Are You Letting Your Dream Life Get Away?

serengeti balloon

We decided in 2009 we wanted complete control over our lives.

We didn’t want to be controlled by a faceless corporation i.e. our jobs, so we took the plunge and started our own online business.

And one of the most helpful things we did to give us huge motivation was to create a Bucket List.

It’s the height of personal encouragement and motivation having a bucket list. It gives you goals to aim for, dreams to live for, and provides pre-destined things to do before you die.

And it’s been massively empowering for us.

So if you don’t have a bucket list, sit down for an hour this weekend and make a list of stuff you want to do, achieve, or survive before it’s too late. It could be places or cities you want to visit, spiritual, relationship or wealth oriented goals, or in our case experience goals (which is our forte!)

You see our big passion in life is travel, and as with all travel it can take the form of many different types of transport.

To give you a feel for our sense of adventure, we’ve set out below our top 10 curious modes of transport, in no particular order, and a wee bit of a story about each.

Have a read of them and what we’d love you to do is tell us one of your most burning desires you’re adding to your bucket list. It could be to do with travel (as in our case), maybe it’s a relationship or spiritual goal, or it could just be someone you desire to meet.

Whatever it is, we’d love to know. Make it the start of your bucket list and start to take control of your life right now.

Have a read of our top 10 transport stories to get some ideas…

1. One Horse Open Sleigh

This was really fairy tale stuff complete with jingle bells ‘n all. Picture four of us tucked up in the back of the sleigh, with rugs over our knees, bundled up in ski jackets, and a small bottle of schnapps to warm us up from the inside out!

It’s evening and we’re dashing through a snow covered forest trail in the middle of Austria somewhere, the snow white pony is clipping along at a fair pace, the driver is trussed up in his lederhosen, and everything is just perfect . . . until . . . the horse lifts its tail . . . and . . . pffffft . . . it farts!!!

Oh MY God.

The fragrant waft of pine trees was instantly replaced by a nose curling, sulphury, gagging pong!!!!

But, it didn’t do just one fart – it kept ‘popping’ repeatedly – we all got the giggles as it stunk so much – there was no alternative!!!

We’ll never forget that experience – maybe for the wrong reasons.

one horse open sleigh

2. Skeleton

Don’t try this at home – it’s not for the faint-hearted. Fiona had the great fortune to be taken to the Lillehammer Winter Olympics Venue in Norway, where the Winter Olympics were held in 1994. Being a good skier, she was keen to try out the thrill of the 4 man bob sleigh – which pulls 5 G’s on the corners – which is so strong it’s a battle to keep your head up. That was a real buzz, but next up was the Skeleton!

Picture this:

  • Donning moto-cross style armour over ski clothes
  • an anti-gliss jump suit over the top of that
  • a helmet with a chin guard

Then climbing onto a slippery ice chute wearing trainers that skated right, left and centre all over the place.

Kneeling down on the ‘silver tea tray’ anchored in place by the ice track attendant, with butterflies doing somersaults in your tummy. The tray is only the length from your shoulders to your knees, so not much to lie down on. After a quick steering lesson comes an unceremonious push off.

Face down – nose two inches off the ice – arms held in close to your sides – barreling down the 1.7km long icy luge track at death defying speed.

I have no idea what speed I got to – but I do know I had my eyes clenched shut for most of the ‘ride’ (if you could call it a ride). It was TERRIFYING!

I got the opportunity to repeat the experience in St Moritz, Switzerland, so I went along for the trip, but politely declined the opportunity to do another skeleton run!

skeleton400

3. Hot Air Balloon

The setting for this incredible experience was the Serengeti, Tanzania.

Camping in the wild was one thing (hoping the elephants can see our tent and think it’s solid and not trample us in our cots), but getting up at 4.00am and doing the 50 metre dash to the loo not knowing if there were lions roaming around was another story.

Wearing light parkers to protect from the morning chill, we were picked up in a safari car and driven to the launch site. Preparation was orderly and methodical. All passengers climbed aboard and we ‘kissed off’ the ground in anticipation.

