The Build Your Bucket List Challenge

At Home, Wanderlust

If you read Monday’s post, you already know that I’m devoting this whole month to achieving your travel dreams and goals. But, of course, it’s impossible to achieve any goals that you don’t set for yourself.

I want to get started by transforming dreams into goals, in order to build them into plans. So, today, I’m challenging you to build your bucket list.

bucket list building guide

You might think that this is simple, or that an endless Pinterest board called “bucket list” will suffice, but defining your goals also means priorities. So, it’s time to stop pinning and make a real list. (If you don’t like the term “bucket list,” I hear you. Call it a goals list or something, because that’s what it is.)

If you’re ready to take on the challenge, read on for my top tips and a little guidance along the way.

I also created a worksheet to help you out while you work through your travel goals. If you want to work it out while you read along, download my Build Your Bucket List Worksheet right here:

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1. Why do you want to travel?

I think that the first step in understanding your goals is to get at what’s behind them. WHY is travel important to you. If you’ve downloaded my build your bucket list worksheet, you’ll see I left you a big open space for brainstorming, so feel free to fill it up with dreams, sketches, or whatever comes to mind.

I think it’s important to ask yourself why travel is important to you, especially since it’s so easy to think more about how things look on Instagram than what you really want to experience in your life. If your reason behind wanting to travel is to show off on social media, you may want to reconsider those goals.

The why behind your bucket list will help you to define the experiences and locations that will be priorities for you.

If your why is to explore new landscapes, you might book a trip to a beautiful hiking spot. If you love fashion, Paris might be at the top of your list.

2. Where do you want to travel?

Now, start brainstorming locations. This part might be pretty easy because there is so much inspiration out there all over Instagram and Pinterest. If you’re more motivated by experiences than specific locations, though, you might struggle with this. Either way is fine.

When you add a place to your brainstorming list, check back in with your why. It’s perfectly fine if your main motivation to go somewhere is simply because it’s a place to go (London, Paris, and New York might be examples of this), but if you have a deeper reasoning, check in with that.

If you recognize that you mostly want to go somewhere because it would look good to friends and family, you don’t need to keep that spot on your list.

3. What experiences do you want to have in your life?

One thing that a lot of people look over when creating a travel bucket list is the experience you’re hoping to have once you arrive at your destination. Again, if you’re happy to build a list of only places, that’s totally fine. But I prefer to create a bucket list of experiences. (Read more about that here.)

Between the Why and the Where lists you’ve already come up with, you probably have the inspiration you need to create a list of experiences. It might be as simple as expanding from “see the Grand Canyon” to “hike the Grand Canyon,” but adding that layer of specificity and experience makes it a more achievable and tangible goal.

You can also add experiences that don’t require visiting a specific place, like taking a cooking class from another culture.

4. When do you want to achieve these goals?

The thing about dreams is they don’t have a timeline. While that’s awesome for daydreaming, if you want to make something happen, you need a goal, and a goal has a deadline.

When you’re building your bucket list, I would advise you to think less in terms of long-term (i.e. “before I die”) planning, and more in the shorter term. After all, none of us can know how long we have to live our dreams, and you’re more likely to get started living your goals if you know you have limited time to achieve them. I created a “before I’m 30” bucket list, for instance. Think about deadlines or milestones in your own life, and which items are priorities now versus dreams for later.

Check in with yourself and set a comfortable deadline for your own goals. You can set a timeline for each, or an over timeline for the whole list. It’s all about what works best for you.

Now you’re ready to build your bucket list, and I can’t wait to see what you put on it and where those adventures bring you, both physically and emotionally.

Don’t forget, you can download my build your bucket list worksheet (if you downloaded the bundle on Monday, you already have this worksheet). Click here to download it now:

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Tell me in the comments: What’s on your bucket list?


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