It’s time to throw away the bucket list

It’s time to throw away the bucket list. This isn’t the post that I was going to write today. I’ve got about 57 posts in various states of finished-ness saved in my drafts folder but none of them seemed right today.

For reasons I won’t go into, I didn’t know how in all good conscience I could write a post about all-inclusive resorts or the various merits of xxx destination today. I couldn’t even write about bratty expat kids or the summer exodus. It just didn’t feel right. None of it did.

Time to think

I started to think I might not publish anything today. I wondered if it would be better not to. And then scrolling through my various drafts I came across one about bucket lists. Maybe I’ll finish writing that one day – I mean, I love a good list.

But it got me thinking about bucket lists

Not long ago I shared an article about consumerism among millennials. They’re said to shun consumerism and materialism. They’re much more existential and prefer to have experiences over things. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit looking for that article but it looks to have been lost in the ether somewhere.

The article pointed out (rightly) that, while millennials have shunned collecting things and possessions in favour of things like travel and experiences, they’re still consuming. Another article I found that I also shared last year from CNN argued that many of us are collecting places rather than really travelling.

I’ve definitely found as we have got older and more restricted by school holidays and ability to get over jet lag that we are maybe leaning towards that tendency. A weekend in Turkey, a week in Thailand, 2 weeks in Bali…

It’s a far cry from the girl who gave up backpacking because she didn’t like the feeling of just collecting stamps in her passport. The girl who felt like just because she had been travelling in Chile, Bolivia and Peru that she hadn’t really been there.

Anyway, back to this bucket list

You know I love a list. I write lists about everything. Packing lists, bucket lists, photo lists, blog lists… I love a list. But going to throw away my bucket list and start a very different one and here’s why I think you should too:

I say this all the time but I don’t know if I preach it enough. It doesn’t matter where you go. I still truly believe that travel and holidays with your Things is one of the biggest, more precious gifts you can give them.

But I’ll say it again. It really doesn’t matter where you go. It matters what you do. And that you do it together.

So here’s my new bucket list Wanderlusters:

1. Go outside

We spend so much time cooped up. The Things are in school and I’m often sat at my dining table writing or in meetings. We live in a place that is currently about as hot as the sun. When we go away I want to be outside. All the time. Please. It can’t be a coincidence that all our favourite holidays have had an outdoor theme in common.

Throw away the bucket list - Wanderlust family and Granny Wanderlust in teh roman theatre Amman Jordan

2. Do something new

My Things are learning new things every day! But when was the last time I learnt something new (at least something not blog related lol). I’d love to do something new that we could learn together. I’d love to have that thing we could say to each other – do you remember when we took Thai cooking classes / learnt to skydive / ate snails / swam in the Dead Sea?

Throw away the bucket list me Thing 1 and Granny Wanderlust in the Dead Sea

3. Challenge ourselves

It’s confession time. In Turkey last week there was an amazing water park. The Things loved it. They were in their ELEMENT. Thing 1 would mostly rather watch a screen than do anything else in the whole world. But given the option he was all about the water park! No-one was more surprised than me and in terms of ticking off point 1. We had all the ticks (until it rained anyway).

Throw away the bucket list - water park in Antalya Turkey

Now I’m not the biggest fan of water parks. In my old age vertigo seems to be getting the better of me and it’s far easier to make Mr Adrenaline Junkie Wanderlust go and do the fun / scary stuff. The feminist in me thinks this is a complete pile of rubbish. I need to be out there with my Things doing the stuff they love.

Anyway, Thing 1 took me to the very top of a huge slide tower in that water park. I did go down 1 slide. (Screaming. Obvs). Up we went again. He was so desperate for us both to go down another slide. His favourite slide. Oh Wadnerlusters, I let him down! I got to the top and I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t. Walking down the steps, I found him still watching the slide. Waiting for me to come down.

I know, in the grand scheme of things, I’ve not let him down dramatically. I know I’ve done far worse lol. But the confusion and disappointment on his face is one I’ll remember forever. And his words rang in my ears: “Sometimes you have to try something you don’t really want to do mummy.”

I can’t promise I’ll ever get myself down a super steep slide. But maybe I’ll try a little harder.

