How and Why to Create Your Travel Bucket List

Do you have a bucket list?

I’m here to tell you that if you don’t have your travel bucket list yet, it’s time. But instead of the traditional list of things to do before you kick the bucket, I want you to create a list of experiences that will fill your Life’s bucket with memories the way my 4-year old fills her pail with sand and shells every year at the beach.

By the way…stick around. I have a giveaway at bottom of this post.

Rather than thinking of it as things to do before you kick the bucket, how about we frame it like this:

Approach this as a celebration of your life, not as a massive To Do List that you need to frantically fill before your heart stops beating. No deadline, no urgency. Just deliberately and intentionally filling and refilling our memories until our cups runneth over with happiness.

A few years ago, I had pregnancy and birth complications which led to me being hospitalized and treated by the Center for Infectious Disease Control and looking at potentially having a mastectomy (and you know…dying). This brush with my mortality (and potentially leaving behind a newborn and my other daughter) changed how I fundamentally viewed money and time on earth. I started spending more on things that created memories rather than “stuff”.

In the past year my best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through surgery, chemo and radiation. My father who has survived the “widowmaker” heart attack and is now living on borrowed time (he’s been in the ER this week alone). My friend’s teenage son took his own life. My mother has been recently diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune disease and a six figure medical estimate. I’m not telling you these things to make you sad or to evoke any kind of pity. They are reminders that we constantly live hand in hand with the end of life. Life is gloriously temporary. That temporary nature makes it that much sweeter.

In 2015, I took a trip to Japan that fulfilled a dream of mine. At the time, it was nearly impossible for me to travel and I went on that trip anyway. And everything changed. I cultivated my bravery. I developed new friendships across the globe. I launched an Instagram account. I started this blog. And I still feel the ripples of that trip every day.

Do not ever live for someone else’s list or someone else’s expectations of your life. Your life example can have profound effects and ripples that are bigger than you.



I want you to sit down and imagine moments both small and big that you have yet to experience. It doesn’t need to be a safari in Africa or navigating the Amazon, although it most certainly could be. I want you to imagine the sensory experience and the momentary suspension of time where you are both the observer and the participant. Your senses engaged. Time in slow motion. Your sense of self suspended in wonder and delight.

For me, travel is both the experiential reality and the metaphor. It propels my introverted, shy and anxious self out the door and thrusts me into the open arms of the world. My childhood story is filled with sadness and trauma and although my life rocks my socks off today, it has been a difficult road to freedom and happiness. I’ve had to define and redefine my life (and it’s an ongoing process). And that is why this travel thing is so damn important.

Listen up my friend, these bucket list experiences are probably going to be expensive. You’ll need to tell your boss that you need time off of work. You might have to cancel Thanksgiving plans with your family. And you know what? It’s time. It’s calling to you.

You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? Go and do them.

Here’s my current list:

  • Care for elephants at a sanctuary. If I can bottle feed a baby elephant, I would swoon right there and then.
  • Smell and see the Sakura blossoms in Spring in Japan
  • Experience the tea ritual in China, Japan and Korea
  • Drive through Alaska
  • Spend a month in France, from Paris to the Loire Valley

I asked a few friends and family members about their lists. Here’s what theirs included:

  • Experiencing a safari and seeing giraffes in Africa
  • Serving a religious mission
  • Attending a silent Buddhist retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains (I sent my husband to one of these a few years ago)
  • Eating a meal at Momofuku
  • Eating a sandwich on a Parisian curb while looking past the Carousel at the Eiffel Tower
  • Photographing the wild horses in Iceland
  • Taking 6 months off of work and travel the world (a few of my best friends are in their last month of preparation before they do this!)

Am I ready to kick the bucket? Nope. Not for all the tea in China. And Japan. And Sri Lanka…but I’m trying to make as many memories as I can. And I hope you do too.


What are your travel dreams? Luxury safari? Living in an ashram for a summer? What excites you and calls your spirit? What would give you chills. What small moment would make you stop and say, “How is this real?”

I’d love for you to download my Soul Vacation Workbook where I guide you through questions to lead you to your own personal epic experiences. It’s free and delivered right into your inbox.

Here’s a GIVEAWAY to help you pursue your travel bucket list. is sponsoring a giveaway of a full one-year membership of the GPSmyCity app with access to ALL the GPSmyCity content – over 6,500 self-guided city walks and travel articles worth over $8,000!

I talk about GPSMyCity in my blog post on Tokyo. Last year, they generously gave away 20 promo codes to cities across the world.

This year, they are offering a super pass to ONE LUCKY WINNER! I want to know if you’ll commit, of course it’s not required to win a kick ass prize, but I want you to commit that you’ll take a risk and do something on your list this year.

The most popular cities for GPSMyCity tours are:

travel bucket list

And include many, many more.

You only have to do ONE THING.

Write in the comments a single place you want to experience in this lifetime on earth. Giveaway closes Friday July 28, 2017 at midnight Mountain Time.


Travel Bucket List

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    • I LOVE Japan! Hoping to get back soon. Guess what…you WON! I’ll email you directly too. Congratulations and maybe this can nudge you out the door!

  • I started my own travel wish list. I could have written this post, actually. In about 6 weeks I’m going to South America to do some exploring (La Paz, Machu Picchu, Amazonia, Easter Island, and Santiago).

    My goal is to get to all continents for a few weeks and do a quick trip through to see the highlights (Australian Outback, Great Wall of China, Kilimanjaro, Paris, Iceland, Angkor Wat, Madagascar – the list goes on).

    My list is long, but it’s begun and that’s what really counts.

    • Yes! I love your take on “my list is long, but it’s begun and that’s what really counts” – beautifully said. Do you have a blog Christina? I’d love to read it!

  • Machu Picchu is definitely at the top of my bucket list. Of course the Great Wall of China is there also as well as the Terra Cota Soldiers. I have GPSMyCity and find the articles on it very helpful and interesting.

    • Ah Peru is amazing! I’ve been eating Peruvian food lately and it rocks my world. I’m so happy to hear that GPSMyCity articles are helpful! I’ll pass that along to them too.

  • I want to travel the country of my birth, Australia, and experience the beauty and grandeur of its many regions.