I hated thinking about my approaching the dreaded decade deemed a midlife crisis. My child-like eyes still struggle to see beyond the memories of squeezing stuffies at night let alone conceive the notion of wearing eyeglasses in the years to come. Since nobody has perfected the ability to turn back time, I instead, have decided to embrace the new time in my life as an opportunity to live to the fullest. Through the 4 decades that I have lived and experienced, I have been blessed to have travelled extensively and have devised a 40 before 40 destination bucket list of places you should try to visit before you skid closer to the 4-0 milestone (with eyeglasses in tow…)

40 before 40 Travel Destination Bucket List
40 before 40 Travel Destination Bucket List

Your 40 Before 40 Travel Destination Bucket List

 

1 – The Great Wall of China

I cried the moment I set eyes on this incredible ancient wonder of the world. This landmark within China to me is the most famous of all the incredible hot spots within the country. Thousands flock to this masterpiece yearly to take photo upon photo during the momentous trek to the top. The Great Wall is an experience with many options enhancing its memorability. It truly is a must-see and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Tips: My best advice is to go in the month of November. The reason being is that during this month there are fewer crowds (my photo below is evidence of November’s low crowd numbers!), cooler temperatures, and clearer views for your selfies to be as impressive as possible.

Thinking of heading to the Great Wall of China? Check out our guide here.

The Majestic Great Wall of China - one of the 40 before 40!
The Majestic Great Wall of China – one of the 40 before 40!

 

The Great Wall of China
The beautiful wonder of the world. A true blessing to have travelled there.

2 – Lake Superior Provincial Park

The chosen destinations on this lists are in no particular order. And I say this as Lake Superior Provincial Park is one of my favourite places on earth and to think it was in my own backyard my whole life. It took a wise man to point out that I had neglected my home for so long and that there are gems just around the corner that are just as, or even more beautiful as the greener grass on the other side of the fence. Lake Superior, the largest of the great lakes in Ontario Canada, is one of the most peaceful areas I have ever visited with majestic scenery, clear water, and unmatched ancient history spanning centuries. When you go, hike to the petroglyphs and take incredible shots of some of the last remaining communicative images the first nations people left to the earth and its unpredictable wrath. Just make sure you wear hiking boots or rubber soled shoes if you wish to venture out on the rocks to see the petroglyphs. They are in a dangerous area of the park and getting there requires care and precaution!

Want to visit Lake Superior Provincial Park? Check out our guide here.

The views of Lake Superior are incredible
The views of Lake Superior are incredible – 40 Before 40 Travel Bucket List Must!

 

The ancient art in all its glory!
The ancient art in all its glory!

3 – The Rockefeller Christmas Tree – New York City

It isn’t everyday or everything that makes me bawl like a young child. But the Rockefeller Christmas tree in New York City, had a mind all its own with my tear ducts. I dreamed my whole life of seeing this magnificent tree lit up in all its glory outside of my favourite Christmas films. And finally this dream came true. Seeing the Rockefeller Christmas tree in person you will always remember and will rejuvenate the Christmas magic and spirit within you. The entire city has so much to offer at Christmastime, but make seeing this tree an important and integral part of your NYC itinerary. I did and am so glad it made it on my 40 before 40 bucket list.

Heading to NYC for Christmas? Check out our guide of all the best sites during the holidays here.

Rockefeller Christmas Tree - 40 before 40 travel bucket list
Rockefeller Christmas Tree – Christmas Movie Tour in New York City

 

Rockefeller Christmas Tree
Rockefeller Christmas Tree

4 – London, UK

Now this is a very broad destination, but to me, London is what you make of it. It is one of the largest cities in the entire continent of Europe with so much to see and do. I personally avoid tourist traps that are in every guidebook imaginable, and instead, look for unique experiences. Perhaps find a themed afternoon tea to enjoy, prance proudly in Soho wearing a kimono, cross Abbey Road like the Beatles, or eat at the oldest restaurant in the city, There are so many incredible things that warrant a visit before you hit 40. I lived in the UK for a couple of years and made sure I headed to London a few times to experience as much of the city as I could. It definitely needs to be on your 40 before 40 bucket list. I recommend at least 3-4 days in the city to see some of the most iconic landmarks there as the Tower of London, Greenwich, Wimbledon, and Notting Hill to name a few.

Heading to London? Check out our 150 unique things to do for all budgets here.

