What’s on your travel bucket list? Volunteering in Africa, teaching English in Prague, eating pasta in Rome? We dream of the next adventure, the next achievement, the next thing… but what about reflecting on the life we have lived?
Here’s my reverse bucket list – my top 10 most unforgettable travel moments in Asia.
1. Watching sunrise over the Ganges in Varanasi, India’s oldest living city, with dolphins diving around our tiny boat and pilgrims descending on the water’s edge to begin their ritual morning dips.
2. Snuggling under a rug at dawn, surrounded by Tibetan monks chanting mantras to celebrate Buddha’s birthday, in Dharamsala.
3. Walking past an Indian slum during monsoon and seeing a mother and daughter leaving their poles-and-plastic home, with a puddle for carpet and mud for a bed, with grins on their faces, laughing together.
4. Sitting on a bus travelling to Ladakh, climbing the last peak to reach the Tibetan Plateau, and suddenly the Himalayan mountains are rising abruptly behind us and a vast desert is stretching out before us.
5. Lazing in the refreshing mint-green pool at Potato Head watching the sunset over Seminyak Beach in Bali.
6. Sitting in the open doorway of an Indian train, with the wind blowing in my face and camels galloping in the distance, crossing the deserts of Rajasthan.
7. Huddling in a sleeping bag around an open fire with a Nepalese family, drinking hot pepper chai, with a blizzard raging outside and Mount Everest in the distance.
8. Singing on a hill-top on Gili Trawangon, with Indonesian men playing guitar, admiring the view of Gili Air and Gili Meno forming stepping stones in an expanse of turquoise sea to the lush coastline of Lombok.
9. Meeting the Dalai Lama at his home in Dharamsala and being awe-struck by the presence of this physically tiny man with a beaming smile and an immense glow, as if lit up from the inside.
10. Dancing in a sari at my future brother-in-law’s wedding, in the remote village of a Himalayan hill tribe, surrounded by the picturesque snow-covered mountains of Nepal, seemingly so close you could reach out and touch them.