18 October 2012

Buckets - free image from Dreamstime


A bucket list (in case you didn't know) is a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket.

I personally can't stand those '100 things to do before you die' lists because they're not personal enough. Why should someone else tell you what to do?

So here are some tips on making your own bucket list - focused on long-term travel and adventure cos that's what we know.


  1. Start with the easy stuff. All of us have a list of places we've wanted to visit for ages. Begin your list with these.

  2. Think about the things you wanted to do when you were a kid. Often we have to go waaaaaay back to remember what was exciting. It doesn't matter if your list includes 'be a princess', 'drive a spaceship' or 'go to Middle Earth' as these can translate to 'visit luxury resort', 'go on a space simulator' and 'go to New Zealand' (or Birmingham if you want to be literal about it).

  3. Add some predictable stuff. Yeah, everyone puts 'swim with dolphins'. You know why? Because dolphins are AWESOME.

  4. Add some weird stuff. If you want to help Peruvians make jewellery, take elephants for a bath, or go to kung fu school, you do it. (Those are real options offered by our partners by the way). If you haven't got any ideas, you can look at all the career breaks on our site here.

  5. Think about the overall experience you want. For example, it's not just 'visiting India' - it's experiencing the majesty of the Taj Mahal, meeting people from another culture, inhaling the exotic smells, eating some awesome food and learning what the deal with the cows is. 

  6. Decide what's super important and move that to the top of your list. You won't be able to do everything (unless you're loaded and have plenty of time - or your list is really short) so you need to prioritise. It doesn't have to be specific like 'walk the Inca Trail' - it could be more vague like 'learn a new sport'.

  7. Ask friends for their suggestions. Family too. You can ask them what they would like to do, as well as what they've done and really enjoyed. But remember that this is your bucket list - you're asking for input, not a prescription.

  8. Try to have a bit of variety. You might want to have a learning thing, a special place to visit, an extreme sport, a chance to give something back, a thing to see - you get the idea. It'll give you the sense that you're a well-rounded person.

  9. It's OK to get inspiration from odd places. You think we only get inspired from reading sensible books and watching documentaries? Nope. Inspiration can come from anywhere - if it hits you in your special place, that means it's worth adding to your list. 

  10. Don't feel you have to write it down. You can store your bucket list in your head. No, you won't remember everything, but it means you can mentally add, remove and reorder things at will. It also doesn't have to feel like a list, more of a melting pot of mental images, ideas, smells and desires - which is more stimulating than a Word document any day!


Have you got a bucket list? What's on it? Tell us in the comments below!