So much to see on this blue marble, and so little time in a lifetime. I once owned a book called “501 must-visit islands”, a beautiful little thing that used to give me equal amounts of inspiration as anxiety. You see, in a dark hour I calculated that even if I visited two islands every year I would need to live for 250 years to see them all. And then there would be the 501 must-visit cities and then the 501 landscapes and sacred places and beaches…. Human time is too short even for a full-time explorer.
As it happened, that book wandered out the door together with my previous life. And so here below is a compilation of things this experience junkie HAS had the time to see, feel, touch, and hear. Perhaps it is soon complete – perhaps it is just the beginning.
1. Ate cow’s stomach, jellyfish soup, snake, yak meat, and reindeer heart (I’m actually vegetarian)
2. Stood on top of the Christo Redentor, the Eiffel tower, the Empire State building, the Sagrada Familia church, the Kuala Lumpur Tower, and the observatories on La Palma.
3. Fished piranhas and ate aquarium fish
4. Stood on the roof above a mosque in a holy city listening to the prayer call
5. Swam with wild pink dolphins in the Amazon
6. Got bitten by a fish and a seagull and petted baby manatees
7. Climbed a volcano
8. Snow shoed in the Rockies
9. Visited micro countries: the Vatican, San Marino, and Liechtenstein
10. Went to two former “ends of the world”: Sagres, Portugal; and El Hierro, the Canary islands
11. Wandered in Roman catacombs and explored a Polish salt mine
12. Got pick-pocketed in Barcelona
13. Rode a camel in the Sahara and horseback in Hollywood hills
14. Drove around the mountains in the world’s most unsafe car with failing brakes (Tata Indica), steered a Tunisian horse cart, and rode in a gondola
15. Met a locally famous Sami (Lappish) rap artist and talked about reindeer farming
16. Danced ceilidh in Scotland and samba in Rio
17. Saw the Pink Floyd ballet at La Scala in Milan and a Shakespeare play at Shakespeare Globe Theatre in London
18. Went to three gold-rush time saloons in California, one which had the ceiling pinned full with dollar bill
19. Saw the Stonehenge, Callanish, St. Paul’s Cathedral in the Vatican, and Bhaktapur holy city in Nepal
20. Practiced ashtanga yoga at sunrise on Crete and in the jungle on Bali
21. Slept in a cave full of bats and in a floating house above huge caymans
22. Stood on a hilltop with India in one horizon and Tibet in the opposite horizon
23. Tracked dolphins deep in the Amazon and in the Indian Ocean.
24. Sat on a mountaintop with my behind in Poland and my feet in Slovakia.
25. Meditated in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery on a mountaintop in France.
26. Landed on and took off Lukla, the most dangerous airport in the world.
27. Trekked part of the Everest Base Camp trail.
28.Flew around Everest in a helicopter.
29. Swam in the Andaman sea in drenching monsoon rain