• Ben M.


Updated: Sep 15

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This August is my second complete year of traveling full time. I’ve had a plethora of amazing experiences, visited new historical sites (new to me), and chilled on gorgeous beaches.

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist - Oscar Wilde

This is a great short quote. It is easy to become entwined in the daily 9-5 grind back home. You become stuck and uninspired, especially after many people have stayed home for the last 18 months.

The New Year though is just around the corner. Here is my travel bucket list for 2022.

Ride The Trans- Mongolian Express Train

I love trains. I’ve ridden Amtrak around the U.S., ventured all over Europe, and experienced the Shinkasen (the bullet train) around Japan. Depending on what country you are in, the train can take you to rural locales which would be time consuming to reach by air.

There are a number of classic train journeys scattered across the globe. One of the rail trips I’m longing to take is the Trans-Mongolian Railway. The Trans-Mongolian Railway runs on an ancient tea route from Russia, through Mongolia, to China.

The Trans-Mongolian falls under the Trans-Siberian umbrella. The longest train in the world is the Trans-Siberian Railway.

It runs from Moscow to Vladivostok and travels about 9000 kilometers. The Trans-Mongolian starts in Moscow and mirrors many stops of the Trans_Siberian. After Lake Baikal though, it runs to Beijing, via Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

All international train service was closed through 2020 and 2021. The domestic trains in Russia are currently running but the borders are closed.

Stay at a Boutique Vineyard Property in Wine Country

Many people have taken vineyard tours and gotten tipsy from wine tasting. One of the most romantic ideas of wine-themed travel though is a vineyard stay.

Typically, vineyards have few rooms and are usually placed were it requires a vehicle to get around. There are some beautiful vineyard stays for a special occasion or just some time alone with a loved one. Check out Mexico, Argentina, California, Chile, and France.

Go To Pakistan

Pakistan is one of the fastest growing countries for tourism. It is a place I’ve long wanted to visit, especially the mountains in the north to photograph the exquisite wildlife. Himalayan bears, oryx, Marco Polo sheep, Siberian ibex, and the Himalayan Goral.

Of course it would be a dream to see a snow leopard but that is unlikely. One of the most beautiful areas is the Hunza Valley, which contains the Passau Cones and the bright blue water of Attabad Lake.

If you prefer large cities, Pakistan has Karachi, with a metro population of around 16 million people and Lahore with a population of 11 million. Lahore is famous as a city of the Mughal Empire.

See a Jaguar in the Wild

I’ve written about the jaguar in other blog posts so I will keep this short. I’ve always wanted to see a jaguar in the wild, but they are similar to leopards and snow leopards in that they go out of their way to avoid humans.

The best place to see one is in North Pantanal, Brazil as they are known to come down to the river to hunt caiman. This is a bucket list item which will very likely get checked in the near future.

Visit One of the New Seven Wonders of the World

I’m a huge history buff and would love to say that I’ve seen all seven of the New Wonders of the World. Sadly, I’ve only visited three (Chichén Itzá, Colosseum, Taj Mahal).

This is another box which will likely be checked; if I make it to Brazil for the jaguar, I will also see the Christ the Redeemer Statue. The massive statue sits on Mt. Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro.

If I could make it two this year that would be even better.

Everyone should try to see at least one of these historical juggernauts.

Visit One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Regrettably, I’ve only been to one of these, the Pyramids of Giza many years ago. It was so long ago, digital cameras weren’t mainstream yet.

UNESCO, or the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a unit of the United Nations which seeks to identify and protect world heritage sites. They were not involved in the New Wonders of the World. The city of Babylon, Iraq was recently recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Babylon is the site of the Hanging Gardens, one of the Ancient Wonders of the World.

I’ve only visited Turkey when flying through IST in Istanbul (business class on Turkish Air, its fantastic). I would really like to see Turkey this year; I would visit the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the Temple of Artemis.

See an Aurora

The Northern Lights are well known by anyone aspiring to take photos of the Aurora Borealis. They are an astronomical event called polar lights (aurora polaris).

This phenomena is caused by atoms colliding with the atmosphere. The Northern Lights (otherwise known as the Aurora Borealis) can be seen from Norway, Iceland, Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Sweden, and even Finland.

You can also see polar lights in the southern hemisphere. The aurora australis can be viewed from Antarctica, Australia, and New Zealand.

Ride the Sunset Limited from New Orleans to Los Angeles

The Sunset Limited is an Amtrak train which is the United States second transcontinental route. Until 2005, it ran between Orland and Los Angeles, but during Hurricane Katrina, the tracks between Orlando and New Orleans were washed out.

Before Amtrak, the Sunset Limited was owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad and is the oldest named train in the nation. The Sunset first ran in 1894 and had only sleeper cars, no regular passenger coaches.

There are three round trips per week with train 1 going westbound and train 2 heading eastbound. The journey contains 20 stops and takes an average of 46 hours and 28 minutes.