London- Exploring Your Own Country
London- Exploring Your Own Country

 

The Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
The Harry Potter Studio Tour in London

 

Afternoon Tea Bus
The incredible Afternoon Tea bus in London, England

5 – Paris, France

A L’amour… yes my experience does include a love story. I met my husband along the banks of the Seine. Paris is a traveller’s staple when venturing to Europe. The continent has so much history and so many iconic landmarks with Paris being the nucleus of most planned holidays. And for good reason! The viewing of the Eiffel Tower for the first time really is magical. Climbing it is another adventure in itself with a stop at Jules Verne restaurant for the ultimate culinary experience. Plan at least 4-5 days here to enjoy not only the Eiffel Tower, but also the Louvre, Moulin Rouge, Notre Dame, and many more essential things to do.

Heading to Paris? Check out our Paris itinerary here.

Champs Elysees - A must visit while in Paris on your 40 Before 40 bucket list
Champs Elysees – A must visit while in Paris on your 40 Before 40 bucket list

 

The majestic Eiffel Tower
The majestic Eiffel Tower

6 – The Swiss Alps – Switzerland

You have not lived until you have ventured to Switzerland and had their famous alps take your breath away. The scenic vistas will seriously have you smitten and mesmerized while you sip your hot toddy and stuff your face with Swiss chocolate. Take a cruise on Lake Lucerne as resident St Bernards melt your heart. I cannot recommend this beautiful country more.

Looking to head to Switzerland? Check out our collaborative list of things to see and do in the country here.

Swiss cheese fondue
Enjoying Cheese Fondue in Lauterbrunnen Switzerland

 

St. Bernard Dog
Our Favourite spots to add to your Switzerland Itinerary

7 – Sydney Australia

What I can say about the Land Down Under? Besides the fact that the tune of the same name is an incredible earrworm, the city in the heart of New South Wales Australia is definitely a must on your 40 before 40 list of places to explore.  I am blessed to be married to an Australian giving me the chance to explore the city more often than once, but for those of you who have the one opportunity to head to the Southern Hemisphere, make sure Sydney is included in your itinerary. You have the iconic Opera House, the Harbour Bridge to climb, amazing shopping, the Rocks district, a wonderful zoo complete with some of Australia’s most unique native wildlife, world-renowned beaches, and some of the best restaurants on earth. Disney fans, you just may also come across a very memorable landmark 😉 I recommend spending at least 2-3 days here in this beautiful city.

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

 

P Sherman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney
P Sherman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney

8 – Queenstown New Zealand

After spending some quality time in Sydney, grab a flight to the beautiful islands of New Zealand. In particular if you are the adventurous type that also enjoys unmatched scenery, head straight to Queenstown. Not only is it the kingdom of adrenaline experiences as bungee jumping, skydiving, and jet boat safaris, but it also has some of the best restaurants in the world and unique boutique shopping. If you do plan on heading to Queenstown, make sure to book your trip early as it is one of the most popular of all New Zealand cities with hotels getting less and less available especially in the summer.

Pro-tip: If you plan on heading to New Zealand, avoid months as January-February if you don’t wish to share the joy with a gazillion bus loads of tourists.

Queenstown New Zealand
Queenstown New Zealand

 

Queenstown Beauty with the lovely harpist
Queenstown Beauty with the lovely harpist

 

Horse Trekking in Queenstown NZ with Moonlight Stables
Horse Trekking in Queenstown NZ with Moonlight Stables

9 – Carrick-a-Rede Northern Ireland

This small country of the UK has such rich scenery and culture to experience. With many scenic landmarks shaping this battered land that is recovering from civil unrest, the one I recommend most for your 40 before 40 bucket list is the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Those afraid of heights, do think carefully on whether you wish to embark on the crossing, or at least, double check your heart medication! I do admit to suffering of a fear of heights, but being the type to take risks at times, took the plunge and crossed the bridge.

To cross the bridge, you must pay a nominal fee and there are restrictions on the number of people crossing at one time. Don’t be the impatient jackass and endanger others! Take your turn, snap your selfie, and tick it off your 40 before 40 destination bucket list like a serious travelling champ.

Carrick-a-Rede rope Bridge, Northern Ireland
Carrick-a-Rede rope Bridge, Northern Ireland

10 – Verona, Italy

I love the entire country of Italy and you can’t really go wrong visiting any part of the nation. However, for me, Vernona stood out above the rest as being beautiful, historic, and full of unique hidden Italian gems. See an opera in the ancient ampitheatre, pay homage to Juliet by posing in her balcony, eat delicious pizza in the piazza, and marvel at all things Italian. From here, take a day trip to Lake Garda and enjoy some of the best tiramisu in the country.

