Monthly Archives: January 2013

From Bucket List to Been There, Done That # 1: Travel

A non-athletic, non-competitive, not-rich person’s guide to replacing excuses with plans.

El Bosque Tallado (Carved Forest) in El Bolson, Argentina

El Bosque Tallado (Carved Forest) in El Bolson, Argentina

I’m not a fan of the “bucket list.” I don’t have a bucket list. Once I find something I really want to do, I’ll find a way to do it. For example, I just got back from spending 5 weeks backpacking in South America.
If you’re thinking You’re SO lucky… I wish I could go on a trip like that… I have to tell you something: It wasn’t luck. And you CAN take a trip like that.
No one gave me plane tickets, an itinerary, or a “get out of work free” card. I decided I wanted to go, saved the money, bought the plane ticket, made the plan, told my clients, set my email to Out of Office, and left.
What excuses are you telling yourself right now?
I can’t take 5 weeks off of work – my boss would never let me!
Is that really true? Have you tried? Most places won’t offer that much time off, but if you’re valuable and you can plan your time off in advance to be during a low time or over the Christmas holidays, and you volunteer to cover everyone else during peak vacation times, then maybe you can work something out. Since I’m a freelancer, I have many clientS, not just one boss. That means I had to tell MANY people I would be gone for 5 weeks. None of them freaked out.
I can’t travel with kids.
I met a couple in a hostel in Argentina who were traveling around the world for a year with their two boys – one pre-teen and one young teen. Would your kids learn more in school or on a trip? I can’t speak from experience, but I’ve seen people do it. There’s a way. Do it FOR your kids!
I don’t have the money.
This is where we get to the crux of the situation. Resource allocation. If you really, truly want to travel, you have to scale back on other things. I’ve used duct tape to hem pants that didn’t fit right, my 10-year old car is showing signs of rust, and I rarely go out to eat. Prioritize. Put a little bit away every month. It’s not easy to save up a big chunk of cash, but it is doable.
The only potentially valid excuse I can think of is medical, and even then, there’s often a work-around. At the recent Banff Film Festival I saw “The Gimp Monkeys” about three climbers who were each missing one limb. They climbed El Capitan in Yosemite. It took them 5 days, but they did it. One of them said, “The right attitude and one arm will beat the wrong attitude and two arms any day.” Watch it! And then throw out that bucket list. Instead, list your excuses and work on crossing those off. If you do that, you won’t need a bucket list.
What earth-bound travel plans have you been putting off?