On Bucket Lists And Humility

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

When we were in Cambodia, boyfriend and I got up extremely early to begin our tour of Angkor Wat.  When we had gotten our tickets and were approaching the ancient temple, the sun was rising. I was really impressed with the number of sleepy tourists who managed to join us at 5 o’clock in the morning.  It was actually crowded.  The sky behind the ornate towers turned purple, then pink, then yellow and blue.  We put our arms around each other and watched in silence. He look at me and smiled, and then I grinned, and blurted out, “This is some bucket list shit right here!”

Whenever I’m doing something particularly cool/impressive/cliché, that phrase pops into my brain.  I don’t know why or where it even came from.  But I do appreciate it. It always makes me laugh, and it reminds me to be humble.

Sometimes my pretentious writer self wants to presume profoundness, a transformative experience, I should be moved to tears, I should feel so #blessed for my life, and the planet, and everything.  It’s good to remember that I’m just Lauren from Durham, North Carolina.  It doesn’t make me better than anyone else because I’ve checked some things off a list.

On the other hand, as a 25-year-old, I don’t always have my shit together. It’s hard, man. Sometimes I really doubt myself, and my abilities, and like, what the hell are you even doing, Lauren? I won’t feel ashamed to say that in those moments of doubt I like to think of this list to reassure myself.  Because, yeah, this is what I’m doing. This is what I’ve done. These are my plans.

The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea at Ein Gedi

It is pretty damn impressive.  Really, it could be a lot worse.

In the spirit of simultaneously not taking myself too seriously, and patting myself on the back for being awesome, this is my bucket list. Some of these are very Lauren, and some are more common, or generic.  But there is nothing wrong with that, and don’t let anyone tell you there is, dammit!

Flying lesson

Flying Lesson in Talkeetna, Alaska


  • Watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat
  • Fly an airplane
  • See the Aurora Borealis
  • Float in the Dead Sea
  • Work on a vineyard in France
  • Become Lauren of Arabia
  • See the Alhambra in Granada
  • Eat a croque-madame at a bistro in Paris
  • Meet an elephant
  • Try Couchsurfing
  • Earn my Bachelor’s degree
  • Visit the Uffizi Gallery in Florence
  • Travel through Europe alone
  • Commune with the giant Sequoia trees
  • Go to Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station
  • Live in a foreign country
  • Drink coffee in beautiful places


  • Drink coffee in beautiful places for the rest of my life
  • Write a book
  • Grow a garden
  • Learn another language (for real, though)
  • Go paddle boarding
  • Go on a trek in New Zealand
  • Earn a Master’s degree
  • Go everywhere and see everything

Elephant Love in Chiang Mai, Thailand