I’m not a huge fan of the term “bucket list,” but I’m a big believer in the concept. As a die-hard, fan-club-level lover of making lists, I fully support creating lists of goals for anything and everything. It should surprise no one who knows me that I have multiple bucket lists (for lack of a better term), organized by genre and theme. My favorite list to add to, cross off, and plan for, though, is my travel list.
For me, a travel bucket list isn’t just a list of places I want to go, it’s a list of experiences I want to have. It’s the same as a regular bucket list, except much more specific. Instead of just writing “bungee jump” I’d write “bungee jump in New Zealand” because New Zealand is the birthplace of bungee jumping and I believe that experiencing something in it’s native place imbues it with extra meaning. The experiences on my travel bucket list are all specific to, or would be enhanced by experiencing them in, a certain place.
I believe that anyone who loves to travel and puts an emphasis on it should consider making a separate travel bucket list. Having a specific list of destinations and experiences in mind is a great source of inspiration. When you sit down to think about how to use your vacation days each year, you’ll always have a few options readily available. Even when you want to daydream about a vacation or do some theoretical trip planning, you already have a whole list of ideas to get you started.
Thinking about your travel goals ahead of time also helps ensure you don’t miss opportunities. For instance, I was recently planning a weekend extension of a work trip to London and trying to figure out where I wanted to go for just a couple of days in April. I looked at a few different European cities, checked some flights, and then a friend mentioned Amsterdam. “Amsterdam in April? All the tulips? That’s the dream!” Seeing the tulips in Amsterdam wasn’t already on my travel goals list and as a result I was too late to see the famous tulips in peak season this time around. If I’d included this time-bound goal on my list, I would’ve started researching Amsterdam from the get-go. Knowing what specific experiences you want to have in a place is the first step in figuring out the best time, and way, to visit.
Finally, and most importantly I think, planning, thinking about, and creating a specific list of travel experiences you want to have is kind of like creating a vision board—it gives you something to work toward, a list of goals to keep in mind. Whether or not you believe in actually making vision boards, I think it’s pretty common to feel more compelled by a concrete list of goals than just a vague daydream of something you want. If you love travel and make it a goal for yourself–not just something you think about once in awhile when you have some days off–it’s more likely that you’ll work harder for it, place a greater emphasis on it, and reach more of your goals (trips) than you would just generally thinking about travel. #TravelGoalsforLife
All of this is well and good, and of course I hope it’s inspired you to think about your own travel goals, but let’s be real. Most of you probably read this article looking for inspiration for your own lists, so let me get to the good stuff. Here is a sample of what I’ve included on my travel goals list, in no particular order:
- See the tulips in Amsterdam (newest addition!)
- Watch the sunset over Uluru in Australia
Watch the Transit of Venus in June 2012 in Hawaii
- Take my (theoretical) children to Sydney and show them all of my favorite places there
- See the Northern Lights in Norway
- Visit the glaciers and hot springs in Iceland
- Try kava in Fiji
Scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef
- Do anything at all in Antarctica
- See the statues on Easter Island
- Hike to Machu Picchu
Have a sunset picnic at the Eiffel Tower Ride to the top of the Space Needle
- Rent an overwater bungalow in Tahiti
- Visit the Blue Mosque and two continents in one city in Istanbul
- Experience the nightlife of Phuket
There are tons of other places I want to visit and experiences I want to have in each of them—too many to include here, but this represents a pretty good sample. The more I learn about the world and all the many places in it, the more this list develops, but it always serves as a source of inspiration for me, and a reminder of how many wonderful places there are in this world.
What places and experiences are on your travel list?