I want to preface this post by saying that I love my bucket list. It’s motivated me to go out and do so many things throughout San Francisco that I never got to before, and it has been a great excuse for get togethers with friends and in different neighborhoods. But there is a mentality that comes with a bucket list that I am trying to shake before I go on this RTW adventure.
Lists in general are made to check things off. Who doesn’t get some sort of satisfaction out of putting a check mark next to or a red line through an item on a list? I have even added things to lists just so I could cross them off. When planning a visit to a new place, it seems natural to me to make a list of what interests you and try to get to as much of it as possible. I am guilty of traveling this way in the past, but I am trying to remind myself not to focus like this going forward.
As everything I read keeps telling me, a RTW trip isn’t about checking things off your list. It’s about being there in the moment. Say I miss a big tourist attraction because I get lost – this isn’t something to stress about. Wandering the streets of a town is just as good a way to get to know it as hitting the highlights; often it’s actually better. I may find some off the beaten path site that is even more interesting, or maybe I’ll have a chance to interact with locals, or just get a better feel for the architecture (I am an architecture student after all).
And isn’t this how I grew to love San Francisco anyway? It took me years to get Alcatraz, I avoid Fisherman’s Wharf like the plague, and despite living on a trolley car line I never take it. I like exploring the neighborhoods of SF without an agenda just as much as anything on my bucket list, so I should enjoy other places I visit in the same way.
So even while I make amazing progress on my bucket list (seriously, I’m almost done!), I am still trying to keep in mind that lists will not be a main focus of my RTW trip. The things I see and do will happen as they happen, not because I needed to write a check mark.