Experiences pale with bucket list

During a bike ride to Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe, California, we took an unscheduled gondola ride up the mountain to a surprise lunch spot.

What's on your list?

How about New Zealand, Italy, Machu Picchu? Or sky dive, bungee jump, climb Half Dome?

If you are having trouble with your bucket list, visit a bookstore or look around online and you will find almost limitless suggestions. Or visit the App Store.

Why do we compile bucket lists of must-sees and must-dos to accomplish before we die?

I have read about many people who are tossing their bucket lists in favor of a more live-in-the-moment approach. If you are a traveler, think about one trip at a time, they advise. Who knows what is next? Does it really matter if you never see Machu Picchu?

Can a bucket list keep a person from some of life's great discoveries?

Last year, Sue suggested that we walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain. “Definitely not on my list,” I thought to myself.

“Why not?” she asked when I questioned why we should walk 500 miles.

It turned out to be the trip of a lifetime. She was right, it was a matter of one step at a time. And this year we are going to Scotland for more long-distance trekking. We will also visit friends we have met from Scotland, England and Denmark during our travels. So much for Machu Picchu.

So, taking a more micro view of travel actually helped me see a more macro view.

There are also bucket lists within bucket lists.

While in Rome, you have to see the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps…or should the list be your top priority? How about wandering the narrow, meandering streets, pausing for coffee or beer at a sidewalk cafe to watch Italian life go by?

It is not just where you go, but how you see it. Shall we be travelers or tourists?

One traveler advised us that the first thing you should do when you arrive at your destination is sit down and have a cup of coffee. You don't need to rush out to see the world. Relax and watch it go by. As a boss once told me, “Take time.”

Sure, there are times we want to book a place, such as the Vatican Museums, because we know we will wait in line for hours without a reservation.

But, for every iconic place, there are many hidden treasures that will remain that way unless you take risks and explore without a plan, and, perhaps, by leaving the map in your pocket. Or at home, if you dare.

For our trek this May in Scotland, we had to book accommodations because there are few available and they tend to book up. This journey won't be as open-ended as the Camino was.

We have been asked many times about the wisdom of a two-week walk in a country famous for wet weather. It reminds me of what a Scottish friend told me when I asked him how he could play golf year round in such a climate.

“Why, Reg,” he said. “It never rains on the golf course.”


Categories: Reflections | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “Experiences pale with bucket list

  1. Malcolm & Barbara.

    Well well well !!! That’s a surprise. When in May are you coming to Scotland and where are you walking ? (Fife or have you done that already???). Looking forward to seeing you again. Cheers Malcolm.


  2. Junior

    My sister walked across Scotland and loved the terrain, people, cuisine and old buildings. But it DID rain!


    • 2orangebags

      Which trail did you walk? It is Scotland so it will rain, but, hopefully the sun will find some times to shine as well.


    • 2orangebags

      Sorry, Junior…I mean do you know which trail she walked?


  3. Great point on bucket lists! I have some ideas of things I’d like to do, but not a list I’m crossing off. Spontaneous trips and adventures tend to be more fun than the ones that I’ve been planning forever.


    • 2orangebags

      Thank you! Yes, we have many places we would like to go as well, but we are trying to resist the must-see list. Best wishes on your adventures.


  4. And may it never rain on a hiking trail, either! It snowed on me once, but that made it all the more fun :] Oh! And I’ve finally gotten a blog of my own going…not too much happening on it yet, nut you are welcome to explore: http://carolinematteson.wordpress.com


  5. Reg–I love your comments!


  6. It Never rains on the Camino either…does it?

    A photo of an American couple (mr.and mrs. X) eating lunch in a square in Spain was introduced as a model example of Camino pilgrims in a PowerPoint presentation we gave today at one of Denmark’s largest travel fairs. (Guess who?)


    • 2orangebags

      Well, I expect you will be sending the usual residual.

      Actually, we are honored.

      Sue is giving a talk about the Camino next month at a meeting of the American Association of University Women local chapter. Her PowerPoint includes a photo of a couple from Denmark who model how wonderful the Camino life can be.

      So, after you walk the Camino, is the rest of your life the “Camino life?”


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