Advice Journal Travel Planning

The Bucketlist Revisited: Do Dream Destinations Really Ever Get “Checked Off”?

At this point in my life, it’s hard to imagine not having a bucketlist. So many places to go, tastes to savor, sunsets to soak in. The modern traveler is bombarded with beautiful images of far off places in staggering amounts. But, it’s time to think deep. Do dream destinations ever really get checked off of our bucketlist? Or do our deep connections to places remain in tact after experiencing them?

I first started to ask myself this question after I completed a whirlwind trip to England. I had dreamed of exploring the country since I was ten years old. It’s the first destination that ever truly captured my imagination.

I dreamed of waking up to the toll of Big Ben, exploring castles of the countryside, enrolling myself into Hogwarts and having tea with the Queen… or, you know, a Spice Girl if the royals were too busy. The idea of exploring England was my daydream – my first true bucketlist destination.

As life goes, my bucketlist continued to grow with experiences I wished to have and places I longed to see. But as much as I could tell you about the royal lineage and The Beatles discography (and all other sorts of Anglophine nerd-dom), England remained my bucketlist crush from afar. Yep, I traveled extensively for five years and yet I hadn’t stepped foot onto England’s soil until just a few months ago.

My time in England was the type of travel experience all explorers could hope for. Every element of the trip exceeded my wildest ten year old dreams. The grey, moody skies, the art galleries stocked with aged and historic work, the detailed stonework, the evenings spent in pubs with locals, Big Ben, the beauty of the rolling countryside… it was all so lush and real and, well, perfect. By the end of my three week trip, my bucketlist destination had truly been completed to its fullest.

And yet… to this day, England remains proudly on my bucketlist. I long to go back. I dream of seeing the winding alleyways in every season of the year. I have a new list of more sights and restaurants to experience. Yes, I had “completed” England, but it will never be truly done.

To the traveler with a curious spirit and an open heart, I know you feel the same. The bucketlist idea should be revisited. Do we ever “check off” bucketlist destinations? Or do they remain on our list none-the-less? For me, it’s the latter. Bucketlists shouldn’t get done. They should be fullfilled and fed, like a hunger that is consistent.

Every place I’ve longed to explore with my own two feet has a special place in my heart… and they always will. Every destination that has revealed itself to me remains in my minds eye. They echo in my mind and flash into memories and dreams alike.

What do you think? Do dream destinations ever truly get “checked off”?

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  • Erika November 18, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    This is so true! So many of the places at the top of my travel list are places that I’ve already been. It’s also true that the more places you go, the more places you still want to see. For every place that gets checked off, at least ten more are added.

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