How Ditching My Bucket List Has Helped Me Travel More

If you ever asked me how I have been able to travel quite a bit, I’m sure I went on a long rant about how you may need to save more money, plan properly, sign up to websites to get travel deals and so much more. While these things are true, after some introspection, I have figured that one thing that has worked highly in my favor is, ditching my bucket list.

One day, you’ll wake up and there wouldn’t be time to do everything you always wanted to do. Do it now.” – Paulo Coelho

My bucket list, like probably everyone else’s, is an overflowing list of dream countries I will like to visit one day. Go on a wine tour in Italy, explore the rice fields in Bali, visit the temples in Thailand and finally see the Grand Canyon. Those are great, and dreamy, and they keep my heart alive and bursting with anticipation but sometimes, they just aren’t practical for both my schedule and my pocket.

“Sometimes, a lot of things need to align for your travel dreams to come alive!”

You see, bucket lists can be quite limiting. They can give you a false impression that if you aren’t striking the items off one after the other, then you aren’t really living. Worse yet, they can make you miss out on all the other amazing things that mother nature has in store for you.

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In the year 2015 when I started getting serious about this travel thing, I drew up a list of places and things I wanted to do by the end of the year. I had a really slow start because some of the destinations were either too expensive, too far away, or just didn’t work out conveniently. One day, I woke up and said, “Whatever! I’m going anywhere that slightly interests me”. That was the best travel decision I made!

Hear me out. This is not to say you shouldn’t have a plan. By all means do. But keep flexible. If you want to travel far and wide, flexibility, an open mind, and a healthy dose of free-spiritedness is key.

Imagine if I waited to do those things on my list. I may have missed out on riding horses in the country-side of Cuba, Sandboarding in the dunes of Peru, seeing the Eiffel Tower in France, stuffing my mouth with chocolates from Belgium, learning how to mix cocktails in the Bacardi factory in Puerto Rico, soaking up the hot springs in Costa Rica, and so many other experiences I have been blessed to have. None of these places I have just mentioned were ever on a list.

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Am I advising you to ditch your bucket list too? No, not by a stretch. I still have a bucket list and I have checked a few items off them. Bucket lists can be inspiring and exciting. However, living life by a bucket list and holding too tightly to it is a little dangerous. Waiting too long for something to happen and not taking advantage of other opportunities (or destinations) while you wait, is not exactly a great idea. Tunnel vision and travel do not exactly go hand in hand.

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Ditching my bucket list has allowed me to remain flexible to take advantage of what life has to offer, take advantage of spontaneous deals, and say yes to last minute getaways without over-thinking and overplanning. Like they say, the best things in life are unexpected.

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So, while I wait to visit the rice fields in Bali, enjoy a tour of wineries in Italy, step foot on the Grand Canyon, amongst a list of other life adventures that I dream of having, I will be looking out for other (equally) awesome destinations that come my way. And you should, too.

So, there you have it. Ditching my bucket list has helped me travel more. What about you? What strategies have you used to help you see more places? Do you have a bucket list? Do you think they have done more harm than good, or vice-versa? Let me know your thoughts!

Talking about lists though. Are you on my mailing list? It’s one that I am definitely not ditching. Subscribe today to get first dibs on latest post, insider newsletters, giveaways and so much more. There’s a lot to gain, and absolutely nothing to lose.

Until next time,

About the author

Working Professional by day, Travel Blogger by night. Here, I share my personal life and travel experiences as well as helpful tips to help readers start their own travel journey. Want to talk? Contact me on info@theufuoma.com. Don’t be a stranger!

22 Comments

  1. Very interesting perspective, but I can definitely relate. I tend to overplan everything, so I typically do research for A LOT of different destinations I would want to visit. Sure, I pick the places I want to visit by how badly I want to visit them, but more often than not, its also decided by what is the most feasible, because at the end of the day, they’re all places that I want to visit.

  2. That is a great point to not get locked down with bucket list ideas. I just have a general idea of what I want to do then I see which one works best with my schedule. Do you also plan your trips based on places that you pitch to and who respond and the dates that they offer?

