I’m really not into the bucket list style of traveling. Many folks create random lists of things they feel they need to do in order to be complete and fulfilled in life…
Instead of living day by day and seizing each moment as it comes, they plan months or even years ahead. Their list becomes a serious mission. Friends, family, acquaintances, dogs, cats, everybody must step aside as these individuals check off each activity from their list:
Visiting the Taj Mahal – check
Scuba diving with dolphins – check
Shaking a famous football players hand – check
Climbing to the top of the Empire State building without a safety harness – check
But once they’ve accomplished everything, will they finally be able to lay their heads to rest? Will they settle down and lead a sedentary existence? Or will they begin to fantasize again and devise new more complex lists?
I doubt that satisfaction will come because there will always be more to achieve. It’s like a never-ending cycle. This world has an infinite amount of places to visit and amazing activities to do. You will never ever see and do it all, and someone out there will always be better than you and do more.
So what’s my point then?
Instead, I have a better plan, just go outside and talk to strangers, or challenge yourself and walk or bike across the continents. No plans. No organization. No reservations. Just do it. Day by day. One foot in front of the other. If anything gets in your way, embrace it, then conquer it, using nothing but your wits and basic primal instincts.
I met a young kid the other day who was traveling internationally. He makes reservations months in advance for everything: hotels, hostels, buses, aircrafts. He looks at pictures and reviews of restaurants, and almost every specific place online, before he visits them. He spends so much time planning and doing research as he travels, that he doesn’t hardly appreciate the places that he visits when he finally arrives because he’s already envisioning his next destination!
This is fine for him, but I can care less about having expectations. When I go someplace new, I want to be completely surprised. I want to get into trouble. I want to be shocked. No guidebooks. No Tripadvisor. No GPS. Nothing. I want my senses and instincts to be fully alert. I want to use the sun and stars as my travel guide, as my ancestors have done throughout the millennia. I want to arrive in a new land like a scout who’s seeing everything for the first time. Like a bird who traverses thousands of miles with nothing but a twig in his claw and a few seeds found along the way as nourishment. I want to adapt to these new lands and be accepted into every culture and home. I want to do all of this and more…
The thing is, no matter how much you try to keep everything organized you can never take into account unexpected events like the weather, natural catastrophes, people you may meet along the way, political tensions, etc. What if someone you meet invites you to visit his home that happens to be several days away by boat? This opportunity will never come again, it could be one of your greatest life experiences, but you probably won’t go, because it interferes with your precious – selfish – little – list. Well, guess what? You just lost an amazing chance to have a new adventure.
Be spontaneous people.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should risk your life every day and do things that are morally unacceptable. But why not dance with the devil from time to time, eh? Without new experiences and perspectives to show us a different view of life, how will we grow?
Until next time…