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We have all heard of them.  We have all done them.  Making that all-inclusive list of adventures we want to accomplish or places we want to go before we “kick the bucket”.  The movie “The Bucket List” along with the book “1000 places to see before you die” were huge successes.  They both probably combined to increase tourism throughout the world and lead to the over-tourism problems we face today.

Go skydiving.  Visit every country in the world.  Swim with sharks.  Those are all popular Bucket List items that people list.  They see travel bloggers and others that have gone to these fantastic places or have done these amazing adventures and immediately it goes on their list.

We hate bucket lists.  We have been to over 60 countries and still hate bucket lists.  We don’t do them.  We never have.  Sure, we have listed some adventures that we have wanted to do, but that was for planning purposes.  And we are not saying not to list out adventures or activities that you want to try.  What we are saying is to go on adventures that reflect on the type of person you are.

We love archaeology, so we try to go to places that will enhance that such as Peru, Egypt, and Jordan.  We also love seeing animals in the wild and that has taken us to Africa, the Arctic, Idaho and Yellowstone.  I have Italian heritage and Kati is German and that has led us to explore both of those countries and other parts of Europe. We allow our lives and our passions dictate our travel plans.  Not some contrived list to check off adventures.


Bucket Lists lead to disappointment and regret

It’s true.  Put something on a list and not accomplishing it leads to regret.  Travel and adventure should be fun, educational and entertaining.  It should lead you to a better understanding of yourself and the people and places you visit.  It should allow you to unplug from the ordinary and experience the extraordinary.  I don’t regret that I have never jumped out of a plane, but I did learn how to fly.  We never regret not seeing everything everyone else does on a trip, we see and experience what we can.  We never have any regrets.  We are never disappointed.


We love to go to Montana and dig for dinosaur bones.  We have done this a number of times, and never really have found anything significant.  Others, that were along with us, found amazing bones that we wished we would have found.  But we never regret going.  It is the unknown.  The lottery.  A chance to find something spectacular.

Another place we love to go is Italy.  We have been there about 15 times, and have not seen the whole country yet.  We have never been to Cinque Terra and probably will never go.  Is it beautiful?  Absolutely.  But there are so many other small villages and towns that are just as beautiful without the hordes of day tourists.  Yes, we have been to Lake Como, Florence, Rome, Naples and the Amalfi Coast, but our true memories are visiting small towns where the townspeople are as unique as the village.  It is where we made friends and were given a bottle of wine from their own vineyards as a gift before we left.  Those towns were not on some sort of list, but were found by just exploring and truly taking the road less travelled.


Bucket Lists lead to Competition

Social media has led to competition when traveling.  Michael and Kati have been to over 60 countries, we need to go to 70 or more.  Look at those travelers in Europe, we have to do the same.  We hear it all the time.  In reality, traveling should not be competitive.  It should be an experience.

We hate to cruise, but that doesn’t mean that somehow, we are more true travelers than those that cruise all the time.  We love to camp either in a tent or with our camper. But we know others that hate the idea of camping and still travel and experience the country and the world.

In the end be true to yourself.  Do not compete with others.  Your trip to Yosemite is just as exciting as someone going to Zermatt and seeing the Matterhorn.  The trip to Vermont is just as cool as heading to the Amalfi Coast.  Even after visiting many countries and living in Mexico, England and Africa, I am still thrilled when I drive from Florida to my hometown in Pennsylvania.  There is always something new to see.  A new place to stop.  New people to meet.  As Henry Miller said “ONE’S DESTINATION IS NEVER A PLACE, BUT A NEW WAY OF SEEING THINGS.”


You become a Tourist with a Bucket List

Whenever we plan a trip, we always leave a few days with nothing to do.  Not even a hotel room or a place to stay is booked.  Why?  Because we like to get out and explore the area, and we never know where we will end up.  We do not use a pre-determined list that we feel we have to check off activities.  Go to Italy.  Check.  Visit the Vatican.  Check.  Go to the Coliseum.  Check.  Sit on the Spanish Steps and get a photo.  Check.  We have done that.  But we have also put in extra time to walk around the city.  To rent a scooter and drive out of town and see sights and experience the area that tourists typically don’t.

We are all tourist to some extent.  And we like to do touristy things many times.  But some people just do touristy things, and never experience the real location.  Alaska is a prime example.  To go on a cruise to Alaska you typically dock and experience the cruise line’s village where you can eat and buy tourist trinkets.  You can have adventures that the Cruise Lines offer.  But that is it typically.  Yes, you can check off Alaska and glaciers off of your bucket list, but have you seen the real Alaska.  There is so much more in Alaska than just what a cruise line offers and most people are only going to be there once in their lives.  So why not really get to know Alaska.  Drive the back roads.  Stop along the way, build a fire and cook.  Look for moose and bear.  Go fishing for halibut and salmon.  Sleep in a tent or a camper.  Really immerse yourself in the culture and people of Alaska.  Quit being a tourist and start taking an adventure.


We are not saying not to make a list of where you want to go or what you want to experience.  Go with a purpose.  If you are an American, visit the countries and villages of your ancestors.  If you love history or archeology, there are many locations all over the world that are incredible. Probably some close to you.  If you want to camp, check out a country or state that will allow you to experience other adventures.  Don’t try to keep up with your neighbors or your favorite travel blogger.  Be yourself.  Do the things that interest you and your companion or companions if traveling with others.  There is so much to see and do, don’t be disappointed in the experiences that you have not had.  Enjoy and love the experiences that you have had and will do in the future.


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