  3. Well said dear!! That’s exactly why i enjoy sharing in my blog all the gems I have been finding locally. We can’t always get to places we dream about at the expected time, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other things we can enjoy in the meantime!

  4. I never really made a bucket list. Actually earlier I had not even thought that I would be travelling much. So every travel adventure that comes my way is unique. But ditching your bucket list or to do list sounds like a great idea… i think I am going to apply it in my non travel related lists an see how I do. Thanks for the tip 🙂

  5. I never made a serious bucket list but there are some places which I want to visit before other places. I agree junking bucket list is a better idea because without a list we can go to any place, whenever we get a good opportunity.

  6. I don’t have a real bucket list. If I did,I ‘d probably just get a bit upset because there is only so much you can do and the desires of one are endless. A nice post, well done!

  7. I agree with this. I’ve watched this movie saying that bucketlists really limit of the things you can do while travelling. But we could use it as a guide but not limiting ourselves to just what is written on our bucketlist. 😀

  8. Interestingly, I think I have like a mental bucket list…Like places, I want to see and things I want to do/experience….However, if I for some reason I do something “bucket list worthy” I simply add it to my bucket list and tick it offf….However, I am open about it and don’t particularly have a strategy about it. This keeps me at peace with the places I have visited and things I have done/experienced.

  9. I agree that bucket lists can be constraining.

    I actually have a travel list as long as the nile and I’m not sure if I’ll get to do all of them so like you, I’m settling for where I can go when I can.

    Great post

  10. I love this!!! I’ve never once fulfilled all the places I wanted to visit in a year. But you’re right, so many beautiful things have come from those changes in plans and unforseen destinations. While writing down my goals helps me visualize and work toward them, I definitely get too focused on the specifics sometimes. Bucketlists should be about fulfilling curiosity and adventure, and more often than not, that means venturing out into something totally unplanned.

  11. I have a mental intentions list (or bucket list) and I might actually write it down soon, not sure if I’ll share on the blog though. Some of the items involve travelling, others are everyday adventures in my backyard. This year, I started writing down my yearly travel goals, because as with other aspects of my life, there’s something about writing down goals push me to go for it. Do things always go as planned? Absolutely not and I don’t expect them to at all. Plans change, visas are denied or delayed, and there’s something about sharing that too.

    I agree with the point of the post which is to be flexible and to also not to get caught up in counting countries that one misses the beauty in travelling. However, I have to say before reading the post the topic misled me into thinking it was going to be a bit of shaming for those that choose to have a bucket list.

    Thanks for sharing.

  12. Nice perspective. I do have a bucket list and i get quite upset when i don’t stirke items off. I love how i always find something to learn from your post. You stay adding value. Thank You Star Girl.

  13. I do have a long bucket list, but I think I use it similarly to you. Every now and again I check off items and refer to it for inspiration. My biggest goal is just to see as much as I can and have as many varied experiences as I can. I set goals to see every country knowing I’ll see more if I aim high then I’ll probably see more of the world than if I set a short list. BUT I do also keep a list of things I’ve done that weren’t on my bucket list, and try to document my travels as much as possible, take my bucket list lightly. That way I can look back and see all the things I’ve gotten to enjoy, planned or otherwise.

  14. THIS. I’ve always been against bucketlists. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a plan, there are several countries that I definitely wanna visit. But actually writing them down and trying to do just that doesn’t sound right for me. It’s so nice to be surprised or to end up in a country you don’t know well and when you leave, you have knowledge about a new place!
    I don’t really have a strategy, I just save up as much as I can, don’t buy clothes anymore lol, don’t go to bars etc and I manage to travel quite a bit. 🙂

  15. Great post! I love keeping a bucket list as it a sort of reminder for where I’d like to visit one day. However, as you mentioned is good to be flexible as well.

  16. This is so true. What I actually do is just imagine a lot of trips ahead and as the sales pop up of tickets I decide wether it stays or it goes. And if my budget allows me to mix 2 countries I do both. Like going to The Netherlands and not buying a ticket to at least 1 europe city is kind of a waste. Thats how I manage my travels.

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