Adventure Awaits: Bucket list trips that excite and inspire

Have a screenplay produced by a major Hollywood studio. That was the first item on screenwriter Justin Zackham’s list of life goals. Originally—and aptly—titled “Justin’s list of things to before he kicks the bucket,” Zackham shorted it to “Justin’s bucket list.” And with the release of his 2007 blockbuster The Bucket List starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, Zackham was able to check a major item off of his so-called “bucket list.”

The movie helped coin the term, which has only gained popularity in the years following its release. But as new as the phrase is, the concept is not.

“A huge part of our human experience is a desire for legacy,” says Ally Bayard, licensed professional counselor and founder of Refinery Counseling Center. “There is this idea that for our lives to have ‘mattered,’ there needs to be some resumé or CV or list of socially acceptable accomplishments. I think the bucket list is a natural product of people wanting to accomplish their goals, even the ones that seem grandiose.”

For many people, those “grandiose” dreams revolve around travel. From seeing the wonders of the world to experiencing diverse and rich cultures, there is no shortage of goals to be set. And this month, we’re digging into three once-in-a-lifetime trips, as defined by local travel advisors Tiffany Ellis, Kristin Diehl and Caitlin Stolzenthaler.

However, while each trip is about dreaming big, the idea is to seize the day rather than letting your list of must-do experiences collect dust.

“Life’s seasons come and go, and what might be a bucket list item for one season may not be attainable in another,” Bayard explains. “Go climb the mountain when you’re 30, not 80. Learn a new language when you’re older and physicality is more challenging. Second, ask for help. If you want to go to a specific destination but you get overwhelmed planning trips, use a travel agent. If you want to learn a new skill but don’t know how to connect to a teacher, go to the library or local university and ask someone. I think so often we get in our own way or talk ourselves out of achieving bucket list items because we get embarrassed or overwhelmed with not knowing how to take the first step.”

Click the story titles below for three bucket list trip ideas—and tips for making them a reality—from Ellis, Diehl and Stolzenthaler. Carpe diem!

Escape to Egypt: A cruise down the Nile River offers a different perspective of the region’s rich history

Photo by Sean Pavone

Jet Set: The sky is the limit on a month-long jet experience with stops around the world

Photo by Pai

Unlock Southeast Asia: Exploring Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos grants a deeper view of the world and its many cultures