What’s On Your Bucket List?

What's On Your Bucket List 1

Frequently, when I check out other travel blogger’s posts, my comments have something to do with adding that destination to my bucket list. A bucket list is basically a list of things you want to do before you die. The term was made popular in the 2007 movie by the same name.

My bucket list includes:

  • a 3 to 6 month trip with my husband and two girls, maybe biking around Scotland or something,
  • a chartered sailboat trip in the Caribbean,
  • walking through the Holy Land,
  • completing an African safari,
  • going on a mission trip as a family.

I have no plans for any of these, no savings account, no nothing. How in the world can I achieve my bucket list at this rate?

I doubt my grandma had a bucket list, but one thing she always wanted to do was see Hearst Castle. My grandpa was not a big traveler and all 4 of her kids had families and full time jobs. How was this going to happen?

What's On Your Bucket List - hearst-castle

When my grandma was 77 years old, my mom, my sister and my 13 year old self took a road trip down the coast to Heart Castle. I was VERY into being 13 and one of my favorite stops was the Winchester Castle which has 13 stair steps to nowhere, 13 window panes, etc., all to continue building to avoid a haunting. My mom allowed me to eat turkey at every single meal. Think turkey dinner, turkey sandwiches, turkey omelets, etc.

The Hearst Castle was great. I still have a postcard. But what I remember most about this trip was the time together. I loved that I was hanging out with the women, almost like I was a grown up, too. It was a turning point in my life.

Several years ago, my mom was diagnosed with COPD, sort of a modern form of emphysema. Her health slowly declined, she had trouble walking long distances and she needed oxygen. Right after this diagnosis, we were at a local charity event. One of the items up for auction was 4 tickets to the Dr. Phil show. My mom watched the Dr. Phil show every day. Suddenly, I realized this was my mom’s Hearst Castle. My sister, my mom, a family friend and I pooled our money and won those tickets!

What's On Your Bucket List - beverly-hilton

We made our flight arrangements, reservations at the Beverly Hilton, then called the Dr. Phil show. Uh, they weren’t taping that day. I figured out how to be in the audience for the Price is Right. We were back on! This trip was full of memories, too. My sister and I walked through the lobby in our bathrobes, trying to find the hot tub. The lobby happened to be filled with men in tuxes and ladies in ball gowns. They were filming the The L.A. Sports Awards! We found out about the filming mere minutes after our first pass through when we had to walk back through the lobby again since this hotel had no hot tub. It was sort of our walk of shame; super embarrassing for country bumpkins like us to walk through the Beverly Hilton in bathrobes…not once but twice! We were waiting in line for Sprinkles cupcakes and I felt a bit like I was at the Soup Nazi’s because I was afraid to hesitate on my order. We also saw the taping of Price is Right, after waiting on a cold bench for 6 hour on a dreary, rainy California day.

While the trip was fun, I also had to be cognizant of my mom’s physical limitations. For the first time, I really understood that my mom, and my dad too, were aging and they wouldn’t always be with us around. There were many other amazing memories, but this, too, was another turning point in my life.

I’m so thankful I was able to travel to Hearst Castle and LA while those with me still had good health.

More recently, my husband’s aunt was very suddenly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. This form of cancer is fatal and time is measured in months. Shortly after the diagnosis, she and her husband took a trip to Hawaii. They spent lots of time in their hotel room and took strolls on the beach, with him pushing her in a wheelchair. Was this on anyone’s bucket list? When she couldn’t attend Thanksgiving because she was having a bad day, her sister said,

“What the hell is a bucket list for if your health is too bad to enjoy it?”

What's On Your Bucket List - bucket

I believe everyone has a bucket list somewhere in their head…maybe they don’t actually have a “list” per se, but they have a travel dream. It’s always somewhere in the background…maybe they see a picture of their dream or someone mentions their dream location. “Someday, I really want to go to…” And that’s it, until next time they are reminded of their dream.

But why wait? Why do we wait until our health is failing to take a trip? Why do we wait until our age is steadily climbing? Why not do it now?

If you have a dream travel destination, start planning the trip now! Gather travel brochures, surf the internet for travel tips. Figure out when to go, how much it will cost and how much you can save each month to make it happen. Don’t wait! Make this the year you start ticking dreams off your bucket list!

What's On Your Bucket List - checkmarks


  1. Melanie here! I enjoyed this piece, please email me–I have a question about your blog.
    Melanie L Bowen.

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