Juliet's Balcony, Verona
Juliet’s Balcony, Verona

 

Verona is definitely a 40 before 40 destination must!
Verona is definitely a 40 before 40 destination must!

11 – The Swarovski Museum – Austria

Whether or not you are a fan of the beautiful crystal sculptures and jewels, the Swarovski museum is definitely an experience in itself. One of the craziest museums I have set foot in, the Swarvoski museum experience will have you wondering “What the heck?” once you make it to the gift shop. Start with an incredible and iconic selfie in front the famous fountain that has been cleverly shaped in a topiary face. Then, after going through each showcase, shop the many products and bring home a favourite. Personally, I think all the crystals are worth every penny, so do make sure to put aside a bit of your travelling dough for a sparkly indulgence.

Check out our video of the jewels of Austria, featuring the Swarovski museum!

 

12 – Berlin, Germany

I love Germany. It is a wonderful nation full of surprises. Look past the sordid 20th century history and you will see a people so welcoming and so proud of their culture. One beautiful spot in the country that is worthy of your 40 before 40 list is Berlin. Not only for a wonderful viewing of the famous Brandenburg Gate, but also to see the largest free outdoor art gallery in the world – the remains of the East Wall. Street art is an acquired taste and the murals in the heart of Berlin will certainly play to your artistic soul.

Interested in seeing what the wall looked like before its creative metamorphosis? Make sure you head to the Checkpoint Charlie museum and see this area of the wall preserved for humility and education.

At the East Gallery of the Berlin Wall!
At the East Gallery of the Berlin Wall!

 

Berlin Wall at Checkpoint Charlie
Berlin Wall at Checkpoint Charlie

13 – Salem, Massachusetts

You don’t need to wave a magic wand to enjoy this quirky and unique town in New England prolific with integral historic events. Being a lover of the whimsical and the supernatural, you can only assume I have the complete series of Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie in my DVD library. In this case, your assumption would be accurate. With that notion I had always wanted to venture to Salem – only a short ferry trip from Boston, to see the exact place the infamous 1692 Witch Trials occurred. A grim piece of the town’s past, Salem honours the innocent victims with a special memorial and with a very informative museum. Other incredible highlights of the town include the official Salem Trolley tour, the Elizabeth Montgomery Bewitched statue, Memorabilia in the Hawthorne Hotel from the Bewitched cast’s visit during their shooting of the Salem episodes, The Witches Brew pub and grill where you can enjoy witchy cocktails, the House of Seven Gables, and the Pioneer Village. Fan of the film Hocus Pocus? Take the tour and see the many film locations that made up this Halloween classic.

Thinking of heading to Salem? Check out our thorough guide here.

The house of Seven Gables
The house of Seven Gables

 

Salem Witch Memorial
Salem Witch Memorial

 

With Samantha Stephens
With Samantha Stephens

14 – Edinburgh, Scotland

One of my favourite cities in all of Europe, Edinburgh is a treasure trove of gems and sites deserving a spot on your 40 before 40 destination list. Everything from castles, to regal homes, to a beloved canine, and a pub named after some of the most famous literary characters of all time, Edinburgh has something for everyone. Want an authentic tartan? Edinburgh is one of the best spots to nab one of these too.

Holyrood house Home of Mary Queen of Scots, Edinburgh Scotland
Holyrood house Home of Mary Queen of Scots, Edinburgh Scotland

 

Jekyll and Hyde pub in Edinburgh Scotland
Jekyll and Hyde pub in Edinburgh Scotland – Add it to your 40 Before 40!

 

Greyfriars Bobby - Edinburgh
Greyfriars Bobby – Edinburgh

15 – The Centre for Puppetry Arts, Atlanta Georgia

Whether or not you have a fascination for puppets the way I do (Fraggles and Muppets are my best friends), the Centre for Puppetry Arts will give you a newfound appreciation for the art of puppetry and just why the magic of this talent truly is influential on pop culture. The Jim Henson dedicated wing is full of neat tidbits on his life and imagination that inspired his beloved characters spanning all his shows and movies. Fraggle Rock is my favourite of them all and some of the original puppets are here on display. See Sesame Street, Muppet, and movie props from his various classics.

Thinking of heading to the Centre for Puppetry Arts? Our guide can be found here.

Original Fraggles!
Original Fraggles!

 

The entry photo of the Jim Henson section
The entry photo of the Jim Henson section of the Centre for Puppetry Arts

 

Centre for Puppetry Arts
Centre for Puppetry Arts

16 – Walt Disney World Resort – Florida

I mention the Florida parks specifically here, but any Disney park is really an essential experience before turning 40. Experience the magic, a world unlike anywhere else, characters that live on in our dreams, our memories, and in front of us, and stuff your face with some of the most delectable treats you can imagine. To learn more about planning your ultimate Disney vacation and all the magical elements a trip the happiest place on earth entails, check out our Disney Library.