At only 10 metres off the ground we looked down upon lionesses dozily pawing the sleep out their eyes.

At 15 metres we could see a troupe of monkeys snoozing in the top of the trees.

And at 20 metres we were almost taken out by a little snowy owl heading home to roost after a full night’s hunting.

That balloon ride allowed us to connect with nature in a way we’d not previously believed possible.

serengeti balloon

4. Camels in the Desert

We’d flown out to Sharm El-Sheikh, on the Red Sea in Egypt one Christmas for a week’s diving. But, part way through the week Fiona got a cold and couldn’t equalise her ears so we couldn’t dive that day. Instead we went for a day trip up to the Blue Hole near Dahab on the Gulf of Aqaba. Part of the day trip involved a camel ride!

The three things etched in our memories of that ‘ships of the desert’ experience are:

a. their attractively long eye-lashes (you get close to them)

b. the BMW symbol on the top of the saddle or pommel (or whatever it’s called)

c. the camel tick that latched itself in Greg’s bum, requiring us to get the Doctor out late at night and taking meds to ward off blood poisoning!

camels in egypt

5. 6 Dog Sled Team

OK, you have to LOVE dogs to do this. But not the cold, as the goose down gear we were provided kept us toasty warm.

We ventured up to Whitehorse, in the Yukon, where we had a fabulous week learning how to drive a team of 6 boisterous, exuberant, energetic huskies around the snowy Canadian wilderness. Each day started very noisily – yelping, whining, yapping, as we harnessed up 6 teams of 6, and slotted each dog into position.

Hold the brake tight whilst the holding rope is untied from the securing post, then get ready for an exhilarating experience that is man and dog.

They just loved to pull.

They’d snatch mouthfuls of snow from the trail edges as we glided along as they don’t drink water.

We’d scoot behind the sled going up steeper hills – and brake carefully and smoothly going down the other side.

Get your commands right, and a 6 dog/1 man (woman) team pulled together as one.

Get it wrong and you were flipped over on your side with the dogs still pulling!

It was so pretty too – white, crisp and pure.

life the life of your dreams

6. Floating on an Inner Tube down the Danum River, Danum Valley, Borneo

Picture this…

Lying on your back in an inner tube, staring at the beautiful blue sky, floating down the river, while dainty swifts swooped down to inspect us and acrobatically dipped their beaks in the water to catch insects.

We were floating merrily along, or so it seemed…

Then I (Fiona) looked down, and screeched in horror at Greg who was bobbing along on the other side of the river.

“Greeeeegggg!!!!! I’ve got a leech”

He replied: “Just leave it alone – we’ll get it off when we get back”.

“Noooooo!!!!. It’s on my bikini line heading towards my fanny!!!!” as I paddled like a Duracell bunny, possessed, across to Greg so he could pull it off.

It was dreadful.

And it took about 3 minutes to remove.

The problem is they’re very stretchy and extremely slippery, so Greg had to grab it’s tail and wind it round his finger, not one, not two, but three times to get it to release itself.

Phew!

A bit frazzled, but at least I could then lay back and enjoy the serendipity of the environment, the experience, and listen to the buzz of the jungle.

Needless to say, we’re now both members of the Danum Valley Blood Donors Society!

bucket list

7. Dawn Helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon in early Spring

So there’s 3-4 feet of snow blanketing the helipad just outside Grand Canyon Village. The air is fresh and crisp. Pink tendrils of cloud stretch across the sky.

It’s very early morning and we’re flying free as a bird above the majesty of the Grand Canyon – sitting up front alongside the pilot in a bright red, environmentally friendly, EcoStar helicopter.

It’s like a dream and we’re the King and Queen of this fairy tale land surveying our vast domain.

The Grand Canyon at any time of year is one of the most awe inspiring landscapes, but with fresh snow clinging to its craggy outcrops and ledges, it’s so ethereally beautiful, its breath taking.

A must do in anyone’s books.

