And so without further ado to my budget bucket list item......
LOW CARBON FINNISH OWL QUEST!!
One of the things that makes me uncomfortable about travelling outside the UK is the carbon emissions associated with flying. I love to visit new places and experience the natural history and culture, but it disturbs me that that actions I take in order to enjoy nature are contributing to the diminishment of future generations' ability to do so. It's partly why I tend not to venture outside of Europe (also I generally can't afford to!), and when I do fly I usually make a donation afterwards to Atmosfair offsetting the flight - it doesn't 'undo' the carbon emitted by my flight, but does go towards funding renewable energy projects in developing countries, so that they can make the leap straight to renewables and not cause further carbon emissions. Therefore my budget bucket list item would involve travelling entirely by train and boat to my destination, with the help of the excellent Man in Seat 61. This wouldn't normally be a 'budget' option for me, but if I won £1000 I'd be laughing! The travelling would take a while, but it's all part of the fun - I would get to pass through several super-cool European countries, enjoy the scenery and relax with my headphones and a novel. Lovely stuff. I would of course also blog about it to hopefully raise some awareness of low-carbon travel! I would keep accommodation costs low once in Finland by staying in hostels.
I'm a bit obsessed with the Nordic countries, having visited bits of Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden.....so naturally Finland is next on my list! The other main reason for visiting would be that Finland is known for its owls - there's the potential for a serious OWL BONANZA, with Eurasian Eagle Owl, Great Grey Owl, Ural Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Tengmalm's Owl, Eurasian Pygmy Owl as well as Long-eared, Short-eared and Tawny Owl on the cards. Owls were the first birds that captured my imagination at a very young age - my walls were covered with owl pictures when I was little and for a while I was pretty sure I was an owl (that phase has now passed), so although I don't get to see many owls it's always mega-exciting when I do, they have a special place in my heart! Look at all these lovely owls........
|Northern Hawk-Owl, Hökuggla, ©Dan Frendin, via WIkimedia Commons.|
|Eurasian Eagle Owl, ©Sonja & Roland, via Flickr Creative Commons.|
|Great Grey Owl, ©westfortwarbler, via Flickr Creative Commons.|
|Ural Owl, ©Salmando, via Flickr Creative Commons.|
|Eurasian Pygmy Owl, ©snowmanradio, via WIkimedia Commons.|
|Tengmalm's Owl, ©Mdf, via WIkimedia Commons.|
Now for my completely extravagant item.....
Patagonia. FLIPPIN' PATAGONIA! Look at it!!!
Cavalli Al Pascolo Ai Piedi Del Massiccio Del Fitz Roy, Patagonia, ©Annalisa Parisi, via Wikimedia Commons.
|Patagonia Alive, ©Stuck in Customs, via Flickr Creative Commons.|
|Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina, ©Luca Galuzzi, via Wikimedia Commons.|
|Patagonia's Profile, ©Irargerich, via Flickr Creative Commons.|
|'Turquoise Mirrors', Argentina, Patagonia, Parque Nacional Los Glacieres, Lago de las Tres, Mt. Fitzroy, ©WanderingtheWorld (www.LostManProject.com), via Flickr Creative Commons.|
- There are albatrosses (several species! Joy!) there. Like many people (e.g. my Mum), seeing an albatross is obviously also on my bucket list.
- The geology is AWESOME. The mountains! The glaciers! The caves! The volcanoes!
- There are Welsh people there! Well the descendants of Welsh people, who settled there in the 19th century. The documentary film Separado!, in which Gruff Rhys goes to Patagonia to track down his long lost uncle, is a most enjoyable watch covering the history of the Welsh settlers set within the wider context of Patagonian culture, with some smashing music to boot.
Three other bloggers who might be interested in entering this competition are: