— Bob-a-job-alog-a-roonie

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Travel

I have less (full-time) responsibilities than I’ve had for more than a decade, and plenty of annual leave up my sleeve. Some ideas of where to go, but I doubt I’ll venture off on my own.

3 Nights in Sweden / $1500

Cook your own food, fetch your own water, and go on wilderness treks to spot elk, beavers and wolves. Three creatures I expect I’d never encounter otherwise.

Michoacán – Mexico

In November I can see the gazillion monarch butterflies, pyramids and the Night of the Dead.

Pantanal – Brazil

Caiman, toucans, marsh deer, giant river otters & jaguars, on horseback, near the Iguacu falls.

Astana, Kazakhstan

Egypt

There’s many ways of doing this, and I pretty much want to see every ancient thing. This tour is only $100/day and would be a good first visit.

Walk the West Highland Way.

Underground tunnels in Malta

Kumano Kodo – Japan

A pilgrimage walk.

Bangkok – Chiang Mai, by slow train

Ancient temples, villages, wilderness. Cheap! Look up Sukhothai.

 Tayrona National Park – Colombia

Jungle meets beautiful beaches. Remote enough to be cool, but I won’t be the only tourist.

Da Shuhua – China

…blacksmiths in the village of Nuanquan, located in the the Hebei province, tossed cupfuls of molten iron against the city gate, hard and cool in the winter air. The result was a spectacular shower of blooms resembling giant glowing flowers from which the festival (translating to mean “tree flower”) took its name.

Hiking in Jordan

What better way of understanding why people live in such a desolate place than walking it….

 La Gomera – Canary Islands

Hikes.

Einstok Brewing Company – Iceland

Beer.

Yangling Mausoleum and Maoling Mausoleum, Xian, China

Pyramids that tourists can visit. Others are seemingly able to be climbed by anyone? Yes, China has a lot of very big pyramids!

Catatumbo, Venezuela

Best lightning in the world. Or the Northern Territory of Australia during rainy season.

Spitsbergen Island, Norway

Northern lights, or 24 hrs of sunshine, or their Octoberfest. Plus there is a ghost town, the doomsday seed vault and polar bears. Flights from Oslo are cheap.

Cherrapunjee, India

Virtually the wettest place on Earth. The record holder by a bare margin is a few miles away but has no hotels. Visit in July when it averages 128 inches per day (although I don’t know how I will get in and out…)

Dallol, Ethiopia

The hottest inhabited place on Earth. Looks like Mars, plus a volcano and sulphur hot pools. You can only get there by camel with armed guards.

Nyiragongo Volcano, Goma, Congo

Goma has a million people who could die next time this volcano erupts, if the poisonous gases (carbon dioxide and methane) don’t kill them first, or violent humans. You can take a 2-day hike to the lava lake at top of the volcano.

The Catacombs of Paris

The Dead Sea

Costa Rica

Isla Holbox 

An island in Mexico, Mayan-named “black hole”. Flamingos and whale sharks. Cheap, hippie, golf buggies. Expensive but has hostels

Taiwan

Trek to Ciudad Perdida, Colombia
Visitors to the Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona in Northern Colombia can enjoy lounging around in lots of dense rainforest and beautiful sandy beaches. But those eager for an active adventure should look into the wild 5-day trek out to the ‘Lost City’, Ciudad Perdida.

Climb an active volcano in Pucón, Chile
Pucón lies 780km south of Santiago in Chile’s stunningly beautiful lake district.

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One of my maxims in life is that if I really hate something, there’s a good chance I really like it, deep down. This ties in with my belief that being a hypocrite is human nature, and not something to be judged by (I’m talking your life actions, not semantics and debates).

