My 13 Most Wanted Destinations

I do not have a bucket list. If I did, I’m sure most of the things on that list would have been crossed off by now. That does not mean, however, that I do not have goals or a priority list of things I’d like to do. The following list is of the 13 places I would most like to visit.

You will notice that most of these destinations are out of the way and rather hard to get to. While I still haven’t visited many places which get large numbers of tourists (Shanghai for example), they are relatively easy to get to. If I really wanted to visit Shanghai I’m sure I could do it no problem. I’m also sure I’ll wind up going there at some point.

These places have all captured my fancy for some reason or another. Save for the locations in Canada and Australia, all are in countries which I haven’t visited before. (Technically, I have been to Chile when I went to Easter Island, but it isn’t the same as visiting the mainland of Chile)

Here is my list in no particular order are the 13 places I would most like to visit:

  • Nahanni National Park (Canada) – There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada which I have not visited. One of them is Nahanni. Located in the Northwest Territory of Canada, it might well be the most underrated national park in all of North America. The photos I’ve seen are incredible. Being in the NWT it is not an easy park to visit. You pretty much have to fly there via bush plane. UPDATE: Visited in 2014
  • St. Helena – A speck of land located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, St. Helena is best known as the location where Napoleon was exiled and died. Getting to St. Helena isn’t easy. There are no flights here and there isn’t an airstrip to land even if you could find one. The only way on or off the island is by a mail ship which arrives about once a month. A trip here would also probably involve visiting several other islands in the Atlantic such as Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. UPDATE: Visited in 2014
  • Tuvalu – I have visited every independent country in the Pacific except for one: Tuvalu. I was going to visit back in 2007, but due to getting denied entry into the nation of Kiribati, I never ended up going. Tuvalu is one of the smallest nations in the world both in terms of area and population. It is also made up exclusively of coral atolls which makes it extremely vulnerable to sea level rise. Visiting Tuvalu might very well be a case of visiting it while I can. UPDATE: Visited in 2016
  • Kashmir (India) – When I visit Kashmir I will probably start all my blog posts with lyrics from the Led Zeppelin song. That being said, despite its political problems with India, Pakistan and China, Kashmir holds the most interest for me in India. The mountains plus the people make it a fascinating place.
  • The Atacama Desert (Chile) – This is the driest place on Earth. Some soil samples taken here were found to be the most devoid of life ever found on the planet, including Antarctica. I am a sucker for extreme places and this is one of the most extreme. I’m not certain that photos from here would be on a par with visiting a snow-capped mountain range, but I want to go nonetheless.
  • Lake Baikal (Russia) – This has always been the one place in Russia that I’ve wanted to visit. Lake Baikal is the oldest and deepest lake in the world. It contains about 20% of the unfrozen fresh water in the world. –
  • Mount Everest (Nepal) – Make no mistake, I have no desire to CLIMB Mount Everest. I can tell I’m at altitude when I’m at 10,000 feet. I don’t think I’d do well at 30,000 feet. I would, however, like to get as far as base camp. I think the act of getting to Mount Everest would constitute the greater adventure.
  • Leptis Magna (Libya) – Maybe right now is not the best time to visit Libya. However, in a few years, I hope things settle down enough to visit what are probably the greatest Roman ruins in the world: Leptis Magna. Located on the African shore of the Mediterranean Sea,
  • Persepolis (Iran) – The former capital of the Persian Empire, Persepolis is, along with Leptis Magna, some of the greatest ancient ruins in the world. I can’t say I have visited any Persian Empire ruins in all my travels. Also, going to Iran in and of itself would be an interesting experience.
  • Lord Howe Island (Australia) – Lord Howe Island is located about 600km east of Australia and is technically part of the state of New South Wales. It is also home to the southernmost coral reef in the world and is considered by many respected travelers to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Getting there requires a propeller plane and you are weighed before you can get on board. Only a limited number of visitors are allowed on the island at any given time. UPDATE: Visited in 2012
  • Li River (China) – The best photos I’ve seen come out of China have been from the Li River. In fact, many of the iconic images people have of China are from the Li River. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Li River would be one of those places where you can do no wrong taking photos. –
  • Socotra (Yemen) – If you’ve seen photos from Socotra you’ll understand why this is a very special place. It is an island in the Indian Ocean located about 240km from the coast of Yemen. It is home to species found nowhere else on Earth. Moreover, they look really cool. It has been called the most alien-looking place on Earth. I think I’d have a photography field day here.
  • Pitcairn Island – This list was only going to include 12 places, but at the last moment I decided to include Pitcairn Island. If you are not aware of it, it is perhaps the most remote human settlement in the world. With a total population of 48 people, all of whom are descendants of the mutineers of the HMS Bounty, Pitcairn is one of the hardest places in the world to visit. There are no flight and no regularly scheduled ships which visit the island. This might just be the hardest human settlement in the world to visit.

