Bali, Bangkok, Kyoto, Colombo, Istanbul, Samarkand, Des Moines, Ulan Bator, Rio, Marrakesh….
When I was seventeen, I entered that list in the back of my diary, as I lay on my bed, looking out of the window at the pictures made by the clouds in the sky. I never really believed that I'd ever visit any of those places, but I'd just read On the Road, The Great Railway Bazaar and The Lonely Planet Guide to South-East Asia, and I was so full of wanderlust that I was fit to burst.
One day, I just stood on the road in front of my house and stuck my thumb out. It's really true: the first step is the hardest. I've been traveling pretty well ever since. I have visited 94 countries, but I still haven't been to all of the places on my original list, and, in a way, I don't want to...yet. I want to save a few for later.
I've visited some of them though and who'd have believed that I'd wind up one day riding a bicycle around Bali, sleeping on a tatami mat in Kyoto, staying for more than a year in a house on stilts at the edge of the South China Sea, sleeping in a yurt in the Gobi Desert, or traveling overland, half-way round the world by train from Beijing to London or by bus from Mexico to Chile?
I have kept lists of things to do ever since because I think it's important in life to have something to look forward to. Just before the beginning of every year, I get a new diary and the first thing I do is write three lists in the back: countries to visit, books to read and films to see.
Here are the top tens from my current lists:
Countries to visit:
Books to read:
Films to see:
Why not try making some lists of your own? Then you'll always have something to look forward to.
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