Why I Don’t Have a Travel Bucket List

Nope, you won’t find a bucket list in the “about” section of my blog. And you definitely won’t find one tucked away into any of my social media channels, real-life conversations, or silent daydreams.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have dreams. Places I’d love to see someday, people I’d like to meet, and adventures I’d love to experience. The distinction is that I treasure these dreams because they remain just that: dreams. I refuse to transform them into some sort of obligatory checklist. Goals are great. To-do lists, well…

To-do lists suck the freedom from activities.

To-do lists confine your opportunities for spontaneity.

To-do lists layer on the expectations.

To-do lists value quantity over quality.

And let’s face it: a travel bucket list is a glorified, Instagram-worthy to-do list. It’s much more fun to read than a grocery list or your workday checklist, but at its core, it remains the same. Something to do, rather than something to enjoy.

To-do bucket lists suck the freedom from activities.

To-do bucket lists confine your opportunities for spontaneous travel.

To-do bucket lists layer on the expectations (and we all know how I feel about expectations and travel . . .)

To-do bucket lists value travel quantity over travel quality.

As a recovering perfectionist, I can safely say I’d rather keep my travels as something fun and enjoyable than something to accomplish and finish. Sure, there’s pride and feelings of satisfaction in that, but what about simple relaxation?




Travel remains one of the best ways to learn and expand one’s perspective, yet most of that learning comes from being open to new possibilities and perspectives. While I’m sure vagabonds completing a long-awaited bucket list journey will learn from and enjoy the experience, for me there’s something lost in the checklist nature of the event.

I want to travel because I want to learn. Because I want to have fun. Because I want to make memories I’ll cherish my whole lifetime. I don’t want my passion for adventure to turn into another to-do requirement in which I travel because it’s another thing on my list.

I have a lot on my list already. And a lot of lists. As I mentioned, I am that type-A, get-it-done-a-week-early, ace-the-test recovering perfectionist. When I started this travel blog many of my loved ones worried it would be one more “to-do” on the expanding list of things I sign up for.

And they were right, in part, to worry. Thankfully by this point in my life I’ve learned to take the advice of those who know me best (okay, mostly, give a girl some slack!). So I try to carefully examine my own heart and soul before adding obligations to my task list.

Although parts of the great myriad of activities I call “blogging” have become, and always were, to-do’s (no, I don’t actually get off on tweeting 10+ times a day), there are many aspects of the trade I refuse to transform into to-do’s.

One of these is writing, the heart and soul of my work. Another, no less central, is traveling. These are among the sacred things that I will absolutely not allow to become another obligatory task.

And that, dear vagabonds, means no travel bucket list for me.