Why I kicked my bucket list (and you should too)
Whether I'm meeting other travelers or talking with family, bucket lists are a frequent topic of discussion. Everyone seems to have a lengthy list of must-see destinations and I used to too. Over the last few years, I've become pretty disenchanted with the idea of bucket lists and have decided to give up on my list in favor of a more open approach to travel. So here are just a few of the reasons I think people should rethink the bucket list.
1. Flexibility and Frequency
Focussing in on a specific set of destinations really limits your flexibility when it comes to finding a great deal to make that trip a reality. Most people are already operating on a limited budget and time frame and limiting destinations on top of that can keep traveling from being a reality. Being flexible with where I travel and not focussing on a bucket list is part of what has allowed me to see SO many incredible places. Because I can be flexible and grab a good deal when I see one, I can travel more often and see WAY more places than I could if I saved up for one specific trip.
2. Unexpected Surprises
It has become my philosophy in life that every person who travels should make it a point to travel somewhere they never thought they would be interested in. Getting outside your comfort zone and exploring a destination that you have never thought about can really open your eyes and give you a greater appreciation for the world. Some of my favorite travel experiences have come from places that hadn't really been on my radar: Uganda, Ireland, Ecuador, Belize. None of those were places that I had really ever felt a strong desire to go to, but an opportunity came up, I went, and it turned out to be a truly incredible experience every time.
While going places with zero expectations can end in pleasant surprises, focussing in on a shortlist of places with high expectations can lead to some real vacation disappointment. You go on vacation to Europe imagining yourself eating chocolate-filled pastries in a charming Instagram worthy corner cafe only to get there and experience days of endless rain, crowded streets, and mediocre overpriced food. After you get home you may feel bummed that it wasn't what you thought or even guilty for not enjoying it more. This may not ALWAYS be the case, but it often can be.
While there are still places I would love to visit, I reject the idea of a bucket list. The idea that people should focus on visiting a certain set of places. If I get around to visiting those places, awesome. If not, that is totally okay too. The more I have traveled I have come to the conclusion that the world is an incredible place. Each country has something unique and special to offer and I want to experience those things as often as possible regardless of whether or not it was on an arbitrary list of places I created based on pinterest pictures.