Ilulissat Blue Guesthouse

Stay in a Cool Airbnb

Airbnb is extremely popular with many travelers. it offers a wide selection of properties and generally you can find a rental on Airbnb for less than a hotel room.

Personally, I find their customer service to be lacking and the manner in which they treat customers sometimes to be deplorable. One cannot argue though the cool factor of some of the properties that are available; from castles to treehouses and boats.

Attend the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience

New Orleans is one of my favorite cities in the U.S., probably top five with other amazing places such as Charleston, Nashville, and Phoenix. I was in New Orleans for the first time in February 2017 and have been there three times now.

Obviously, New Orleans is most famous for it’s food and history. The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience is one of the premier food events in the world, yes the world.

The event provides a large group of vineyards and restaurants to sample from along with a range of speakers of and performers. This is an event not to miss if you like food or wine!

Visit Chile

In March 2020, I became stuck in Bolivia due to the pandemic lockdown; I had planned on going to Chile after Bolivia. Beyond it’s unusual, long, narrow shape, Chile is a country with a multitude of attractions to visit.

In the North, you have the Atacama Desert, teeming with desert life and ideal for astrophotography. Valparaiso is famous for it’s beautiful colored, clifftop houses. Santiago is a burgeoning city, averaging 3.6 percent GDP growth every year since 2000.

Chile is well known for it’s glaciers and spectacular scenery around Patagonia. Unfortunately, Chile is still locked down for Covid, but it is a bucket list item for myself, in the hope it opens for tourism this year.

Take a Cruise to the Antarctic

According to research I’ve done lately, Antarctic cruising is one of the most hopeful and viable for the 2021-2022 season. Most Antarctic cruises leave from Santiago or Buenos Aires, so it’s a little wait and see with Chile being closed still.

Additionally, there will be great demand for the cruises that are available, so prices will likely be higher than they already are. Cruising the Antarctic in search of glaciers and whales though is a once in a lifetime type trip.

One of the most spectacular places in Antarctica is the South Shetland Islands. These islands hold incredible fjords, glaciers, penguins, and elephant seals.

Visit St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg was the center of the October Revolution in 1917-1918. This revolution saw the founding of the Bolshevik state and the Soviet Union under Lenin.

St. Petersburg is replete with historical sites and gorgeous architecture. Travelers can visit the State Hermitage Museum, the Peter and Paul Fortress, Palace Square, and the Peterhof Palace.

Attend a Travel Conference

There is no shortage of travel conferences to be found. In fact, there are travel events scheduled for every month in 2022. See the below link for some great conferences to attend.


Spend a Month in Thailand Training Muay Thai

Thailand is a phenomenal travel destination, even if you don’t consider that it is the home one of the most brutal fighting styles in the world. Of course, you have to look past the over-tourism by the international trendies and the wanna be digital nomads.

I’m not talking about American style kickboxing or Glory fights. Real Muay Thai fighting is bloody and savage. I watched my first Muay Thai fight in 2001, when I was on deployed on the USS Harpers Ferry and we stopped in Phuket.

I still remember how the smaller, faster fighter pounded the heavier, taller fighter for multiple rounds. Finally, during the last round, the heavier fighter unleashed a life-changing roundhouse kick, which knocked the smaller fighter down and out. The bigger fighter would finish drenched in his blood and his opponents.

There is no shortage of training camps in Thailand and I would love to spend a month at one.

Spend a Month Visiting National Parks in Costa Rica

Go Glamping in Africa

Everyone who knows me, knows Africa is my favorite place. Why? That’s another blog post I think. There’s too many reasons to list here.

What is glamping you might ask? Some might think of it as a nicer tent, but these days it’s much more than that. Glamping is where the quest for spectacular wildlife meets the demand for luxury in the untamed landscape.

Glamping camps range in price from $3000 a night at Camp Jabulani in Hoedspruit to $140 a night at Taziry Ecolodge in Qesm Siwah, Egypt.

Kex Hostel, Iceland

Stay at a Cool Hostel

With the thriving backpacking scene the last few years and growing travel in general, the number of hostels has grown exponentially. One of the sureties of travel, is that not all hostels are the built the same.

Booming wanderlust has created a selection of hostels that are social hubs, co-working and co-living spaces, and incredibly instagram worthy. Just do search for the coolest hostels in the world and you’ll see what I mean.

If you get a chance, check out Kex above.

Spend a Long Weekend at a Great All-Inclusive

Attend a Premier League Match in a Box

Attend a Rugby Match with One of the Best Teams

Rugby has long been one of the most popular sports in the world. Recently, the new popularity of Rugby Sevens has increased it’s popularity in countries where traditionally it hasn’t fared well.

A big bucket list item for me is to attend both a Rugby Sevens match and a match from the Australian/New Zealand National Rugby League or the British/French Superleague.

Admittedly, I’ve been quite fascinated with the sport since I watched Invictus, which is a great movie, even though it’s not completely accurate.

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