I’m not a winner… but it was fun

The winners for the Big Blog Exchange were announced on Tuesday and unfortunately I didn’t make the list this year. Thanks for all your support and encouragement over the past few months. It’s been a fun experience, I learned a lot, and I plan on entering again next year!

If you want to see the winners list and the exchanges, they are listed here on the competition’s blog.

I’d love to keep seeing you around here on The Goal List, which will continue with 2-3 posts/week with stories, inspiration, and resources for achieving your goals and reaching your dreams.

Until next week,

In defense of the bucket list: A response to the New Yorker post

The New Yorker published a post yesterday called “Kicking the Bucket List” which begins by talking about the increasing popularity of the bucket list in today’s culture, and progresses into a discussion on the significance and potential societal dangers of pursuing a bucket list.

I like her post, but I disagree with the point she makes at the end. I’ll write about it below, and you can join in the conversation in the comments, after you read the full original post.

At the end of the post, Rebecca Mead (the author) says the following:

As popularly conceived, however, the bucket list is far from being a reckoning with the weight of love in extremis, or an ethical or moral accounting. More often, it partakes of a commodification of cultural experience, in which every expedition made, and every artwork encountered, is reduced to an item on a checklist to be got through, rather than being worthy of repeated or extended engagement. Dropping by Stonehenge for ten minutes and then announcing you’ve crossed it off your bucket list suggests that seeing Stonehenge—or beholding the Taj Mahal, or visiting the Louvre, or observing a pride of lions slumbering under a tree in the Maasai Mara—is something that, having been done, can be considered done with.

This is the YOLO-ization of cultural experience, whereby the pursuit of fleeting novelty is granted greater value than a patient dedication to an enduring attention—an attention which might ultimately enlarge the self, and not just pad one’s experiential résumé. The notion of the bucket list legitimizes this diminished conception of the value of repeated exposure to art and culture. Rather, it privileges a restless consumption, a hungry appetite for the new. I’ve seen Stonehenge. Next?

What if, instead, we compiled a different kind of list, not of goals to be crossed out but of touchstones to be sought out over and over, with our understanding deepening as we draw nearer to death? These places, experiences, or cultural objects might be those we can only revisit in remembrance—we may never get back to the Louvre—but that doesn’t mean we’re done with them. The greatest artistic and cultural works, like an unaccountable sun rising between ancient stones, are indelible, with the power to induce enduring wonder if we stand still long enough to see.

I acknowledge that this is a struggle for me. I can get frustrated when waiting for something to happen on my list, and it’s hard for me to accept when I don’t get a chance to do something when I planned to do. Still, I don’t want to rush through just checking things off the list. Part of the memory comes from reading my little summaries I write after I do each list item, so in that way I “revisit in remembrance.” More of the experience also comes from the planning process, which can sometimes last longer than the event itself.

My list has a mix of short and long-term goals, and even though (as with the example of graduate school) I didn’t always have the “patient dedication to an enduring attention” that Rebecca talks about, I also think that most of my short and long-term goals “ultimately enlarge the self, and not just pad one’s experiential résumé.” The key is that I actively think about what I’m learning from my experiences, regardless of the amount of time it takes for me to do them. My “patient dedication to an enduring attention” is seen in my dedication to my blogs and to my list overall.

Rebecca writes, “The notion of the bucket list legitimizes this diminished conception of the value of repeated exposure to art and culture. Rather, it privileges a restless consumption, a hungry appetite for the new.” My restlessness doesn’t come from being exposed to the same “art and culture” as before; in fact, I often want to return to look at and think about things I’ve experienced before. My restlessness comes from feeling like I want and need to make a difference in people’s lives, and feeling like I’m not doing that. My bucket list and this blog often help me feel like in some small way I am making a difference by inspiring people to make progress in following their dreams.

The last paragraph suggests “a different kind of list, not of goals to be crossed out but of touchstones to be sought out over and over, with our understanding deepening as we draw nearer to death.” I suggest that it is not the bucket list itself, but rather the approach to the list that matters.

Savor the process, planning, accomplishment, and remembering. If Rebecca is right, and we are obsessed with the YOLO (You Only Live Once) attitude, why would we want to rush through life without reflection? Let’s continue our lists, but don’t ever consider them done.

