Why I don't have a bucket list

Why I don't have a bucket list

Bucket lists are everywhere. Web articles warn you that you must visit this city or you must have this destination on your list of places to see before you die, or kick the bucket. But what if you don't?

My younger self had a sort-of mental list of places I wanted to visit and things I wanted to see, but as the years have passed and my interests have changed, so have the aspects of travel that I thought I once enjoyed. I still have a few places in mind that I would enjoy visiting, but the pressure's off when it comes to my wandering exploits. I don't have a bucket list because...

They are limiting.

When a traveler sets off with one goal in mind, with heaps of expectations packed inside an already overflowing suitcase, she can become defeated in her single-minded intention and risk unintentionally ignoring other just-as-satisfying aspects of a destination.

Schnitzel and a Pilsner Urquell in Prague? Czech.

Schnitzel and a Pilsner Urquell in Prague? Czech.

They set us up for disappointment.

I was 15 years old when I first visited the Louvre art museum in Paris. After waiting in line and walking the halls of the museum for hours, my school group finally arrived at da Vinci's painting of Mona Lisa. My head darted to the left and right as I tried to catch a glimpse of the tiny portrait beyond dozens of other heads that were snapping photos and getting in the way. The painting itself was about 75 percent smaller than I anticipated, and (sad to say) slightly underwhelming. Not keen to wait for the crowds to dissipate and snag a closer look, I moved on, left with a sense of discontent surrounding the revered work of art.

Not all bucket list items elicit the same disappointing result, but with heightened expectations, tunnel vision may lead to disillusion.

They take away the true meaning of travel.

Traveling is not about seeing a monument or natural wonder and then checking it off a mental (or physical) list. Being able to travel is a privilege that few are lucky enough to experience, and should be treated as such. Rather than gaping up at the pyramids of Giza and feeling a sense of satisfaction that comes with a check mark, I prefer to get lost in the history, hire a guide to explain every nook and cranny, and to remind myself why so many long to view such marvels in architecture and hard work.


Do you have a bucket list? If so, what is on it? What is your reason for having such a list? Comments welcome below!

Lead photo: River Seine, Paris.

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