“The trouble with bucket lists is that not everyone has the same bucket.”
How many times have your typed into the Google search bar, “travel bucket list”? Chances are you have, and you have done it more than once. Maybe it was to get ideas as to where to travel next or maybe you’re that person who has an actual list written out, folded up, and slipped into your wallet. (Guilty!) And when you find those cut and paste travel bucket lists, you’ll find that they are filled with some amazing places. But, it’s important to remember that those lists were filled for someone else’s bucket. If you absolutely hate city life, then perhaps seeing the Eifel tower at night is just not important to you (everyone hold their gasps). And guess what…that’s ok!
The point of a bucket list, and the point of travel overall, is to go somewhere that will be meaningful to you. If it’s not, you basically just created a really expensive chore list for yourself. So, to help you find those “must-see” places to add to your bucket list, you must answer the question, “why do I want to travel?”
I Want to Challenge Myself
If you seek adventure and personal growth, then travel is the answer.
Over a million acres, you’ll hike the expanse of rugged mountains and raft white-capped rivers of some of the most beautiful scenery of North America. The land will be both your challenge and your reward.
Take the road less traveled they always say. That’s exactly what we do on this trip as we trek through the Peruvian mountainside for a week up to the ancient Incan Citadel on Machu Picchu. This is not for the faint of heart but the reward at the top is well worth it.
Want it all? Southern Patagonia offers more with horseback riding through green meadows, rafting down icy rivers, and hiking the piercing blue Perito Moreno Glacier. The daily treks are filled with a new adventure and landscape and the hardest part is having to leave.
As soon as you fly into the remote Siberia Valley, adventure awaits you. You’ll jet boat and kayak in the blue waters and bike your way to the point where you must hike. Then you’ll trek to the snow-covered peaks of the mountains and hidden glaciers. Reward your hard work with a bit of relaxation on an overnight cruise boat through Milford Sound and take in the waterfalls and moonlight.
I Want to Immerse Myself in Other Cultures
If you seek new cultures, knowledge of history, and becoming connected to the human experience, then travel is the answer.
Western Belize was the home to more Mayas than any other area. Filled with incredible ruins, rich history, and secrets that the past holds, this vacation is one to fill the mind with wonder as you hike, raft, and zipline through the land that the Mayans once claimed as their own.
A week through the landmarks of Northern Holland will be filled with tulip fields, historic windmills, and cobblestone villages. History is best learned through experience and the food and the people here ensure that is a possibility.
A true cultural experience is had in the Scottish Highlands as you visit ancient castles and here the legends of the Loch Ness Monster as you stare into the dark waters of where it is said to call home. Take in the lakes and mountains as you dine on authentic Scottish cuisine.
The Twelve Apostles Great Walk covers 55km along the shore where the limestone towers form in the waters. The stunning sights as you venture through the landscape learning about the cultural wonders that the land holds is a vacation to remember.
I Want to Connect with Nature
If you seek to connect to the beauty of the untouched world and the animals that inhabit it, then travel is the answer.
Yes, this one is on a lot of those generic lists we’ve been snarking at, but we say don’t just stand at the rim and then cross it off the list. Truly experience the Grand Canyon and all its wonders. Bike through red rocks and raft down the Colorado River which snakes between the immense canyon walls. It’s a land like no other.
In the shimmering waters of the Sea of Cortez awaits an experience of a lifetime. Kayak into a private cove and snorkel with the incredible Whale Sharks that call this oasis home for a season. Over a week you’ll explore the land, beaches, and coves and connect with this little piece of paradise.
Because this gorgeous rainforest is protected, there are more species of wildlife and flora in this small area than anywhere else in the world. And more ways to see them all too! Hike, bike, raft, snorkel, rock climb, and zipline to get the lay of this amazing land and meet the abundance of creatures that call this tropical nirvana home.
There is no point in just viewing one place on a list when you can visit many at once! Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, and the Serengeti National Park are all a part of this weeklong safari. The landscape comes in second only because your focus is on the breathtaking wildlife that surrounds you like jaguars and herds of zebras.
Basically, travel is the answer to so many of life’s desires but so many people become restricted to these generic bucket lists when travel should be anything but restrictions. Even the reasons and places we listed here are a “drop in the bucket” compared to all the world has to offer. This was simply to help you with some inspiration from what we here at Austin Adventures have found to be incredible and life-changing travel destinations. If you can take anything away from this besides some ideas for your next custom travel bucket list, take this: Travel changes you as a person, so it only makes sense that your bucket list would change with you.
By Amanda Walsmith