What places do you want to visit?

All images used are in the public domain and taken from

49 thoughts on “My 13 Most Wanted Destinations”

    • It would be much of a list if it was just obvious places. Besides, I’ve been to most of the obvious places already :)

  1. Passing through Persia (Iran), you are more than welcome to be my guest, no doubt anyplace in the world has its own beauty, but missing Persia historical beauty (not mentioning its nature) will be a big gap in your adventures, Persepolis (Takhte Jamshid), Isfahan Beauty, Shoshtar Waterfalls, Naqshe Rostam, Taqe Bostan… just to name a few

  2. This is a very “off the top 10 places” beaten track list. I mean, its not the great wall, the machupiccu and the pyramids. Half of these places if not all were new to me and yet i though my bucket list was short.

  3. Oh – you have to make it to the Everest region. It was one of my first destinations (besides Australia!) – just loved it so much. Hoping to make a return in the next couple of years. Take it slow – the altitude isn’t so bad when you have time to adjust. I made it to 12,000 ft – just past the monestary at Temboche. You won’t be disappointed! I am still fascinated with the region.

  4. Don’t forget to come to Indonesia. So many beautiful places here such as Bali, Komodo Island, Bromo Mountain, Raja Ampat, etc

  5. Several of those are on my most want to travel destination including Socotra and Everest Base Camp. I’ve always thought Pitcairn Island would be quite interesting as well.

  6. Hey Gary.

    I love you’re work mate! I’ve been following your blog for a while now & this post caught my eye, especially with the mention of Bucket Lists. After all, I am The Bucket List Guy, so go figure…

    In regards to Mt Everest (assuming you haven’t done it yet), my suggestion is to go through Tibet. My Dad & I did it 2 years ago with an actual Expedition Team of serious climbers. 11 people were gunning for the summit. We peeled off at Advanced Base Camp on the Nth side of the Big E.

    Feel free to email me if you want details about the types of companies to do that with if you want. Keep up the great work.


  7. I hope NZ would have made it there if you hadn’t been already for the World Cup. Don’t know that I would consider having Pitcairn on my list considering some of the weird stories that have emerged over the last few years about their, well there is no other way to put it, inbreeding.

  8. A lot of those sound great but Persepolis stands out for me on that list even since we did an episode on Iran for Amateur Traveler.

  9. Great list, Gary. I think it’s a great idea to have challenging places on your list. Pitcairn Island can be a real problem. Although a few cruise ships schedule a port of call there, they often have to miss the stop due to winds/waves. Wouldn’t THAT be disappointing?

    • I’ll second that! Guilin, where that picture you posted was taken (it’s Elephant Trunk Hill), is GORGEOUS! You must go there!

  10. This is super awesome.. I’ve been to two places on your list !!!

    Ladakh in Kashmir and Yangshuo – which is where the Li river is! :)

  11. Gary,this is quite an interesting list.Although I live in India,I’ve never been to Kashmir-it is beautiful,especially Ladhak I heard.Rajasthan in the N.W & Kerala down south too are lovely.

    Of your list of places,I’d love to visit Tuvalu,Lake Baikal maybe I’d take a trip with National geographic traveler-on the trans Siberian express I think.Pitcairn Island if possible…it is way out.Nepal and Kashmir…these are closer home,for me atleast.

  12. Love the list, Gary. I gives us all a bit of inspiration!
    It’s great you avoided listing the big obvious cities – you’re probably going to go through them on the way to these places anyway! :)

  13. Cool list. It’s definitely not your overdone, cliche travel list that includes Paris and all that. I too would love to visit Nepal but NOT climb Mt. Everest.

  14. To add on the list: the salt flats of Uyuni, Bolivia. During the wet season, the reflections on the layer of water collected on the flats makes it look like you’re walking in the sky :)

  15. Frankly – I didn’t even know Pitcairn Island existed, and am glad and grateful that I now do. I do hope you visit and we can see a little bit of what life is like over there. Also find Socotra a great choice, I too would love to visit “the most alien looking place on Earth.”