(And it’s that trip seeded the idea of walking down to the Canyon floor to experience the Colorado River up close.)

freedom

8. Early morning flight over Sossusvlei sand dunes, Namibia

We’d both had a flying lesson in a little Cessna aircraft a few years back, so weren’t too phased when we had to help the pilot push the aircraft out the hangar (think: garage) onto the tiny runway, jump on board and take to the skies – as the sun was still ‘waking up’, rubbing it’s eyes, ready to scorch the dunes for another day.

We covered the coastal area of the Namib Desert, which is a sea of desert dunes as far as the eye can see. Coming back we saw hundreds and hundreds of ‘fairy circles’ – rings of grass that curiously had no living matter in the center. We mused at what would cause nothing to grow in little circles all over the hills – and read a lot later that they think it might have something to do with termites.

Anyway, it was a wonderful experience, so un-touristy, and very personal.

bucket list

9. Aston Martin Vantage Roadster Convertible

OK, this was at the Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground and Aerodrome in Leicestershire, England. It was Fiona’s birthday present and she wanted to live her dream of driving an Aston Martin – and Greg couldn’t miss out either (no show without Punch, as they say)

The weather was gorgeous – the roof was down – the wind was flowing in her hair (not Greg’s tho lol).

After a few laps of the track to get accustomed to the ferocious power, superb agility, and sensational performance – we were given the green light to ‘let it rip’!

We still get sweaty palms thinking of it today!

You see, this proving track has a 2 mile long runway down the back straight – which is a fair old hike to pick up some speed.

Fiona put pedal to the metal and managed 174 miles per hour, before easing off to take the top corner into the home bends.

Greg’s navigator gave a confusing signal leading into the runway so he only managed 168 miles per hour – which is still blisteringly fast – and he had to let Fiona win anyways as it was her birthday treat 🙂

need for speed

10. Professor Multanovskiy

We knew the Professor Multanovskiy was an ex Russian Research Vessel, which comfortably accommodated 40 passengers, and that we’d be on board for a two week cruise of the Antarctic Peninsula leaving from Ushuaia, at the bottom of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.

And we knew we had to cross Drake Passage, the roughest stretch of water in the world, twice – once to get there and again to get back.

But we didn’t know or realise the vessel was so small!

As we pulled up at the wharf in Ushuaia, our eyes scanned all the boats, the cruise ships and the National Geographic Research ship – looking to pick out the Professor Multanovskiy. It took a while to spot it, as it was the smallest boat moored there on 27th December 2007.

Gulp!

We were slightly concerned.

All we could picture in our mind was that tiny wee vessel bobbing around like a cork on the ocean with us clinging to our bunks, green to the gills.

Drake Passage is an 800 kilometre (500 mile) wide passage between Cape Horn and Livingston Island, and it normally takes two days to cross – BUT – we were fortunate to have a mildish crossing and were lucky enough not to get sea-sick.

We have to say that it’s the most remote we’ve ever felt, just seeing and knowing that it was at least a days sailing to reach land. Although the albatross and pintados that accompanied us on the way didn’t appear to be too bothered by that!

And it turned out our tiny boat (by cruise ship standards) could get into all the places none of the regular cruise ships could, so we went to places no one else had ever been.

Our claim to fame is: we were the first couple in the entire planet to cross the Antarctic Circle in 2008, as we were doing a ‘Titanic’ at least an hour before the Kapitan announced we were crossing that imaginary line in the sea!

live life to the full

11. Container Forklift

We sneaked in one more – as it’s something not too many people know about Greg.

He’s driven an enormous forklift carrying a 20ft shipping container weighing 15 tons which is so big he couldn’t see if anyone was in way, and managed to stow it safely on the flat deck train carriage!

What’s Next?

You can probably tell from all these stories we have a penchant for winter activities, we’re not bothered by weather extremes. We crave adventure, and we love the sun too.

But’s there’s still loads of experiences just waiting to be lived.

Over to you now!

What have you got on your bucket list and how will you start to take control of your life right now?

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