Learn fun facts Behind the Scenes about the Disney Parade Floats on the Keys to the Kingdom Tour
Learn fun facts Behind the Scenes about the Disney Parade Floats on the Keys to the Kingdom Tour

 

Partners - Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse
Partners – Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney World – 40 Before 40

17 – The 1,000 Islands of Gananoque Ontario

I love salad. So of course I had to try the famous 1000 Islands salad dressing created within the 1000 islands of the St Lawrence River. Gananoque Ontario is a delightful town gushing with charm and sophistication. Spend quality time browsing the shops, enjoying local culinary dishes, and the breathtaking scenery along the shores of one of the largest rivers in the world. Before you leave, take a scenic cruise and count the mansions in Millionaire’s Row before stopping at Boldt Castle with passport in hand (there is an American customs office on shore!). The beauty truly is indescribable and belongs on your 40 before 40 destination bucket list.

Majestic Boldt Castle
Majestic Boldt Castle within the 1000 Islands of Gananoque Ontario

 

Just Enough Island in the 1000 Islands of Gananoque Ontario
Just Enough Island in the 1000 Islands of Gananoque Ontario

 

1000 island cruise
1000 island cruise

18 – Santorini Greece

Yes it has become a tourist trap. And yes, Instagrammers have become an overflowing issue that has somewhat tarnished the intrigue to visit and the feelings of locals, but Santorini truly is a gem that should be visited before you turn 40. The blue domed buildings the beaches, and of course, the sunset. Do it right and get some professional photos taken. We did and never looked back…

Thinking of going to Santorini? Check out our guide here.

Santorini sunset
Santorini sunset

 

Professional Shot with the Blue Domed Back Drop
Professional Shot with the Blue Domed Back Drop

 

Walking along Black Beach
Walking along Black Beach

 

Black Beach Santorini Greece
The Black beach in Santorini

19 – Mt Tamborine, Queensland Australia

The peace, the tranquility, and the unique shops throughout this beautiful area of Queensland Australia, Tamborine Mountain is a must-see. An award-winning distillery and a rainforest retreat truly do give the area character. Hike through the lush forests. Buy a locally made souvenir, and sip coffee at the famous Polish bakery (now reopened!) as the rainbow lorikeets steal sugar packets from the tables. Come at night and take an exclusive tour to the natural bridge and see the elusive and gorgeous glowworms doing their thing.  I recommend this landmark highly as it frequently gets missed on itineraries.

Thinking of checking out Songbirds Rainforest Retreat on Tamborine Mountain? Our review provides all the necessary details.

Loving the outdoor seating area of Songbirds Rainforest Retreat, Mt Tamborine
Loving the outdoor seating area of Songbirds Rainforest Retreat, Mt Tamborine

 

Welcome!
Songbirds Rainforest Retreat

 

Admiring the Balcony and view
Admiring the Balcony and view within Tamborine Mountain – My 40 Before 40 List includes this beauty!

 

First course: Freshly shucked oysters
First course: Freshly shucked oysters at Songbirds Rainforest Retreat

20 – Sint Maarten

The entire island has a special place in my heart. A family staple since the 1990’s, I couldn’t possibly have a recommended list for you that doesn’t have Sint Maarten included. I particularly have fond memories of the Dutch side as our property is within Maho and the night life here is unlike any other in the Caribbean. With the destructive hurricane plowing through the island in 2016, the island was devastated with severe damage, requiring extensive repairs and sending tourists away until the rebuilding efforts were complete. Happily, I can announced the tourism doors reopening in 2019 to welcome as many visitors as possible. Spend a week here and enjoy water sports, day trips to neighbouring islands, casino tournaments, and duty-free shopping unlike anywhere else. Bring a few swimmers as you will definitely be living in them while you’re here!

Thinking of seeing Sint Maarten for yourself? Check out our guide with all the details.

Sint Maarten
Sint Maarten is definitely a 40 before 40 must

 

Maho Beach Welcoming in the Plane
Maho Beach Welcoming in the Plane in St Maarten

21 – The I Love Lucy Museum- Jamestown, New York

Lucille Ball was the pioneer of comedy for many, many years. Her hometown recognized her contribution to television and has honoured it accordingly. Enjoy an exclusive museum holding some of the rarest of memorabilia, statues, monuments, her gravestone, and other landmarks within the town bringing the legacy of Ms. Ball to its fans. Even if you are not a huge fan of the 1950’s situation comedy that pushed so many societal buttons and advanced the industry with cultural elements, life events never-before seen on screen, the charming town will have you laughing at the classic episodes as you eat ice cream in the park and marvel at the locally painted dedication murals.

