Do you have a travel bucket list?
If you do, I kind of envy you, but not in the way you might think. And if you’re a regular reader here, have you ever wondered why I don’t have one?
Well, this post is the answer.
You see, I have a problem with lists. It’s one I’m afraid to talk about, but I figured what the hell? I might as well write about it instead. The truth is that lists terrify me. Every Monday I attempt a to-do list for the week and I can barely finish writing it, let alone complete the tasks on it.
Instead I peek at the neatly written lists of others with a sad jealousy. I long for a book filled with neatly bullet pointed tasks, all ticked off and yet I can’t bring myself to make one of my own. I think it’s something to do with fear of failure (but therein lies a whole other character flaw, and there’s an entire self-help book in that, never mind a blog post!).
Luckily, I’ve never really needed lists that much. I’m bizarrely good at keeping things in my head, getting them done as and when required. I do mark off the dates when important things are due on a calendar or in my diary, and I get by on that just fine.
So fine in fact, that there are several people I know who’ve told me they consider me to be both organised and responsible. Naturally, I find this hilarious, but obviously I accept such praise with grace and occasionally allow myself to believe it’s true.
Perhaps one day, however, my lack of list making will see me start to flounder in some sort of theatrical, listless fashion. I may rue the day I never learned to make lists and let’s face it, my good memory is bound to fail me a little as I get older. But then again, they do say that with age comes wisdom, so with any luck I’ll just be so knowledgeable that I’ll answer life’s problems with my poetic rhetoric, smiling at onlookers in the style of the Mona Lisa as they stare back, mouths agape in wonder at my wise ways.
But anyway, let’s get back to the old chestnut of the travel bucket list (I appreciate you may have things on today’s to-do list that need, well, doing).
The strange thing is that I enjoy reading people’s bucket lists, despite refusing to make one of my own. I think I like the lists of others for the inspiration they provide. Personally, I do sometimes say “it’s on my list” about a certain place when I’m talking travel, I can’t deny that. But it’s a token turn of phrase and I’ve come to notice that the more I say it, the more acutely aware I become that I might never actually get to the place I’m referring to.
Honestly, I worry that my own bucket list would put pressure on me I don’t want – especially if I published it here. Because really, where else would I write a to-do list of travel experiences?
I also don’t know what would be on it, or if that stuff would be considered “good” enough. Then there’s the fear that certain things on the list wouldn’t crack up to be all they promised, or that I wouldn’t do them justice. Take Rome for example – I’ve been there and I’ve loved it. I mean really loved it. But I never visited the Colosseum.
Yes, I wanted to, but instead I decided to stay sitting outside a bar drinking beer by the Trevi fountain when I maybe I should have been sightseeing. And the best part? I don’t even care. Being tipsy and talking nonsense by the Trevi on what was my honeymoon trip is actually one of the highlights of my life so far. Just thinking about it makes me smile.
In addition to all this, what about the places I never planned on visiting, but went to anyway? The cheap flights to anywhere and everywhere on dates that were a good fit, or the return visits to places I know I love when I could have gone somewhere new instead. None of those are bucket list material – but that’s the way I like to travel and I don’t intend for it to change.
So I think I’ll just continue to take trips as and when I feel like it, travelling to wherever the fancy takes me whenever the price is right and my finger decides it wants to click “book”.
Then maybe one day I will make a list; when I’m old and wise, and not up for gallivanting quite as much as I am now.
Maybe I’ll make a list of all the places I actually visited and all the things I genuinely saw before I really kick the bucket. It will be a list of the moments that mattered to me most.
And maybe I’ll put it in an envelope and leave it for a grandkid or two, just in case they need a push to get out and make some memories of their own in this big, beautiful world.
Either way, for me there’ll be no worrying about whether I ever completed some to-do list I made when life calls last orders. All I’ll care about is that I had a good time and that I never missed the opportunity to take a trip, no matter where it might have taken me.
I’m too scared to swim with sharks and too tight to pay for a gondola ride in Venice anyway (and I’ve been there twice)!
Please keep writing your bucket lists though! I mean it – I do love reading them!