Completionist Travel can seem like more complicated version of a bucket list. The reason I am such a fan of this means of travel is that it forces me to get out to places I normally wouldn’t go. Most traditional bucket lists often cluster around big, well-known cities that are built with the infrastructure to handle millions of other tourists who have similar bucket lists. When you travel as a completionist you are guaranteed to have a rough time getting there which means better stories. And stories is why we travel right?
However, there is one bug when traveling the Completionist way: it can devolve into a terrible slog where you lose perspective as to why you are doing this in the first place. To patch this problem I have developed a series of rules that will make this whole thing more fun:
Understand that life is short
Completionists are keenly aware that there is only so much we can do on this time on Earth and we want to get everything they can out of it. We take up this mission because it pushes us to places we would not otherwise go to and gives us a better understanding of the whole world not just the main tourist cities.
Embrace the slog
Completionist accept that we will have to spend hours on lonely roads or be up at the most unfortunate hour to satisfy our quest. At some point you will have an existential crisis questioning why make such an effort just to stand on a patch of dirt that isn’t much different than the patch you are standing on right now. When you reach those depths, just remember that many people spend just as many hours on the couch binge watching Netflix.
Do not leave a mark on your environment, let it leave a mark on you
Never write “I was here” on a rock or steal a stone from the landmark. It is far more noble to let your destination change you; be it a new perspective, a sense of accomplishment, or better yet, a really wicked scar.
Do not question another person’s quest
From an outside perspective, all of us trying to travel the completionist way seems crazy. All completionists have their own mission and our own reasons for doing it. Don’t make fun of the woman who is trying to mow a lawn in every state, or the man trying to play marco polo in every lake. Ask them about their quest and then help them get there.
Always stay a while at the observation deck
It is tempting when we get to your goal to just snap a selfie, stamp our logbooks and then dash out of there. A true Completionist Traveler understands that the places we are collecting are actually just incentives to get us out to a place we would not have thought to visit otherwise. So always take in the place’s flora fauna, eat the local food, learn a bit about the its history, and talk to someone who lives there. Spend the extra time in the observation deck.
Do not compete, assist
Completionist Travel seems to be all about the numbers. How many ballparks have you been to? How fast did you visit every country? Although it is tempting we should not compare our personal journey to other Completionist Travelers. We complete our journey at our own pace. Trying to get to more, faster takes you away from enjoying the moment.
Don’t die because of this
See point #1 on the rules. Always pack plenty of water, learn basic survival skills, tell someone where you are going and don’t take shortcuts. This is also why you will not see me trying to get to the highest point on Earth.