Pro tip: If you’re not into crowds or sharing your touristy space with a gazillion Lucille Ball impersonators, do check out the calendar of events to avoid the I Love Lucy fan festival held yearly. 

I Love Lucy fan or not, check out our guide to get you in the mood to see the redhead’s home for yourself.

I love Lucy "Job Switching" Mural
I love Lucy “Job Switching” Mural in Jamestown New York

 

Lucy Desi Museum
Lucy Desi Museum in Jamestown New York

 

Lucy's final resting place
Lucy’s final resting place in Jamestown New York

22 – The Aran Islands – Ireland

So the entire country of Ireland is worthy of a visit before you turn 40; however, one of the most beautiful spots with quite a bit of untouched terrain are the Aran Islands. A region where the famous sweaters made their world debut, the cliffs off the ocean provide a beautiful setting for edge photographs (taken with utmost care and safety!), and mystical leprechaun houses offer shelter for the magical imps for a rest prior to searching for pots of gold. To get here, make your way to Galway and take a ferry (weather permitting) to the islands.

Thinking of heading to the Aran Islands? Check out our guide here.

On the edge of the Inishmore coastline cliffs
On the edge of the Inishmore coastline cliffs on the Aran Islands

 

Leprechaun house on the Aran Islands
Leprechaun house on the Aran Islands

 

Model wearing an Authentic Aran Island Sweater
Model wearing an Authentic Aran Island Sweater

23 – Cuba

So not everyone can experience this very unique island only 90 miles from the Florida Keys. However, if you are able to travel to Cuba, it definitely deserves to be on your 40 before 40 destination list. The novelty of vintage cars around you mixed with pristine beaches, unique architecture, famous cigars, and rum aged to perfection, you have the ultimate Cuban holiday. Plan at least a week here and do check the specials with your travel agent. Cuba trips can be very affordable, especially if you go in January.

Cuba
Cuba

 

Royalton Adults only luxury
Royalton Adults only luxury in Cayo Santa Maria Cuba

 

The gorgeous beach at sunset
The gorgeous beach at sunset in Cuba

24 – Istanbul, Turkey

I have a love hate relationship with Turkey. I love the landmarks, the culture, and the overall experience of the country, but also had a few scary moments while there. The great elements overpower and outnumber the scary, so this made me insist on the city being on the 40 before 40 bucket list. Check out the famous and gorgeous Blue Mosque, take in the scents of the spice market, munch on Turkish delight, and try not to get lost in the Grand Bazaar. So much to see in such a kaleidoscope of culture and colour. I recommend travelling to Istanbul and spending 2-3 days here before heading to other incredible areas of the country including Gallipoli, Troia, and Cappadocia.

Heading to Istanbul? Check out our guide for women here.

Istanbul is a must for your 40 before 40 bucket list
Istanbul is a must for your 40 before 40 bucket list

 

The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque, Istanbul

 

Istanbul Itinerary
Istanbul Itinerary

25 – The Rose Festival – Bulgaria

Fun fact – Bulgaria exports more roses and rose products than any other country in the world. Who knew? You do now…. anyway, witnessing the beautiful florals of such a festival in a unique country that hasn’t been bitten by the touristy travel bug just yet is an ideal inclusion to the 40 before 40 destination list. Spend some time in Sofia and marvel at the historical landmarks and enjoy the quiet of this eastern European country. The Rose Festival takes place yearly at the end of May approximately 200 km from Sofia. Plan accordingly as there will be limited accommodation during the festive weekend!

Rose festival in Kazanlak Bulgaria credit: rosefestivalkazanlak.com
Rose festival in Kazanlak Bulgaria
credit: rosefestivalkazanlak.com

26 – Mackinac Island, Michigan

How does vehicle-free sound? Well, replace the revving engines with the clopping of hooves and you have the sound effects of the beautifully preserved Mackinac Island found in Lake Huron. This beautiful inhabited island that bans the use of vehicles and is known for its century-old fudge recipes, brings a pilgrimage of die-hard Somewhere in Time fans every year to its shores along with curious travellers looking for a getaway.

