Ten in Ten

by Ria Jane Joson

My name is Ria Jane Joson. I'm a 17 year old student who loves science, writing, sports, music, and history. I am also fond of exploring new places, learning new things, and undergoing new experiences. As a result, I have become very interested in nature tourism, sports tourism, and cultural tourism, as they are all able to cover what I enjoy the most.

As a naturally-curious person, the places around the world that intrigue me the most are those that contain a bit of history and mystery, as can be seen through some of the entries on my bucket list. The region of the world that I am most interested in visiting in particular is Europe. A region that is rich with history and home to many popular attractions, it is the perfect place for historically- and culturally-driven tourists, like me, to visit. Another region of the world that I am very interested in visiting is Asia, as it is rich in unique cultural practices.

The entries below, although numbered, are in no particular order. As suggested in the title, I hope to be able to complete all of the entries in a period of ten years. As an underage student with no job, I know it will be very difficult for me to try and accomplish all of these goals now, so I have decided that upon completion of one entry, the period of ten years will begin. This will allow me to be able to complete my bucket list when I am financially stable enough to do so.

1. Attend a Summer Olympics

Being an avid athlete, I am very interested in watching professionals play their respective sports live and in person. I am especially keen on witnessing the men's and women's volleyball teams compete, as I am a big fan of volleyball. Other sports that have caught my eye in previous summer Olympics that I would like to witness in person are: rowing, gymnastics (rhythmic and artistic), and beach volleyball. However, the one thing I am most eager to experience while attending the Olympics is the unity between athletes, teams, and countries alike. I think the best thing about the Olympics is that for two weeks, it is the spirit of the games that brings the world closer together. Being able to witness that magic in person is something that I've always wanted to do. This is an example of sports tourism.

The picture below shows a snapshot of the Olympic spirit on day 13 of the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

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2. Participate in the "Festival of Colors" in India

After seeing so many pictures of the Holi Festival on the internet recently, I've become interested in experiencing this Hindu celebration firsthand in India. A commemoration for the victory of good over evil, Holi is celebrated on the first day after the full moon in March. Participants throw colored water and colored powder into the air and onto each other, and at the end of the day a bonfire is held to signify the burning of evil spirits.

In India, there are several places where the festival is observed, and in each of these different places, it is celebrated in slightly different ways. In Shantiniketan, West Bengal, Holi is treated as a Spring Festival, where aside from the throwing of colored powder, participants also put on a large cultural show for visitors and locals alike. In Anandpur Sahib, Punjab, the usual smearing of colored powder is replaced by demonstrations of physical agility as participants engage in wrestling, martial arts, or sword fighting in the festival known as "Warrior Holi." Personally, I would want to celebrate this festival in Delhi, where "Modern Holi" is observed. Bands and DJs play, street food is sold, and sprinklers are turned on, keeping this celebration lighthearted and fun. This is an example of cultural tourism.

The picture below shows "Modern Holi" being celebrated in India.

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3. Visit the Parisian Catacombs

Under France's capital city lies the famous catacombs of Paris. This 200-something-year-old ossuary forms an underground maze marked with century-old graffiti on its walls, adding to the rich history of the city. Home to the bones of almost 6 million Parisian people, a visit to these tunnels requires a brave and adventurous soul. Ever since the mention of the underground world of Paris in various movies and online, I have been dreaming of the day I'd be able to put my bravery to the test and experience the history within the catacombs. This is an example of cultural tourism.

The first picture below shows some recent graffiti marking the walls of the catacombs. The second picture below reads the chilling inscription, "Stop, this is the empire of Death," which visitors are greeted with near the entrance of the tunnels. The third picture below shows the remains of those previously buried in the Holy Innocent's Cemetery in Paris, now stacked on top of each other in the catacombs.

