How to live your bucket list now

DSC_0170_2We’ve heard it time and time again since coming back from our around the world adventure.

“I would love to do that but…”

“A trip like that is on my bucket list. Someday, I’ll…”

I get it. The hardest decision you can make about a big trip is the decision to do it. But there are things you can do now, today, to at least bring the possibility of your dream vacation a little closer to fruition.

Here are five things families can do now so they can travel later:

1. Start traveling now: Don’t wait for that yearlong adventure to see if your family can handle it. Start with small trips close to home and gradually increase the distance as you and they get more confident. We’ve traveled with the kids since they were babies and the fact that by the time we did the “big trip” they were already well versed in how to handle security lines and sitting on an airplane made it that much  easier.

2. Set a date: “One day” never comes. Ish and I have wanted to take a trip around the world for more than 10 years. What made it happen? The date that was set when he applied for a “4 over 5” sabbatical at his work. That decision meant that 2011 would be the year. We could’ve opted out of that date at any time prior to leaving, but just setting the date gave us something tangible to work toward. No one was more surprised than us when all of a sudden it was time to go.  Make a definitive date for your trip and you’re more likely to get there.

mekong delta 4

Your wildest dreams are just around the corner. Head out to meet them.

3. Ask yourself what you are doing today to get you to the realization of your dream: There’s no way around it. Whether you opt for a trip that is bare bones or over the top luxe you’re still going to need to have some money to make it happen. Take a hard look at your lifestyle and decide what you want and how much you’re willing to give up to get it. Is skipping the Starbucks, opting out of a big Stereo purchase or downsizing your lifestyle, on the table for consideration? They don’t all have to be, but realize that every one of those is a choice and only some of them will bring you closer to your dream.

4. Size matters…and doesn’t: Don’t get hung up on the size of the adventure.  We realized quickly that trying to think of the whole year as one project was only going to leave us feeling overwhelmed.  It was much better to think of it in stages. Chunk up your vacation and work on small portions at a time that make sense together. At times we were considering it by continent, country or just week by week.  And remember not to over think it either. Life happens in between the schedule. Our best and brightest moments were completely unscripted.

boys home

You don’t have to go far. What matters is who you’re with.

5. State your intentions: Tell someone. Tell everyone. Shout it from rooftops. The more people you tell, the more real it will feel. On the one hand it allows you to be accountable to your dreams but it is also an opportunity for you to find like minded people (especially in social media) and to begin to garner the support and information you need to make your dream come true.

fireworks silhouette

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{ 6 comments… add one }

andrew July 22, 2013, 11:46 AM

Hiya Heather,
Nice piece. We were planning a Sept. 2018 departure date (thank you 4 over 5!), but realize now that launching in January is probably fiscally better for us. Trouble is, do we pull the kids out after half a year of school (and return them half way through another year) or try to get by and bite the fiscal bullet this year from Sept. to Jan. to make it happen… I think I just answered my own question, but kindly advise!



Heather July 22, 2013, 11:56 AM

Depends on the year…and the kids…and the school. (That was helpful, wasn’t it?) We had originally planned a Jan-Dec year but E was in grade 3 which we knew was a pivotal year. our planning allowed him to finish Grade 3 and Cam to be back in time for it. Also fiscally (tax-wise, amount of days out of the country for things like OHIP, etc. ) it was better with 6 months out of two years than 1 year completely out.


andrew July 22, 2013, 4:46 PM

Makes sense. Hannah will be 12 (on the cusp of not wanting to be with her parents for a year!) and William will be 9, so Grade 4 and 7 (another pivotal year). Better get my house in order.


Pete August 7, 2013, 10:45 AM

The first one is probably the most important one. If you are able to start, everything will come easier. I can’t remember how many times I put off following my dream to travel the world and once I started, I find myself wondering why the hell I hesitated in the first place. The faster you get yourself started, the less time you will waste.

Great article. :)


Heather August 7, 2013, 5:59 PM

It’s true isn’t it Pete? Even when we were out there I could feel the negative thoughts peeking through every once in a while. “Sure that last country that I thought was dangerous turned out to be safe, but it’s this next one that could be dangerous.” LOL. The mind is a funny thing. Thanks for reading and weighing in.


Karsten August 26, 2013, 5:37 AM

Can I get a list of the countries and if possible cities you visited?

I am moved by your article.


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