The Bucket List. That ubiquitous list full of exciting, awe-inspiring and exotic places we all dream about. This list is so popular that Hollywood made a movie about it.
I’ve taken inspiration from many bucket lists. I follow blogs and social media accounts dedicated to the topic.
I have a confession to make; I don’t like the term Bucket List. I have To-Do Lists, Checklists, Goal Lists; but no Bucket Lists here. If you are an active traveler or you aspire to travel, I’m not sure this list is for you.
The fact is, I have a couple of issues with this type of list and it forced the question:
Are Travel Bucket Lists a waste of time?
I know what you’re thinking; who is this Amateur Traveler guy and why is he disrespecting our beloved Bucket List? Maybe it’s because the term Bucket List is so overused. Maybe I’m just nit-picking, splitting hairs and being too literal. Or, maybe my mid-life crisis is making me grouchy because it’s forcing me to put my mortality into perspective.
According to Wikipedia, Bucket List means “A list of activities someone wants to do before they die”. It sounds harmless enough, however, most people use it an excuse to procrastinate. Human nature being what it is; we all think we’ll live forever and we have all the time in the world to get things done.
Let’s say you’re watching a National Geographic program about Safaris. You think to yourself “wow, that looks great! I’m adding Safari to my bucket list”.
What comes next is the most common thing I hear when people speak of their bucket list: “Someday”. Someday? Someday ranks up there with tired excuses like “maybe next year”, “I’m not taking vacation days – my company needs me” and “I’ll wait until I retire to travel”.
The thing is, we all know life doesn’t work like that, time goes by too fast, and you can’t see the future. The fact is, I don’t know when I’m going to die and neither do you.
Life is too short for “someday”. There’s no inspiration or urgency in “someday”; especially when “someday” means that Safari probably won’t get done before you kick the proverbial bucket.
I’m not trying to scare you into traveling, but, I do suggest you change the “before you die” part of the above definition to “as soon as possible”.
In my opinion, a Bucket List is nothing more than wishful thinking and wishes are easily forgotten, unless, you attach an action plan to it. Make a list of places you really want to see, make a plan and just go . . . sooner rather than later.
If you still want to call your travel checklist a Bucket List, that’s okay . . . if you must. Just remember, if travel is something you really want to do, take action now, it will be the best decision you’ll ever make. Before you know it, those “maybe someday” places will become “I’m going there tomorrow” places.