“Overtourism” is a real problem. People blame Instagram and social media. Or just smartphones. But I think a deeper shift happened in 2007 from something else. The movie, Bucket List, came out. It wasn’t a huge movie, but that term memed its way into the culture that was really toxic – in a kill-creativity and create-memetic-desire way. Here are 3 things about ditching bucket lists.
A big idea that I’ve learned from dozens of pop psychology books is that we anticipate what we know and remember what is new. The big “bucket list” attractions are all somewhat known…even if you’ve never been there. I mean, places like the Pyramids are all that for a reason…but they almost start to move into the “what we know” bucket.
You’ll anticipate, but won’t really remember it. Now if you want to truly remember your travels, you’ll need something new – an experience where you have no reference for, no knowledge of…and that’s not going to be on a “bucket list”.
Even if you come up with your “bucket list” – it’s not going to be yours. It’s likely going to be a curated selection of places other people have chosen. When you choose your destinations based on other criteria, you are more likely to craft an experience that’s all your own.
Being OK with Never Seeing Most of the World
It took me a while before I finally admitted that I wasn’t going to see everything. The math of checklists vs aging just does not work, especially when you factor in other life goals. Plus, there will always be something else. The checklist does not end…so why start one in the first place? The only outcome is failure and regret…even if you end up seeing more of the world than 99% of all humans ever!
Ok – but lists are great…and I love planning! So what to do instead? There are tons of options. I’m experimenting with pre-allocating weeks / weekends to traveling / seeing things and then letting the weather, travel prices, and life decide what to see.
I’m trying out creating “see more lists” – I love state parks…so I’m aiming to see more of them! Basically, set a rubric to narrow your options and then let life sort out what I’ll get to see.