spur of the moment trip to another country YES, to Chile
  64. Ride with the gauchos in Argentina - YES
  65. Go without any make-up (read mascara) for 2 consecutive weeks YES (or try months)
  66. Visit a country/place for each letter of the alphabet (A to Z baby, A to Z…) - ALMOST, but missing the letters D and Y from this trip. However, I have visited a country/place for each letter of the alphabet in my life.
  67. See a whale - no luck here as I always seem to be in whale spotting countries outside of whale spotting seasons. One day though, one day.
  68. Experience the immensity of giant turtles - not yet, but we did experience the incredible cuteness of their babies as they made their way from the nest to the sea
  69. Send a postcard per country visited to family No :( It all started out well, with a post card per country from Cuba, Guatemala and Costa Rica. But when only the post cards from Cuba actually made it to their destinations I lost my motivation. One of my regrets.
  70. Drink a mojito in Cuba - YES
  71. Negotiate a very good deal in a local market - YES
  72. Taste some handmade chocolate in a place of origin for cacao - YES, in Nicaragua
  73. Take a picture that is good enough to get published
  74. Try the art of a local handicraft
  75. Learn to crawl - slowly getting there...
  76. Use facebook to get accommodation at least once - nope
  77. Write at least one chapter of a book
  78. See two of the world’s great waterfalls YES; Iguazu and Victoria falls
  79. Manage to go minimum 10 meters either by windsurfing, kite-surfing or wake-boarding (so far I have never managed to go more than perhaps half a meter!)
  80. Sing karaoke solo and get an applause YES, in Philippines, with Nathalie Imbruglia's 'Torn' chosen by a girl from the dive shop was and not at all for my voice...
  81. Spend a month as a vegetarian
  82. Do something really crazy YES, I think bungy jumping fits right in here (thanks to my wonderful crazy travel partner globaltravellersnuno who gave me this experience for my birthday)
  83. Survive a 60km downhill biking experience next to lethal steep drops on a path better known as the Death Road – YES 
  84. Dive or snorkel with whale sharks
  85. Snorkel with manta rays - YES
  86. Dive with turtles - YES
  87. See the Bourbour temple in Yogyakarta
  88. See a shark while diving - YES, several: thresher sharks when diving with nitrox in Malapascua (this was actually the main reason why we even took the nitrox course - funny you would say if you'd know that I used to have a shark phobia and I still have it for the big whites, for bull sharks and for tiger sharks, but I have accepted and come to admire the rest), white tipped and black tipped reef sharks, and bamboo sharks at Perhentian island, Malaysia.
  89. Make a road trip from Europe down to South Africa, with loads of stops on the way (new dream!)
  90. Experience the desert in Namibia
  91. See a leopard in the wild - not yet, as it seems that everyone else gets to see them except for me
  92. Hike up the Kilimanjaro
  93. Do a long barefoot run on a perfect beach - YES, in Rio and in New Zealand, the latter being my absolut dream place for beach running!
  94. See elephants bathing in Chobe national park, Botswana
  95. Travel like the locals - YES, travelling almost exclusively by 'chicken buses' in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, often as the only tourist; travelling in a small 'spider' boat - sitting hunched down in a tiny space for an hour until I couldn't feel my bum anymore - to get from Gili T to Lombok, and taking the slow public ferry from Lombok to Bali. And many other examples.
  96. See some lion cubs in the wild (as earlier I had only seen cubs in a lion reserve in South Africa, a cool place where I could even play with the cubs, but not the wild) - YES, in Kafue national park, Zambia
  97. Have an elephant charge at our car....AND get away! (Not an experience I would have really chosen to be among these 99, but it does still fit here somehow). - YES, in Kafue.
  98. Swim in a lake filled with hippos and crocos, although in a supposedly 'safe' part of the lake where the stream was too strong for crocos, while it was too shallow for hippos... supposedly... (again not really an experience I would have ever thought of adding to this list) - YES, in lake Kariba, Zambia
  99. Make friends with the cutest, sweetest little girls in the world. -YES, in Malapascua. These three girls showed up one day at our porch and were very happy when we gave them some paper and pens to draw and write with. They were great to chat with, spoke really good English as most people we met in the Philippines, loved to play and were really pleased when we invited them out for dinner including milkshakes and whatever they wanted to eat on our last evening. Worrying about them slightly ever since we left.

(Post entry written by Helena)


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