Author Archives: Shelly Najjar

About Shelly Najjar

MPH in Public Health Nutrition, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist // Freelance Writer, Community Builder // I have a very long Goal List (Bucket List) and I enjoy doing nail art.

Responsible travel – how much is my individual responsibility?

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According to the article, Venice has lost residents due to mass tourism

When I think of travel and bucket listing, I generally think of traveling “everywhere,” not limiting myself. But there are a few times when my dedication to responsible bucket listing takes priority (for example, indefinitely delaying the floating sky lanterns list item due to its illegality in my area).

So, when CNN Travel published an article titled “12 destinations travelers might want to avoid in 2018,” it made me reconsider my ideas of bucket list travel.

It’s actually a very interesting read, and despite first appearances, it’s so much more than your everyday clickbait. Here’s the summary, in case you don’t have time to read the whole article.

The Big Picture

People who live, work, and govern several famous destinations are concerned with the large numbers of tourists that come every year (and in some places, every day).

Here are a list of some of the concerns:

  • increased demand on infrastructure that wasn’t set up for that many people
  • challenge of preserving history and culture while being over crowded
  • impact on the natural environment
  • growing economic dependence on the tourist industry
  • crowding out or pricing out local residents

Because of these concerns, these places use strategies to reduce tourism. This could include charging access fees, putting limits on the total number of visitors, and adding restrictions like requiring guides or showing proof of return airline tickets.

The article also makes suggestions for each of the places it lists, including tips for “if you must go” and similar alternatives if you choose to skip a place altogether.

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The article reports the Galapagos Islands have added rules to protect the habitat

My Thoughts (for now, still forming)

In general, recommendations seem to come down to respect for people and places when you travel, wherever you travel.

But I realize that while individually, each person could be respectful, as a whole, the sheer number of travelers could still be overwhelming the culture, economy, environment, etc. It might be similar to “If everyone took only one flower from this garden, pretty soon, there would be no flowers left” (something my mom used to have to say to me).

Because of this, I’m wondering where the line is regarding my individual responsibility and what to consider when deciding where I’ll travel. It’s something I’m still figuring out.

Your thoughts…

What does “responsible travel” mean to you? What do you think about avoiding certain places because of the impact on that place and its people? Leave a comment.

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Birthday Giveaway!

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March is my birthday month! So I thought I’d celebrate by giving… one free nutrition coaching session for a woman who loves travel!

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a dietitian (becoming one was on my List), and every once in a while I post something wellness related, but recently, I’ve been combining them more in my business, and didn’t want you all to miss out!

I love helping people reach their goals and live the life they dream of. It killed me inside when I saw people in the hospital (where I used to work) having to give up their dreams because of something that would’ve been preventable. I want all of you to achieve a level of wellness that allows you to pursue your goals.

So here’s how it works…

🎈 Nutrition for Travel Coaching Session Birthday Giveaway 🎈

On March 15, 2018, at 10 AM Pacific time, I’ll use a random number generator to pick someone from the Confident Nutrition Travels! email list.

That person will get one free 45 minute nutrition coaching session, via video chat, where we’ll discuss their wellness and travel goals, lifestyle, and work together to create an action plan to help move to those goals.

And everyone who signs up will get first access to the nutrition coaching program I’m creating… and I’ll also send you inspiring wellness and travel info every week.

➡️ Sign up for the list and your chance to win! ⬅️

I’m super excited about this! Be sure to sign up before March 15, 2018, at 10 AM Pacific time!

Birthday Giveaway!


Disclaimer: this coaching session isn’t medical advice. If you need emergency care, contact emergency health providers in your area.

2017 Bucket List Year in Review

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I’ve never really made New Year’s resolutions, but every year, I do make a list. It has the bucket list items I accomplished during the previous year (2017), and a subset of items to work on for the current year (2018), as a way of both reviewing and looking ahead.

In 2017, I went to Alaska on a cruise, completing two things on my bucket list (I’ll add links as I write the posts).

I also made a little progress on two long-term list items:

And… I did a few more things that were bucket-list worthy but not actually on my bucket list (added to the retrospective list), but for the first time since 2003 (when I started my list) I didn’t add any new items.

I’m kind of disappointed in myself, both in my progress and in how little I made new dreams. I feel like this has been a year where I didn’t really focus a lot on personal goals and I think I felt it. (It’s kind of like a closed-in, stuck feeling.)

Also, I didn’t really spend as much time on the blog as I wanted to, but I think these things were pretty cool (and after writing this list I now see why I didn’t have as much time to blog!):

Most popular post:
This year, the most popular post on the entire blog was “Writing letters to strangers” (in case you want to feel warm fuzzies: based on search terms, it seems a bunch of people suddenly wanted to know how to write encouraging letters to perfect strangers!)

Fewer, but higher quality posts:
Overall, I wanted to write fewer posts, but focus on making them more interesting and/or more useful. I’m particularly proud of the one about me facing my fear of spiders.

Couldn’t do it without help:
I’m so grateful for all the support! Some posts were possible with the help of groups like the Woodland Park Zoo (read: Tarantulas feel like puppies) and the Western Montana tourism board (read: I wrote off an entire area as “not for me” but I was wrong). Other posts, like the interviews and the 4 Steps to Accomplishing Your Goals series were made possible by people willing to share their stories with me (and you). And of course, a blog without readers is really just an online journal. So thank you for reading!

Writing in other places:
This year I had the opportunity to write or be featured in several blogs and online magazines, both for professional and bucket list/travel related writing. Here are some of my favorites:
Learning to Love the Lobster Roll in Boston – Lyf&Spice
What To Expect When Going To A Plant-Based Burger Joint – Seattle Greenlaker
7 Tips for the Best Stargazing – All Mom Does

Facebook group:
I enjoyed seeing the growth and camaraderie in The Goal List Community, a group of people who love travel and goal accomplishment. We had discussions, did the Intentional Life 5-Day Challenge, made a crazy round-the-world itinerary, and even had a virtual coffee date! I’m excited to see where we go in 2018 and beyond. Join us today!

The 2018 Bucket List Subset

In the past, I’ve chosen a subset list of 10 items for goals I want to give myself a little extra pressure to finish before the year’s over. But this year, I want to choose just two, not because those are the only two I’ll do this year, but because they seem doable given all the other (non-bucket list) things I’m planning on doing.

So, here’s the (very short!) subset bucket list for 2018:

  • Plan a plus one event
  • Complete a photo project

What’s on your bucket list this year? Let me know in the comments!


Join The Goal List Community, a free Facebook group for those who love bucket listing, travel, and goal achievement, and want to support and be supported in their goals and adventures. As mentioned, we do lots of cool things throughout the year!