Bucket List dreams for life after lockdown, from the dazzling plains of Antarctica to a treehouse in Botswana

Country Life's Travel Editor Rosie Paterson speaks to adventurers, artists and those who've spent their whole careers obsessing over seeing the world about the places they want to visit when travel restrictions lift and the world gets back to normal.

Sometimes enforced isolation has its upsides: you have time to think and dream; time to figure out what you really want to do next.

Until some sense of normality resumes, I’ll be dreaming of diving with whale sharks, surfing mid-ocean breaks and that incomparable feeling you get after a great beach day — salty, sun-baked and sleepy.

I’ve realised that I’m happiest on a remote beach — the more remote the better. Somewhere shoes aren’t required, and you can spend the day running in and out of the ocean. For that reason, Islas Secas tops my list.

Islas Secas soared to the top of my (very long) bucket list when it opened last year. It’s a 14-island archipelago, off the coast of Panama; low-key, with a heavy emphasis on adventure and sustainability.

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Islas Secas, Panama.

Thinking about when this might happen inspired me to ask those below for their kind contributions. Not matter whether you’re desperate to make it to John O’Groats, Jaipur or Jasper, I hope you all hold fast to your own dreams.

Rosie Paterson — @rosielkpaterson


Cornwall, England, and Menorca

Nina Brooke (@nina_brooke_artist), artist

When this is all over, a sunset or sunrise hot air balloon ride over Cornwall is on my list! Surfing in Sennen and a stay at the Watergate bay hotel.

And if I’m allowed to travel abroad  I’d like to take a group of friends out to Menorca – stay in a beautiful villa, spend the days on the beach, explore the coastline and get inspiration for my paintings.

Followed by a surf trip to Mexico, to ride waves for days on end. But for now I am travelling through my paintings in the studio, currently painting the Maldives from a bird’s eye view.

Pumalin, Chile

Harry Hastings (@harryhastings), managing director of Plan South America.

I’ll be making a beeline for Pumalin, in southern Chile: glaciers, smoking volcanoes, waterfalls, rain forest and snow-capped mountains.  This is where the remote Carretera Austral (Chile Route 7) begins – the most beautiful and, at times, challenging, highway to drive on, in Patagonia.

These landscapes are the dreams of walkers, riders, kayakers and fishermen.

Once I’ve exhausted that adventure, I’ll head north to stay with friends in Zapallar – a heavenly fishing village and beach resort on the Chilean Pacific.

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Giles Kime (@giles_kme), Executive & Interiors Editor at Country Life

I’ve been ticking off a few road trips over the last few years: Bilbao back to Britain, Toronto to Manhattan, London to Lindisfarne and the next is from deep down south to Skye taking in both its raw beauty and the magnificent transformation of Dunvegan Castle — celebrated by the Historic Houses Restoration Award, late last year.

From what I’ve heard it’s a long journey that more than justifies many times over. There’s still too much of Britain I’ve yet to explore.

Puglia, Italy

Pip Durell (@pipsdurell), founder of With Nothing Underneath

Puglia, in late summer: a farm stay at Masseria Moroseta, surrounded by Puglian vineyards and views of the Adriatic Sea.

Tranquil, but within easy reach of towns like Locorotondo – and there will be days spent on the beach, a stones throw away.

Famously simplistic food, locally grown and served at a communal table. It’s the perfect example of simple luxury. Whitewashed walls and limestone floors, with rustic woods and weathered metal-framed doors. Sunshine; books by the pool; good linen shirts.

The Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe

Alexander Mavros (@alexandermavros) of Patrick Mavros and Mavros Safaris 

It’s got to be the Zambezi Valley. The bush airplane will touch down on the Mana Pools airstrip and the towering legend of guide Stretch Ferreira, will be waiting in his dusty 1960’s Land Rover. In front of me, the Garden of Eden as I know it to be: the Zambezi Valley.

I’ll traverse the vast wilderness, tracking lion and wild dog on foot and sit at the base of an acacia tree, as old elephant bulls rear up on their hind legs for pods. Sundowners on the riverbank – watching the water as it idles past on its way towards Mozambique. There will be a fire and stars bright against the Africa sky.


