I like lists. I have always been a maker of lists. My lists come in all varieties: your standard weekly grocery list, a weekend to-do list, a list of what school work I have to do (as an aspiring teacher I believe that I will always have school work to do), what movies I want to watch, what books I want to read (as a self-proclaimed nerd, this particular list occupies a warm place in my heart), and even what names I like for my future babies (even though I am still debating whether or not I even want children).
It shouldn’t surprise you then, that I have a very large, very demanding Bucket List. It is a list that helps me to remain in control of my goals and reminds me of the things that I so desperately want to accomplish. My current Bucket List contains 165 items. Many are mundane items such as #57. Learn to Drive a Standard or #130. Learn to Juggle, but the majority of the items on my list -120 to be exact – require me to travel in some capacity.
I suffer from an incurable and insatiable case of Wanderlust – every day I think about travelling the world. Researching different locales and daydreaming about future trips takes up an obscene amount of my spare time. My Bucket List is a reflection of my restless heart. Some items are leisurely, such as #161. Stay at the Ice Hotel in Sweden or #70. Ride a Gondola in Venice. Others are much more detailed in nature or require multiple trips: #49. Take a guided tour around Uluru, respect the Indigenous by refraining from climbing the Rock, Camp around Uluru and wake to catch the sunrise (and possibly the ‘waterfalls’ after a desert rain); or #143. Do a Wine Tasting Tour in all of the major wine producing places (Niagara Region, South Africa, Napa Valley, France, Australia, etc.); or #159. See the Seven New Wonders of the World – Machu Picchu, Peru; The Coliseum, Rome; Petra, Jordan; Christ Redeemer, Brazil; The Great Wall of China, China; Chichen Itza, Mexico & Taj Mahal, India. And then there are those that require some serious physical exertion like #154. Complete the Seven Summit (with the exception of Everest): Kilimanjaro, Vinson Massif, Carstensz Pyramid Mountain, Elbrus, McKinley & Aconcagua or #149. Hike the Appalachian Trail. A whopping 29 have been crossed off my list, so far.
Young & Restless
“Why am I so restless?” is a question I ask myself sometimes, after lengthy conversations with my more homebody-minded friends. I am from a neighborhood in a place where most people do not get to travel – and even weirder – many do not want to. In fact, my two best male friends J & M have not ventured further than one hour away from our hometown…ever! J has his heart on seeing the East Coast of Canada (our beloved country) and Iceland – he has not thought about travel much beyond those places and does not seem to care if those trips do not happen. M on the other hand has no desire to travel at all. This is not an uncommon theme amongst the people with whom I chat about travel. Many understand my yearning to see the world but question whether this is a sustainable life choice. “What about your teaching career?” they say, or, and this is my personal favourite, “What about children?” Well, what about them? I am beyond excited at the prospect of teaching in foreign country after graduation. I have no desire for birthing or raising children, I tell them, because (among many other more complex reasons that have no place in a travel blog) I am afraid that I will be anchored to a place in a way that does not allow me the freedom to plan spontaneous, physically demanding trips across the world. I think little of investing money in a home or car because I would prefer to spend that money on hostels and plane tickets. I feel more at home in hiking shoes than in heels (I am not a fan of heels on a good day anyway), and, while I love routine I find the spontaneity of travel to be most exhilarating and fulfilling.
Various versions of my Bucket Lists have existed beginning at the age of 6 with items such as “Shave Your Head” and “Carve Your Initials into a Tree.” I began crafting the current version of my Bucket List about 5 years ago. I was in a bad relationship at the time and felt that I needed to re-evaluate who exactly I was and discover my purpose in this world. The early version of the List involved items to do with careers and education but developed more and more into a List of the worldly life experiences I wanted to have. Well, the bad relationship ended and within a month I had resolved to pack my bags and move to Australia for a semester of school (more on this later).
This trip ‘Down Under’ was exactly what I needed. My eyes were opened up to a world (quite literally) of possibilities. I was bit by the proverbial travel bug! And you know what? I found that there were others like me. I met others who suffered from the same syndrome as I – and who relished in its symptoms! I knew from the moment the plane touched down at Sydney International Airport that traveling was what I am meant to do.
So why the blog then?
On the phone the other night with my love, partner, and travel buddy extraordinaire ‘P’ I excitedly explained that I was starting a travel blog! “That’s wonderful love, this sounds exciting,” he replied on the other end. And then he posed a really good question, “Why did you choose to write a blog instead of keeping a journal?” And that was a stumper. “Isn’t this what people do?” I silently mused to myself. I thought and thought. “Who are you hoping will read your blog?” P asked after a minute of silence on my end. I hadn’t really thought about it, to be honest. Some close friends and family had expressed interest in hearing some stories from my most recent trip to South America and so I supposed I was writing it for them. But as I thought more on this question after our phone conversation I realized that the blog, of course, was for me. I have a Bucket List filled with experiences that are waiting for me. Some have already been fulfilled. I want to document those experiences in order to learn from and reflect on them – I want my experiences to mean so much more than something stroked out on a page. I hope that these blog posts become souvenirs from around the world. They are personal gifts to my future self reminding me of my good fortune, my good experiences and bad – because those are important too! – and a reminder that goals of all shapes and sizes, mundane or extraordinary, simple or complex, can be achieved.
In the past I have tried and failed to keep a journal and there was even one ill-fated attempt to write a blog. I cannot promise that there will be posts on this blog on a consistent basis, or that I will always have money or the opportunity to travel and fulfill items on my list. If you do choose to follow me through these Tales from a Bucket List when I do post I promise an unrestrained, candid, honest and perhaps uncomfortable examination of the self and my often trying and yet fully rewarding journey to cross off travel items from my Bucket List.
Until next time, keep wandering.