Your bucket list – if you have one – is probably filled with destinations of much the same sort. Sure, you might have contrasting landscapes, or disparate cities, or diverse experiences on it, but the majority of bucket lists focus on places you want to be, places that bring you pleasure.
The very phrase – or rather, the inclusion of the word "bucket" in it – has macabre overtones, which got me to thinking: Wouldn't it be cool to have a bucket list than focuses on death, destruction and dismemberment.
Or, at least, apropos?
Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, MA
Lizzie Borden was the 19th century's answer to Jodi Arias – although there was no question that she brutally murdered someone (well two people, her mother and father) she was acquitted outright.
The point is that the house where Lizzie Borden murdered her parents is now a Bed & Breakfast, which brave travelers can sleep in for a night or even longer. Maybe forever!
Funerals in Tana Toraja, Indonesia
Tana Toraja, located on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, literally translates to the "Land of Heavenly Kings." Indeed, while the elaborate funeral celebrations that frequently take place here seem to fixate on death, their purpose is ultimately to propel the soul of the deceased to heaven.
(Tip: Try contacting hotels in the area before your trip to make sure funerals will occur when you're there.)
Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Eva Peron is buried at Buenos Aires' Recoleta Cemetery, but the presence of her grave there (it's tucked away in a corner and is practically invisible) is mostly unrelated to its popularity. A veritable city of tombstones, mortuary-style drawers and lavish mausoleums, it is arguably the most ubiquitous tourist attraction in the Argentine capital and is certainly the most captivating.
Killing Fields in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The name of Cambodia's Killing Fields doesn't leave a lot to the imagination, particularly if you know about the brutality of former Cambodian dictator Pol Pot and the terror he unleashed during the country's Khmer Rouge period. One thing that is surprising about the killing fields is Choeung Ek, a tranquil looking Buddhist stupa which houses a chilling quantity of human remains.
While in Phnom Penh, make sure you also visit the nearby Genocide Museum, whose focus is similarly unambiguous as compared to the Killing Fields.
Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Krakow, Poland
Auschwitz needs absolutely no introduction – other than, perhaps, to remind you not to take selfies here – and if you're open to exploring the dark side of the human psyche as you travel, there's no better place to go. Located near the city of Krakow, Poland, Auschwitz is slightly more out of the way than, say, Dachau, but the solemn energy here would be worth a journey 10 times as long and difficult as the one you'd actually have to endure.
Fontanella Cemetery in Naples, Italy
Fontanelle Cemetery is not a cemetery in the same way Recoleta Cemetery is. Essentially, it's a massive urban cave that houses lose skulls and other bones, whose collection within the abyss began during one of the plagues that swept Naples, and involves the bizarre practice of worshipping the remains, which became so endemic in the region that Catholic authorities officially declare it idolatry.