Traveling with a friend – proposing a destination

I would categorize this into one topic – travel bucket list planning with a friend

  • Travel bucket list = All the places and travel experiences I want to do before I kick the bucket or get too old to do…

I’ve been talking to my friend Henry, who lives in Nashville Tennessee and I was on the verge of visiting him earlier this year.  Only… I’ve been to Nashville before and it’s not exciting for me to go back.  Moreover visiting someone’s home is different from traditional traveling as the destination is more of a casual place to reconnect rather than to explore.

So I was thinking…  Henry and I have talked about applying for the Amazing Race AND we have discussed how we want to check off our bucket lists.  The bucket list conversation is what gave me an idea.  Why visit him at home, when we can take off and spend a few days doing something that my wife definitely would not want to do?! Travel with a friend to a crazy destination or activity? Sure!

So I knew I had to come up with a proposal.

I had to choose something from my bucket list that would take at least a day or more to really enjoy.  For instance, learning to “saber a champagne bottle” would take about an hour and not require traveling. 

I narrowed my list to things that would require travel, things that I thought he would be into and things that I was sure my wife wouldn’t want to do.  As you would imagine, that list became pretty short.

My wife is awesome.  But I know that by default a few things turn her off from the adventures.  First, she doesn’t like too scary an activity.  She was ok shark cage diving as we were in a cage, but she would never do something like bungee jumping or skydiving.  Second, she doesn’t like going to the full extreme as she loves snorkeling but rejects the idea of scuba diving.  Third and finally she doesn’t want to travel to a freezing cold location.

Henry on the other hand may be nervous about it, but he would be up for those things!

Focusing on my bucket list I thought about what I would not have the opportunity to do with my wife first.  What would take a few days to enjoy and what would put us somewhere where Henry and I could catch up appropriately – meaning some natural down time needed to be included.

The answer I came up with was…  Dog Sledding in the frigid north!  Not only that but perhaps I would be able to see the aurora borealis and check two things off at the same time.

To make this proposal, which I knew could be instantly rejected, I needed to do some preliminary research.  I needed to answer the following questions.

  1. Where do we need to go to do this?
  2. Was there an experience offered that would work for us?
  3. What is the pricing and could we both afford it?

Let’s answer those questions.

Dog Sledding – Where do we need to go to do this?

Definitely the frigid north – Alaska, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Greenland and Minnesota snow-belt.

What places/companies offered an experience that I would be satisfied with?

Alaska is the most famous for the iditarod race.  Briefly reviewing what was offered there a few companies would take you on a couple hours ride on a dog sled ranging mostly from 2-4 hours.

Norway / Sweden / Greenland had dog sledding available; most only offered a few hours of an experience.  The biggest issue was that the time change would impact the short trip AND I would want to see more of these countries than just snow.

Minnesota, the snow belt.  Here there was one company that had dog sledding trips that lasted a few hours up to 2 weeks.  

Canada – Here they offered multi-day trips through a national park which would be amazing.  I noted that our stays would include an outhouse bathroom – in other words we would have to leave our room to go to the bathroom.

What is the pricing and could we both afford it?

The great thing about how I organized my life for travel is that I have some money at this age to play with.  Prices ranged for a 3-4 day trip between $1100 and $2200 USD.  Alaska was the most expensive, but did not really offer a multi-day trip with a common place to sleep.  This did not include flights.

The proposal

Armed with this information, I sent Henry a quick ping via text.

I sent a link to the multi-day Minnesota dog sledding and asked him if he was up for meeting up to check something off my bucket list.

Radio silence.  

Then a few days later I got the return message:

“Dude! I’m such a dork for getting back to you so late.  This sounds awesome!  What were you thinking, maybe the fall of this year?”


The proposal was essentially agreed upon.  Now we needed to actually dig into the details of what would make this trip enjoyable for both of us and where precisely we would go to do it.