Example: in my extended years of backpacking, I came across a curious subset in the UK that went on cathedral tours. They had a set list of 10, 15, 20 cathedrals and they saw every one and that was their journey. Each to their own but they made other backpackers look at the their photos. Not cool, not interesting, and I suffered and hated it quite a few times through politeness. But wait! In later years, knowing what I do about the non-Christian history of such places, they do interest me quite a bit. But I would still hate that display of photos demonstrating the grandeur, and no pagan insights.

But here’s the thing. Having an odd purpose takes you away from the most touristed paths and opens up so many more possibilities. The less common your purpose, the more likely you will end up in scenarios that other tourists never have. You get a unique experience, and you see the real sides of the country you are visiting.

I love looking an extreme examples to find a truth. What if I decided to visit the owners of the 10 fattest hamsters in Bulgaria? You can guarantee I would have a unique and very real insight into that country.

Which brings me to today. When David Bowie dies, I listened to every album he made in chronological order. Then when Prince died, I did the same. Now, as I am looking through old Uncut magazines before I throw them out, I have come across their top 60 albums of the year 2000. With the aid of Spotify, I will listen to each one, counting down from 60 to 1.

(Obviously I will cut short any that don’t appeal to me…)

I expect this odd purpose will find me things otherwise unobtainable.
1. Lambchop – Nixon
2. Primal Scream – Xtrmntr
3. Radiohead – Kid A
4. Badly Drawn Boy – The Hour Of Bewilderbeast
5. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP
6. Emmylou Harris – Red Dirt Girl
7. Outkast – Stankonia
8. Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker  - ALREADY SAVED
9. Kid 606 – Down With The Scene
10. Birth – Gotton Bold
11. Steely Dan – Two Against Nature
12. The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs
13. The Kingsbury Manx – The Kingsbury Manx
14. Leila – Courtesy Of Choice
15. Godspeed You Black Emperor! – Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas To The Sky
16. Warren Zevon – Life’ll Kill Ya
17. Phoenix – United
18. Calexico – Hot Rail
19. The Web Brothers – Maroon
20. Lewis Taylor – Lewis II
21. Lou Reed – Ecstacy - NOT FOR ME
22. Amon Tobin – Supermodified - NOT ON SPOTIFY
23. Smog – Dongs Of Sevotion - NOT ON SPOTIFY
24. Doves – Lost Souls - NOT FOR ME
25. The Go-Betweens – The Friends Of Rachel Worth - NOT FOR ME
26. Gonzales – The Entertainist- NOT ON SPOTIFY
27. Willard Grant Conspiracy – Everything’s Fine - NOT ON SPOTIFY
28. Kelis – Kaleiderscope - NOT FOR ME
29. Deltron 3030 – Deltron 3030  - NOT FOR ME
30. The For Carnation – The For Carnation - NOT FOR ME
31. Broadcast – The Noise Made By People  - SAVED
32. Knife In The Water – Plays One Around The Other - NOT ON SPOTIFY
33. Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain  - ALREADY SAVED AND F’KIN AWESOME
34. The Handsome Family – In The Air  - ALREADY SAVED
35. Eels – Daisies Of The Galaxy   - SAVED
36. Elliott Smith – Figure 8  - SAVED
37. Marah – Kids In Philly  - SAVED
38. Patti Smith – Gung Ho - NOT FOR ME
39. Yo La Tengo – And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out - NOT FOR ME
40. Jeff Buckley – Mystery White Boy- NOT FOR ME
41. Sonic Youth – Nyc Ghosts & Flowers - NOT FOR ME
42. Dr Dre – 2001 - NOT FOR ME
43. Joe Pernice – Big Tobacco  - ALREADY SAVED
44. Add N To X – Add Insult To Injury - NOT QUITE FOR ME
45. The Mighty Wah! – Songs Of Strength And Heartache - NOT ON SPOTIFY
46. Chris Morris – Blue Jam - NOT ON SPOTIFY
47. The Twilight Singers – Twilight As Played By The Twilight Singers - NOT FOR ME
48. St Ettienne – Sound Of Water -  NOT ON SPOTIFY
49. Black Box Recorder – The Facts Of Life – MAYBE
50. XTC – Wasp Star: Apple Venus Vol. 2- NOT ON SPOTIFY
51. Apples In Stereo – The Discovery Of The World Inside The Moone – SAVED (But track #1 is probably all that is good)
52. Clinic – Internal Wrangler - NOT FOR ME
53. The Shazam – Goodspeed The Shazam - NOT ON SPOTIFY
54. …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Madonna – NOT ON SPOTIFY (but a big fan)
55. Go-Kart Mozart – Instant Wigwam And Igloo Mixture – ALREADY SAVED
56. Asian Dub Foundation – Community Music - NOT ON SPOTIFY
57. Elastica – The Menace – SAVED
58. Romanthony – R Hide In Plain Site- NOT ON SPOTIFY
59. June And The Exit Wounds – A Little More Heaven Hamilton, Please – NOT ON SPOTIFY
60. Max Tundra – Some Best Friend You Turned Out To Be – NOT FOR ME
61. Brave Captain – Go With Yourself - NOT ON SPOTIFY
62. Mandalay – Instinct – MAYBE
63. Fatboy Slim – Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars – BEEN THERE DONE THAT
64. The Russian Futurists – The Method Of Modern Love – NOT FOR ME
65. The Wu-Tang Clan – The W – NOT FOR ME
66. Giant Sand – Chore Of Enchantment – SAVED and LOVING
67. David Holms – Bow Down At The Exit Sign - NOT ON SPOTIFY
68. The Hight Llamas – Buzzle Bee  - NOT ON SPOTIFY
69. Bent – Programmed To Love – SAVED
70. PJ Harvey – Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea - SAVED

