Sunday, December 28, 2014

Revisiting My Top 8 Travel List

A few years ago I was in a rut, being under employed and sitting at my parents house a lot, trying to write a travel blog while not traveling. Not an easy task. While at home, I created a list of 8 things I wanted to do while traveling.

I mentioned that at the time, friends from home felt like I had traveled everywhere to which I disagreed. I still disagree, but I do acknowledge that I have done a lot. I have even tackled some of the things on my top 8 list, with plans to bring down a couple more. I still maintain that the more I travel the more I realize I have been no where.

Below is the list, updated with my current idea on when it will be completed, or comments on if it has been completed. The link to blog posts relating to my experience has also been provided in case you missed them, or would like to relive them.

1. A professional hockey game in one (or more) of the four major leagues outside of North America. This includes the KHL in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Latvia, the Swedish Elite League in Sweden, the SM-liiga in Finland or the Czech Extraliga in the Czech Repulic. Realistically, the or should be an and. I would love to see what hockey is like overseas and what it is like to be a fan as well.

I took a trip in the winter of 2012 to Europe with the specific goal to see hockey games. The trip brought me to the Czech Republic, Finland and Sweden. My timing was off for Sweden as the league was on a break when I arrived, but I did see a game in the Czech Republic as well as a game in a small town in Finland. I was also very fortunate to see an outdoor game in Helsinki where future NHL players were playing.

2. The Great Wall of China: I did a group project on China when I was in the third grade and have wanted to see this very large wall ever since. I'd also love to see parts of the rest of China. I read a great book in a first year history class about 3 generations of women growing up in China. I enjoyed it so much I actually reread it. As a result I would be interested in seeing the country in person.

Now that I am in China, the Great Wall is an obvious one to knock off the list. As of the writing of this I have not seen the Great Wall. But I am headed there and will be doing it in a few short days. Because I pre-wrote this blog post, I will have explored the Great Wall when this is published. The story of Beijing and the Great Wall will be something you can look forward to in the near future. In fact, next week I will post about my trip to The Great Wall.

3. A World Junior Hockey Tournament in Europe. Perfect to go with number one on the list. My favourite thing about Christmas time is this tournament being played. I was fortunate to see one game in Ottawa, on New Years eve. It was an amazing game with a great atmosphere. The United States was up on Canada 3-0, but John Taveres scored a hat trick to lead Canada to a 5-4 victory. The tournament has been in North America several years in a row now. It will finally return to Russia in 2 years and then will be in Sweden the year after. I could knock quite a few goals off this list with a trip to either place during those holidays.

Perfect to go with number 1, but just didn't. I have wondered since writing this why it's important to see this tournament in Europe. Was this just for the chance to see Europe and hockey in Europe? I'm not sure. I could still make a big trip of it. Christmas time of 2015 the tournament is in Helsinki, maybe I can do that?

The tournament is going on right now. It's a joint tournament shared between Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec (Canada). Sweden and Russia have already hosted the 2 years prior to this one. 

4. Russia. The history geek in me also fell in love with Soviet history and would be thrilled to see Moscow. Russia works with a couple of my other top 10s as well, like number 1 and number 3. I just thought it deserved its own mention.

No immediate plans for this, but I could go and see Russia on my way to Helsinki next Christmas time, if that is something I indeed do.

5. A baseball game in Japan: I also really want to go to Japan, but why let it take up two spots on the list. For a country like Russia I would be happy to go in the summer but see no point in going to Japan during the winter. I have an admiration for Ichiro Suzuki, always have. I'd love to see where his career started. Other favourite players careers have taken off in Japan as well. I used to have a poster in my room that was bigger than me of Cecil Fielder. He found his game in Japan. I also love Korea and want to see how much better Korea is than Japan.

I am really hoping to get the chance to see a game this summer. Japan isn't that far from me, so going to Japan isn't an unreasonable idea. I was thinking after the school year finishes in June, or just before it starts back up again next August. There are a lot of other cool things I could see and do in Japan as well.

6. The Pyramids. Just a fascinating connection to the old world. Being in Egypt, seeing the land where Moses supposedly set his people free. Every connection to the biblical world. I guess additionally it would be cool to see the Holy Land in Isreal, but I think I find the Pyramids and the history behind them every bit as exciting.

This was the first thing I knocked off the list during the Christmas 2011. It was also the first of many trips I took with my girlfriend Michelle. I'm glad I saw the pyramids, but I have no desire to return to Egypt.

7. Canada. This one may seem kind of comical. After all, I am in Canada and have been here for about 23 years of my life, or 92% of my life. But all of that 92% has been spent in Ontario. I spent a couple hours in Vancouver airport on my way to and from Australia, but I do not count that and nor should I. Canada is a huge country and it is kind of shameful I have not seen much of it at all. I'd love to hang out in the Rockies and see the beauty of the East Coast and everything in between.

I have still not made it out of Ontario. This seems to be an adventure that will happen when I am back living in Canada for good.

8. Every Major league baseball stadium, in one long, fantastic, perfect trip. I am a huge fan of baseball, and I cannot think of a greater trip than traveling the United States and visiting every ball park. An expensive trip I know, but one I would never forget. I've been to The Rogers Centre in Toronto and Comerica Park in Detroit. I go to both these stadiums every year and usually make a trip several times a year to Comerica to see my favourite team. When possible on this dream trip, the Tigers will be the visiting team. In addition, a visit to the baseball hall of fame in Cooperstown will be included in the trip as well as seeing some of the worthwhile sites America has along the way.

Since writing this I have seen Yankee stadium during a trip I made to New York City. That's it though, and certainly not in one long fantastic trip. I did read a book written by a couple fans who embarked on the same type of trip I long to do. Their trip had time restrictions on it however as they attempted to see 30 games in just 30 days, which is crazy! Especially because they were driving. They ended up going to the games, just to go. I want to enjoy the games.

I have come to realize that I may not be able to see these all in one trip and I don't know when the next time I will see a game at all is. But it is still my hope to one day see every stadium.

That is my updated top 8. While some won't be achieved anytime soon, by next summer I should be able to knock at least half off the list. Of course, many other things have been added since writing this post. I want to go on a safari, climb part of Everest or visit Mongolia to name a few.


  1. I want to join you for numbers 5 and 8.

  2. Come to Japan this summer then!
    I'll plan the trip, you just meet me in Tokyo. I'm not kidding either.