Your Darling (Yet Nagging) Duty Station Bucket List

Your Darling (Yet Nagging) Duty Station Bucket List

By Sylvia Salas Brown, Guest Contributor

Here I am looking at this duty bucket list that I made when we got to our current duty station, almost 2 years ago.

Your Darling (Yet Nagging) Duty Station Bucket List

I try and make one at every place we live so that we get a chance to enjoy our time at our new home, wherever it is that we get sent to and the kids have something to look forward to when we get there. I plot different locations in our surrounding area and also within a few hours drive. A weekend getaway, perhaps.

But there it is…that darling little duty station bucket list. Just hanging there, patiently waiting for me to scratch off a few more things.

And as I look at this precious list, it hits me. I rush to the family calendar, which I’m sure we all have. You know, the one where all the doctor’s appointments are listed, spouse club meetings, volunteer meetings, basketball games, teacher conferences, girls night, luncheons, your husband’s last minute “Hey-I-need-a-casserole-for” gathering, the one with all the color-coded activities and I realize have but a mere 2 months to fulfill this list.

TWO MONTHS! I shout to myself. Well, not really to myself, my kids are sitting eating their lunch, so it’s really shouting out loud with little ears listening and giving their mommy a “what’s wrong with her” look. But I digress.

Would this be enough time? If we do one thing every weekend and maybe squeeze in one outing during the week, we should be good. Right?

No! Darn you calendar!

Why are the days filled with endless lists of other things? Yaaarrrgg! (in my best pirate roar) OK, I’m calm. I’m a cool mommy pirate.

I decide to take another look at the list. What is really important for us to see and experience from this list, I ask myself.

  • Do I really want to go to a little town where the most entertainment is a country musical?
  • Do I want to go see a museum where history comes alive?
  • Do I want to go and experience the culinary arts?
  • What to do? What to do?

I jump on my computer and grab my list and start typing away on my search engine. One thing that has helped me get a bit organized, is signing up for the tourist site provided by the local chamber of commerce and/or local government. This is one of the things I do when researching a new duty station. They have a plethora of information on things to do that are family friendly as well as date night ideas.

I start clicking away and reading about the different places we can go and the things we can do in such a short time. So back and forth I go with my list, comparing what I have and what I want to have on it and make sure we take on different adventures every weekend for the next 2 months.

As a military family, we’ve learned what we have time for and what we don’t, at our duty stations, because after all, you may only be there a short amount of time. And once you leave, you might not return, depending on your spouse’s career path.

As for me, I’m still working on the infamous list. We have scratched off one more thing, but ironically, I’ve added one more. Hey, who said eating barbecue, a staple in this area of the country, wasn’t important?

Do you have a duty station bucket list? Do you cross everything off this list before you PCS? 

sylvia salasbrownSyvia Salas Brown is a Texas native, or as she likes to call herself, a “misplaced Texan” since she married into the Army. She graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a bachelor’s degree in technology (so a geek girl, pretty much) and a Masters in Public Administration from CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She has two boys aged 5 and 3. Her husband has been active in the Army for over 15 years.

When her nose isn’t stuck in a book, she loves to sew, try new recipes, thrift shop, repurpose just about anything, hang out with my family and travel. She is also an Independent Consultant for Thirty-One.



  1. Great article on what goes on behind the scenes! Thanks for the humor & candor!

  2. You know, I sort of make a list in my head of where I want to go when I PCS, but I really like the idea of making a physical list! It makes it seem more fun, like an adventure, which is how I like to approach living in a new place. Great idea!

    • Glad you loved the idea! It’s kind of like having a PCS bucket list, no?


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