Before we start our post, we have 2 things we are super excited about.
#1: We are one week away from our Destination: Desert trip!
#2: We have officially booked a Mediterranean cruise for April 2017!
This week we are writing our individual Top 5 places to visit on our bucket list. As you may have noticed, we are very different, in personality, in decision making and in preferences. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that we are interested in going to completely different places. We frequently joke that Jackie is the “Yin” in our relationship, and Alyssa is the “Yang” (so much so that we are thinking about getting tattoos!) To further demonstrate how different we are, we decided to compare our top 5 things on our bucket lists and discuss each other’s opinion on the destination.
Jackie and Alyssa’s Top 5 Things on their Bucket Lists:
Jackie’s Number 5: Tour of artifacts from WWII in Germany - Concentration Camp in Auschwitz, Poland
Jackie: I am a big believer of learning from your past. I think it is extremely important to experience history and to learn from its mistakes. Although this seems like a very morbid experience to have on my bucket list, I feel like visiting a concentration camp in Auschwitz is something that I just need to do in my lifetime. I have heard from many people that this is a powerful experience, and I yearn to walk and feel those emotions myself.
Alyssa: While I do feel it is important to visit sites that have so much pain and tragedy connected to them, it isn’t near the top of my list for a couple reasons: 1) I would like to travel outside of Europe, so most European destinations were put at the bottom of my list, 2) Architecture typically trumps emotional experiences on my list. Though, it may not be high on my list, I look forward to visiting Auschwitz with Jackie someday.
Alyssa’s Number 5: The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel
Alyssa: Just like all of the other places on my list, this one is inspired by my time in my college architectural history class. My notes from that class are essentially a bucket list itself. The rock enclosed in the dome is said to be the site of Abraham’s attempt to sacrifice his son, which is important to both Jews and Muslims. In my eyes, it is an interesting building because it took architectural inspiration from cathedrals, mosques and synagogues alike to come up the design for this magnificent building.
Jackie: Super pretty building, and I love the meaning behind it - but I am not as interested in architecture as Alyssa (although she has been converting me!) This is not at the top of my bucket list because 1) I prefer nature to buildings and 2) To be honest, I had never heard of it until she brought it up! But this would be a super cool experience to have, and I am always up to trying and learning new things!
Jackie: Alyssa laughs and then rolls her eyes at me every time I bring up Alaska. I am obsessed with Alaska. I mean, look at these pictures - how could you not?! As you have read in many of the previous blog posts, I thrive outdoors. My favorite thing to do is to sit and be still in nature. And there is an endless amount of breath-taking natural formations in Alaska! Some of the things that I would like to do in Alaska include: Flightsee over an Alaskan mountain range, see a whale shatter the surface of the ocean, and stuff my face full of fresh, Alaskan crab!
Alyssa: For the record, I only laugh at Jackie because she brings up Alaska at the most inopportune times. “What should I do for Christmas?” “OH! Go to Alaska!” Yeah, I would prefer not to freeze my butt off. I have nothing against Alaska, and I enjoy the gorgeous views of mother nature just as much as the next person, but to me, it seems like Alaska will always be there. It’s on my list, but it’s near the bottom.
Alyssa’s Number 4: The Pyramids of Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Alyssa: If the Pyramids aren’t on your list, I’m sorry, but you’re crazy. I feel like there isn’t much more to say besides: I’m an architecture enthusiast (and that’s putting it lightly). I have been eager to see the Pyramids since I was probably 6 or 7 years old. If I don’t get there within the next few years, I will be deeply crushed. To be honest, I would probably book a 10 day visit out to Egypt and spend at least 3 of those days hanging out around the Pyramids.
Jackie: The Pyramids are definitely on my list - but not in the top 5. I love the mystery behind them, and the history of the Egyptians. Visiting the Pyramids didn’t make my Top 5 cut because the experience is more of a “look and see” versus a “go and do.” I am all about action and adventure, so I prioritize those activities more than ones with monuments that are millions years old.
Jackie's Number 3: Northern Lights, Highlands, Iceland
Jackie: Do I really need to list out all of the reasons why I want to see the Northern Lights?! Although the Northern Lights can be seen from many different countries (including Alaska), I googled the best views, and it said Iceland is the place to go! A bonus is that Iceland is also known for its natural beauty - so I could do similar activities there that I would do in Alaska! A win-win in my book!
