Before I Kick the Bucket

Hadia Farrukh's Bucket List

My Travel Interests

I'm 17 years old and at my age, teenagers are mostly thinking about ways that they can obtain more freedom. One of their choices to achieve this is to travel to another place so that they can declare their freedom. However, my reason to travel at this age is completely different. I don't mind traveling with my family - in fact, i really enjoy it. I'd like to travel so that I can appreciate nature, while spending more time with the people I'm with, whether it's my friends or my family. I also enjoy learning about other cultures, especially through trying their foods (as long as it's not something out of the ordinary, like insects!). So far, I haven't had the opportunity to travel for these reasons. However, I have traveled to my home country, Pakistan, multiple times to visit my relatives, and, when I lived in Saudi Arabia, I traveled to Makkah and Madinah often for religious purposes. To me, the last two types of tourism are the most important. I'd be content with not traveling to see nature or other cultures as long as I get to see my extended family and visit Makkah and Madinah every few years. But, a girl can dream! And if I did have the opportunity, money, and time to travel, below are some of the things that would be at the top of my bucket list.


1. Go for Hajj

Hajj is a pilgrimage that is fard (obligatory) for every Muslim who is of age and has the health and money to make the trip at least once in their lifetime. You have to do it in the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah. The pilgrimage consists of a series of very specific steps that you have to follow and you have to obey a set of rules. What's amazing is that last year, close to two million people performed Hajj simultaneously, and each year, that number is rising. During Hajj, you visit different places, as outlined in the picture below, with number two and three being steps you can perform all year round, independent of Hajj, regardless of what month it is. These two steps are what people usually do when they visit Makkah during other months of the year.

Alhamdulillah, I've been fortunate enough to do Tawaf and Sa'y in Makkah when I lived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. But, inshallah, when I get older, I want to go for Hajj because it's one of the duties I need to fulfill as a Muslim. Due to this reason, going for Hajj is at the top of my bucket list. (Religious Tourism)

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5. Swim the Great Barrier Reef!

Since I'm a big fan of touring different places that are rich in natural sites, visiting the Great Barrier Reef near Australia would be one of the best places to go. It has thousands of different marine species and all of them are connected to each other in one way or another. One of the most popular activities to do there is to go scuba diving.

Below is a video of what a scuba diving experience would be like. Watching this video makes me even more excited to visit this amazing ecosystem. However, if I had the opportunity to travel here, I would want to be an ecotourist and one who practices sustainable tourism, therefore, scuba diving so close to the marine life would be something I'd be unwilling to do. The Great Barrier Reef is already threatened by climate change and I'd like to see it while I can, but I'd also like to have the least impact on it while doing so. I'd be willing to look for other ways in which I can practice sustainable tourism. Besides, I admit, I would be a little apprehensive getting so close to strange (and amazing!) creatures that I've never seen before, so admiring from afar works best for me! (Nature Tourism / Ecotourism / Sustainable Tourism)

GoPro HD Scuba diving Great Barrier Reef


6. Learn to Cook at Le Cordon Bleu

I love cooking and baking, so going to Paris, London, or Madrid to take some Le Cordon Bleu courses would be one of the best experiences. The courses I'd like to do are in Cuisine, Pastry, and Bakery. What I really want to learn from these courses is how to present the food I make in a beautiful way. Also, this will allow me to try new foods that I've never tried before. Depending on what city I do the course in, Le Cordon Bleu will teach me how to make dishes that are well-known around the world and the dishes that are native to the city. Along with taking the course, this trip would give me the opportunity to explore the city as well, whether I go to Paris, London, or Madrid to do the course. Therefore, going on this trip would provide me with the opportunity to learn more about the culinary arts and the culture of the city I would be learning in. (Active Tourism / Culture Tourism)


7. See the Northern Lights!

The Aurora Borealis, simply known as the Northern Lights, are a magnificent show of bright lights dancing across the sky. This must be one of the greatest natural sites to see and that's why I want to be one of the people to experience this breathtaking phenomena. Researchers have discovered that the peak of the Northern Lights is every 11 years, with the last one being in 2013. So, I need to plan a trip in 2024, which seems like a long time away (I'll be 26!), and I need to find the best place to see this light show.

In my opinion, one of the best places to see the Aurora Borealis is from Kakslauttanen, Finland at their Arctic Resort. What interests me about this place is that it's dark and in the middle of nowhere, making it an ideal destination from which you can spot the Northern Lights. There's no direct flight to this area so you have to be very willing to make the trip, most likely on foot. But it'll be worth it in the end. You stay in luxurious igloos, which give you the best view of the Northern Lights from the glass ceiling. Above are a few images of the resort.

It's true that I'd be terrified of taking the trip to this isolated part of the world, but I'm willing to go on this journey where the final destination is absolutely amazing. Also, I'd prefer to go with someone on this trip, which would make it even more special. (Nature Tourism / Wilderness Tourism)