The Grand Hotel in particular is a central landmark that brings an element of luxury and class to the island while maintaining the old school values of skirt-wearing and tuxedo clad couples as they sit down to Sunday tea. Take a horse and buggy tour of the island to learn more about this unique summer getaway or follow the map to see exactly where Jayne Seymour and Christopher Reeve shared a romantic kiss. A day trip will suffice; however, if you wish to stay on the island, there are many beautiful family-owned B&B’s competing with the Grand Hotel for the most picturesque of accommodations.

Thinking of a Mackinac Island getaway? Check out our guide here.

Gorgeous Mackinac Island

 

Vehicle-less Roads on Mackinac Island
Vehicle-less Roads on Mackinac Island

 

Shrimp Tempura Jockey Club Style
Shrimp Tempura Jockey Club Style on Mackinac Island

27 – Budapest, Hungary

A total surprise when I was travelling through Europe, Budapest totally won me over. The Danube’s beauty, the architecture, the unmatched history, the food, and the lovely people all played a part on this vibrant city earning a spot on the nice list. I personally would recommend a mix of the Hungarian baths, a dinner cruise to see the city lit up in all its glory, and a symphony performance showcasing some of the most classical pieces of music ever written. Sip some wine as you hum to a sonata and brag about the cultural tick later.

Check out our guide to Budapest Hungary before jet-setting to this Eastern Europe beauty….

Budapest at Night
Budapest at Night

 

At the Széchenyi spa interior pool
At the Széchenyi spa interior pool

 

Budapest sign on the way to the symphony
Budapest sign on the way to the symphony

28 – The Arctic Circle, Nordkapp Norway

If you’re on the quest to see the Northern Lights, the Arctic Circle spanning all of Scandinavia and through Canada and USA is the area you need to visit. One highlight though within this vast region of the world is NordKapp Norway, home to the Arctic Circle. Plan your visit well and you just may get a glimpse of the elusive light show. Don’t go in the summer as your chances are extremely remote on seeing them and you will most likely get a large dose of fog instead. (I talk from experience…trip planning fail…) That being said, my time in the Arctic Circle was epic and I wouldn’t change a thing. I embraced the fog, sipped a coffee on top of the world, swigged a shot in the Ice Bar, and can say I saw this beautiful place before I hit the big 4-0.

Nordkapp Norway, the land of the Midnight Sun
Nordkapp Norway, the land of the Midnight Sun

 

Nordkapp Norway is a great spot to see on your 40 Before 40 list
Nordkapp Norway is a great spot to see on your 40 Before 40 list

29 – Quebec City, Quebec Canada

The French Province of Canada has the charm you dream of similar to Paris. The cobble-stoned streets, the Parisian style cafes, and the romantic language being spoken throughout the city, all play a part in making this the ultimate experience. It will have you questioning if you’re really still in Canada, it is so different from the rest of the country… Weird huh? Quebec city was just named one of the most Christmassy cities in the world, and part of this i’m sure is attributed to the marshmallow world it creates every December. If you do end up going, make sure you pack according to the weather, prepare for a charming backdrop for photographs, and (if you are not vegetarian/vegan), eat at Lapin Saute…a cafe unlike any other where multiple bowls of French onion soup is customary…

The streets of beautiful Quebec City in the Summer
The streets of beautiful Quebec City in the Summer

 

Quebec City Quebec
Quebec City Quebec

 

French Onion Soup at Lapin Saute in Quebec City Quebec
French Onion Soup at Lapin Saute in Quebec City Quebec

30 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

I love the Netherlands. Some of my closest friends are Dutch and I always love hearing their stories about their homeland being of utmost beauty, flavour and of course appeal to the European traveller. My memories of this beautiful country culminate mainly in Amsterdam where you have the complete tourism package (not to mention the risque red light district many visit since it is looked upon as unconventional back home…) When you arrive, first, pay respect and humbly walk through Ann Frank’s House. Learn of this tragic story, then donate a few dollars to preserve the museum for future visitors. Next, take a tour to see the famed tulips in bloom before buying a bouquet at the flower market. Grab a quick snack of french fries and mayo before taking in the one-of-a-kind masterpieces painted by Rembrandt and Van Gogh. Truly a must-see on your 40 before 40 bucket list.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

Amsterdam
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

Amsterdam tulips to buy at the flower market
Amsterdam tulips to buy at the flower market

31 – Helsinki, Finland

So Finland gets overshadowed frequently when visiting Scandinavia. And after spending extensive time in the region, it surprises me how often this happens. This delightful country has some of the friendliest people I have met throughout my travels, has delicious seafood meals, and Russian-influenced architectural strokes of genius ready to be snapped with your camera. I would recommend at least 2-3 days within the capital to explore the stone church, local markets, and the Olympic stadium before bringing home your very own plush Mumin.

