The Reversed Bucket List

Everyone has a bucket list. If it’s not written down, you have it in your head. If you don’t have those things that you still want to do, goals to accomplish, places you want to travel to, then I honestly feel sad for you. Anyway. vielleichtinteressant made a reversed bucket list on her blog a while ago, and it’s basically a list of all the things that you have already done, experienced or accomplished. I thought this was amazing because sometimes we manage to forget how great our lives actually are.

  • I swam with dolphins in Florida
  • I’ve seen the Northern Lights – not only north of the Arctic Circle in Norway but I’ve also been fortunate enough to live in a place called Jasper, Canada for a while where I saw them several times a month
  • For my 16th birthday, my friends surprised me with a huge party
  • I moved out from home when I had just turned 19, I moved to my favourite city, 600km up north: Hamburg
  • I’ve been snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains.
  • I went horseback riding on the beach
  • I learnt how to surf in Hawaii (and Tofino, which is almost as cool)
  • I’ve been on stage with 30 Seconds To Mars
  • I’ve been invited into Simple Plan’s tourbus
  • I hiked up a few volcanoes that were still active
  • I graduated high school three times – in Canada, Germany and France. I also graduated uni. Once.
  • I managed to be vegetarian for 6 years and went vegan a while ago
  • I’ve seen musicals in the West End and on Broadway
  • I flew an airplane as the co-pilot
  • I partied with Tokio Hotel in Las Vegas
  • I lived in a van for five months
  • I lived in my favourite country in the world for two and a half years: Canada
  • I traveled literally around the world
  • I have tattoos and I don’t regret a single one (not even the spontaneous one in Helsinki with a friend)
  • I had Hayley Williams’ hair colour while I saw Paramore live
  • My brother and sister are two of my best friends
  • My Mum and my Dad, too
  • I am fluent in three languages and know quite a bit in two more
  • I have amazing friends not only in Germany but everywhere around the world
  • I have owned four cars in my life and I’m only 24
  • It took me less than a month and only one job interview to find a permanent full-time job in my preferred field.
  • I love myself
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The Scariest Part About Traveling Is Coming Home

Exactly one month ago I got on a plane in Bangkok and came back home for the first time in 18 months. I was terrified. Going to a foreign country? Meeting new people? Living in a strange culture? Bring it on! Going back home? Honestly the scariest thing about this whole experience.

I’ve had bad experiences with coming back home in the past. When I was 16, I lived abroad for a year and once I got back, more than half of my friends didn’t talk to me anymore. I had the biggest existential crisis of my life, wanted to quit school, go back to Canada and do – well, didn’t get that far, but something other than have to face my life in Germany. Of course, this time I wasn’t 16 anymore, but the fear remained.

There are a few things that helped me with this experience, and maybe they’ll help you, too.

Tell your family exactly how you want to arrive.

They won’t know unless you tell them. Last time, they thought I wanted a quiet first day – but I wanted the big party. This time I told my family that I wanted nobody to know that I was coming back (I didn’t want my whole extended family there because I knew I’d feel overwhelmed), instead I planned a family get together for the following weekend. I wanted to meet everyone on my terms. My sister picked me up at the airport, my parents were waiting at home with a homecooked meal and a glass of wine. Perfect!

Reach out to your friends before you get back.

Last time, I didn’t really keep in contact and then I got back and was like “Hey I’m back, let’s meet up!” – needless to say, that didn’t work out. In the end I’m glad I got rid of those friends anyway, but at the time I was devastated. This time, I made plans with everyone for the first two weeks. I wrote the dates in my calendar, planned different things with everyone and in general just let everyone know way beforehand how much I was looking forward to seeing them. I went to a festival with some, ate breakfast with others and we had the best time. So glad to have them in my life!

Make a plan for the next steps in your life.

Now, this is all depending on what you’re planning to do with your life. The first time I came back, I thought it was all planned out anyway – I was going back to school. That was seven weeks from then though because the summer holidays came first. With barely any friends, nothing to do and the fear of going back to school building up, those weeks were horrible. This time, I wrote job applications on the beach in Thailand. I planned a holiday in Portugal in October. I made sure that I had things to look forward to and it worked. I am having a bit of downtime right now and it’s quite boring until I start my new job, but at least I know what I’m waiting for and I’m not having doubts.

Talk about your struggles.

When I was 16, I wasn’t able to show how hard coming back was. I cried alone, I got angry at the weirdest things and at myself, and it was not a good experience. This time, almost everyone who has asked me how coming back home was got an honest response: It’s not easy. It will never be easy. It’ll always feel weird and that’s okay. You can also reach out to others who have gone through the same thing, that has actually helped me a lot. Even though everyone goes through different stages, you’re not alone!

Remember that it’s not the end of traveling.

Just because you are back home now doesn’t mean you have to stay there. I looked for a job in the city where I really wanted to go back to (which is kind of home for me but quite far from my parents, I went to university there) and I also know that I will always be traveling. For now, it’s not going to be another huge trip like my last one, but I will always leave the country for a few weeks at a time to explore new cultures, to visit my friends abroad and who knows, maybe one day I will leave again for a long time. It’s comforting to know that I can. It’s also comforting to know that I don’t have to. It’s all up to me, the same as your life is up to you. There’s always a way, you just have to find the one that’s right for you.

While the scariest part about traveling is coming home, it’s also a very exciting part because it’s a chance to change how things are at home, too. To reconnect with your family and friends, to find out which parts you didn’t know you missed. There are easier days and more difficult ones, and sometimes you just have to accept that a day will be just you lying on the sofa, missing traveling. It happens and you have to get through those days, too.

Feel free to reach out to me if you’re having a bad day, trust me, I will understand.

October Goals

Do you ever find it hard to motivate yourself? I definitely do. It’s mostly because I lack focus, I have so many things I want to change or do that I don’t really tackle them until I have to. I am trying a new approach now and I want to take you along with me.

Every month, I want to set three goals for myself. I’ll focus on those goals rather than trying to do everything at once. At the end of the month I’ll see how it went.

My goals for October are:

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#1 Go running at least 6 times

#2 Decorate the flat

#3 Continue to learn French 

I am gonna be abroad for 10 days and I don’t think I’ll be able to go running there, so I set the bar low – I can never stick to running regularly, so 6 times is gonna be a challenge anyway. I started revising French when I was in Canada and now I stopped – definitely need to find the motivation to start again. As for decorating – I should do that before I start working in November. So yeah, I think I will be able to manage ticking off that list.

Do you ever set goals for yourself? Do you ever manage to reach them?