You have a bucket list and on it are all the places you want to see. To visit in your lifetime. Places keep getting added, the more you read, the more you know, the more people that you meet.
Social Media is a wealth of knowledge. Just look at Pinterest and all the boards you can create. The amount of articles being shared on there is mind blowing. Add to that the gorgeous photos, and suddenly you are hooked on a new destination.
Then there’s Facebook with people sharing their amazing travel photos. Pictures of Greek Islands and French villages flung in front of your face every five minutes.
With all that at your disposal, and in your face, whose travel bucket list wouldn’t be growing.
And then you have the Facebook Travel groups where everyone is sharing their travel stories, articles, experiences, suggestions. And there are people sharing apps that you can download and keep track of all the places you have been.
People are even getting tattoos of world maps and colouring in each country they have been to as they go.
Ditch the Bucket List
So what’s wrong with having a Travel Bucket list? Nothing actually. But what I do believe is a problem is if you get hung up on going to a new place each and every time you have the chance to travel.
What about the places you have already been? The ones that found a place in your heart and stirred your soul. The ones that made such a connection with you all you do is dream of going back.
Now I am not talking about the fantastic holiday you had laying under the palms on a white sand beach with warm turquoise water that you just relaxed and rested and thought was the best holiday EVER!
Where did you leave your Heart?
I am talking about that place you visited that you left just a little piece of yourself behind. The one you felt you had to wrench yourself away from when it was time to leave. The one you wanted to throw yourself at the feet of the concierge and beg “Please let me stay”! (Sorry, I do have a touch of the dramatic.)
But do you see what I am saying? Have you had that experience where you could actually see yourself living in that place? I know I have.
And the problem then with having a bucket list is that it pulls you away from revisiting that place. You are compelled to go somewhere “new”. Time and money are precious, so I get it. Why not somewhere new instead of somewhere you have already been.
But to deny yourself that return, you deny yourself something important in life. The people that have chosen to return again are the ones that find something more than just travel. They find a place for themselves in this world that speaks to them, a place other than their home.
For me such a place was Cortona. The moment I arrived there I felt like I was home. It was comfortable; it was familiar, it was mine. I have not returned, yet. But I will. And I hope that I will many, many times.
Without going back I won’t know if the magic is still there for me, or indeed ever was. But I want to find out. More than anything I want to find out.
Part of the problem is I am being pulled by my bucket list to visit new and perhaps, equally intriguing places.
Maybe wanting to go back is like a fleeting romantic connection that you believe is more than it really is. I don’t care because I am willing to throw myself at it. What if what is there is real? What if something wonderful is waiting for me.
So as I tick off all the positives for moving forward with my Travel Bucket list – seeing more of the world, ticking places off the list and the diverse experiences I will have in new places I realise that some of these are not that important to me.
I don’t really care about ticking off places from a list or the number of countries I visit. I don’t care at all.
I do look forward to seeing the differences in the places I go to, the diverse cultures and experiences.
But as I get older I realise what means more to me. Meeting people and the connections I make in those places are important. Just as important as the place itself.
If I follow through and tick off all the places on my bucket list, I will miss finding out if those connections are real. I will miss making new connections. I won’t ever form the relationships that could mean a great deal. I will miss the stories about a place I love, the real stories of the people that live there. I will miss getting to know them and the lives they lead. I want to learn their culture, their beliefs. I want travel to be meaningful, not fleeting.
So even as I continue to add places to my bucket list, I am planning on travelling back to the places I have already fallen in love with.
I want to see if the romance is real and can continue to exist in real life, and not just in my imagination. I am willing to take the risk.
I love to travel. Just love it. But what I love more is connecting with people and learning their stories. And if I can combine the two I believe my life will be even richer.
What do you think? Bucket list or not?
Cindy Reid is the founder of Travel Charm. Cindy has travelled extensively both personally and with her groups. She has now combined her love of art, food and travel and hosts Painting Trips to Europe and continues to explore and roam in Australia.