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We’ve all got them.  Those dream adventures, the things you feel that you must do before your life is complete: the artist you must see, the destination you must visit, or even the accomplishment you must achieve.  Some people call it a bucket list, some people have some other name for it.  All that matters is that these are the things we dream of and the stories we will tell our kids about one day.  Sometimes these are the only things that get us through another day at a job that drags us down. Sometimes they are the perfect way to mark a special occasion.  The important thing is getting out and chasing those dreams. Here is my current bucket list. It started years ago and it is ever changing. This post contains affiliate links.

Trans-America Trail

Traversing the Trans-America Trail in a 4wd vehicle is at the top of my bucket list.  It will be an expensive and long trip, so it is on the back burner while I prepare for it. The Trans-America Trail was originally mapped for adventure motorcycle riders by Sam Carrero.  This trail starts in Jellico Tennessee and will take the rider (or driver) across the country to the Oregon Coast by way of gravel roads, logging roads, farm roads, and other non-highway roads. Because it was initially mapped for motorcycles, there are some sections that a 4WD vehicle simply won’t fit through, but bypassing a little bit isn’t going to ruin the trip. I love road trips, but I can’t imagine a better way to see the country than a 3 or 4 week Off Road Cross Country adventure!

Gravel Road Bucket List

Synchronous Fireflies

Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains are a major vacation destination many.  It is the most visited National Park in the United States with over 10 million visitors in 2015. What many people don’t know is right in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park you can see the only species of firefly in North America that can synchronize its bio-luminescence with other individuals! I had not heard of these fireflies until just a few years ago, and now I can not wait to see them.  Getting a chance to see them is a little tricky though (Check out this handy guide to seeing the Synchronous Fireflies). Parking passes for the main viewing areas are issued via a lottery system due to the popularity and to protect the habitat. The peak viewing time is somewhere towards the end of May and into June.  The specific weeks change yearly due to environmental fluctuations, but you can keep up with it at the National Parks’ page on Synchronous Fireflies.


Alaska

The last frontier. I have dreamed of visiting Alaska since I was just a kid.  The wide open spaces and extreme environment has some magical appeal.  I would love to take an extended trip to Alaska so I could really dig into it.  I mean sure I want to see glaciers, the northern lights, and moose, but I also want to see the small towns, explore Denali, and see what else Alaska has to offer. It is such a vast place that I’m sure even a month long trip wouldn’t begin to scratch the surface.

Alaska Bucket List

Japan

I worked for a Japanese owned company for quite some time.  Lots of business trips to Japan were scheduled and canceled (cost savings).  I guess this planted the seed for my desire to visit Japan.  I find myself reading all kinds of articles about life in Tokyo, visiting local Japanese cultural events like the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, and watching shows about travel to Japan. Everything about this place fascinates me, and I must make it there one day.

Shibuya Crossing at Night Tokyo

Scotland

Geneaology has been an interest of mine for a while.  In my research I have found that a lot of my family (both sides) originally came to the United States from Scotland.  Naturally this piqued my interest in traveling there.  All of the research I have done since then has only strengthened my desire to explore this amazing destination. A road trip through the Highlands, castle tours, and Scotch? Yes please.

Scotland Bucket List Eilean Dolan Castle

Red Rocks

I love going to concerts.  Sometime this year I will attend my 50th concert, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.  Some of my favorite experiences have been at live music events.  That being said most of the concerts I have been to have been held at venues nearby.  Don’t get me wrong, Tennessee has amazing concert venues, but I would like to explore venues away from home.  There is one that has been on my bucket list for a long time: Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado. This natural amphitheater has been ranked at the top of just about every music magazines poll for best concert venue. The hardest part will be picking which amazing artist to see there!

Red Rocks Amphitheater BUcket List

Photo Credit: Don Pietzman / Red Rocks Amphitheater

Grand Canyon

I became interested in Geology in college and seriously considered pursuing a career in that field. The scale of geologic time is completely mind boggling. The Grand Canyon allows you to see it all laid out before you. Everyone I know who has been to the canyon tells me how incredible it is. Ideally I would like to raft the Colorado River through the Canyon, but I would settle for just laying eyes on this wonder. There is no way I am getting on the skywalk though.

 Grand Canyon Bucket List

Route 66

The Mother Road, Main Street of America: Chicago to Santa Monica on one of the most famous roads in the world.  Route 66 is a  iconic road that helped shape this country. As a road trip enthusiast, how can I not be enamored with this trip? Highway 66 served as a route for people during the great depression to get out west and again post WWII.  The highway began to decline with the building of interstates and was eventually decommissioned.  The original highway can not be driven uninterrupted, but with careful planning the majority of it is still drivable. Some sections are incredibly well preserved.  This historic road helped shape our country and has been calling to wanderers since it was first laid.  I intend to answer that call.

Route 66 Bucket List

What’s on your Bucket List?

I could sit here and dream up all kinds of amazing adventures to add to my bucket list.  There is a lot to see out there. These are the adventures that call to me though.  What about you?  What are the adventures that you can’t get out of your head?  Where is it that you must go?  Tell me about your bucket list in the comments and checkout my Bucket list pinterest board to see what else gets added.

We've all got them. Those dream adventures, the things you feel that you must do before your life is complete. The artist you must see, the destination you must visit, or even the accomplishment you must achieve. Some people call it a bucket list, some people have some other name for it. All that matters is that these are the things we dream of and the stories we will tell our kids about one day. Sometimes these are the only things that get us through another day at a job that drags us down. Sometimes they are the perfect way to mark a special occasion. The important thing is getting out and chasing those dreams. My list started years ago and it is ever changing.