The strange place bucket list for quirky people (and their lawn ornaments)

After adding Zimbabwe to the list, Rodrigo and I have now been to 39 countries together. While we were hoping to make Spain number 40 before 2016 came to an end with our latest ship assignment, things didn't quite work out that way. (Yeah, I’m still a little bitter.) When I first found out that I would be rejoining the same difficult ship instead, I started reevaluating my life choices and wondering if Rod and I could find other ways to experience the world. Considering we only have one passport between the two of us and it’s South African (i.e. not great) our options for making a living for ourselves and travelling the globe are quite limited. A girl with a plastic flamingo can dream though.  

After doing some research, I decided our best bet beyond Cruise Ships would be to go to China and get paid to be white. - Because that is actually a legitimate thing that you can do in China! There are ‘foreigner agencies’ that pay people to play music or pretend to play music (posing as 'famous' musicians from America). You can also be hired to make night clubs look more exciting, or you can pose as interested foreign investors at real-estate development launches. Those seem to be the most common jobs available according to the internet. The only requirement is you need to be white. Not only am I over-qualified but I also have years of experience! I still have to figure out how to get a letter of invitation and cut through some other red tape to get a visa (everyone hates South Africans!) but apparently, this type of employment pays quite well. Then when we have lots of money in the bank, Rodrigo and I can tick off some of the other things on our bucket list.  

I’ve been wanting to put one together for a while, and I finally sat down and did it (while I was still on vacation). Here it is:


1. Instagram the Skeleton Coast 
The Skeleton Coast is an inhospitable dessert coastline in Namibia that is littered with more than a thousand shipwrecks. Used as the location for the movie Mad Max, it is possibly the best place in the world to take post-apocalyptic-dystopia-grams, …as one does.

Funny strange place bucket list / 

2. Sip hot chocolate with hello kitty’s face on it while pointing your pinky finger (with it’s freshly painted hello kitty nail art on it) in the air
If you're thinking "I just haven't seen enough pink in my life", the San Rio Hello Kitty House in Thailand might help you reach your entire quota in one afternoon. If I thought that dragging my ex-boyfriend to cathedrals in Europe was torture for him, this place might get me dumped all over again! Maybe I should just take a girl friend to this place which has a cafe and a nail salon, among other things.  

Strange place bucket list

Hello Kitty house

3. Take in an exhibition at the Museum of Bad Art
Back in the late 90s when I did art at high school, all that anyone wanted to paint was aliens and foetuses. I hope they have some of those! Either way, there is a whole museum (or three?) in Massachusetts devoted to art “too bad to be ignored”.

Funny travel bucket list
Photo by



4. Go to a cat cafe 
It seems cat cafes are multiplying faster than bunnies with businesses popping up in Japan, France, USA, Austria, England, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Singapore, Thailand and Russia. Just to clarify, these places don’t serve cats, they just have lots of them. You can now pay exorbitant amounts of money to have tea in the presence of some cats, and possibly get to stroke them or completely be ignored by them, because they’re cats and they’re like that sometimes. 

quirky travel bucket list

5. Visit a giant pineapple 
Table mountain, the Nelson Mandela bridge and the Bathhurst Pineapple: Those are the big three! You haven’t seen South Africa until you’ve seen its pineapple. Okay, maybe you have. New Zealand is a fraction of the size of South Africa and it has a giant apple, a giant carrot, a giant kiwi fruit, a giant kiwi bird, a giant trout, a giant bicycle, a giant prawn, a giant gumboot, a giant bull, a giant sheep, a giant sheepdog and a giant sheep sheerer. All South Africa has is a giant pineapple (okay, and an oversized Nelson Mandela with a less oversized out-of-proportion head - And that’s in an upmarket shopping mall) so go with the pineapple! 
(P.S. If you’re Korean you might want to bring two pens and an apple)

travel bucket list south africa

6. Run around on the ceiling 
There are upside-down houses in China, Russia, Malaysia, California, South Korea, Poland and the USA. - As in upside down both inside and out! I don’t mind which one I go to, but I would like to do my hair so that it stands up like a troll so that when I flip the pictures upside down (or the right way up), my ability to defy gravity looks convincing. 
Note to self: Don’t wear a dress that day.  