Agree? Disagree? Let’s continue this discussion in the comments below.

Interview with Lyndsay Cabildo from Discount Travel Blogger

Lyndsay Cabildo (discounttravelblogger.com) - Photo used with permission

Lyndsay Cabildo – Photo used with permission

Lynday Cabildo is a travel blogger specializing in budget travel and solo female travel. On her blog, Discount Travel Blogger, she inspires people “not to delay the dream of seeing the world” by sharing tips on saving money while travelling. Today she shares her travel inspiration, bucket list philosophy, and the best advice she’s ever received.

Name and blog:
Lyndsay Cabildo from Discount Travel Blogger

Fun fact about you:
I am was a timid girl growing up, but I become my different self when I’m on the stage singing.

Funner fact:
I love reading about metaphysics, philosophy, and universal mysteries.

Funnest fact:
I understand more languages than I can speak. ( I speak 3 languages fluently, 4 others in beginners level.)

What do you think has been essential to your success as a travel blogger?
Connections are good, but watch out for people who are not getting the best out of you. Avoid politics, just do your own thing.

What was something that surprised you about blogging?
It surprised me how many people were inspired by it, and how my goal of encouraging my friends not to delay the dream of seeing the world is slowly happening. It is a very powerful tool that we bloggers should know how to use it responsibly.

If you had to describe your blog in 6 words or less, what would you say?
Journal. Budget Travel Tips. Easy Going.

Who or what inspires you?
You mean, to travel? I don’t know, maybe my father. I used to asked him questions how is it like out there at the places he went to for work? How is it like riding an airplane? But I remember, every time I watch TV or movies from the other side of the world, I always think “how is it like to be out there?” or “How do they live there?”. I think it’s natural for us to be curious, it’s just that, I know we are all different and I wanted to understand how and why we are different.

What is your all-time favorite bucket list item (of yours or someone else’s)?
Well, I don’t really have a bucket list. I just wanted to see beautiful places and if time permits me, I go where I feel like going at that time. I just want to live like life is worth living without money’s worth.

If you weren’t doing anything related to travel, what would you be doing in your free time?
I should be singing. That is really what I wanted to do.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My grandfather once said to me after returning from a failed mission in Italy, “Next time you do something again, make sure that you really want to do it…” because at that time, I did what I did because I have to do it and that made me fail.

Thanks, Lyndsay, for sharing your time and thoughts with us!
Want to keep reading? You can read more about Lyndsay and her tips for budget travel on her blog, Discount Travel Blogger.

Who else do you want to see interviewed? If you have an inspiring person in mind, please let me know using the contact form or comments below.

Track your travel progress [Resource]

Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com

Basic free travel map, not able to be saved, but it is embeddable using HTML code. You can choose your own colors, and choose whether you want a USA map, select continents, or a world map. Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com

Traveling to various places, states, countries (or even to visit all countries or all states within a country) are on most people’s bucket lists. Travel maps are a fun way to show where you’ve been and where you want to go.

There are many options, including the classic paper maps and pins version, less traditional tattoo map, and online versions to share on blogs or social media.

There are many sites to create your travel map, with varying degrees of detail. Some include multiple colors for the amount of time you’ve spent and how thoroughly you’ve seen the state/country, and others are more basic with only one option to check whether you’ve been there or not and no choices in display colors.

I’m including a few examples below, just based on Google searching and learning about them from travel bloggers.

TravBuddy allows you to save the map to your account, so you can go back and add more locations later, a big advantage compared to other free sites that require you to re-enter all your locations each time. It also shows what percent of the countries in the world you’ve visited.

Google Maps is another option I’ve seen bloggers use, especially for those who want to be very specific about where they’ve been (cities or geographical features vs. countries, for example). However, I find Google Maps is more useful to plan trips than to show where I’ve been.

Travellerspoint seems interesting because you can add photos and blog posts and link them to specific places on the map, and again, it looks specific to cities vs. coloring in larger areas. I probably wouldn’t use it, because I already have this blog, and (based only on looking at the front page) the blog posts you can attach to the map are those written on their site, not on outside sites. (If you’re familiar with this site, please let me know if I’m wrong!)

