Tag Archives: road trip

Bucket lists, road trips, and everyday adventure – Summer recap and fall sneak peak


Goodbye, summer!
Golden Gardens Park in Ballard, Seattle, WA at sunset

Summer seemed to go by so quickly! It’s been a crazy summer for me – my brother’s wedding, only a few things off the summer bucket list (I’m never good at finishing those!), and a 3 week road trip with a person I barely knew (we met on my Austin, TX trip in the hostel a few months ago)!

There’s no way I can tell you all the good stuff (recommendations, travel stories, pictures, etc) in just one post, so keep an eye out for future posts as they come. For now, I want to give a quick recap of this season and a sneak peak at what’s coming up this fall.

Summer Bucket List Progress

Of the 15 items, I did 3 that I feel are actually accomplished:

There are a few others I sort of did but I’m not sure if I’m going to count them:

  • look out the window on the top floor of a downtown skyscraper (went to the top of the Stratosphere in Vegas, but I’m not sure I’d consider that “downtown” and went to the top of the Space Needle in Seattle, but wouldn’t exactly call either a skyscraper in the way I was thinking of it – super tall office buildings in a place that gives you a perspective of the downtown/business district of a city that you wouldn’t normally see)
  • write an article for publication (I wrote a more in-depth article about the floating sky lanterns for an online publication, but what I was really thinking when I put this on the list was an article in print)

Do you have things you want to do, but only a certain way? Sometimes I’m more picky than others, for example, I counted riding a camel at the State Fair, but didn’t count the skyscraper thing.

Road Trip… by the Numbers

  • 21 days, drove 3007 miles, visited 3 states (but mainly California)
  • Slept in 11 different places, plus 1 more if you count the one place we stayed up all night instead of sleeping
  • Met 2 famous people
  • Accomplished 5 official list items, and added many more retrospective list items
  • Have infinite stories to tell

Road Trip… by the Favorites

  • Favorite attraction/single location: Alcatraz – really want to go back during the day and see more/spend more time there (we did the night tour)
  • Favorite city/town: Las Vegas – this was my second time in Vegas and it still had its magic. We stayed with family and it was the first time on the trip we’d stayed in one place for longer than one night, so we felt really relaxed and welcomed. One of the best nights on our trip happened in Vegas. (Do you have a travel story of when everything worked out so perfectly and you had the best time?)
  • Favorite bucket list item accomplished: learning to surf (yes, even more fun than skydiving!)
  • Favorite “craziest thing that happened” story: You’ll have to ask me in person someday 😉 (it’s mean to tease, I know, but some things are just better told in person… or, if I eventually change my mind about sharing, I’ll still wait to get permission to share on the blog)

Of course, I’ll be updating you over the next several months on this trip and the rest of the things that have happened, but for now I’ll leave it at that.

What were some of the highlights of your summer? Did you accomplish any bucket list items?

Fall Sneak Peak


Every day can’t be an amazing bucket list travel adventure, but we can choose to be a little adventurous every day. Starting November 1, I’m going to be hosting a 31 Days of Everyday Adventure challenge here on The Goal List. If you are interested in learning more and/or want to join me, sign up for the Insiders list to stay updated. (The Insiders list also gives you access to cool bonuses throughout the year, so there’s plenty of reasons to sign up!)

Looking forward to hearing about your summer adventures and supporting you in your goals for fall!


“Always say yes to the next adventure” – Interview with Susan McNulty of The McVagabonds


Susan and Ryan of The McVagabonds – Photo provided by and used with permission from Susan McNulty

Today’s interview is with Susan McNulty, a travel blogger at The McVagabonds, and a friend of mine. We met during our AmeriCorps VISTA year, and now she and her husband are adventuring in Europe after completing a long road trip from Seattle to Pittsburg!! In this interview, Susan shares about some of her travel and blogging journey so far, one of her ongoing Europe bucket list items, and the best advice she’s ever received.

Name and Blog:
Susan McNulty, half of The McVagabonds!

Fun fact about you:
I love food, both eating and cooking it. I love it so much that I decided to go to culinary school a few years ago, and trained at The Art Institute in Pittsburgh. I have a dream to one day eat my way through France.

