I wrote that title as if I’m some sort of hardened veteran nomad that’s sailed the seven sea’s and conquered the Great Wall of China, but as a matter of fact, I’ve not even been able to set foot out of my own home country. But, my main goal in life does consist of traveling the globe and I genuinely believe that there isn’t a thing that can stop me from turning this familiar dream into a rare reality. My hunger for world exploration is not solely driven by the unimaginable sights and once in a lifetime experiences though, but by the idea that scouring across every continent is something required to be done in my life before I die, purely for the sake of doing so. To put it crudely, life is short – literally just a miniscule blip in the perpetual timeline of the gargantuan Universe. Give or take, the average human is only gifted with a precious 75 years on this bedeviled planet and I believe it’s only natural for anyone to explore and experience as much of the beautiful world as humanly possible before the last grain of sand falls through the chasm in the Universal timer of life. All I require is a £5,000, a DSLR camera and a backpack full of cheap essentials.
As a result of not having ever ventured out of the United Kingdom, I haven’t even experienced the basics of foreign travel such as the blissful hot summers, alienating languages and diverse cultures. Travelling to a country that’s even as close to the UK as France would project me into a bizarre world of wonder, amazement and unyielding apprehension, never mind Asia or New Zealand. In contrast to the common travelling tourist, the thought of expediting to countries like Spain, Greece and Florida, do not excite me nearly as much as the thought of traveling to the less common provinces of Iceland, China and the deep southern lands of the United States of America.
“He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man” – Mao Zedong
As absurd as it may sound, the Great Wall of China is absolutely where I want to commence on my adventure into the great unknown, but only exclusively climbing the most challenging and derelict parts of the wall. The Jiankou (not meaning giant cow in Mandarin) holds the definition of ‘arrow nock’ due to the mountain that it sits on resembling the shape of an arrow, which offers a steep and treacherous ascension – precisely what I’m looking for. The scenery is nothing short of stunning with the remains of the wall engulfed in the ancient beauty of mother nature and to be quite Frank, I think my camera and I will love it. Aside from the Great Wall of China though, the colossal nation possess a profusion of adventurous allurements such as the world-famous attractions of the Forbidden City, Li River and the Temple of Heaven – all of which are making me very emotional just thinking about right now. China, and Asia as a whole, is certainly where I desire to begin my adventure. There are literally thousands of places entwined in the ancient culture of this continent that I won’t even have tried to imagine, and it’s that sense of contingency that arouses my desire to explore the most.
Ice cave in Skaftafell, Iceland
Iceland is one of the essential countries on my bucket list of travel. The nation’s capital city, Reykjavík, is bustling with aboriginal culture that exhibits expensive cuisines, ritzy folk music and cheerful natives – Iceland is statistically one of the happiest countries in the world. However, I won’t be spending all of my precious time in Iceland awning at the cultural phenomenons that prevail in the city, as it’s the bewildering waterfalls, mesmerising ice caves and furious volcanoes that have beckoned my enticement the most. Iceland is literally the number one hotspot for arctic adventure and landscape photography – the two fit together like Romeo and Juliet. As much as this place is a display of glacial cold weather, this lump of hardened lava is actually one of the most geothermally active locations on the planet, and a beloved home to the famous Hot Spring Pools.
Hot Spring pool at the famous Blue Lagoon of Grindavik, Iceland
The prospect of bathing in a natural outdoor pool filled with roasting hot fresh water from the Earth’s crust while surrounded by towering snow-covered mountains and the open ice-smothered landscapes is definitely something I’m interested in. If I’m destined to lose my way and die from somewhere from hypothermia, Iceland would be is certainly it, and I would definitely go out laughing.
New York City approaching nightfall
There’s a chance that I’ll reach the southern states of America and realise that it’s not how it’s depicted in the movies, but then again, I’m sure I’ll still adore every second of the experience as I blaze my Harley Davidson motorcycle towards some vintage 60s diner on some dusty old route number. The profound culture of the southern states of the USA has fascinated me since my early days and I can’t wait to discover what extravagant individuals and lifestyles actually exist across the canyons and rundown districts of the slightly rougher side of America – and whether or not it’s as extravagant as it’s showcased on British TV. Places like Arizona, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas and Kentucky, are all calling out to me for adventures in infinite desert wastelands, bottomless canyons and small vintage towns abandoned by modern-day society. I also believe that as a Scotsman, my distinct Scottish accent will stick out like a sore thumb and I’d be able to make friends for life in the cultural haven. The USA as a whole is definitely a country that I’d like to scale inside to out, exploring every city, town and famous attraction in its wake, educating myself as much as possible as I go. But my first choice of destination is definitely to delve into the deep south, and then expand from coast to coast in the contrasting sights from Oregon to New York City.
Desert in Arizona
I’m not dying until I’ve scoured the landscapes, indulged in the culture and educated myself as much as possible in these three glorious world locations – Asia, Iceland and the deep southern states of the USA. The whole concept of life is to experience and enjoy as many seconds, minutes, hours and days of the natural miracle as intensely as possible, and I strongly believe that the best method of doing this is by seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting and learning as much as your senses will physically enable you to before you shrivel up and pass away into the void of nothingness that awaits every soul at the end of their time. Life is a gift, and I can only feel sorry for those that have been arrested into the life of the rat race – those who grow up, rush off to university, acquire the first job that offers a decent monthly pay cheque, marry, have kids and die. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll get around to all of that jazz in the later stages of my life, but right now, at the age of nineteen, all I can possibly marvel about is the metamorphic wonders out there that currently only exist to me on the World Wide Web – hopefully in the years to come I’ll be viewing these stunning pictures through the lens of a disposable camera and not through the medium of a LCD computer screen.
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine