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The Ten Best Places I Have Never Been To

Tea and Map on the M25

List blogs are generally an excuse for the author to show off about something or other. Today though I am writing more of a wish list or a To Do list: the places that I have not been to but which I really, really want to get to one day. We all have those exotic places we yearn for, our own personal Timbuktus. Here are mine.

  1. The Australian Outback – inspired by John Muir’s epic walk there and tantalising routes such as the Canning Stock Route, I am desperate for that red earth and vast skies.
  2. The Empty Quarter – another desert choice, but a very different desert. Spanning Yemen, Oman and Saudi Arabia, this is Thesiger’s desert. A harsh, beautiful proving ground.
  3. Antarctica – the only continent I have not visited. Pristine (except for the massive American base and gift shop at the South Pole). Increasing numbers of cruise ships and adventure tourists, plus now being able to look at Antarctica on Google Street View mean that I need to get there (and away from the crowded spots there) before my dream landscape fades to disillusionment in my mind.
  4. Mali, and West Africa in general. I have spent a couple of years in Africa but virtually none of that has been in West Africa which is so different to the rest of the continent.
  5. Iran. I spent 6 weeks once trying to persuade Iranian border officials to let me in. They declined. So this gracious, beautiful country with such a critical geopolitical role to play in the next few years remains on my wish list.
  6. Afghanistan. Years ago I set off on a journey to Afghanistan. Before I reached the border 9/11 happened and the world changed. One day, one day…
  7. Norway. I love mountains, rivers, and fjords. But I’ve never been to Norway. This must change! It’s only a couple of hours away.
  8. Easter Island. But only if I could arrive there by sailing boat. Flying to Easter Island seems to totally remove its aura of extraordinary isolation. The folly of man and thousands of miles of empty ocean all around.
  9. The wide-open, empty parts of America. Kerouac and Steinbeck. Monument Valley dawns and deserted late-night roadside diners, stewed coffee and faded waitresses with life stories to tell.
  10. oh, I’d quite like to go to Timbuktu as well.

What would be on your list?

This post originally appeared on the Wanderlust blog.

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  1. Number 9
    Al, I’m thinking of running across America using the power of social networks to navigate a path, provide accomodation and support along the route. Join me and we’ll go listen to those waitresses…

  2. #7. Just say when. I’ll have my packraft, snowshoes and skis ready 😀


  3. Deserts I have not visited that I want to: Sahara, Gobi, Atacama.

  4. Oh Al, don’t leave us hanging with a teaser photograph like that… Did you ever make it to Reigate!?

  5. I guess no. 4 and 10 can be covered in the same trip! Timbuktu is cool but getting there and back is the really fun part.

  6. #1 and #8 are the only two of yours I’ve been to, Al.

    Mine might be

    1 Istanbul
    2 Rio de Janeiro
    3 Budapest
    4 Scafell Pike or other Lake district mountains
    5 Ben Nevis
    6 Aconcagua
    7 Patagonia
    8 Central America
    9 Amazon Jungle
    10 West Africa

    I want to add China, but I’ve already hit 10.

  7. Haha! So you have been to the Arctic? Where is that adventure on your blog?

  8. I definitely recommend the australian outback, the colors and stuff are just completely mind-blowing, absolutely silent with huge clouds I had never seen before, and such a beautiful ground !



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