Travel Ideas

Bucket List Festivals

Have you ever wondered what the most exciting, crazy, unique and captivating festivals in the world are? Do you want to experience the intense culmination of music, culture, celebration and community that creates a festival, all over the world?

A festival can be a window into the essence of a culture, and there are some festivals around the world that cannot be missed.

Jacquline Boss, of Escape Normal guides you through an epic festival journey as you visit the world’s best festivals. Around the world and throughout the year.

From Tunisia to Thailand, from Burma to Burning Man, discover festivals you didn’t even know existed. Some will bewilder you with their weirdness whilst others will amaze you with their grandiosity and energy. You never know, there may be a festival just a short journey away that you never knew about. There might be one half way around the world that you find un-missable.

How can you kick the bucket without seeing these? You can get hold of Bucket List Festivals from Amazon and discover which festivals need to be on your bucket list.

Experience Notting Hill Carnival, A Taste Of The Caribbean In London

Experience Notting Hill Carnival A Taste Of The Caribbean In London

Notting Hill Carnival takes place at the end of August every year in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London and has been going on since 1964 and lasts 3 days during the August bank holiday. It is one of the largest street festivals in the world, attracting over a million visitors each year.

You’ll see plenty of Police around at the Carnival, but that doesn’t do much to dampen the good vibes. Most of the time the Police are really friendly and helpful and they’ll always point you in the right direction if you get lost.

During the carnival most of the Police are more relaxed than usual, allowing people to smoke and drink in the street and not being too concerned by the occasional waft of Jamaican ‘erb smoke that arise from the crowd. Unfortunately drunk English people do tend to enjoy fighting when they’re drunk and that’s usually when the Police have to step in.

Down every different street you’ll find a different type of music being played and a slightly different vibe and each individual place. Although back in the 1960’s the Notting Hill area was notoriously run down, it is now one of the wealthiest areas in London.

Most of the local residents try to stay away during this carnival period because there isn’t much car access and lots of noise. I wouldn’t want to leave an expensive car on the street during the three days.

The street dancers at Notting Hill Carnival are amazing because of their spectacular bright, colourful costumes, loud music and energetic dance moves. It will make you want to get involved. The food at Notting Hill Carnival is delicious because it’s cooked in the proper traditional Caribbean style, with plenty of spice and flavor.

You can find plenty of jerk chicken, jerk beef and rice as well as some greasy fast food style burger and chips. The best thing about the carnival is the great atmosphere with lots of people dressing and dancing, enjoying the last of the summer.

For another amazing festival try the Burning Man Festival in Nevada.

Celebrate Nyepi Day And Bhuta Yajna Ritual In Bali

Celebrate Nyepi Day And Bhuta Yajna Ritual In Bali

At the end of March every year, as the weather starts to shift back to the dry season the Balinese Hindus celebrate the Hindu New Year. Nyepi Day is what is known as the ‘day of silence.’

There are strict rules saying that no one is allowed outside their home. No transport is allowed (the airport is closed), no electricity or television is allowed, as the shops are closed and anyone found breaking the rules has to do community service.

Nyepi day is a day of rest, meditation and reflection and it comes as a welcome change from the choas, hustle and bustle of ordinary life in Bali.

However  in contrast to Nyepi day the Bhuta Yajna Ritual is a hige Balinese festival that takes place a few days before Nyepi day and is a sight to behold. Huge demon like statues that each local community has spent months building out of anything they can get their hands on, are marched down the Balinese streets long into the evening.

I’ve never seen such a facsinating, scary and bewildering array of statues. It’s kind of like the Balinese version of burning man festival, or maybe it’s the other way around.

Each community competes for the prize of the best statue, making each year bigger and more impressive than the last. The intracacy, attention to detail and engineering skills of those who build the statues is amazing. I wish they put that much effort into building their roads:)

The parade lasts for hours as hundreds of the statues are marched down the road, whilst the music grows louder and the atmosphere grows more intense.

