The Bucket List Revisited: Two Years Later

16 May 2015

When I first started reading travel blogs some years ago there was a common trope of having a bucket list. Following suit, I searched the depths of the internet and scoured forums to come up with my own bucket list. I proudly published my list to my burgeoning blog as inspiration to drive my travels and adventures.

The very first thing I scratched off this list was graduating university.

Two years ago today I graduated with a double major in East Asian Studies and also French. At the time I was simply pursuing academics that I thought were fun. Little did I know that my four years of studying foreign languages would lead to a career path in tourism and hospitality which I have found I completely love!

Sunrise at the balloon fiesta | Albuquerque, New Mexico
I was surprised to find that many things on my bucket list were completed with out planning or strategy; they simply happened naturally because I am an adventurous person. Like an impromptu road trip through the South West with some good friends that allowed me to check off 'go on an American road trip'.

Other things on my list were completed due to shear serendipity. Swimming with dolphins allowed me to cross off 'go snorkeling' from my list but it never would have happened had I not moved to Hawaii (which was a result of a whim).

Some goals were accomplished in the most unlikely of settings. When I added 'cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner by myself' to my list I simply meant that as a personal challenge. A way to prove my adulthood, you know? I could have never guessed that I would be completing this task in a stranger's kitchen in Seoul, South Korea!

Selfie at the Royal Palace | Seoul, South Korea
Booping a deer on the nose | Nara, Japan
Victoria Harbor | Hong Kong
My bucket list also included big (*ahem* expensive) items like visiting South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong; places I'd been studying for years and couldn't imagine that I would be experiencing so soon. These were the goals for which I had to work the hardest to accomplish and save my money whenever possible.

But, reflecting on my life, I realize I've done so many other amazing things in the past two years. Things that I had not fathomed to write down on a list. I've accounted for many of these adventures on my blog; learning how to surf, swimming with sharks, or jumping off of a 40-foot cliff (which was also the southern most point of the USA) are just a few of the things I never thought I would do or would have any interest in.

On top of Dog Mountain | Washington
If you've been reading through this post wondering where exactly my bucket list is on my blog, you're not going to find it. I deleted it because 1) it was attracting a ridiculous amount of spam bots and 2) it's no longer relevant to me.

I found that having a bucket list wasn't making me a better traveler. In fact, I hardly ever thought about it until I started reflecting the other day and looked it up in my drafts. Looking over this list, it was fun to see that I had accomplished many of my goals but it was also a bit embarrassing.

Like, why had I put 'Partake in La Tomatina in Bunol' on my list? Because I saw other travel bloggers had it on their list so it simply had to be on mine too.

I don't think I'd get that much enjoyment out of having tomatoes chucked at me, though. It would certainly be a funny story but nothing more. 

As I've gotten older (and so much ~wiser~) I've realized that it's not about having crazy stories. That the most wonderful occasions aren't necessarily the things you post on Facebook but the silent bits of happiness that are often times categorized as innocuous.

That's why, two years later, I'm letting go of my bucket list and instead embracing life as it comes.

The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you. -- Ritu Ghatourey 

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