It seems everywhere I turn, I’m met with someone’s travel dreams inserted in a spreadsheet on web sites, news articles and even TV shows. I can understand the desire to dream about travel, I do it every day. What I can’t imagine is that anyone takes their own lists that seriously.
A bucket list is an assemblage of the activities you want to accomplish before you die, or kick the bucket. The travel version is what places and experiences you want to see and do prior to the aforementioned transformation into worm fodder. It sort of reminds me though of those horrible Goals documents so many employers make us write every year. Frankly, if I need to consult a sheet of paper buried in a desk drawer to figure out how to do my job, then there are larger issues at play. In my opinion, the same goes for travel. Why or how could you possibly prioritize your desired travel experiences?
I understand the basic premise as I stated in the first paragraph, it is an exercise in travel day dreaming which, hopefully, will one day lead to an actual trip. That’s one thing. It’s completely another to take these vague thoughts of “Paris would be nice…” to jotting them down, ink on paper and tacking them to your office wall. Since I’m not in possession of such a document, I’m not quite sure how the process works. Does one necessarily work down the list in order, ticking off items one at a time or is it a free for all of travel opportunity?
Here’s my real problem though, as one grows and matures, accumulates more travel experiences, that list must grow as well. I recently discussed pushing the travel envelope, and that the definition is different for everyone. If Joe Smith has never left the country, then any trip abroad will be pushing his travel envelope. For others this activity is prosaic and they look for more exotic or hard to replicate adventures. Both are fine, it just depends on one’s point of view.
So, stay with me here, the theory is that as one expands their personal travel boundaries, more travel destinations will suddenly become more appealing and, after a while, rather than a list of fanciful locales, the bucket list is a map of the Earth. That’s how I feel. There are very few places on this great blue sphere that I would not like to visit at least once. The places which hold no interest for me are for the most part too dangerous to visit.
I’m not saying that this is a mandatory progression of travel desires, just a likely one. I suppose it is entirely possible that a person who has visited 15 countries for pleasure has no desire to see anything more. I’m sure they’re out there, I just don’t think it likely. One summer a couple travels to Rome. The next year it’s Turkey. Then Israel. Then Thailand. You see the trend. Travel is like anything else in life, it takes experience to both enjoy it and become more adept at its practice.
So tear up those lists, throw them in the garbage and instead give the nearest globe a twirl, close your eyes and point. That, to me, is a much more fun activity.
What do you think? Is this an exercise in futility, or a useful travel habit?