Day 27 on the blog post a day in May. mixing up travel and lists. Should feel right at home
“YEAH, that’s on the bucket list.”
It’s a standard response every time conversation drifts to travel and places which have never been to, but is it any more than a standard reply?
Largely not (sorry if you have been on the receiving end) as simply do not have a bucket list. Unless you count a mental list of pretty much any place, sight, experience, country, bar or whatever else is on offer, wherever it might be in the world.
Why limit yourself to what you can jot down on a list?
Have a love of lists. Find me a Top 100 this or Best Five that on something vaguely interesting and will gobble it up.
And no job, project or travelling is too small not to draw up a things to do list in preparation (the discovery of Google Docs has added a whole new dimension to this obsession – if only did not spend too much time drawing and redrawing to-do lists to actually work my way through them).
But never drawn up a bucket list for travel or anything else.
Any list of things to be done “before you die” drives me nuts – when else are you supposed to do it?
Anything “… Before 30” or any other age is just as bad. Why limit yourself? Do it when it suits you
As someone who did not start traveling even half seriously until well into his 30s and was pushing 40 with a mortgage before my first major overland trip, would not have made the most of those experiences if they had been done before some arbitrary deadline – probably would not be planning another one either.
Don’t get me started on the phrase trip of a lifetime. What, we only get one?
Have tinkered with trying to get the mass of places on my mental want to see list onto paper (showing my age there – clearly would be tapped into a laptop) but it soon became obvious it would have been ridiculously long, endlessly growing and never fully achievable.
And besides, some of my greatest travel experiences would never have made it on there.
Africa certainly was not on my list. Sure, seeing wildlife up close would be on any list and always wanted to visit South Africa after it became a regular subject of my work life (ditto New Zealand – one day).
An overland trip from London to Sydney was always the likelier plan, but got diverted by a chance email to reading the itinerary of Oasis Overland’s Trans Africa adventure and was in.
Ask me to draw up a retrospective bucket list (if for no other reason then the thrill of crossing things off) and it would be full of places, extraordinary sights and unplanned moments from that trip.
Although not sure you can foresee a cheetah eating your flip-flop.
The same is true of the upcoming South America journey – was all ready to sign up to London to Singapore overland and then make my own way down to Australia and New Zealand.
And, surprisingly enough, got distracted. Read the itinerary on the website and, hey presto, South America was suddenly at the top of the list.
The prospect of trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – never really considered not that long ago – is exciting and terrifying me in equal measure.
Working through a bucket list also limits the chance to go back, revisit and savour favourite places. A lot of travellers are not so keen, but nothing wrong with mixing up old and new (if time and money was no issue, would happily do the whole Trans Africa again).
But amid that mass of things fighting for attention in my head with any other shiny things which grab my attention,
So here is a very brief bucket list. The elite level of travel wish list to be completed one day.
All 50 States
This one has been kicking around for a while and briefly considered a quest to finish all 50 before 50 – a plan complicated by a friend’s suggestion to try it in one trip, which sent me off on a bit of a diversion for a while.
Time is running out on that one – a year to go, of which about two thirds will be spent in South America – so will do it at my own leisure.
Had been stuck on 39 for a while until ticking off West Virginia last year (somehow managed to go all around it twice) so 10 to go.
For the record, they are Michigan (the only one missing east of the Mississippi), Idaho, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Hawaii.
Huge fan of the American road trip and this is the ultimate, as well as ticking off several of those missing states.
London to Sydney
Worked for a company which ran overland trips from the UK to Australia (its demise was not due to my stint selling the trips, he says confidently) and was due to make the trip myself. There are unused Indian and Nepalese visas in an old passport.
And twice been distracted from heading out on this route by other trips. One day.
Never been there, but partly responsible for my wanderlust.
Where my father served on National Service and he always talked about going back with my mum when they retired. That they never had the chance is what spurs me on to go now, you never know what is round the corner.