At the end of the parade the statues are taken down to the beach and burned, symbolising the release of the Balinese demons and malevolent spirits. Although Nyepi day itself isn’t much fun the Bhuta Yajna Ritual is absolutely fasctinating and unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. If you’re in that part of the world around the end of March it’s well worth going to see.

End Your Summer Getting Drunk At Oktoberfest

End your summer getting drunk at Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival (with over 6 million people attending) that takes place every year at the end of September into the beginning of October in Munich, Germany.

Not only is copious amounts of scrumptious German beer consumed (7 million litres) but there is plenty of great food, entertainments and busty German ‘frauliens’ serving beer going on as well. Although the festival lasts for 16 days most people spend only a day or two there.

The Germans especially don’t go for more than a day because the alcohol consumption is so heavy. Tourists have been known to stay for 4 or more days, but apparently struggling to drink anything after the 3rd or 4th day.

Around 70% of the people visiting Oktoberfest are from Bavaria, the surrounding German area, with 15% more being European and the rest from various countries around the world. So if you’re looking for a traditional, authentic German beer festival Oktoberfest is the place to go.

Many tourists have been known to underestimate the strength of the German beer, being brewed at 6% minimum.

Those who pass out from intoxication are affectionately known as ‘Bierleichen’ or ‘beer corpses.’ Most of the beer consumption takes place in huge tents, with each tent having it’s own individual characteristics, entertainment and food. After 6pm the music kicks and the party comes to life. Most of the food served at the festival is traditionally German, including roast pork, roast chicken, ham hock, grilled fish, German sausage and pretzels.

Couch Surf Your Way Through A Continent

couch surfing across the continent

Couch Surfing is a website that puts people together who want  to stay for cheap in random parts of the world. Believe it or not there are friendly people all across the globe who wouldn’t mind you staying for a few nights on their couch. It’s free to register on the website and members usually provide information and photos about themselves.

I’ve personally used Couchsurfing to find places to stay and friends to meet in Bali and Japan and both times have been awesome.

You also provide information about the sort of accommodation you can provide. Members can build up their online reputation with references from other Couchsurfers who have either been hosted by, or a guest of that member. Having a better reputation usually makes it easier to find a couch.

For those looking for a host you are able to search the Couchsurfing database using parameters like “age, location gender and previous login.” Although monetary exchange from the guest to the host is not expected at all, often the guest will show their appreciation with gifts, food or teaching a skill.

There is a huge diverse demographic of Couchsurfers with over 5.5 million profiles. The average age of users being 28, English being the most popular spoken language, but also with French, German and Spanish users.

Ride In The 24 Hours Of Light Mountain Bike Festival

24 hours of light moutain bike festival

A mountain bike festival held in Yukon, Canada that takes place during the summer solstice around June 21st. The race begins at noon and finishes at noon the next day during which cyclists complete a 15km loop for 24 hours straight.

Because Yukon is so far North, during the summer solstice the sun never goes down.

Because the sun never sets at that time of the year no lights are allowed. So riders have completed as many as 23 laps in previous years and the festival’s growing popularity is attracting more and more top riders. It costs $90 to enter with team entries costing slightly less per person.

Check out their website for more information

Travel For Cheap Play Airport Roulette

play airport roulette

Airport roulette is a truly awesome game to play for those seeking spontaneous adventure on a low budget. It goes like this; rock up at your nearest international airport with just a backpack of clothes, a toothbrush and a camera.

No checked luggage (it can add to the expense and is annoying to carry whilst reducing agility) Find the cheapest flight out of the country and go there.

Often times you can grab a great deal on flight prices because the operator knows that the flight won’t be filled so they discount the prices. Some airlines will bargain with you if you are polite and charming, others won’t budge on the price. Don’t take more than a couple of friends because this will reduce the likelihood of flights being available with just a few empty seats as well as your ability to bargain.

Plus there’s always someone in a big group who doesn’t want to go to the particular destination so you’ll never find somewhere you all want to go and will end up being stuck at the airport.

This idea is all about spontaneity and making the most of what lady luck throws at you. If you happen to be starting your adventure in Beijing you should be praying the one hour flight to North Korea is full up today.