After reading a recent article by The New Yorker’s Rebecca Mead, Kicking the Bucket List, it got us thinking about our own bucket list let downs and why steering clear of some of the guide books ‘Top 10s’ is probably a good idea.
To prove a point, here’s a round up of our Top 5 bucket list let downs:
1) Vatican, Rome: Now, it may just have been the intense 40 degree heat but touring the Vatican was not exactly how we pictured it. In fact, the Sistine chapel experience wasn’t a whole lot different to trying to get on the tube in rush hour. Hoards of heavily sweating tourists, packed into one room, with guards shushing you every 30 seconds, is not quite the awe inspiring experience your guide books leads you to believe. After several elbow punches to the face, we gave up trying to look at the ceiling and went and sat in a corner with a Japanese couple who were having a nap. The fact that we remember more about the napping Japanese couple than the chapel itself probably speaks for itself.
2) Koh Samui, Thailand (aka the Tenerife of SE Asia): How half the population of the UK have found their way to a small island off Thailand, we know not. The ‘paradise’ beaches of this island were filled with squabbling families, deflated lilos and beer bottles. The only real memory of this trip was the constant playing of Michael Buble ‘Home’ in all bars and restaurants, which was quite ironic really.
3) Marrakesh, Morocco: This probably isn’t Marrakesh’s fault, but this entire trip was ruined by the worst salmonella poisoning in living history and several trips to the hospital. Chicken with flies on it. Hurray!
4) Gondola ride, Venice: A must, right? Cruising down the canals of Venice, clutching the hand of your loved one. Not so much. After being charged a small fortune just to get on the gondola and enduring the awkward silence of our gondolier who only spoke when he asked if he could have a Pringle, we were glad to get off and enjoy Venice by foot. Alone.
5) Swimming with dolphins, Jamaica: This was already a controversial addition because let’s face it, dolphins are not on this planet to be endlessly half-mounted by humans and ‘ridden’ around a small circular pool. However, we gave it a go in Jamaica and instantly regretted it.
When we look back at most of our travels, a lot of our highlights don’t come from experiencing bucket list destinations or experiences. For example, we’re sure that visiting a pitch-black, public toilet in Sicily, where Laura weed all the way down her leg in a panic to get out, probably isn’t in the Lonely Planet guide. Yet it’s one of the most memorable and entertaining memories of our trip there!
Moral of this blog post? Try going bucketlist-less every now and again and enjoy those sporadic, unexpected and hilarious moments that makes travel the adventure it should be.