There’s some anti-bucket list sentiment brewing.
I might even suggest that the bucket list versus anti-bucket list argument is the newest iteration in a long line of dichotomous tourism-related fights (a la “tourist versus traveler”).
Personally, I don’t have a bucket list. I have only a really general idea of how I want to live my life (with kindness, love, and as much adventure as possible), but I don’t really know how that’s going to manifest in reality.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE writing lists (my husband jokes I have “write list” on my list, which is sometimes true). The truth is, I don’t like to nail myself down to a certain vision of the future, when there could be so many more amazing opportunities, if only I’m open to them.
At the same time, I don’t find anything wrong or inherently unhealthy with creating life goals for yourself, if that’s what you’re into, and setting up steps to accomplish them. (Advice from a mental health professional on creating a life-affirming, healthy bucket list here)
But maybe because I spend so much time researching, thinking, reading blogs, and planning about travel… I do have a few very clear travel goals… which I guess you could call a travel bucket list, but I’d rather call:
My Travel Dream List
For some reason, Morocco has always struck me as extremely romantic. Having a Moroccan Jewish henna ceremony before my wedding (my husband’s father’s family comes from Morocco) has only increased my obsession with the country.
Also – a whole city that emphasizes BLUE? You know that’s my kind of place.
My mom loved Don Ho (you may know Tiny Bubbles?) and always dreamed of visiting warm and tropical Hawaii. She even threw my sister an amazing Hawaiian-themed birthday party one year, complete with pin-the-lei on the princess, and real coconut (an amazing find in Michigan).
Unfortunately, she died at the too-young age of 45, never having visited her dream destination. I want to visit for her.
Kylie, of Between England and Iowa, has already made it to Hawaii, and describes why the island state is SO awesome:
I loved the diversity of Hawaii! The island of Oahu is so small yet it packs so much character! There’s the bustling city but then quieter towns on the other side of the island for those looking for a more peaceful trip. The landscape is crazy, from the mountains, to Diamond head volcano, to the waterfalls and beaches. There’s plenty of opportunities to keep active such as: hiking, snorkelling (turtles!), surfing, stand up paddle boarding, outrigger canoeing, ATV and zip lining. Lastly, the culture! The greetings of Aloha! and Mahalo! made me always feel welcomed and the Polynesian Cultural Center and Luau experience was one of the highlights of my trip!
For more on Kylie’s Hawaii Experience:
This island nation is blessed by white sand beaches, electric blue waters, and limited tourists fouling the whole thing up. Aside from lounging on the beautiful beaches, there is phenomenal snorkeling and diving, along with some of the best opportunities in the world for seeing highly protected whale sharks.
Like basically every other animal-obsessed kid on the planet, seeing Madagascar the movie absolutely inspired my desire to visit the actual location. Only difference? I’m almost 30 years old (to be honest, I think I like cartoons even more now than as a child). Between aye-ayes, flying foxes, and more species of lemurs than I can count, I don’t know which animal I’d be most excited to see! Just kidding, that’s a total lie, I want to see a dancing lemur.
Daleya, of Dolce and Masala, has even opened my eyes to a whole new aspect of Madagascar: the BEACHES!
Photo by Daleya
There is so much to love about Madagascar, from its secluded sandy beaches to its unique biodiversity and spicy cuisine. The island nation is at the crossroads of the Indian Ocean is often referred to as the eighth continent because of its unique flora and fauna – over 100 species found only on Madagascar! You can sip fresh coconut water poolside, meet lemurs up-close, or go whale watching. Ranomafana National Park is an idyllic destination for nature and wildlife lovers. Malagasy culture is influenced by the diversity of the Asian, African, and European settlers who called the island home for 100s of years. Foodies will be spoiled by the rich variety of Malagasy cuisine, influenced by French gastronomy and Asian curries and enriched by the spices indigenous to the island. The ice cream, made with world renowned Malagasy vanilla beans, is out of this world!
Komodo is my dad’s worst nightmare. He’s basically an armchair expert on these crazy lizards. The only time in my entire life that he’s ever gone to the zoo with me was just a few years ago, with the sole purpose of seeing the newest exhibit, a Komodo dragon, live and in the flesh.
There is something incredibly intriguing about seeing Komodo dragons, like it’d be similar to transporting back in time to the age of dinosaurs. And no, I’m not just set on visiting because it’s my dad’s worst nightmare (I even invited him to get over his fears and come with me two years ago).
The biodiversity of these islands inspired even Charles Darwin, who is said to have based his theory of evolution off of his time here. With penguins, seals, sharks, strange birds, and marine iguanas, the animal-lover in me can’t help but get giddy at the thought of visiting.
And lucky for me, I will be! In April I’m heading off for a 10-day adventure on the Galapagos Islands with Galakiwi. To say I’m literally crying with excitement would be actually, factually correct and not hyperbole.
I just have to say it again – I’m going to the Galapagos!!! And from April 14-23 (I leave this morning!), you’ll be able to follow along with me through my live Galapagos Instagram story here.
Heather, of Travelationship, is further fueling my serious excitement with her description of her experience:
The Galápagos Islands are truly my idea of heaven on earth. When it comes to beautiful waters and abundant wildlife no place compares to the Galápagos Islands. We recently spent a week shared between the islands of Isabela and Santa Cruz. Between the snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming, sunning, hiking and eating we were in a state of total bliss. We loved GI so much we are already making plans to return and see more of the 20 islands.
And for all you non-water lovers you don’t have to get in the water to see the aquatic life. We saw many marine and land animals from shore it was mind blowing. If you are a nature and animal lover GI should be top on your list of places to visit. Think of the pages of National Geographic coming alive and that’s the Galápagos Islands.
Reported to be one of the happiest countries in the world, Bhutan measures its success with its own Gross National Happiness index. That is just badass and something I can totally get behind.
Add on top of that some amazing scenery, limited tourist numbers, and a whole lot of Buddhism, and this is one country I’ve been dreaming of visiting for over a decade.