Five of my bucket list destinations

5x5 I’ve been lucky enough to see some unusual places, from the most northerly point of mainland Europe to Skeleton Coast of Mauritania, and it’s given me a good idea of the places I really want to get to and can’t believe I’ve missed. Here’s five, but it’s by no means an exhaustive, exclusive or definitive list. This is 5x5’s Travel Tuesday, the new home of where I’ve been and where I’d like to go.

Machu Picchu at sunrise. That’ll do it (Bill Damon/Flickr)

1 Machu Picchu The abandoned Incan citadel ticks off so many challenges that it’s not surprising you’ll find it on a lot of bucket lists. At 2,400m it’s a high-altitude challenge as well as a walking and fitness challenge, and you’re recommended to get there in time for sunrise, so you can add walking in the dark to your. On top of that, you’ll be visiting Peru (country challenge) and since you’re in South America you might as well look around, plus you might get to chew on a coca leaf to combat your altitude sickness (drugs challenge). I would imagine the stargazing is pretty good as well.

Sunset at Nordkapp was as close as we got to the Northern Lights, but what a drive!

2 The Aurora Borealis (or Aurora Australis) I’ve spent more than a week in the Arctic Circle and driven as far north as you can go, all without a glimpse of the Northern Lights, and not for want of looking. I know they won’t look as good as the time-lapse photos we all see, but I’d still like to see them, or the Southern Lights — I’m not picky.

Not bad for a bunch of bronze-agers. Or aliens. (jay8085/Flickr)

3 The Pyramids Somehow I’ve managed to travel halfway around the world several times and yet I’ve never seen the pyramids, which are in my backyard compared to Uluru or Tokyo. They’re such familiar icons that it’s easy to take them for granted, but I guess these majestic constructions have to be seen for themselves and Egypt itself should be a must-see, with ancient tombs, diving and dune-bashing as well as the pyramids. With ISIS-style idiocy dedicated to blowing up all sorts of pre-Islamic wonders of the world, you can never assume they’ll be there for another four or five thousand years. Throw in a banana-republic government and the pushy, intrusive atmosphere that I know will surround them, and I’ve consistently pushed the pyramids off my travel agenda. Should I change my mind?

Quizzical sea lion says hi (Dag Peak/Flickr)

4 The Galapagos Undoubtedly beautiful and incredible for diving, the Galapagos Islands tie with Nepal, Easter Island and Antarctica for a place on my bucket list top five. I’ve got my reservations about eco tourism, but if I get to South America it’s surely a place I can’t miss out on. From endemic seals and penguins to hawks and tortoises, it’s just a shame the only monkeys and apes are the invasive human variety.

Now that’s a sunrise (XCOR)

5 Space I’ve wanted to go into space since I first knew it was there but as the creator of a space tourism blog which was canned because there was too little to write about, I know all about expecting too much. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is still coming back from a fatal crash, XCOR Space Expeditions hasn’t even begun flight-testing its Lynx prototype, and the best hope is the New Shepard spacecraft being tested by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. But I still think it’s reasonable to think that a few minutes in space could be affordable in 20 years’ time. And I will be in the queue.