November 9, 2010

Road Trip Philosophy - My Travel Bucket List

Travel Junkie Julia recently posted 10 Extreme Travel Adventures to Add to Your Bucket List. The exciting list included riding a bull, cage diving with great white sharks, and running a marathon on the Great Wall of China. My personal bucket list is significantly less dangerous, but I always appreciate some suggestions and thought this would be a great chance to share with you my top three travel destinations I will go to before I die:

1. The Sedlec Ossuary in Sedlec, Czech Republic

I have already bought my Czech Republic travel guides, complete with maps and hostel ratings. I've been planning this trip for a couple years and sincerely hope to go sometimes in the next few years.

The Sedlect Ossuary has an amazing history. The abbot of the monastery in Sedlec, was sent to the Holy Land in 1278. When he returned, he brought with him a small amount of earth he had removed from Golgotha and sprinkled it over the abbey cemetery. The word of this pious act soon spread and the cemetery in Sedlec became a desirable burial site throughout Central Europe. During the Black Death in the mid 14th century, and after the Hussite Wars in the early 15th century, many thousands of people were buried there and the cemetery had to be greatly enlarged.

Overwhelmed with bodies, a woodcarver in the 19th century was employed to put the bones in order. The result was incredible. He completely decorated the small chapel with the bones, including an enormous chandelier of bones hangs from the center of the nave with garlands of skulls draping the vaults. This macabre chapel is one place I have to see before I die

2. Safari and Tour of Tanzania, Africa

Specifically, I would like to go on a safari tour through Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Also, a stop on the beautiful beaches of Zanzibar for some relaxation in the beautiful sun. In addition to amazing safaris, beautiful beaches, and busy urban cities, Tanzania also offers Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa (though I doubt I am even remotely in good enough physical shape to even consider climbing it). Basically, I would like to spend a month living in Tanzania so I would have an opportunity to explore all of its amazing attributes.

Tanzania is believed to be one of the oldest known continuously inhabited areas on Earth. Fossil remains of humans and pre-human hominids have been found dating back over two million years. And while many countries in Africa have been torn apart by tribal wars and genocide, Tanzania has lived in relative peace. It is one of the most diverse places in Africa: there are over 120 ethnic groups and a multitude of religions being practiced, including Islam, Christianity, and indigenous religions. Though their primary industry is agriculture (fun fact: agriculture accounts for one-half of the country's gross national product), tourism is a growing industry. So I am certainly not alone in making Tanzania one of my top three places to visit before I die.

3. Mule Trip on the South Rim and Camping in the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Given my recent trip to Arizona, this is probably the most attainable destination (also the cheapest, based on the cost of international airfare.) The Grand Canyon is such an amazing place. It took nearly two billion years of geological events to create it and is without a doubt one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. It is also the site of some of the oldest North American archeological finds. The oldest human artifacts found in the Grand Canyon are nearly 12,000 years old and date to the Paleo-Indian period.

I want to take a mule trip down the south rim, but I would also like to camp at the bottom. I want to really experience the beauty and natural wonders of the Grand Canyon, but not be a destructive tourist. Many people don't know that the Grand Canyon is a delicate ecosystem, and one that eager tourists often abuse. For example, tourists sometimes throw coins into the canyon but then wildlife, such as the California Condor, eat them and choke to death. A depressing thought, I know, but I still think an important thing to remember. I want to go to the Grand Canyon to see the natural beauty, but hopefully leave no trace of my presence behind.



  1. A thing you are right about, and a thing you are wrong about:

    The Sedlec Ossuary is badass; I've been there. So cool. I really can't recommend it strongly enough for anyone who thinks a chapel made of bones is a fucking cool thing. And if you don't think that, you're no friend of mine. That chandelier you showed is actually one of the coolest things; it has at least one of every bone in the human body in it. There's also a medieval mausoleum somewhere in CZ that has a bunch of skeletons laid out in rows, in monks' robes. I'll see if I can remember where that was. Always fond of their mememento moris, the Czechs.

    And here is what you are wrong about: South rim? South rim? No. North rim is where it is at. I refer you to this blog post, and nothing more. Well, except the second part of that post, which is here . But yeah, North Rim, all the way.

  2. Well I may have to settle on the South Rim for now. A friend and I are looking at going to the Grand Canyon for Spring Break in March, but the North Rim won't be open for tourists until May.

    But if you remember where that mausoleum is, please tell me! I actually already have Czech tourist guides planning for my eventual adventure into the land of your ancestry. It just may take me five years to plan and save up for. But I will get there eventually!