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Completing lists is great. It feels amazing to knock off every item, and even better, seeing nothing remaining to do. It’s one of those few things we all agree on, that can’t be politicized or contrarian-ed, no matter how jerky or devil’s advocate-y someone is. Even Skip Bayless likes completed lists.

And yet, here I am… being that guy. Telling you to chill out on your all-important travel list.


You want to get to all 50 states? All 7 continents? It is certainly nice to have inclusive travel ideals, and I will never encourage anyone to be less ambitious. But in all sincerity, fuck your arbitrary lists.

That doesn’t mean I DON’T think you should go to 50 different states or 7 different continents or all 195 recognized countries. Those would be an amazing things to do. But you don’t have to do them solely because they would complete a thing no one is asking you to do. This isn’t a New York Times Connections game, or Pokémon, or the Travis Scott Happy Meal toys… getting most of them is enough!

Travel is one of the best, most enriching things because you get to see new places, and eat different foods, and meet people you wouldn’t normally meet where you live, and learn about contrasting cultures and ideologies. Or maybe travel, to you, is going to a better place than you are currently. There are innumerable reasons to travel.

But finishing a list, for you to brag about at a cocktail party, is not one of them.

If you want to see Antarctica, you should! And you should do it soon before it’s all melted! But going to Antarctica simply because you’ve already been to Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa, and South America is a worthless reason to see Antarctica. And honestly, it’s rude to Antarctica. There are penguins and worlds made of ice (probably, depending on when you read this). It could be bone-chillingly cold, and maybe that is fun for you. Antarctica is beautiful and has personality, it doesn’t need your quota-hitting pity visit.

And same for every other continent.

There are so many incredible historic, cultural, culinary, scenic destinations that no one will ever run out of possibilities.

Plus you can always revisit your favorite places! Even these-here 50 nifty United States offer so much. This country is amazing, not because of our troops or our freedoms (and definitely not our education systems), but because of our incredible variety of climates, people, cuisines, and sights. We have purple mountain majesties AND fruited plains! There are 63 National Parks and 387 In-N-Out locations! You don’t have to go to Missouri merely because it is part of the group. In fact, I would recommend going back to literally anywhere else, before going to Missouri once! I hear Oklahoma is better on the second date.

(And if you are someone who has no interest in visiting the handful of states that create policies based off of an old, fictional book that only a small minority of people believe in, instead of basic golden rule humanity type of shit, I promise you, you will not run out of things in the remaining, reasonable, compassionate states. Also, a fun thought experiment would be to imagine that a state decided its human rights policies be dictated by other popular fictional books. (I like considering Jurassic Park, James and the Giant Peach, and Fifty Shades of Grey.)

I know you ALWAYS run into that person you don’t want to see, but do, again and again, and you feel like you need to have something to talk about with them—like how your new goal is to visit all the gin joints in Casablanca. But this is a humongous world. Don’t let a silly list dictate where you go! Find beauty in something besides completionconclusion.

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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