The Natural Wonders That Should Be on Your Bucket List

Have you ever had the urge to quit your day job, pack your bags, and book a one-way flight to a distant pocket of the globe? It's common daydream fodder for many cubicle dwellers, but for Kien Lam, it became a reality. 

After working his way up the corporate ladder in finance, Lam couldn't shrug the feeling something was missing. "I could not comprehend the idea of making a lot of money but not having enough time to see the world," he says. "It's something I could not get out of my system since I left the country for the first time at the age of 19." And just like that, Lam quit his job. 

Since then, he's ventured to 50 countries, turning a passion for photography and filmmaking into a profession, and trading his office for the jungle and his morning commute for camel rides across the Sahara. When I first met him, he had just returned from scaling an abandoned Soviet convention centre in rural Bulgaria—nothing out of the ordinary for a nomad who spends more time abroad than in his San Francisco apartment.   

Given that the world is now his office, we were curious to find out what's on the bucket list of a perpetual traveler. He's driven a rickshaw across India, exchanged wisdom with the Dalai Lama, and swam with a million jellyfish (more on that later)—if there's anyone who knows about the world's best-kept secrets, it's Lam. Feeling darling? Take a note out of his 173-item bucket list, and start planning a trip to one of these unbelievable destinations. 


Mongolia conjures up images of romantic, rugged mountain ranges, wild horses roaming open plains, and embroidered yurts—all things that make the East Asian country truly unique. Ulaanbaatar is the starting place for many travelers looking to explore the country, as well as neighboring Russia and China.

"I've always been drawn by the vastness of this place that was once the center of one of the largest empires in the world," says Lam. "There's the exotic appeal of still being able to witness the nomadic lifestyle of the desert-dwelling people."

At the top of his must-do list is the Mongolia Charity Rally, an epic 9320-mile road trip that starts in Brussels and ends in the Mongolian capital. The adventure spans deserts, mountains, rural towns, and bustling cities, making it the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime challenge.