For awhile now, Cole and I have been dabbling in the experientialist lifestyle.

I read a book during our trip that completely shifted my thinking about the stuff in our lives, and ever since have been singing to the tune of simplify, minimize, and focus on experiences. 

We’re not doing a perfect job, by any means. We lived out of our car for a year, but we didn’t get rid of everything we owned. We still have messes. I still like buying candles. We will probably always own a TV. The difference is mostly in our thinking.

Drawing happiness from experiences — not from things — is not always easy. It was easy when we were looking at the Grand Canyon or Half Dome every day. It is not so easy now.

But nevertheless, we try to fill our daily routines with moments that draw us back to what we believe matters: taking a walk through the neighborhood, playing volleyball with our friends, watching the sunset, sipping coffee in the quiet moments before checking my phone, cooking a new recipe. Those will always be the small experiences that make our days worthwhile.

It’s no secret that we want to fill our days and our lives with experiences. So when we saw that Eventbrite was spreading an important message: “Experiences, Not Things,” we wanted to join in. We’re obviously all about that. So today, to help share this concept, we are sharing our 2017 experience wish list.

Follow along as we cross off our list this year!

17 experiences we want to have in 2017:

(1) Travel to a new continent

Since we traveled so much here in the United States last year, we are hoping to log some major international travel time this year.

(2) Rent an apartment abroad

We think it’s so much better to travel like a local, so we highly recommend booking through AirBNB or a similar website when planning your trip abroad. Of course, there are precautions that need to be taken, but sleeping, cooking, and living like a local is one of the best ways to experience a new place!

(3) Climb a mountain

There is no greater straight-forward representation of a goal achievement than standing atop a mountain you have just worked your way up.

(4) Write a book

Yes, we are writing a book about our year in the national parks!

(5) Visit Missouri State Parks

Even though we don’t live in a predominantly mountainous state, there is so much beauty and wilderness to experience in our own backyard! We hope to bag a few more state parks within the year.

(6) Go on a solo trip

I think there is a lot to be learned by traveling solo. I’d like to experience a few nights away all alone to really unwind, read, and grow personally.

(7) Practice yoga

Yoga is something I have picked up and put down several times, but this year I’d like to be more consistent with my practice. Maybe I can even rope Cole into joining me?

(8) Go caving

Cole might have to be the one roping me into this one. Tight spaces are not my forte. BUT we already have a couple of cave tours booked in Belize, so I will have to overcome my hesitation.

(7) Bike across Missouri

For those of you not in Missouri, we have a gorgeous multi-use trail called the Katy Trail, and I have always wanted to bike the whole length over a few days. We might have this in the works sometime this spring… stay tuned.

(8) Swim with sharks

File under the same categories as “caving”: It’s both scary and already booked.

(9) Go on a kayaking trip

There are many areas of the country that we sadly had to neglect during our trip, and the Great Lakes area in Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin was one of them. We hope to hit up a few NPS sites, like Pictured Rocks, and we will definitely be bringing along our inflatable kayak.

(10) Ride in a hot-air balloon

It has always been a dream for both of us to float over the beautiful southwest in a hot air balloon. I hope this year we can make it happen.

(11) Hike to a backcountry hot spring

There is nothing better after a long day of hiking than a soak in a natural hot spring… or so we would assume. We’ll have to find out soon!

(12) Watch the sunrise

Taking time out of our working and studying schedules is not just inconvenient: it’s so important. So we want to bag  a few memorable sunsets this year.

(13) Attend a blogging conference

In trying to grow our blog and spread our travels to more and more people, we are taking our online presence a little more seriously this year. In April, I’ll attend the Women in Travel Summit in Wisconsin, where I hope to learn much more about growing our little space in the Internet!

(14) Take an art class

Cole and I show our creativity in very different ways, but I am someone who needs to express it in a more tangible way. This year, I want to learn a new form of art: ceramics!

(15) Be tourists in our hometown

Along the same lines as visiting the Missouri State Parks, we also want to touch base with the best of what St. Louis has to offer: Cardinals baseball games, the zoo, the museums, and several neighborhoods we have yet to explore.

(16) Go glamping

We’re all for camping in the outdoors… but sometimes, a cute little cabin in the woods is nice, too.

(17) Volunteer

Having some freedom with our time means more travel for us, but it should also mean more time that we have to give in service to our community.

Focusing on the experiences in your life, rather than the stuff, is a tricky shift. It takes prioritizing spending, seeking out new things, and stepping outside of your comfort zone at times. If we had not taken the leap to quit our jobs in 2015 to pursue a fuller life, we would not be chiming in with this message.

But we are. And now, we always will.

What’s something you hope to experience in 2017?

P.S. Here’s a free resource from Eventbrite if you are interested in hosting your own event (whether it’s a small get together or an adventure far away!

Written by Elizabeth

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