A friend and I were recently discussing our upcoming trips. She proudly announced about her plan to go on a food trail across Italy. Now, I had been on several food trails within India but never one abroad. But since Italy is definitely on my must-visit list, I fired questions at her at the speed of light. We talked about everything from her dates to her stay options and the places she is going to eat at.
Somewhere during the discussion, I realised that I had never once written down a list of where I wanted to travel or the experiences I wanted to have during my life. I've always had a mental note but I somehow never put my thoughts down in a concrete written form (not even on the notes in my phone). My friend on the other hand, had a crisp list of 100-things-to-do-before-she-dies. And that kind of got me motivated to make one of my own.
I am now in the process of curating this list and along the way, there are so many things I am learning and realising that I never thought about before. Sure there's a taboo attached with making bucket-lists in the hardcore travel community, but I think there's something to them that definitely makes sense. Here's why I think bucket lists are the gold standard for travellers:
1. It forces you to address where you really want to travel
This sounds very obvious, but when you're travelling you tend to keep going back to places and experiences where you find comfort. Penning down a bucket list made me realise that there are so many experiences I desire and think about but don't actually work towards. Now that I have things written down, it makes me more geared up to travel to newer places rather than going back to older ones.
2. It helps you focus better
I've always been a lists person. I function best when I have my tasks and goals written down because then I have something to work towards. And this I've realised is true for travel as well. Ever since I've started writing a travel bucket list, I've gotten better at planning out my trips and keeping things sorted mentally. It has really helped me focus on the things that I want to do and drown out the noise.
3. It motivates you to reach your goals
I started making this list last year and one of the goals I had was to travel to some place every single month in 2019. I know we're just starting the fourth month but so far, I am definitely on track. Now I always have this constant thought at the back of my head. Earlier, travel was just one more thing I liked doing. Now it has become a gratifying, goal-oriented activity that gives me a sense of accomplishment.
4. It gets you excited
I work full time, in an office where I have to sit behind a laptop all day. That kind of gets boring and mundane pretty quickly. Having a travel to-do list makes me have something to look forward to. Now I know that as soon as things start getting too much, I can leave town for a couple of days to rejuvenate and I will always have a place to travel to.
5. It pushes you to move out of your comfort zone
I am the kind of person who always looks for a routine and tries to do things in a set pattern. But I've found that this almost always limits the kind of experiences I have and seek. Putting together a bucket list has made me realise that there are so many things I want to try but haven't gotten around to them because there was always something more comfortable in sight.
6. It helps you keep a track of your accomplishments
This is true in the general sense of making a bucket list and also for travel. Once I've checked off an experience/place from my bucket list, I get this sense of pride that is often associated with accomplishing goals. It is a beautiful feeling. In the longer run, it also helps me keep track of the experiences I've had, the ones that I would like to go back to and the ones I would probably not repeat. It's like a journal of your travels.
7. It keeps you active – mentally and physically
Putting things down on a list doesn't mean you can't change it. In fact it increases your scope of change and allows you to monitor your growth as a person. What it does additionally is keep your mind working, looking for newer experiences and finding learnings in the older ones. And as much as travel is an activity that brings about learning and mental peace, it also challenges you to get involved in the physical sense. You need to keep fit to be able to accomplish your goals, especially if adventure is something that is a priority.
8. It allows you to dream bigger and better
Accomplishing travel goals and making new ones has allowed my mind to get more comfortable with the idea of taking risks. Earlier, I had found that I would almost always think about my travels from a very short-term perspective depending on my current financial situation. But ever since I've started making a list, I've also started planning long term, for experiences that cost more but are also more fulfilling. Making the list also allows me to plan ahead for things that might initially seem unattainable.
They say that a goal not written is just a wish. Now that I have a bucket list, I kind of feel like that saying is true. Would you want to read what's on my bucket list? Let me know in the comments or share your own list on Tripoto.