Top Ten Travel Bucket List

Like the other 99% of the world’s population, I love to travel. And like 99% of those 99%, I don’t have the money to do it as often I’d like.

A few days ago, as I realized I was pushing thirty years of life and that my time was getting shorter, I realized that barring some extreme change in fortune, I’m likely to never see all the places I want to see before moving on into the afterlife, or reincarnation, or whatever our deaths bring. Considering that I don’t play the lottery, my odds of striking it rich are even slimmer. So I compiled my first top ten Bucket List.

How fun it was! Sitting down and thinking about how I have to hurry and do a set of things before dying. It felt pretty morbid to be honest, and made me wonder why people create these lists, but since I did one, I shall share it with you now. I’ll be doing a few a day, so if you enjoy what you read, subscribe or keep checking back for updates!

10. London, United Kingdom

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I’ve already been to London once. You might be asking, why put it on your bucket list if you’ve already done it? Well, to start, I was sixteen on my first visit, which meant that I didn’t get to experience a lot of the things that adult me would have loved to do. I also simply couldn’t even begin to mark off half of the thing on my ‘to-do’ list in a weeks time.

During the first visit, I also visited London like a tourist. Adult me likes to travel, meet strangers, and do things that people who actually live in that city do. I’m not knocking people who travel like tourists. Each to his own, and I’m definitely guilty of sneaking in lots of tourist trap events into my schedule. But I just love spending about half of a vacation in a fantasy land, pretending that I live where in reality I’m just a visitor, and I’m successful with all this money to blow that I’ve saved up for months just for this one week of glory.

But mainly, it stayed in my blood. I don’t know what it was about that city, but even with daily rain, and icy cold rain at that, I felt like I was close to paradise. I loved the pace and culture of the city, and I found the locals I encountered to be lovely, spirited people. Londoners get a bad rap. Or maybe it was just my sparkling personality that brought out their best… (I’m so modest).

First on my list of London to-dos… SOCCER! The beautiful game, the world’s sport, and a passion and hobby of mine. This trip will be planned around around a huge, important match involving my favorite club, Chelsea F.C. playing in the friendly confines of Stamford Bridge Stadium. This dream is ultimately what puts London on the list for a second visit. I would also love to see any of the other major London clubs while visiting- Fulham, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, or mostly Queens Park Rangers.

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Next on the list is a ride on the London Eye. I’m not sure why my travel party was so against doing this on the first visit. To me, this is the ultimate London experience. In the course of a single ferris wheel ride, you see an entire city from a unique perspective that is rare to find anywhere else. You can see all your proposed destinations from afar before even getting to them, and imagine the great photos you’ll take from the top to create life long memories with or even display in your home. Plus, I really like ferris wheels. They scare the hell out me, and I love the rush that will come from riding the world’s most famous one.

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Lastly, I want to take a day trip and visit Stonehenge. Why? You’re guess is as good as mine. I’m not sure what it is that draws us to a bunch of large stone in the middle of a secluded field, but I want to go see it. The mystery, the marvel, and intrigue. Who knows, maybe I’ll find that one clue that unlocks the mystery 😉

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Tomorrow I’ll be highlighting numbers eight and nine on my list- Palau and Amsterdam, Netherlands, respectively. 

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Review- “Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn

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Let me just get it off my chest right off the bat. I absolutely loved this book, and disliked myself for liking it. With about fifty pages to go, I forced myself to bend the page corner and call it a night so I could be awake for an early obligation. After tossing and turning for over an hour, thinking about this book- that damned protagonist Libby Day who I loved to hate, or that clue I might have missed that would reveal the secret to the mystery of who murdered the Day family- I gave in to the inevitable and turned my lamp on to finish the story and clear my head.

The problem with my “bright” idea (get it? Turned on the lamp? Bright? Wow, am I cheesy) is that this is not a story that you finish and it leaves your mind. It’s the kind of novel that makes you feel dirty having read it, like you should change your sheets first thing in the morning or wash your face right after reading. Think In Cold Blood, The Silence of the Lambs… That kind of dirty. Add to that the excitement of the big reveal along with a sense of frustration aimed at half of the cast of well thought out characters, and you’re in for a restless night.

So, let’s talk about those characters. To say that Gilliam Flynn has an incredible talent for writing the most unlikeable, fucked up, insane, deadbeat, you get the picture characters is an understatement. If you’ve read Gone Girl, youll know what I’m talking about. Dark Places is written from the alternating perspective of three characters- its anti-hero, Libby Day in the present, and Libby’s mother Patty and brother Ben on a fateful day in 1985 that left Libby’s mother and two sisters brutally murdered with fifteen year old Ben convicted of the slaughter.

All three of these characters are vastly unlikeable, yet you can’t help but empathize with their situations. Libby sums her personality on her own in the opening chapter of the book-

I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs

She’s mean, she’s lazy, she doesn’t care. Her favorite pastime is shoplifting and stealing from other people, and she extorts money from a group called the Kill Club who hires her to help prove her brother’s innocence.

Ben and Patty both tell their stories from a past perspective. Its hard to feel dislike toward Patty, a divorce single mother of four whose ex-husband is the definition of a scum bag, but you do. Every decision she makes, you think what the hell, woman? all the way up to her last, worst decision of all. Ben is a misunderstood teenager who is as fun to deal with as every other misunderstood teenager. That should tell you all you need to know.

I dont want to talk much about the plot, because I don’t trust myself not to give anything away. Instead, I’m going to be WordPress’ laziest reviewer and copy and paste the description from Goodreads (I BEG OF YOU, FORGIVE ME! It’s insanely late, and I’m tired).

Libby Day was just seven years old when her evidence put her fifteen-year-old brother behind bars.

Since then, she had been drifting. But when she is contacted by a group who are convinced of Ben’s innocence, Libby starts to ask questions she never dared to before. Was the voice she heard her brother’s? Ben was a misfit in their small town, but was he capable of murder? Are there secrets to uncover at the family farm or is Libby deluding herself because she wants her brother back?

She begins to realise that everyone in her family had something to hide that day… especially Ben. Now, twenty-four years later, the truth is going to be even harder to find.

Who did massacre the Day family

To wrap the review up, it’s time for the final word and the rating. Reader, I always struggle when assigning a set of stars to literature. How do you compare one book to another? How do you compare crime fiction, stack up In Cold Blood (which as a side note is my all time favorite novel) against Dark Places, much less compare outside of genres? I give points for prose, dialogue, pacing, character development (this novel had them all!) but in the end it is all about the entertainment.

Flynn delivered another page turner that kept me on the edge of my seat. Praised as one of the best books of the year by The New Yorker, it isn’t hard to give a great rating to Dark Places.

4.25 out of 5 stars. And an apology for not giving my best of reviews. Like I said, sleep is at the forefront of my brain.