4. Have a yes day

Have you ever heard of these? It’s where the Things get to dictate every thing that the family does that day. And the parents have to say yes. OMG this scares me senseless. Control freak no 1 is not comfortable with doing this but there’s something about the idea that really appeals. And I know the Things would love it. I mean I’d have to cheat it with some ground rules on everything being safe, drinking enough water, not hitting each other, some sort of agreement between them so we all do the same thing etc. But in general it seems like a pretty cool idea. And I’ll do it. (One day).

5. Watch a sunrise and a sunset

I mean I don’t know if they’ll ever care about a sunrise. I remember driving past fields when I was younger and my mum shouting “look at the daffodils!” or “lambs!” (from her friend when we visited them). At aged 10 we could not have cared less!

Throw away the bucket list - view from villa Amalfi coast

Somewhere along the way I grew to appreciate the beauty of flowers, the miracle of little lambs. But my thing is a sunrise or a sunset. I love to share the peace of that moment with them. And maybe one day they’ll grow to appreciate it too.

6. Do something we or the Things love


I feel like most things we do on holiday are things that Mr Wanderlust choose to do (although in our defence we are involving the Things more in our planning). Of course, I’ll make sure they do stuff that we want to do (believe me – grump has no grumpiness like me not having the holiday I want).

The whole Wanderlust family floating along a lazy river at a water park in Bali

But who’s to say that they can’t teach me about how to have a better holiday? Going to those waterparks is not what I would ever have dreamed of doing on a holiday but I can’t argue with how happy it makes them. And happy Things = happy mummy!


It’s not often that I get super passionate about something. When I think back to what really lights me up, I think about my gap years. I think about speaking Spanish and going out dancing with my Ecuadorian friends. It’s important to me that my Things know about that part of my life. I want to be able to share it with them. I want them to speak the language that I loved learning and I really want them to learn to dance!

For Mr Wanderlust it’s more about the adrenaline. I’ve learned to love the things he does like skiing and scuba diving and we will definitely be taking the Things along for those rides. Golf and bungee jumping I might take a pass on though.

7. One on one time

We are all about family time. And it definitely has it’s place. With Mr Wanderlust travelling so much, it stands to reason that we would all want to be together whenever we can. The Things adore each other and, even when they fight, they wouldn’t be happier if we split them up.

But I’ve been thinking lately that family time should be balanced with some ,ore one on one time. Maybe Mummy and Thing 1 can have a date while daddy and Thing 2 do the same. Or Mummy and Thing 2 can go surfing while Daddy and Thing 1 head to the waterpark. Whatever it is, even if it’s just breakfast one on one, I think it’s something we need to introduce to our holidays.

8. Appreciate the little things

We have become so much about the big things – diving with whale sharks or learning to surf or a spectacularly enormous swimming pool that I think we can lose sight of the little things in life.

Almost nothing in this world makes me happier than seeing the Things laugh or smile. I love snuggles with them and watching them sleep. I love looking at their faces filled with wonder and excitement – even if it’s because they’ve just seen a giant lollipop instead of the ancient ruin we are taking them to see. Watching them learning fascinates me and seeing their friendships – together and with other Things – fills my heart until it could burst.

I want to see more of those things on my holiday and imprint them on my memory forever.

9. Seize the day

There are a few places not too far from here that I’ve been desperate to visit for years and certainly since we arrived here. Somehow we’ve been here for more than 3 years and not made it to them. That’s not to say that we haven’t been to some truly incredible places – Bali, Jordan, Italy and Thailand have been some of the more fun and most impactful places we could have dreamed of.

But we’ve been running out of time – with holiday restrictions we can only really go to places for 1 or 2 weeks and that just doesn’t seem like enough. We’d need to go for 2 weeks, minimum. So lately I’ve found myself wondering where we can go for a long weekend or even a week. Well that stops here, Wanderlusters. If we have a week, then we will take the week and go back another time to finish what we didn’t get to see.

If anything the past 24 hours has told me, it’s that life is too short than to do anything other than seize the day.

What do you think Wanderlusters? Will you throw away the bucket list? What would you add to my list?

Emma Morrell
Emma Morrell

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