4. Submit something to the Last Billboard

The Last Billboard is something that I came across while blogging online one day. It is a 36 foot long steel billboard located in Pittsburgh, USA. Every month, a submission is chosen and is written out on the billboard with heavy wooden letters that are replaced by hand. The submission stays on for a month, and then a new submission is chosen. Being able to have a piece of my writing chosen and shown off to potentially 10 000 people a day is something that would make me feel very fulfilled. This is an example of active tourism.

The picture below shows the submission for July 2013.

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5. Visit the Tulip Fields in Holland

During the spring months of late-March to early-May, the flowers (crocuses, daffodils, and tulips) begin to blossom in the fields of Holland and radiate their beautiful array of colors. It's been a dream of mine for a couple of years to witness mother nature's work of art in person. This is an example of nature tourism.

The two pictures below exemplify the true beauty of the tulip fields.

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6. Go to a Floating Lantern Festival in Thailand

Every year in mid- to late- November, locals of Chiang Mai and tourists alike observe the festival of lights, called Yi Peng, which pays homage to the Buddha. It is believed that releasing a lantern in the air signifies one's bad luck and misfortune being sent away into the air. Although I am not Buddhist, after reading about this practice and watching videos about it, I am definitely very interested in participating in this beautiful festival one day. This is an example of cultural tourism.

The video below shows the release of the lanterns in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2010, illuminating the sky with thousands of lights.

Floating Lanterns Festival - Yi Peng / Loy Krathong - Chiang Mai, Thailand

7. Visit a Ghost Town

After the explosion of the Chernobyl Nuclear Station in 1986, dangerous amounts of radioactive chemicals were released into the air forcing the quick evacuation of nearly

50 000 people. As a result, now the town of Pripyat, Ukraine gives off an eerie vibe to anyone who visits, as they witness what life was like under the power of the Soviet Union in 1986 in the undisturbed abandoned town. I am very interested in giving myself a good scare while touring sites with any historical significance, so visiting a place like this is definitely high up on my bucket list. This is an example of cultural tourism.

The picture below shows what appears to be part of an abandoned amusement park in Pripyat, Ukraine.

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8. Swim in the Jellyfish Lake in Palau

Located on an island off the coast of Palau, this isolated lake is home to unique species of jellyfish that have lost their ability to harm humans with their stingers. This allows for tourists to visit and swim in a lake full of jellyfish. Although I cannot swim, visiting this lake in the future is something I'd love to do (when I can swim) because I believe it would be a great experience. This is an example of nature tourism.

The picture below shows someone swimming in the jellyfish lake.

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9. Drive down Lombard Street

Famous for being the "Crookedest Street in the World," Lombard Street in San Francisco, USA is definitely somewhere I'd like to visit. Cruising down the street and admiring its aesthetically-pleasing view while giving myself a scare as I think about how steep the hill actually is, is something that I'd love to do one day. This is an example of active tourism.

The picture directly below the text is a view of Lombard Street which emphasizes its beautiful view amidst the famous Victorian homes surrounding it. The second picture is a view of Lombard Street from the bottom of the 27% grade hill, emphasizing how truly steep the hill is.

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10. Visit the "Most Alien-Looking Place on Earth"

Dubbed as the "most-alien looking place on Earth," the Socotra islands off the coast of Yemen are home to some of the most unique wildlife found on this planet, 33% of which can't be found anywhere else in the world. The islands' extreme isolation from other land masses for the past six million years have resulted in the creation of these rare species of plants and animals. Having only established an airport in 1999 and roads in 2011, tourism in Socotra is steadily increasing as more and more people discover the rich biodiversity of the islands. As a total science-nerd, visiting the Socotra islands is something I would love to do, merely to experience the wonders of the endless possibilities of evolution in a number of species. This is an example of nature tourism and more specifically, eco-tourism, as the locals are keen on preserving the island's unique species and sustaining the local economy and their way of life.

The pictures below show different aspects of the Socotra's islands, highlighting the rare beauty of this biologically diverse environment.

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