Mappable Travel Score I’m unsure if this one can be saved, but at first glance, it’s pretty interesting. The creator made an interactive map divided into cells that you click on to indicate that you visited it (so instead of clicking countries first, you click cells, and then it asks you to specify which countries you visited out of those that exist in the cells you select). The data is used to calculate what percentage of the world you’ve visited. Seems more complicated than TravBuddy.

Do you use a travel map to keep track of where you’ve been? Share below!

Reread my favorite book (Ella Enchanted) (2014)

"I <3 2 read" Photo Credit: Kate Ter Haar via Flickr Used unmodified under CC By 2.0 license

Photo Credit: Kate Ter Haar via Flickr
Used unmodified under CC By 2.0 license

There’s so much more to a book than just the reading.
–Maurice Sendak

Every time I read this book, it’s like visiting a favorite place. Ella Enchanted (by Gail Carson Levine) was the book that first introduced me to retold fairy tales. When I read it the first time I didn’t recognize it as a Cinderella story until halfway through. When I did, what a great surprise!

I’ve reread this book almost every year, but I accidentally skipped the last year for some reason. I want to get back in the habit of rereading it yearly, like a mini-vacation for my brain. So, I added it to my first-ever summer bucket list!

I don’t really feel like doing a long book review, but if you want to know if you should read it, of course I’d recommend it. The writing is simple, so it’s a fast, entertaining read.

Elements of the story you may want to know when deciding if you should to add it to your reading list:

  • humor, drama
  • fairies, elves, gnomes, centaurs, other magical characters and themes
  • strong female lead, she’s smart and independent, but also has friends
  • strong male characters (no “dumb jock” or “useless men” stereotypes)
  • actually, just strong character development overall
  • the premise is that Ella has to obey everything she’s told to do
  • the plot is a twist on the Cinderella fairy tale
  • and from what I can tell of the movie plot (based on movie trailers and plot summary), the book’s plot is different from the movie’s

Based on how much I enjoy this book, I never saw the movie, because the trailers made it seem like a very different story, told in a silly way; but the book, while funny, is not roll-your-eyes silly. However, I’m willing to reconsider if any of you have seen the movie and read the book and think they’re similar.

Do you have a favorite book? What is it and why do you like it?
If it’s been made into a movie, have you seen the movie adaptation? What did you think?

Everyone has a story: RV Panambo

Today’s mini-interview is with RV Panambo, who describes herself (on her blog Chasing Adventure) as “a proud Filipino,” “a tattoo collector,” “a gypsy soul,” and “a walking contradiction.”

(If you’re interested in being interviewed for this blog or have someone in mind for me to ask, please let me know or leave a note in the comments section.)

RV Panambo - Photo used with permission

RV Panambo – Photo used with permission

What is one of your dreams for your life?
I dream to be a sought-out freelancer who gets to travel around the country or the world. Travel like a gypsy; go wherever the wind takes me.

What is something on your bucket list?
I have quite a lot here. And at the same time, I have this long-term goal to travel around the world that I carry around with me. I used to keep that dream in silent mode and not to talk about that more often because I don’t have the monetary to do it for now yet.

What is the best advice you ever received?
“You’ll never be the best. However, you can be original.”

Comparing yourself to others can be good, if it’s done with a purpose of improving yourself. But be always reminded that your mode of expression is unique, and exclusive only to you. If you ignore your originality, the world will never see it or know it, and it will be lost without ever having seen the light of day. Find out what is unique about you then develop that.

Thanks for sharing your time and dreams with us, RV!
Readers: Do you want to be interviewed, or do you know someone I should ask for an interview? Let me know.

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Thanks for voting! I’m in the Top 100

Thanks for voting for me in the Big Blog Exchange. I made it to the finalist round!

Next, the the panel of international judges will pick 14 winners from the top 100 (the 100 are made of the top 25 bloggers from each of the 4 regions). There will also be 2 additional wildcard winners chosen from any of the 633 participants. Winners (all 16 of them) and their exchanges will be announced Sept 16.

Click here to see the top 100 finalists.