Lisa Fitzell, managing director at Elegant Resorts (@elegantresorts)

Once life gets back to normal, I am keen to travel to Bhutan – the land of happiness. I think it’s the perfect place to reboot, soothe the soul and feel alive.

I am dreaming of hiking to Tiger’s Nest Monastery, a truly extraordinary site. The buildings are perched precariously on a cliff.

Bhutan is known for the great outdoors, fresh air, and peaceful vista’s, and is the ideal place to practise yoga and meditation, which are keen interests of mine.

I would love to stay at Amankora – five beautiful lodges dotted around pristine tranquil valleys. They have a seven night itinerary around the valleys of Thimphu, Phunaka and Paro, which I can’t wait to do.


James Bell, managing director of The Turquoise Holiday Company (@turquoiseholidays)

The destination on my 2021 bucket list is Tahiti. Endlessly beautiful, and a picture perfect place to dream of right now – I am looking forward to a view over the crystal clear waters and the forest-clad peaks from my overwater bungalow.

And to the exceptional service and smiling faces of the Tahitian people; island hopping and perhaps a little sailing; digging my toes into the talcum-powder sands. Those forget-me-not skies and the kaleidoscopic coral atolls are what is getting me through this troubling time.


Ben Saunders (@polarben), polar explorer and endurance athlete

My dream destination is Antarctica. I’ve spent a lot of time there already — much of it on big expeditions that have had their fair share of deprivation, starvation and chafing. But my wife and I were lucky enough to travel from Cape Town to Antarctica’s Queen Maud Land last Christmas with White Desert, and we had an entirely different experience.

You stay in futuristic-looking pods (there are hot showers!), and spend the days hiking and climbing with a guide in some of the world’s most unique landscapes. Unlike my previous expeditions, an award-winning chef prepared meals. I can’t wait to go back.

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Jules Perowne (@julesperowne), founder and CEO of Perowne International

My dream trip for 2020 is the Okavango Delta in Botswana. I have never been to the Delta before, but it has been on my bucket list for over 20 years.

It is one of the most extraordinary phenomenon in the world – a unique desert that’s actually a wetland; a delta that doesn’t flow into the sea. And it creates a simply stunning ecosystem with incredible biological diversity.

When I go, I’ll stay at the new Xigera Safari Lodge, on the eastern side of the Delta. Xigera is significant because it’s the legacy project of the Tollman family, built in collaboration with the Southern Guild gallery in Cape Town. There’s even a baobab treehouse in the middle of the bush, for those wanting a totally off grid experience. My friends at Mavros Safari’s (above) can twin trips with Matetsi Victoria Falls in, with helicopter flights over the falls.’

The Amalfi Coast, Italy

Luke Edward Hall (@lukeedwardhall), artist, designer and columnist

‘I will be on the first plane to Naples because I’m craving the magic of Italy like never before.

I dream of a few days at Le Sirenuse, perched high above the town of Positano. Gosh how I miss the familiar view from this hotel, of glittering waves and the rocky, lonely islands of Li Galli.

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Bit grey here in Portofino but still wondrous…

A post shared by LUKE EDWARD HALL (@lukeedwardhall) on

Lunch a few bays over at Da Adolfo, could there be anything more wonderful?

Tartare, tagliatelle and tiramisu. Then, a late afternoon ferry to Capri and a long, leisurely passeggiata around the island before endless rounds of bitter cocktails and salty snacks in the dusty piazza. Heaven.’


Rowan Paterson (@ultimatetravelco), executive director at The Ultimate Travel Company

After more than 40 years in the travel industry, I have been fortunate enough to share the plains of the Mara with the annual wildebeest migration, swim with sea lions in the Galapagos and track snow leopard across the lunar landscapes of ‘Little Tibet’.

But I have never come face to face with the mountain gorillas who inhabit the mist-shrouded flanks of Rwanda’s Virunga volcanoes.  And it is something that I am desperate to put right as soon as the world emerges from the shadow cast by this dreadful virus.

I am told that when you look into the eyes of a fully-grown silverback, he’ll look back with a thoughtful, intelligent gaze, mindful that you’re another individual.  Look deeper and you may discern the reflected pain and suffering of Rwanda’s recent past, but also the very real hope for future generations.