The Stone Church - Helsinki
The Stone Church – Helsinki

 

Helsinki Finland - a favourite spot of my 40 Before 40 list
Helsinki Finland – a favourite spot of my 40 Before 40 list

 

Helsinki Finland
Helsinki Finland

32 – Varanasi, India

So it is no secret that India and I have a love/hate relationship. Parts of my experience I would love to eliminate from my travel diary, and other experiences I am so thankful to have had in my life. India does that to travellers. It isn’t a clean slate of moments that are picture perfect for those postcards the sentimentalists still send to this day.

A highlight of my Indian journey definitely was the cultural city of Varanasi. A spot where rituals are a thing and dropping flowers into the river is sacred. Varanasi ticked the exclusive, and quirky boxes off my traveller list with its unmatched experiences. Take part in a flower ceremony as the pilgrims worship their recently departed with cremation and release into the Ganges river. Enjoy street food of samosas and tea, and then take in the pulpit where Buddha conducted his first sermon. Seriously guys, I know India is not for all of us, however, if you do wish to venture here before you turn 40, ensure Varanasi is part of your itinerary.

Varanasi India - Where you can stand in Buddha's shoes, or at least the temple where he once stood
Varanasi India – Where you can stand in Buddha’s shoes, or at least the temple where he once stood

 

Varanasi India - a Cultural Mecca
Varanasi India – a Cultural Mecca. This is the Ganges river at night

 

Varanasi India - where you can get beautiful Henna art done!
Varanasi India – where you can get beautiful Henna art done!

33 – Toronto, Canada

So obviously I had to include my home city of Toronto. It is an overwhelmingly huge place full of landmarks, gems, and of course foodie essentials that, although I grew up here, believe belong on my 40 before 40 list. I mean, just because I was born here doesn’t necessarily mean I have explored it to the fullest. Spend at least a week to take in the iconic landmarks, enjoy unique experience, and sample at least 5-6 different cuisines all readily available.

Looking for a great spot to eat in Toronto? Check out this round-up of some of our favourite hot spots!

 

Banana Cream Pie, Cherry Pie, and the Dark Side of the Moon Cupcake nod to Pink Floyd. Great desserts for the Toronto Foodie
Banana Cream Pie, Cherry Pie, and the Dark Side of the Moon Cupcake nod to Pink Floyd. Great desserts for the Toronto Foodie

 

Himalayan Java House - A MUST on your Toronto Foodie Tour
Himalayan Java House – A MUST on your Toronto Foodie Tour

 

Eva's Original Chimneys - A great stop on your Toronto Foodie Tour
Eva’s Original Chimneys – A great stop on your Toronto Foodie Tour

34 – Lake Bled, Slovenia

My husband surprised me with this trip a few years ago for my birthday. It was nothing short of epic to see Lake Bled on my special day. This holiday town in the heart of Slovenia has everything you could want for a weekend getaway trip. Enjoy a meal in a 1000+ year old castle, indulge in the town’s famous Bled cake dessert, relax in a romantic B&B, and head over to the church island via local boat. The swans a-swimming past you will give you that touch of romance your trip needs to reaffirm this destination as a 40 before 40 must-see.

Lake bled
Lake bled

 

Gorgeous Lake Bled
Gorgeous Lake Bled

35 – The Cotswolds, England

The UK is dear to me as I called it home for 2 years. Within this time period I was blessed to explore quite a bit of the countryside and was able to pinpoint some favourite spots of charm, and history. One of these areas included the Cotswolds villages – and in particular, Bibury.

Arlington Row in the heart of the tiny hamlet of Bibury brings thousands of tourists yearly ever since the street was deemed the most picturesque in all of England. I cannot really disagree with this accolade as it really is adorable… Be sure to snap those memorable photos, then plan to stay a max of 2-3 hours. There really isn’t much to see and do here with much more to offer in the other Cotswold villages.

If you have time, the Cotswolds not only offer this picturesque Kodak moment, but the other areas of Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, and the Broadway Tower bring delightful scenery, unduplicated photo backdrops, one-of-a-kind experiences, and fish and chips my husband deems the best in the entire country.

Heading to the Cotswolds? Do check out our guide here.

Bibury Arlington Row
Bibury Arlington Row

 

The Best Fish and Chips found in Bourton on the Water
The Best Fish and Chips found in Bourton on the Water of the Cotswolds

 

Broadway Tower
Broadway Tower

36 – The Maldives

This island nation that is sinking every day is a beautiful spot to relax, especially after an adventure in India. Fly to Male and enjoy the pristine beaches, incredible snorkeling, and delightful cuisine. I would highly recommend packing conservatively and lightly. I stayed on an authentic fishing boat and found the larger the luggage, the more awkward. Also, if you do have the disposable income this requires, perhaps indulge in an over-water bungalow accommodation and book a table at the underwater restaurant within the atolls.

