Travel Bucket List: The Importance of Goal Setting

Inspired by a friend’s raw and real Mighty Life List, I decided to start collecting my own bucket list ideas on paper. I’ve always had ideas in my head about the various things I want to accomplish and places I want to go, and I write short-term goals down each January, but nowhere did I have one master Bucket List, until now.

Goal Setting

I believe in saying my goals out loud to others because putting them in front of someone else adds a level of accountability in realizing those goals. I believe it makes me more likely to accomplish them, at least it appears to work that way in my life.

Today, I’m putting my travel bucket list out there. These items only have to do with traveling (not necessarily personal or business), and I’m doing this to encourage you to create goals (hopefully travel goals!) for yourself and share them with others as well. Plus, I get to have the satisfaction of actually getting to cross something off when I accomplish it.

Related: How to Prioritize Travel in Your Life

I had to include some things that I’ve already done because it’s just as important to remember past goals that we’ve accomplished as it is to set new ones. I expect this list will be ever-evolving, including new destinations and ideas at appropriate times in my life. So, here we go, in no particular order, someday I want to:

  • Learn to speak fluent German by living in Germany… or Switzerland or Austria?
  • Sail and island hop up the coast of Croatia (2015)
  • Eat sushi on the floor in Japan
  • Float in the Dead Sea
  • Walk part of the Great Wall (or do a race on it)
  • Go on a fishing trip to Alaska (SO close – I have now been to Alaska! still need to go fishing though)
  • Stay at a B&B on the coast of Maine and eat lobster (2016)
  • Study abroad (x3: Costa Rica 2003-4, Italy 2005-6, Brazil 2008)
Costa Rica Host Family
My Costa Rican host family (2004)
  • Start running my own international adventure tours (Patagonia 2016!)
  • Learn Spanish
  • Learn Italian
  • Learn Portuguese
  • Eat fondue in the Swiss Alps (2015)
  • Finish visiting every country in Europe
  • Own a red Fiat 500 with little Italian flag stripes across the sides (this makes my travel list because it might be the car I leave at my Italian villa someday…)
Red Fiat 500 with Italian Flag Stripes
Someday you will be mine
  • Spend my golden 30th birthday in Costa Rica (2014 – spent it in Bocas del Toro, Panama and Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica)
  • Go to the real Oktoberfest in Munich (2008, 2009, 2010, 2013 and counting, I’m addicted)
  • Hike Machu Picchu (Nov 5, 2011 – this was the top thing on my list for a long time)
Machu Picchu Photo
Machu Picchu – An amazing day I will never forget (2011)
  • Go to a Red Sox v Yankees game at Fenway
  • Hike the Dolomite chalet route
  • Do a whiskey tasting trek across Scotland
  • Experience the south (of the US)
  • Live in Argentina (2016)
  • Live in Costa Rica again
  • Go to Cuba before everything changes
  • See the Panama Canal (2007, 2010)
Panama Canal
Visiting the Panama Canal (2007)
  • Live in Austria
  • Go to the Olympics again
  • Attend a yoga retreat
  • Lead a retreat
  • Go to a Patriots NFL game
  • Own a cabin on a lake (this makes my travel list because it might be in another country)
  • See Juanes in concert, hopefully in Colombia
  • Ride a camel in Petra
  • Hike the Camino de Santiago
  • Backpack the length of Central America (2007)
Volcan Pacaya Guatemala
In the middle of my trek across Central America, hiking Volcan Pacaya in Guatemala (2007)
  • Spend at least 3 months abroad each year (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016…)
  • Sleep under the northern lights in a glass dome bungalow in the Lapland region of Finland
  • Live in New Zealand
  • Explore New Zealand in a camper van
  • Live only off the income I make as a travel blogger (& podcaster? Guess I’m adding that one now) (2015)
  • Visit the Blue Lagoon (among other places) in Iceland
  • Become fluent in French by living in southern France
  • Experience a safari in Africa
  • Live in Bulgaria or Macedonia
  • Hike to Base Camp of Mount Everest
  • Live in Italy again… and again… and again… (should I just add buying a villa to my list?) (2015)

Thoughts on Bucket Lists

I recently returned from a trip to Minnesota to visit family and attend a funeral. As Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” pulled at our heartstrings from the speakers, we watched a slideshow I’ll never forget. This man, diagnosed three years prior with ALS, decided to spend the last years of his life and energy with his family, checking off every last item on his bucket list.

Every. Last. Item.

Alaska, Montana, fighter jets, Hawaii, a Texans game, Safari in Africa, combining a wheat field, cruising in a Mustang with his beautiful wife, and Philly Cheese Steaks at Pat’s in Philly were among the activities he completed. As cliché as this might sound, when he passed away, he was complete and happy and knew he had given his all to his life.

So here’s to a bucket list with actionable items on it, and here’s to crossing them off and filling our lives with meaningful experiences with the people we love.

Just like I shared my list with you, please share yours! What are some of the things on your bucket list? Let’s do this.