 

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Step 1: Involve an organization like the International Peace Bureau

Step 2: Get permission from the town of Nanyuki. It is in Kenya, on the equator, right next to Mt Kenya (2nd highest in Africa). I figured the equator was a good place to find a location, and I wanted somewhere with tourist appeal, not a violent country, and not too hard to get to. There is an airforce base right there.

Nanyuki main streer

Step 3: Get every nation to send a rock. They could make a big deal about sourcing it and transporting it – a bit like the Olympic torch.

Step 4: Build a giant stone circle. My son William says it could use the design of the peace symbol. The design will such that 40-50 initial stones will create the shape, but lots of room for any other stones to be added. As well as nation states, ethnic peoples could also contribute.

It would be the only truly international structure, something that is from everywhere and belongs to everyone.

I know I tend to have a lot of ideas that never make it to reality, but this one I would like to achieve.

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It’s true, because I presume nobody ever reads this, I sometimes use it as a place to store things I wish to remember. Here are two things I think William will like, and the other kids could tag along to:

Glow Golf

18 holes of “glow in the dark” golf. Looks pretty cool, and better than the numerous crap ones that are out there. It’s at Docklands, and they must be good, they have their own TV ad:

Wunderkammer

Sells skeletons, fossils, spiders and so on. At 439 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne – a shop that’s a bit different ;)

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Yep, in between the two tents is a tent, which from a distance looks like a camper van. Firebox in the UK are selling the tents for £299.99 (approx $US500). What a great way to meet random strangers at camping grounds!

Officially licensed by Volkswagon the VW Camper Tent is a full size replica of the 1965 Camper Van. Available in yellow, red or blue, it is certain to stand out from all other tents. Like the VW camper van the VW tent is large enough to stand up in (5 feet and 11 inches), and internally is divided into two rooms, sleeping 2 people in each one.

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It’s a little bit hard to believe, but in Bhutan they have a Yeti sanctuary, such is the strength of local belief in such beasties. And for the first time ever, this September foreign tourists will be permitted to visit. While it would unbelievably cool to visit the sanctuary and try to spot a Yeti (keeping in mind that a thick black hair found there has been DNA tested and the species is unknown…), you need to be able to handle the only way of getting there – six days of walking.

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