How My Wonderful Wanderlist Changed the Way I Explore

In explore, meditate by lauranoll Comments

I’ve never been a bucket lister. In fact, I’ve always thought it was a little grotesque to keep a list of things to do before you die.

Forget that.

Creeping in on my 30th birthday, I had far too many conversations with friends about our lives, what we’d done, what was ahead and so on. In the midst of them, I was hit in the face with the most terrifying phrase I’d ever heard: “I’ve already done everything.”

✅104. Go parasailing. | Knocked another off the #wanderlist with Dad this morning. Somehow he gets conned into all the ones that require leaving the ground. #lauragetslost #parasailing #gulf #florida #clearwaterbeach #bucketlist #apocalyst #beach #goodmorningsunshine #travelpic #adventure #wander #wanderlust

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I’m perfectly guilty of losing my motivation, having a boring day or lacking the inspiration to be the exciting force in the room. It happens. But I refuse to believe that, at any age, there’s nothing left to do in the world.

That phrase alone inspired my wanderlist.

Having grown up in the Midwest, many of my friends are now married with kids, houses, pets and more. Their happiness radiates from a space much different from mine. Neither is technically “right” or superior – but they’re definitely different. Being single and floating about the world, I’m overwhelmingly aware of the differences because we’re each wildly jealous of what the other has.

✅32. Drink margaritas on a beach. | Sugar sands + margaritas + sleeping on the beach. You do you, Wednesday. #lauragetslost #florida #clearwaterbeach #summertime #sunshine #beach #travelpic #adventure #wander #wanderlust #wanderlist

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Not too shocking, right? All your single friends want to find love and someone to roam with forever. All your married friends just want to escape for a night of drinks or weekend of travel. But neither would give what what they have for the other – we simply accept our happiness from where it comes, but yearn to – eventually – have it all.

I’m very aware that, at some point, a certain piece of my current single, on-a-whim self will be abandoned in exchange for inviting someone else to be part of my life. It already happens with the arrival of each new niece or nephew – I feel myself hold ever-so-slightly tighter to the roots my family established years and years ago.

I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by amazing parents (brothers, sisters, cousins, my  own ‘rents) that show me the thought, care and patience that goes into hauling your family around the country with you. Instead of one backpack, it’s six. Instead of a quick snack on the fly, it’s a knock-down, drag-out brawl over breaded chicken nuggets that accidentally touched the ketchup too soon. It’s wonderfully chaotic – but also requires an entirely different strategy.

✅24. Visit Harry Potter World. And, ✅82. Cast some spells with the wands. | Finished the day the same way we started – waving wands and casting spells in Diagon Alley. ✨🔮 #lauragetslost #auntpants #nerdalert #diagonalley #ollivanders #wizardingworldofharrypotter #harrypotter #universalstudios #florida #travelpic #magic #wanderlist

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In the exhaustion of it all, it’s easy to lose sight of the original goal. I can easily see how you might quickly forget about the vast world that surrounds us or the billion-and-one ways to risk your life for an adrenaline rush while looking for yet another way to pass a two-hour wait in the airport.

That’s where my wanderlist came from. It’s single Laura’s gift to one-day-possibly-not-single Laura: the ability to look back at all the things I wanted to do when it was “just me” so I can discover all the unbelievable ways to involve my family and friends in those new adventures later.

Because I refuse to accept any idea that we’ve ever done all the things.

✅107. Be a pirate. | Pirating in the Gulf. With a bottomless bar. At 10 am. #yohoyoho #pirateslife #piratesransom #lauragetslost #rumforbreakfast #clearwaterbeach #florida #travelpic #wander #wanderlist

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Every single time I catch myself saying “I would love to do that” or “Ooo, I’m so jealous” – there is a solid chance that thing has ended up on my wanderlist. All the tidbits are small, large, easy, complicated, here, there, simple and elaborate. Some are super specific while others are wildly generic. The point: I can act. I should act. Now.

Some of them are wildly silly. Like, I’d love to ride a mechanical bull. For real. I’ve never done it and I would prefer to not do it as the center of attention late-night in a bar. But damn, how fun would it be just to try it once?!

Others are completely serious. I have to see the Northern Lights. HAVE TO.

A few of them are completely outlandish. I want to sell my house, buy a camper and spend a year touring the 59 U.S. National Parks with my 170-lb dog. Because, that just makes sense, right?

Regardless, there it is – on paper – a wonderful list of magic in the world. Never again should I sit and wait for an adventure to come to me. Never will I worry that I’ll run out of world to see. I have a full list of hot pursuits – and I intend to go after them in full force.

Our Clearwater Beach Family Vacation
With Mamah, Grandpa Dave, siblings and the nieces all in tow – we took a flight down to Florida for a week along Clearwater Beach. It was simply stunning. See the trip