How to make your own ‘Alabama Bucket List’

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By Bradley Robertson

It is time my fellow locals, to travel this good state with my family and see all the things that “Sweet Home Alabama” has to offer. We started this journey last year in June and are eager to get moving this Summer.

The kids and I had a ball last year. We enjoyed touching and seeing beautiful things in our state that we never would have, had it not been for our initial  ‘Alabama Bucket List’. Just like making a list to the grocery, if you don’t write it down and seek it, it just won’t happen.

We visited silly goats and Spectre in Millbrook, we camped at Mt. Cheaha and Oak Mountain. We swam in in the great waters and falls of DeSoto State Park. All of it was spectacular and worth seeing for anyone willing to adventure.

So here we are yet again, where do we begin?

Better yet, where can you and your family or friends begin?

Here are a few simple and tactile ways to create your own bucket list.

Write everything down. Sit and begin brainstorm your ideas. Everything must start with a simple thing. And when you write something down, instead of just think it, you are highly more likely to actually do it. Jot down notes and begin to put your bucket list into words.

Who do you want to travel with? Husband? Kids? Maybe even a girl’s trip? Write down the people you would most want to adventure with. See how their schedules look compared to yours. Maybe you want to journey with a few different groups of people. Write your hearts desire and see how these people fit into your life and routine.

Ask these people, where would they like to visit? Get ideas from your fellow travelers. Your kids will be more excited if they can have an opinion and a fellow friend may have an idea that will influence them to go.

Get an Alabama map or print one –  This is crucial as it gives you vision and sight for the future. You can see where you may want to go and then get an idea of how far each trip may be. Many trips we take are day trips, staying Central to AL. Some are one night or two night trips and you may want to take a whole week of exploring. The AL Map is a set guide to lead the way.

• Begin to make a written list of places you want to visit in Alabama –  Now this list for our family is long. Some are simple places that take under a day. Some places are longer vacation spots, that will take intense planning. Either way, write them all down. One of our places is the Smith Tower at Lake Martin. It’s a short-day trip but it’s on our list. We also have places like Fort Morgan and the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. No matter how near or far the adventure, write it on your list.

Create Map List: Separate your list by regions on your Alabama map –  Our list has Central, North East, North West and Southern. I have found that Central and North AL have more Parks and Camping than the south end. We have been to the gulf our whole lives, but there are still lovely places we have never seen.  All our state has much to offer. It is easier to navigate your course and check-off excursions when you can locate and bunch your outings together.

See how you can “bunch” list items together in single trips – Whether a day trip or a three-day trip, your map list will help you check off multiple places during one outing. Some places you want to see will be a “pit-stop” like a picnic or just a view. Other places will take more time. See how you can bunch them together to get the most out of each trip or outing.

• Be willing to take everyone and maybe even no-one –  I have been on a couple of our items alone. I have taken Sissy and her friend on an outing. I have taken all three kids by myself and we have been together as a family of 5. You must be movable and moldable and be ok with that. I would like to go to Mentone with my girlfriends. I’d like to go camping with just Janie Belle and another mom and her daughter. I’d like to take Braxton by himself as well. Just because you make a family list, doesn’t mean you have to stick to everyone going, all the time.

• The Goal is FUN –  I can get kind of tense and think too much on details and scenarios. You must relax and just go with it. Make a plan, set a date and just go for it. If you spend too much time thinking, you may not even get there.

• Get moving and Set the first date –  Just do it. The first time I took the kids camping alone, I semi-thought I was crazy. Then I realized, “what’s the worst that could possibly happen?” We packed up and just had to get moving. I call it “going scared”. The beautiful part of the journey is figuring out life and enjoying it together. It’s not perfection, it’s not the best pictures, it’s the simple idea of experiencing something new with the people you love.

Stay tuned week to week to see where we end up in Alabama. Feel free to email me at Bradley.jean11@gmail.com and you may see our Alabama Bucket List and other adventures at www.georges-journal.com .

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