funny travel bucket list
Jastrzębia Góra, Poland

7. Add my cooties to the Market Theatre Gum Wall 
What started off as a mild form of vandalism when theatre goers started adding chewing gum to the wall at the Market Theatre box office in Seattle, Washington, eventually became something of a national landmark. According to Wikipedia, it was named one of 2009’s germiest tourist attractions and is frequently used as a backdrop for wedding photographs. Romantic! 

travel bucket list

8. Sleep in a plane and wake up in the same place
In Stockholm, you can pay lots of money to get to do what a lot of pilots do for free: sleep in a cockpit! Yes, they have turned a Jumbo jet into a hotel, and while the cockpit is the room most in demand, I quite fancy the idea of sleeping in one of the jet engines. I used to work at an airport and, as part of their ‘safety training’, they used to show us pictures of what people looked like who had taken a stroll on the runway and been sucked into an engine. Now you can spend time in one of those babies and not come out the other side looking like flesh confetti.

airplane hotel stockholm

9. Stay in a sandcastle
This isn’t actually something that seems possible right now, but I’m sure one day someone will build one big enough for people to sleep in. That will be fun. 

10. Liberate a garden gnome
Okay, I travel with my own lawn ornament and that seems strange, but there are whole movements in France and Italy whose goals are to liberate gnomes from the gardens where they are 'enslaved' and free them back into the wild. According to a very iffy website, the Italian town of Barga has been declared a garden gnome sanctuary. I would like to 'liberate' (steal) a gnome from someone's garden and take it to Barga to test this theory. If it turns out to be false I will take him to the gnome reserve in Devon, England, and unite him with his kind. I'm not sure they even accept donations, but they let you wear cool gnome hats while you’re there, so that’s exciting! Rodrigo is not a gnome, only a flamingo, so he can visit but he can’t stay. 

funny bucket list

11. Donate something to the museum of broken relationships
If the gnome reserve doesn't want my gnome I will donate him to the Museum of Broken Relationships. I'll make sure I steal the gnome from someone I know so that the theft will cause a rift in our friendship and the gnome would be a valid donation to the museum, in Zagreb, Croatia, which is made up of items donated by people who have been through bad breakups. 

strange place bucket list

12. Sleep in a rectum! 
I know it sounds a little gay, but who wouldn't want to experience the inside of a giant anus? This is a real guest house and you can spend lots of money to stay in this crap-hole. You may have thought the Belgian were only good for chocolate and waffles, but at the Verbeke Foundation, they have found ways to make other dreams come true too. 

sleep in a rectum

Other more normal things that I want to do: 
  • Be an extra in a Bollywood movie in India (even though they are shot everywhere else). (…Okay, I might settle for Cape Town.)
  • Sing karaoke in Tokyo (and possibly find an excuse to dress Harajuku).
  • Dance salsa in Cuba. (I had an Australian guest tell me I shouldn't bother going there because it’s "dirty and poor". Then I remembered that I’m from Africa, so I don't think I’ll let that stop me.)


If you can think of some quirky travel bucket list things I haven't heard of, please let me know in the comment box below.

5 cruises down, 21 to go
Days left until voting closes for the 2016 SA Blog Awards: 10 
(Vote now.)

(All photos not my own or Public Domain have been used with permission)

Pin it:


  1. You can stay at The largest, deepest, darkest, oldest, quietest motel room in the world:

    1. Thanks, that sounds like large deep dark old quiet fun.

  2. I might have to revise this post and include "hug a panda".


Post a Comment

Welcome to the Sharonicles

The Sharonicles is a travel humour blog by a South African travel writer. With six years of experience as a cruise ship crew member, her travels on ships and on land have taken her to 57 countries on five different continents.  She photographs a plastic flamingo called 'Rodrigo' on her adventures because it seemed like a good idea ten years ago and it’s probably too late to turn back now. She also likes unicorns, carbs and referring to herself in third-person.

Here she shares advice, opinions and anecdotes revealing the funny side of travel from her experiences. 


Don't you hate it when you're googling something like "Do unicorns mate for life?" And before you can find the answer, one of those annoying subscription boxes pops up, takes up the whole screen and it takes longer for you to find the little 'x' than it would to just find the answer?
We effing hate those things!

Which is why we don't have one. If you would like to subscribe anyway, you can use this link:
(Don't forget to confirm your subscription when you get a really ugly-looking email from feedburner)