When I started my travels, I was hoping to be able to check a bunch of places off my bucket list. See Yellowstone. Raft the Grand Canyon. Take a road trip around the Southwest. See the Philippines. See Bali.

But I quickly learned that travel bucket lists don’t work. I was never able to check a place off my list.

There’s Always More To See

Yellowstone is big. Really big. I spent a week there, but there’s still more to see. And what I saw was magical. I want to go back.

I only rafted the upper portion of the Grand Canyon. I want to go back and raft the lower part too. And the canyon is one of the most incredible things in the world. I’d like to see it again some day.

I visited all the national parks in Utah. I hiked. A lot. But there’s so many more hikes, like the Trans-Zion. I want to go back and do more. And Utah is such a unique place. I’d certainly like to return.

Coron Island still isn't checked off my list.
Coron Island still isn’t checked off my list.

The Philippines has more than 7,000 islands. I only made it to four. And I barely scratched the surface of Luzon. I’d like to go back to see more.

And I spent weeks exploring tiny Bali, but still didn’t see everything. I’d like to go back.

I made it to more Indonesian than Filipino islands, six. But there are so many more!

You’re Never “Done” With A Place

So far, I haven’t crossed anything off my travel bucket list. There’s no place I feel like I’m “done” with. Every time I visited somewhere there were so many things to see. I never had time to see it all.

I’ve come to believe that treating travel as a bucket list, where you check off each item in order, is futile. I can never cross places off, because I keep finding more things to do everywhere I visit.

I still have a list of places I want to go. But rather than rushing through it, making a lot of short visits just to say I’ve been somewhere, I take it slow. I’ve come to accept that I won’t have enough time to go everywhere I want.

I’d rather pick a few places I’m most interested in, and spent a lot of time in those.

I'm Terry, former cubicle-dweller, and now traveler, photographer, writer, and entrepreneur. I quit my job in 2014 to travel to US national parks, then to South East Asia. I write about independent, flexible, long-term, budget travel. Sign up to my newsletter to get the latest news on what I'm up to. I hope you join me on my trek around the world.

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