Funner fact:
I’m working on getting to all four “corners” of the United States, a list that I made up a couple of years ago after moving to Seattle. I’ve been to Bellingham, Washington (top left); San Diego, California (bottom left); The Everglades, Florida (bottom right). Once we get back to the States next year I hope to make it up to NE Maine to get to all four points!

Funnest fact:
My husband and I are currently on our longest trip together: travelling around Europe for six months! We love to explore new places and have since the day we got married, but this is by far our biggest endeavor to date. We’re using it as a trial run to hopefully spend part of the year travelling from here on out.

What do you think has been essential to your success as a travel blogger?
I’m quite new to the blogging game, so I’m only just now starting to hit my groove. I think I’ve started having little milestones because I’ve been treating it like a job. Every day I have a certain amount of time set aside to write and edit posts, upload photos and reach out to other bloggers via comments. I think it’s been good in many ways, especially with helping to find my voice as a blogger.

What was something that surprised you about blogging?
How much I’m enjoying it! I’ve kept a journal since I was young, so I’ve always had a record of things that have happened in life. But with blogging, my journaling is taken to a whole new level. I’m able to add photos and include more facts and history. Plus I’m able to share my experiences with friends and family which they appreciate, especially when we’re abroad.

If you had to describe your blog in 6 words or less, what would you say? 
A collection of adventures and memories.

Who or what inspires you?
I think travelling, and all of the people I’ve met along the way, inspire me. There’s a big world out there, full of people so different from myself. I love meeting new people and learning from them. They inspire me to be a better, kinder and more conscientious person.

What is your all-time favorite bucket list item (of yours or someone else’s)? 
I have an ongoing bucket list item for our time in Europe: eat one pastry in every city we go to and document it. Before we left Pittsburgh a dear friend of mine told me I had to eat a pastry in Paris all by myself, no sharing with my husband. The idea not only stuck with me but it grew from there! It was the first item on my European bucket list and by far my favorite – who doesn’t love pastries?

If you aren’t doing anything related to travel, what are you doing in your free time? 
I’m an avid reader, so I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting books. I love going into second-hand shops and finding new-to-me books that have a history of their own! I’m also obsessed with my dog, who stays with my parents when we travel. We go for walks, try out new dog parks and area always on the lookout for new doggie recipes.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Always say yes to the next adventure, no matter what it is. Don’t be afraid of life! I’ve been living by this philosophy for the last couple of years, and it’s been working out pretty well so far!

Readers: Join me in thanking Susan for sharing her time, stories, and advice with us! If you want to learn more about her, check out her blog The McVagabonds, with all the links to the usual social media sites.

Want more interviews like this? Leave a comment and let me know who you would like to see featured. Be sure to sign up to stay updated on all the latest posts. Also, get on the Insiders list, a monthly email with a summary of blog posts, cool surprises and printables throughout the year, invites to insider-only online events, and chances to be featured in the blog.

Healthy road trip snacks, and doing things that make you nervous

What snacks do you eat on your road trips? I’m going on a road trip, and as a dietitian, I think about eating healthy (about 80% of the time – the goal is a balanced diet, not a militant one!). Below is the video I made about the types of snacks I’m bringing, and a little behind the scenes info. Since this is my first YouTube video (another bucket list item accomplished!) it’s very amateur, a little rambly, and I’m a bit nervous, but the information’s good. 😉

Behind the scenes:

I’m more nervous to record this than I ever was to do a live presentation or to publish a blog post. It’s super awkward to record on the tablet (and I have some difficulty keeping it still because it’s hard to hold). At first I’m worried that the other people around will think I’m weird, but no one seems to care so that concern goes away quickly.

Once I get into it, it really isn’t that bad. I pretend that I’m talking with a friend on video chat and things start to go much more smoothly… until the end, where I just keep rambling! (It has the same “long goodbye” feel of a video chat, so at least I’m consistent!)

The thing that makes me the most nervous about posting the video is being open to new ways to be criticized. Doing this makes me realize how much I care about what other people think, and I don’t like that very much. I play with the idea of editing it, but thankfully, my video software isn’t working, so I post it unedited, which I like better in the end because it’s more real. I think it’s good to be challenged outside of my comfort zone and to learn about myself. This is something I like most about doing the things on my bucket list, and this video is no different, in fact, in that sense it is one of the most challenging I’ve done in a while.

When was the last time you did something that made you nervous?
What did you learn from it?
(And, of course, what snacks do you take on your road trips?)

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