Now that the term “bucket list”—dream vacations to take before you kick the bucket—has firmly rooted itself in popular culture, it’s time to pioneer a better term.
Yes, the drive to see places in the face of looming mortality lights a certain fire under the seats of armchair travelers, but the whole “live like you’re going to die tomorrow” idea has never worked for me. If that were the case, I would be spending the day updating my will and saying my goodbyes—and that’s depressing, not life affirming. When I travel, I’m pulled by curiosity, beauty, and the sweet promise of adventure. And I suspect I’m not the only one.
I started thinking about this recently after my three-year-old son approached me on a Thursday with a great, but logistically challenging idea. “Can we go to Australia this weekend?”
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When a kid is asking you to hop a long-haul flight on two days’ notice, it’s a sure sign he’s ready for a bucket list. But as he’s the type to ask a lot of questions, I knew I wouldn’t be able to introduce the concept of a “bucket list” without veering wildly off course.
So instead, we started an adventure book.
When I imagine a bucket list, it’s a hodgepodge of travel aspirations. But the visual I get with an adventure book is a story that I’m writing with my travels, chapters I’m planning ahead to, and memories that I will bring back and carry with me for a lifetime.
And unlike bucket lists, which seem geared to the individuals who lug them around, adventure books can be a shared work of a family—a place that holds the travel aspirations of everyone. Best of all, an adventure book can be a physical object to be looked through, passed around, and added to as a group of travelers-in-the-making.
That’s why I’m dumping out my bucket list and opening the first page of my adventure book.
Now I just need to choose the journal (right now, the list is on a single slip of paper). I’m thinking something leather and vaguely Indiana Jones-ish. Here are my top three:
- Lama Li Classic Leather Journal ($22 on Amazon, Prime shipping)
- Fair Trade Leather Bound Travel Journal ($26 on Amazon, plus shipping)
- Classic Leather Bound Journal ($30 on Amazon, plus shipping)
Goodbye bucket list. Hello adventure book.
More from SmarterTravel:
- The Travel Skills Every Child Needs
- 10 Beaches That Should Be on Your Bucket List
- How to Save for a Dream Vacation
Christine Sarkis loves a good adventure list. Follow her on Twitter @ChristineSarkis and Instagram @postcartography for more advice about making every vacation the best vacation.