Annette White is on a mission. Like many, her journey began with a realization: severe anxiety was limiting what she knew deep down should be a more fulfilling life. After 20 years of missed opportunities, she promised herself never to let fear make a decision for her, and to start living her bucket list. Now, she is an experience collector, blogger, author and restaurant owner living her personal bucket list. Her site, https://bucketlistjourney.net/ , is loaded with tips, lists, inspiration and some quirky travel fun to get you going. I recently enjoyed her post, How to Make a Travel Itinerary: Creating the Perfect One for Your Next Trip and think you will too.
1. What were you initially searching for in your travels? Have you found it?
Not only did I want to see the world, but also wanted to expand the boundaries of my comfort zone—to become less fearful of living my dream of living my bucket list. This happens with every new experience I have, with every new city I step foot in and with every new person I meet along the way. I wouldn’t say that I am now completely fearless, though my comfort bubble has grown exponentially and I now know that I am a stronger woman than I ever thought.
2. What has your journey taught you about yourself? What has it taught you about other people?
The most important thing this journey has taught me about myself is that my passion is undoubtedly for having new experiences. I love trying anything for the first time! I have also learned that inspiring others is almost more rewarding than completing a goal and that writing doesn’t have to be a God-given gift, but can be a learned talent.
I have learned about people that even with the many different cultures and traditions around the world, we are all similar in so many ways. We all want to be happy, nurture our families, fall in love and have a sense of security. All this makes it less intimidating to form a connection or just simply have a conversation.
3. What ideas about travel did you once have that have been proven wrong?
There is a false perception that you need to be rich to travel, which simply is not true. I know dozens of travelers who live off of less than ten thousand dollars a year and travel every day of their lives. Being driven by their passion, they found unique ways to make it happen. They may use couch surfing sites for their lodging, earn extra money teaching English classes abroad, or survive off of economical street food for their meals. I am not saying that everyone has to be that extreme, it’s just an example of the lengths people will go to follow their dream.
Of course travel will take some money and you may have to make some sacrifices (say good-bye to expensive frilly cocktails at trendy lounges), but it may not be as much as you think depending on where and when you go and the way you travel. A plane ticket can be bought strictly on rewards points and hotels can be secured cheaply with loyalty programs, plus every destination has free attractions to see. The trick is to use the savings techniques that professional travelers use and create a financial plan.
4. What would you say to someone who says they’re content with staying where they are, or are even anxious about going somewhere new?
The benefits of going somewhere new has the ability to push you to step outside your comfort zone and each time you try something for the first time you will grow—a little piece of the fear of the unknown is removed and replaced with a sense of empowerment.
Also, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s not worth even beginning any goal (no matter what it is!) if you are only able to make a small start. If your goal is completing a marathon, put on your running shoes and walk around the block. If it is learning how to speak Italian, memorize one word a day or even a week. Every accomplishment starts with one single step; it doesn’t matter how big or small, as long as you are making the effort to move forward.
Creating these types of baby steps is especially helpful when you are trying to tackle a major trip. It is less daunting to focus on each small task, plus you will get a confidence boost with each little milestone reached, as you will realize that you are one step closer to your goal. When you are looking at the big picture in its entirety, it can seem overwhelming and intimidating, which can promote procrastination. Breaking it down into bite-sized pieces and concentrating on each one individually makes it seem more doable.
5. What do you want the people who follow you to come away knowing? Feeling?
It is not only important to me to live my very best life, but it’s also important to be able to share what I have learned so others can live theirs and tackle their bucket list—one checkmark at a time. I hope in some way they will be inspired to create their dream life, by picturing their ideal future and then taking the steps necessary to go out there and get it.
6. Where is your happy place, and why?
I am happiest whenever I am having a new experience, so technically my happy place can be almost anywhere in the world. With that said, I find such a sense of peace being out amongst nature. So, if I had to pick a place it’d be on the tippy top of a mountain at sunset.
For more from Annette, visit https://bucketlistjourney.net