The term “bucket list” is possibly the most commonly used word in travel these days. You hear it from almost every traveler; things you just have to do before you die, or in this case, on your trip.
But, why do you need a bucket list? Why those particular things? Are these activities or things of genuine interest to you?
Below are highlighted reasons why you might want to ditch that travel bucket list, or at least, amend it to match your personality, passions, and what makes you truly happy.
1. Lack Authenticity
If you were honest with yourself, are the pursuits on your travel bucket list things that reflect your passions, things you care about or are they things you saw off someone’s Instagram, and you don’t want to be left out? It is likely to be the latter.
Most items on travel bucket lists have a herd mentality. Everyone wants to do it just because someone famous or “cool” is doing it, which isn’t the way to go.
Instead of blindly following crowd favorites, follow activities that speak to your soul. For example, if you’re a poetry lover, visit that slam poetry event you were just given a flyer to as you were roaming the streets. It might not be popular, but you love poetry. It makes you happy, and that’s what’s important.
2. Creates Expectations
You’ve spent three months drooling over the ideas of the perfect selfies that will make your friends green with envy seeing you diving at “The Great Barrier Reef,” but you finally get there and do it, and guess what? It’s doesn’t match the photos online.
Travel bucket lists have a way of creating unrealistic expectations. With the heavy presence of image editing softwares and filters, what you see online versus reality can be very different. You may end up disappointed and feeling like the trip is a waste.
By all means, be excited about your trip but also, be open to the fact that things don’t always appear as they seem in photographs.
3. Leads to Regret
When you create a travel bucket list, it becomes the primary purpose of the trip, which then takes precedence over anything else. In that, if for whatever reason you don’t get a chance to do it, you’ll likely beat yourself up for it. Your trip will feel like a failure.
Travel should be enjoyable and not feel like a task. Let go, relax, and take it as it happens.
4. Creates Competition
In some way, travel has become more about one-upping each other. People are traveling not to enjoy the benefit of experiences that it offers, but to brag or show that they can do it better. It’s common for people to cross borders solely to get stamps and have an almost zero to no interaction with the area, the locals, or anything related to the country or place. This is the curse of travel bucket lists-engaging in activities for the sake of it.
Take your time to savor and enjoy every region, interaction, and encounter. It is not about the miles or any other person; it’s about expanding your horizons (mind and body,) meeting new people, seeing new things, and creating lasting experiences.
5. Kills Spontaneity
Spontaneity is the soul of travel. Bucket lists tend to take out any sense of impulsivity because you fixate your time, energy, and resources on doing those particular things. You have no time for last minute random adventures, which usually, end up being the highlight of most trips.
Be flexible and say “yes” to that random plan from a local to visit his village and learn about his daily life and culture.
6. Misses Opportunities
Time, money, and energy are usually reserved for bucket list items. This means that you may miss out on other equally great deals that may come along the way. For example, you may miss out on a flight deal to a favored destination with your friends because all your resources are already taken up by that one thing.
Do make plans, but don’t let your list of items dominate everything else. Leave a little wiggle room for some other unexpected prospects to fit in, too.
Travel bucket lists can be fun, or even worthwhile. But at the same time, they are not requisite for travel. You do not have to have a particular list of things to tick off to have a delightful travel experience. Be influenced but don’t just blindly follow the status quo, peers, or the media to dictate what travel goals are. Let your passions and interests be your travel guide.
Do not put limits on how much you can see. Turn your David Livingstone on and explore to find hidden gems. Be flexible with your plans, and remember, don’t be a crowd follower. Be true to you.