And they are, per an interview with Politico's Mike Allen:
- Riding a horse through the Gobi Desert to the place where Genghis Khan is supposedly buried,
- Climbing Kilimanjaro before climate change strips it of its snow cover, and
- Visiting the oldest desert in the world in Namibia.
Because the Clintons are pressed for both attention and attendants, we decided to figure out just what it would take to make Clinton's wildest dreams come true.
Clinton actually listed those bucket list priorities in inverse order of difficulty. So we'll work our way from easiest to hardest.
Go to Namibia to see the Namib desert.
There is a travel company called Abercrombie & Kent which specializes in putting together trips for people like Clinton: high-end, high-cost sojourns to places of international interest. (Well, to be fair, people like Clinton probably would buy a package deal even from a high-end packager, but bear with us.)
A&K has a Namibia package that includes two days in the Namib. (Specifically, per the brochure: on day one, you "fly to Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert. Spend the afternoon at leisure at your desert-situated lodge," and on day two "set out on an early morning, guided nature drive to dunes through a private gate on the Tsauchab River. Later, pause for a sundowner in the Namib Desert.") If Clinton wants to bring himself, his wife, his daughter and her family and a few assistants (say, four), it would cost $70,900 and take nine days. Of that amount, $20,000 is the cost of flying around inside the country; airfare to and from Africa is not included.
Climb snowy Kilimanjaro.
This is trickier simply because of the qualification Clinton puts on travel. Scientists anticipate that the peak could lose its Northern Ice Field within 20 years, meaning that the Clintons would probably need to go some time before Chelsea runs for president.
The good news is that our friends at A&K do this trip, too. And, it boldly claims, visitors get to the peak some 97 percent of the time, unlike other operators. This one also takes nine days, and only costs about $52,000 for Clinton's entire entourage. Of course, you have to get yourself to Arusha, Tanzania, which isn't simple, but we trust that Clinton can make it happen.
Crossing the Gobi to Genghis Khan's tomb.
So this one is not easy.
First of all, there's the question of where Khan is actually buried. He was born in what is now northern Mongolia, near the Khentii Mountains, and it is assumed that he is buried in that area, perhaps near the Onon River. The Gobi is somewhat south of that range. And there's another spot, across the border in China, that claims to be the site of his mausoleum.
To make this simpler, we called In The Saddle, a British company that offers riding tours of various places, including Mongolia. The company's director Olwen Law spoke with us by phone.
"We have rides in Mongolia that go down to the Northern edge of the Gobi desert, so we can give anyone that feeling of riding into the emptiness on a Mongolian horse," Law said. "That wouldn't be difficult at all." She made it very clear, though, that staying within Mongolia would be easier than trying to negotiate one's way across the Chinese border. "Everything's possible," she assured us, but visas get tricky. We posited that Clinton would probably figure out how to work some connections, but she noted that there would be locals in the group as well.
We don't want to judge Mr. Clinton, but the ride itself would not be easy. The company's website notes that riders should expect to ride for seven hours a day -- much of which is spent standing in the saddle. Khan "insisted that the men stand in the stirrups to keep the weight off horses' backs," Law said. "They wore coats with wide bands, which they say helped them with their lower backs."
At shop-e-mongol.com such a coat would cost Clinton about $690 dollars, worth it to save on the medical costs, if nothing else. While this would be a custom deal, Law estimated costs and duration: "Probably be a couple of weeks with a support team. $7,000 dollars for a couple of weeks." That was assuming a trip into China; heading north to the Khentii range would be less expensive.
In total, then, we're looking at about a month of travel and a total cost (excluding international airfare) of about $130,000 -- a sum easily covered with a 30 minute speech. The Clintons should get moving, though. They've got a busy few years in front of them.