Alyssa: The Northern Lights are in my Top 10 (the only nature-centric item that high on my list) for sure. If fact, I’m hoping to visit them this December in Iceland. It didn’t make the Top 5 cut because I wanted to be able to visit the harder ones first (the ones that cost more for an airplane ticket, or are in the path of war, or are so old they could easily be destroyed). Recently, there was an article posted saying the Northern Lights will be dimming over the next year, so it climbed up my list quickly.
Alyssa's Number 3: The Temple of Jupiter, Baalbek, Lebanon
Alyssa: This is an obscure one. Baalbek is an ancient Phoenician city in Lebanon. I need to dig up my college notebook to read up on the history of this particular city, but I know this temple was built by the Romans. Historians are baffled at how this gigantic structure was built. One of the theories is that aliens were involved. I do not believe in aliens such as E.T. coming down to build a temple, but the fact that this piece of architecture perplexed so many people makes it even more interesting.
Jackie: To be honest, I had no freaking clue what this was until I Googled it. I have heard of the Colosseum and the Parthenon, but never this ancient ruin. But after hearing the mysterious history of the structure, my interest has peaked. It would be really cool to visit such a fascinating temple.
Jackie: I love animals and I always thought zoos were kinda boring … who wants to watch a lion sleep in a cage? Not me. I long to see animals in their natural habitats.
Alyssa: While I do think this would be a neat experience, it’s not something I daydream about or Google “safari itineraries” in my spare time. If I had the opportunity to go on a safari, I would take it in a heartbeat, but it’s not something I’m pursuing actively.
Alyssa’s Number 2: The Temple of Petra, Petra, Jordan
Alyssa: I am slightly obsessed with Jordan. I have 2 other places in Jordan that make my Top 10 list as well. This was one of the first buildings I researched in architecture school. Not only is the entire structure carved into a stone cliff, but it is also an astronomical time-piece. Sometimes I wish I were able to live in 300 BC so I could have experienced such amazing construction, but alas, I guess visiting it in this century will have to do.
Jackie: I love that this building is carved into a stone cliff! What an experience that would be to see that! Although it is not on my top 5, I would be super excited to join Alyssa in exploring this ancient structure.
Jackie's Number 1: The Tomb of Jesus, Jerusalem, Israel
Jackie: Now this may seem like an odd thing to be at my number one, but let me explain. I am very religious (Christian). In the Christian religion, we believe that Jesus rose from the dead. This is my number thing on my bucket list because I feel like I would greatly regret not seeing the place where essentially my religion was founded. It’s funny because Alyssa and I had very different interpretations on “number one thing to do before you die.” She interpreted it as: I am going to rank the things I want to see before I can’t anymore (due to natural disasters or wars), I interpreted it as: I am going to rank the things I want to see personally, regardless of world happenings.
Obviously this shows her selfless thinking versus my self absorbed thinking … :/
Alyssa: Sometimes I feel like I drag Jackie to all of my architectural wonders and that by now she would be sick of any sort of building, and it would be nowhere near her list. So imagine my surprise when I see that her top spot went to a structure. Yes, I’m aware that it is not structural feat, but it makes me hopeful that my enthusiasm is rubbing off on her. While I do consider myself Christian, seeing the place where Jesus rose isn’t very important to me. It would be cool to say I have been there and seen it, but I wouldn’t be devastated if I missed it.
Alyssa: This has to be the peak of our Yin and Yang. Only Jackie and I would have a notable Christian site and an iconic Muslim site as the top spots on our lists. I am not Muslim myself, but have been fascinated by the beliefs, the architecture and the culture surrounding the religion for several years now. My father was adopted from Turkey at birth, and just this past year, we have been able to connect with his family, most of whom are practicing Muslims. Half of my roots have an Islamic background, so I feel it is important to discover that side of my world and to learn as much as I can.
Jackie: I totally agree with Alyssa - I am fascinated with Islam culture and their beliefs. I recently discovered a passion of learning about new religions when we visited Southeast Asia and explored Wat Pho, a Buddhist temple. I think that visiting Mecca would be a life-changing experience, especially if we went during Hajj (an annual pilgrimage to Mecca to show one’s submission to God.)