Updated on July 9th, 2020
I created my Life List at the start of 2016 after feeling the need to refocus. 2015 had been turbulent & traumatic to say the least, coming to terms with the loss of my husband at the end of the previous year. I went through that 12 months in a bit of blur, meeting friends & family in various places around the world for holidays where I could pretend life was “normal”. You can read more on the whole experience in About Me, but this is about the results of my refocus & what I have accomplished in 2017.
What did I do?
Last year I managed to tick another 14 items off my Life List (adding to the 12 I achieved in 2016). It was a fantastic year for travel & some iconic experiences. Click the links on the titles for my Video Diaries or the articles to read more about it!
65. Explore South America
This continent had been the one which had been in my sights for a long time. At the end of March, I took my first steps on Argentinian soil which began a 2-month journey through 3 countries & in so doing, knocked a number of the big hitters off my list.
89. Visit Buenos Aires
The start & end of my Argentinian leg was Buenos Aires & I loved the city! The food & wine were particular highlights as was the atmospheric Recoleta Cemetery – the last resting place of Eva Peron & where you literally felt a door could open at any moment as you come face to face with a vampire or the walking dead!
19. Visit Iguazu Falls
‘Spectacular’ barely does it justice! From the mist that rose upon our approach to Devils Throat, to the thrill of our first rainbow at the falls & the unnerving presence of the Coatis trying to steal our lunch, it was a day that will be hard to beat. You can read all about it in my article How to Plan a Trip to Iguazu Falls.
115. See Patagonia
I’m keen not to use the word ‘spectacular’ again but it’s hard not to when describing the awe-inspiring beauty of both the Perito Merino & Upsala glaciers we visited on our short trip to Patagonia. It’s definitely an area I will return to explore further but you can hear all about it in 2 Unforgettable Glacial Experiences in Patagonia
After Argentina, I then headed to Bolivia where I joined a group for a 2-week tour of the best this country has to offer. I have to say that out of everywhere in my plan, I had the least expectations of Bolivia.
“Pretty much all I knew was what I’d seen in ‘Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid’ (& I loved the hats!) & that it was the home of the impressive Uyuni Salt Flats. I can honestly say that I totally underestimated the awesome beauty of this country, the warmth of its people & the impact it would have on me.”
The highlight was a 3-day tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats (with some fascinating photo opportunities) which also delivered on stunning lakes, volcanoes, dinosaurs, hot springs & some of the most spectacular night skies I have ever witnessed. There were fewer tourists in Bolivia in comparison to Argentina or Peru so if you want to feel like you are more part of a secret club – head for this underexplored country. Before you book, check out my First Timer’s Guide to Bolivia .
33. 50 countries by my 50th birthday
As I landed in Lima, Peru in April, I clocked up my 50th country & in October I turned 48 so I’m well ahead of schedule with this one! I have since revised my expectations & instead of
83. 60 countries by my 60th birthday,
I aim to complete this by the time I turn 50. I am currently in the Dominican Republic which notches up 53 & a woman on a mission around the Caribbean & Central America over the next 6 months. Stay tuned to hear more about my journey!
Peru delivered a lot more than just my 50th country as I joined a different tour taking 21 days to explore this fascinating region. It included 3 days in the Amazon Rainforest getting immersed in the diverse wildlife this area has to offer, feeding piranhas (& returning with all limbs intact!), tempting out tarantulas & even seeing the rare sight of a Two-toed Sloth during a night safari. Another unforgettable experience!
57. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
“After 4 days of hard walking in altitude, the feeling as we sat at the Sun Gate watching the sunrise light up Machu Pichu below us was an emotional experience. I felt truly privileged on that day as the impact of fulfilling a life time dream was realised.”
Watch this space for more on my experiences on the Inca Trail but you can see the exhaustion in all its glory in my Video Diary !
70. Learn to sail – Competent Crew Course
After a 2-week holiday sailing around the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI) in May, I decided sailing was something I really needed to learn & get better at so I completed my course in the UK over the summer and….
96. Explore the Caribbean
…having completed the course, I had more confidence when I next stepped onto a yacht to take on the task of sailing from Florida to the Bahamas . The Bahamas delivered so much more than I had imagined (think islands of iguanas, swimming pigs, sunken aeroplanes, secret grottos, friendly sharks… the list goes on!) & the experience has led to me basing myself in this area for the next 6 months with plenty more sailing in the plan.
I started the year with a 2-week trip around the temples & beaches in Cambodia. Sunrise over Angkor Wat is a memory I will cherish (as will the thousands of other people I shared it with!) but the true highlight for me was Ta Prohm which needs to be on everyone’s list who plans a visit to this fascinating country. Read more in my First Timers Guide to Cambodia
35. Volunteer overseas
Towards the end of the year, I was looking to explore volunteering with wildlife & on my hit list was Costa Rica with sloths. Unfortunately, my timing wasn’t right so I went back to the drawing board i.e. my Life List to look for alternatives. There I found 112. Visit Namibia & the Na’ankuse Wildlife Sanctuary which was more than an answer to my prayers. To read all about it Click Here
“I spent 2 weeks having some mind-blowing experiences (in a cage with cheetahs, bitten by meerkats, fighting bushfires anyone?) which will stay with me for a very long time.”
Finally, I finished the year in style on an Italian tour with my sister & her family & completed…
For a whistle-stop tour of all these experiences catch up on my Video – Best of my trips 2017
It was an awesome year for me in terms of the amazing experiences I had & 2018 is shaping up to be no different & definitely no less busy! I hope you will join me on my adventures here at SueWhereWhyWhat & Get in Touch with all your suggestions from your own Life Lists. I look forward to sharing the journey….
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Where & what am I missing from my Life List that you have experienced?
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To see more photos from all of my trips please visit my Gallery page!