Remember the tagline for the credit card, “What’s in your wallet?” Well, I have another question for you, What’s in your bucket? What’s on your travel bucket list – where do you want to go before you die?
If there’s anything this pandemic has been good for, it has been great for taking assessment, learning, doing research, and coming to terms with the fact that we’re mortal and that we should do the things that matter to us when we can. Without the evening obligations I used to have, and frankly still do not miss, it’s a heck of a lot easier to commit an hour most evenings to some form of learning, research or a project. I’ve done everything from reworking my personal budget (yes, this is my idea of fun) to researching cars to purchase, to listening to umpteen audiobooks and podcasts and even picking up a couple of actual books to read.
I love planning trips and learning everything I can about the destination, finding cool and interesting things to see, do and eat when I get there. Normally, I’m planning in a rush, squeezing it in while exhausted versus doing it with intention and taking time to enjoy the planning process. With likely little travel currently on the horizon – now’s a good time to get your fix by dreaming about future trips. And where do you start planning if you have nothing on the calendar? With your travel bucket list, of course!
Recently two friends posted about a place I’ve been fascinated with visiting since learning of its existence, The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. One friend just visited with her husband, and I stalked her technicolor Instagram posts like it was my job, and another just posted this great article that she wrote about staying there. I made a comment on her post that the Greenbrier is on my travel bucket list.
But, that was a lie. The Greenbrier is NOT on my travel bucket list, nor is Alaska. I keep saying I want to visit these places, but obviously I am a big old liar, because my travel bucket list is a simple, sad, vague, undetailed note on my phone that I haven’t updated since September of last year. It vaguely lists mostly countries I’d like to visit. It was obviously drafted as an afterthought by prepandemic Maggie, who had no time to create a proper list. Very weaksauce, indeed. For an Apex Planner and travel enthusiast, it is downright shameful.
Now that I’ve made that confession, it’s time for me to draft a proper travel bucket list. I’m going to get it off my phone and into a Google sheet, and add the domestic and international destinations of my dreams. Once it’s organized, I can pick some places to research and soothe my despondent inner travel bug, just a bit. A 2010 study found that even planning itself is a huge aspect of what makes travel enjoyable, maybe moreso than the trip. When more travel is possible, and responsible, I’ll be ready to rock and roll, and maybe I’ll figure out how to take some other trips safely even within the constraints of a global pandemic.
Something we can all do to make ourselves feel better about not traveling as much or in the way we normally like to, is to start making a legit bucket list now, and to rank the destinations by how important they are to see, before we – you know – kick the bucket. Since timing matters, you can determine the best time to visit a particular place, or which destinations are best for you depending on when you can normally travel. Maybe you’re like me and have been focused on a couple international trips a year and have largely ignored domestic destinations. You can think about ways to make visiting these places a reality versus just something you dream about.
Do you have an actual travel bucket list, or are you a big liar like me with a sad memo on your phone? What are your thoughts on the best way to organize your bucket list? What’s in your bucket?