Picture it: Awkward first date with a person whose name you have quickly forgotten and the silence is broken when they pull the very original “Name one thing that is on your bucket list.”
Everyone has one. It is this strange, mostly unwritten document that everyone vicariously lives by. I know few people whose actions are actually fuelled by this “before you die” list and most of those people are avid travellers.
I am not sure when the bucket list turned into a travel brochure, comparing one travel list with the other to get the perfect compilation. Companies thrive off of this imaginary to-do list with “7 trips to cross off your bucket list!” that weren’t even on there in the first place.
Bucket lists are often also poorly researched. When I tell someone I have been to Japan and they give me “Oh! That’s on my bucket list!” and when I ask them where specifically they want to go they say something along the lines of “I don’t know it just sounds cool.”
(Let me tell you, like most places in the world, not all places in Japan are created equal.)
Which leads to the question: has a bucket list just turned into an “it would be neat to-do” list? A societal, instagram-able, list of where to say you have been?
In planning my next adventure its easy to see how people fall into the trap of if-I-tell-other-people-about-this-they-will-be-impressed. Why was Bolivia in the itinerary? I have no interest in going to Bolivia! (Nothing personal Bolivia…)
But I feel a lot of people don’t care about why they want to visit a place. They just care about how it will sound or look to other people- so it makes the list. (For the record, Bolivia is no longer in the itinerary).
Why is a list (that is meant to be goals for your individual life) used as a source for bragging material or comparative one-upsmanship? Do you want the list of before you die to be for bragging rights? To be able to tell a story nobody can relate to at a party? Or to impress that person at the bar?
To me, a bucket list should be something for you personally to be proud of. Why do you want to go there? Do that task? What will you learn or gain from the experience? If you go to a country for the sole purpose of selfies you will not be doing that experience justice. To me, that is a waste of a plane ticket.
This is not to dismiss the idea of a bucket list. I have one myself! But I encourage you to make a list of what you want to do. If there was no camera, nobody watching, what would you like to experience?
In the end it will not matter what Susie did or what Jacques posted. It will not matter what was on the bucket list of other people.
Make your own goals, follow your own dreams. There is nothing wrong doing what someone else has done for the sake of your own happiness, but do it for you. Not them.
“You have the ultimate responsibility for your experiences.” – Richard Gere