A bucket list is worth nothing if you don’t check items off of it.
Mine is a mile long and ever changing. A fluid list of things I want to experience, try, and challenge myself with.
Visiting the White Sands National Monument was at the top of my bucket list, for no reason other than it popped up on my Facebook as one of the most interesting places to visit in the United States. 275 square miles of gypsum, left by a sea that dried up a long time ago. And now this is a place where our military sometimes tests missiles and the rest of the time people from around the world come to visit. Pretty amazing stuff. I saw that and said “yup, I need to go there”.
Then one of my best friends moved to Artesia, New Mexico, only about 2 hours from the White Sands Desert. Hello, Opportunity!! She visited it before I did and was unimpressed, and said that it just looked like snow. But I still insisted that I was going to go see it one way or another, I wanted to sink my feet into the white sand in New Mexico damn it! I visited her in February and she took me to see it. She was much more impressed this time because there were no other tourists there in the off-season, so it made for a nearly magical experience.
Travel tip #1, explore when nobody else is there! Too many people takes away from the experience of being somewhere new.
It was like something from another planet. Everything was bright white for as far as you could see, with mountain peaks in the background of all directions. Our car was only about a mile back, but it felt like we were far from civilization. It was completely silent except for the breeze. Even our footsteps seemed to get swallowed up in the quiet. It was perfect weather, just warm enough to be able to take our shoes off and walk in the sand and to lie back and take it all in. That moment of lying in the white sand, sun shining, total silence, next to my best friend, 2,000 miles from home, was absolute bliss.
For a moment, all of the noise in my head was quiet. There was no pain, no sadness, no financial worries or stresses about work. I was just a young woman traveling and checking things off of my bucket list. In awe of the overwhelming beauty of this earth.
Travel tip #2, take a few pictures and then put the damn phone away and soak it all in, put yourself in the present and enjoy every second of it.
If there’s somewhere you want to go, DO IT! There’s never a perfect time or enough money, so just GO! Check things off of that bucket list so it, and you, can keep growing.
Who knew that something as simple as white sand could be so beautiful and mean so much?
Never forget: It’s just money. Work will survive without you for a few days. There’s no better time than right now. Home will be waiting for you when you get back.