The Maldives are a beautiful collection of islands in the Indian ocean. Do keep in mind the culture and religious conservation of the country when travelling here. Do your research and plan accordingly.

Maldives Beach with footprints brought my favourite prayer "Footprints" to life
Maldives Beach with footprints brought my favourite prayer “Footprints” to life

 

Maldives beaches are beautiful
Maldives beaches are beautiful

37 – Grand Canyon, Arizona

I must admit that I have not been to the Grand Canyon since I was younger, however, the majesty of such a natural phenomenon is unforgettable. Grand Canyon is a natural wonder of the world that every traveller should experience. Do a mule trek, take a scenic flight, or just spend the day photographing the beautiful area. Book accommodations well in advance, especially in the summer months.

Grand Canyon, Arizona
Grand Canyon, Arizona

38 – The Great Ocean Road – Victoria Australia

A highlight within my time spent in Australia definitely includes the Great Ocean Road on the Southern Coast of Victoria. Take a tour or road trip it yourself by stopping wherever you see a good photo opportunity. When you arrive at the famous 12 Apostles (now 8 standing), enjoy hikes down to the beach, a helicopter flight for incredible aerial views, and commentary learning exactly how these natural rock formations came to be. If you have time, do make a stop in Erskine Falls and trek down to see the base of the famous waterfall. On the way back, stop at Bell’s Beach where the final scene of the film Point Break was set.

Great ocean road - Victoria Australia
Great ocean road – Victoria Australia

39 – Boston, MA

Beantown is one of my favourite cities in all the USA. I couldn’t have asked for a more significant trip to learn of the history of the United States. I know that there are speckles of history throughout the nation, but the Freedom Trail, Omni Hotel (the oldest hotel in the USA), Ghost tour, and pop culture elements, made this trip a well-rounded holiday. I particularly loved eating Boston Cream Pie alongside the famous booth JFK proposed to Jackie, posing at the marathon starting line, heading down baseball memory lane with a visit to Fenway, having a pint at the Cheers Bar, and following in Paul Revere’s footsteps learning of the infamous tea party and the importance of John Hancock’s signature.

When you go, don’t forget to take a ride on the romantically adorable swan boats. Family-owned and maintaining the old school thrill of a river ride, the swan boats bring a touch of romance and nostalgia to any trip.

Fenway Park
Fenway Park, Boston MA

 

Massachusetts State House
Massachusetts State House

 

In the original Bar having a pint
In the original Bar having a pint

40 – Koh Samui, Thailand

So I nearly died in Thailand. Fun fact, I know. But even through that scary incident, I was able to see the silver lining in my trip to this popular country within South East Asia. Koh Samui was my favourite spot in Thailand thanks to its many things to do, the relaxing resorts on the beach, and the incredible food that cost a fraction of the price of my Starbucks latte. Enjoy exclusive spa treatments at reputable spots, snorkeling, shopping for CHEAP merchandise, and street food you hear about in the movies. And, if it makes a difference, my near-death experience didn’t happen in Koh Samui…

Enjoying Traditional Thai cuisine in Koh Samui
Enjoying Traditional Thai cuisine in Koh Samui

 

Beautiful Koh Samui
Beautiful Koh Samui Thailand

 

Finishing braid at the spa
Finishing braid at the spa in Koh Samui Thailand

 

Serenity Spa Entrance Koh Samui
Serenity Spa Entrance Koh Samui

So there you have my non-exhaustive list of 40 before 40 destinations around the world. There are so many other incredible places I have been that honestly could be on this list. Which of these spots have you seen for yourself? Which would you plan to visit on your next trip? Happy 2019 to all of you out there and to all the 39-year-olds embarking on this brand new decade.

Your ultimate 40 before 40 destination bucket list! Here are our recommendations of places to see before hitting that milestone. #travelbucketlist #worldtravel #india #australia #newzealand #disneytravel #maldivestravel #uktravel #usatravel #canadatravel
Your ultimate 40 before 40 destination bucket list!

 

Your ultimate 40 before 40 destination bucket list! Here are our recommendations of places to see before hitting that milestone. #travelbucketlist #worldtravel #india #australia #newzealand #disneytravel #maldivestravel #uktravel #usatravel #canadatravel
Your ultimate 40 before 40 destination bucket list!

 

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