  16. Aha! So this was the rare post wtihout your own photos…An interesting list. I would definitely love to visit Kashmir and Libya, once things settle down a little. I’m definitely intrigued by the Pitcairn Islands…It’s so diffficult to imagine growing up only knowing 47 other people…I wonder whether their outlook on life would be fundamentally different – or not.

  17. Great list! Lake Baikal is magnificent, but I’d suggest that you go in fall or winter, as I heard it’s more crowded in the summers. My current list includes Iran, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and many of the post-Soviet countries. I visited Kazakhstan this summer and just that brief taste was enough to convince me. I hope you get to see all these places!

  18. Great list so when you are going on long vacations.

    All places are very nice when you will come back please send me more pics of your tour.

  19. Good to see an Aussie location on there. When I was 9 or 10 my mother was offered a job teaching out on Lord Howe Island and had to turn it down. I’m not sure I’ll ever completely forgive her for that :-p

  20. When you get ready to go to Pitcairns Island, please take me with you! I’ve always said that I’d get to base camp at Everest. That is one of my all time dreams. As soon as I saw Kashmir, I immediately thought of Led Zeppelin too. A great list. I hope you make it to all these places!

  21. Oh wow. These 12 places on your list are definitely a must visit. You know they do not are not just pretty places to visit, they have something to tell like the history especially for the ancient places. Hey, its the first time I have heard Pitcairn Island. It is really small I can’t even locate it in some maps. There are very few picture on the net. But I bet it is a fine place to visit. I know you wouldn’t include it in here if it isn’t.

  22. You can take good photos of Atacama, especially if you go to places like the Moon Valley, where you can hear salt crystals drying in the canyon walls. See few examples at my blog about Moon valley at Atacama

    And a great list dude, I definitely had to add some places to my “places I want to go” list. Cheers :)

  23. Hi there. Happened to bump into this interesting travel blog of your via #TTOT. Wow. I know those places are all great but I just didn’t expect them to be in anyone’s bucket list – if it is what you’d like to call it. Apart from the Himalaya, most of those places are not really known to most travelers I guess. But then, I know most travelers opt to go the less known places nowadays. Hope you’ll get to go to those places sometime in the future.

  24. Great list! I just spent half an hour learning about Saint Helena. What an interesting place in the world.
    Unfortunately since it is so tough to get there, I will probably see lots of other places before I go there.

  25. We proved it is quite possible to take bad photos of the Li River… We’re sure you’ll do a better job! Stunningly beautiful place, and we found we were warmly welcomed, too.

    There are too many places we still want to go to list! :)

  26. Okay, I’m with you on Kashmir, would love to go — and have never been. I’m game for starting to plan now.

  27. A caveat about the Li River. Don’t go expecting blue skies. It was misty when I was there and I was not happy with how my photos turned out. But, you’re a more experienced photographer than I, so I’m sure you’ll manage.

  28. The Atacama is amazing – I was lucky enough to camp there for several weeks (for work) – some of the most amazing stars I’ve ever seen. The whole area including the Uyuni area in neighbouring Bolivia are worth visiting! Lord Howe – never thought of going there – its quite easy for me (in NZ) – might have to check it out!

  29. Enjoyed your list, Gary. I visited St. Helena on an Atlantic crossing cruise from Cape Town to Rio. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the prolific gardens were a surprise. And although they take visitors to Napoleon’s grave, he is no longer buried there. But you can tour his home in exile. And at the Governor’s residence it’s fun photographing the huge tortoises that roam the front lawn. As at Pitcairn, the seas have to be smooth enough to allow for tendering from the ship.

    I’m liking the looks of Nahinni National Park. And I’ve always had a fascination with Everest.

  30. I discovered Pitcairn Island earlier this year and immediately put it on my list – and then I read about the child sex abuse and removed it. It might be pretty, but I can’t stomach supporting child rapists. Even if it’s a place that most people would be really impressed I got it.

  31. Nice list, but it seems several cruise ships go to the Pitcairns… in todays world, it could STILL qualify as one of the most remote places out there though. I’ve heard that there are essentially no points on the globe that are further than three days travel from one another (and I assume that excludes the possibilities of having your own jet plane and helicopter).

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