Scott MacKinnon

Featured Travelers

Today we chat with Scott MacKinnon about his incredible journey and that list that has now become famous. Backpacker Travel discovered Scott through his Facebook group Myxtraordinary and has been following his plight now for some months.

We would like to thank Scott for his contributions to our website and wish him all the best in the remainder of his travels.

Scott and surfboard
Scott and surfboard

Our Interview with Scott MacKinnon

BT: Ok so the obvious question we want to know is what made you come up with “The List”?

Scott: The list. Well, while I was bartending in Maui, I had the good fortune of meeting people from all over the world. It seemed that every few weeks I would meet someone new and they would paint the most beautiful picture of their country. I would spend the next few days telling anyone who would listen that I was packing up and moving to wherever they had mentioned. Eventually, I would forget about my plans and go back to my everyday life. Finally, after looking back on all my missed travel plans, I decided to take one year and devote it to traveling to all the places I’ve always wanted to go.

While I was making my list of places it dawned on me that not only were there many destinations I had neglected to follow through on but there were also numerous goals of mine that had fallen through the cracks. At that point, I knew the trip had to take on a more meaningful journey, and thus the list was created.

BT: What went into the selection process for the list? Did you struggle to find enough things to do or was it a matter of having to cull?

Scott: The selection process took a long time. Almost two years actually. After posting about 35/40 goals it was a real struggle to think back over all the years and recollect all of the things I wanted to do. At that point, I began actively searching out new ideas on the internet and through conversations with others. Basically, only the first three-quarters of the list is made up of things that I had always dreamed of accomplishing or attempting. I’m fully aware that some of the items on the list would take years to see through to completion, but just dedicating a small amount of time to them has been very rewarding. The second part of the list is comprised of newly discovered things that seem like amazing experiences/opportunities to me.

BT: Had you done much traveling prior to this epic trip? If so where to?

Scott: I hadn’t done much at all actually. Prior to moving to Hawaii, I had only flown on one plane, from Ottawa to Toronto. I had done some traveling within Ontario/Quebec and along the East Coast of the USA, but mostly for family vacations during my childhood. My first real trip came directly after Maui when I went to Panama for a five-week beach and surfing getaway.

Riding a wave
Riding a wave

BT: In your everyday life what do you do for a living? Did you have to leave your job or are you on extended leave?

Scott: I was a bartending beforehand, but quit my job to travel. When I finish things up, the sky is the limit.

BT: How long did you have to save up for the trip and have you had to set a tight budget?

Scott: I saved for about three years to do this. I did have a fixed budget going in, but have relaxed it a bit as time went on. I found it very difficult to concentrate purely on the love of travel and just being in the moment when I was concerned about my wallet. I was fortunate enough to have saved enough to just let things slide a bit.

BT: One of the items that always gives us a chuckle is you posing nude for an art class. Were you embarrassed and the obvious question – was it cold?

Scott: Haha. Nah, it was actually an honor to be in that situation. I know that sounds corny, but it was empowering to “de-robe” and “let it all hang out”. The owner couldn’t have been more helpful and THANKFULLY there was a heater on me the whole time

Posing in the nude
Posing in the nude

BT: Now you have recently completed the task to run with the bulls in Spain. Did it live up to your expectations? Were you shitting your pants?

Scott: I don’t know that it lived up to my expectations exactly. It was all over so quickly. The run lasted just two minutes 14 secs, although it seemed more like ten. You really had no time to let it sink it. You just ran like your life depended on it and it actually kind of did. The feeling that came over you when you entered the stadium afterward was the best part, but it also had its drawbacks. They let three smaller bulls out that run around charging and bashing into everyone and that was a little sad. You’re not supposed to touch the bulls, but people were grabbing them by the horns and smacking them as they ran by. It’s a shame that a few bad apples can give tourists such a bad name. All in all, though, it was pretty crazy.

BT: So is there anything that really stands out as most memorable so far?

Scott: There have been a few things. My Thai Boxing training in Thailand and my time with Pawan Kumar in India have been so special to me. They are two periods of time where I felt I really got a glimpse into someone else’s life.

Thai kickboxing
Thai kickboxing

BT: Do you have any suggestions for anyone reading this who might be considering a similar expedition?

Scott: Take it all in and don’t be put off by “failed attempts”. The goals are far more important than checks on a list, they provide you with so much more. The people, the places, and the memories will last forever. Always remember that.

BT: Finally, do you think that by completing this so-called “bucket list” so early in your life you might feel a little unmotivated when you return to normality?

Scott: If anything it's just the opposite. I feel that if I can get through this and accomplish what I started, it will go a long way in proving to myself that I can be a man of my convictions. Whether running around the globe, teaching in a classroom, or starting your own business; it’s all part of a bigger process in shaping who we are. I consider what I’m doing to be completely normal, I just might have a different set of priorities than others right now. When those priorities change, so will I, but as long as I’m doing what makes ME happy, I don’t think it's possible to be unmotivated.

If you would like to follow Scott's adventures you can check out his blog 1 Year 1 Life 1 List.


After returning, Scott has since written a book about his adventure called Flip Flop. You can pick up a copy on

Flip Flop book
Flip Flop book
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