Bucket Lists Are A Little Bogus – Try A “Before List”
First Things First—I Don’t Really Have Much Against Bucket Lists
But don’t bucket lists kind of start to defeat the whole foundation of good list-making and progress point-checking mantras set up by countless list ninjas over the past like…centuries? The age-old advice is to keep breaking your long-term goals down into shorter-term goals to truly achieve them, so a list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket” seems a bit contrary, right? So with this in mind, a couple of years ago I finally did my “Before…” list.
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Make Your List, But Don’t Be Too Rigid
Small victories are important to jump-starting enthusiasm and progress, so I put some quick and easy things on there along with the tougher goals.
I also included more like 50 things on the list, as there’s a chance that my tastes might change over the course of the years and I don’t want to feel forced to do something just because it’s on my list. I may be a little retentive like that, and once I set my mind to something it’s sometimes hard for me to be comfortable adjusting. So the extras are helpful and keep it flexible.
My Bucket List Turned Before List
I had just turned 36 when I made this list, so the possibility of chunking off 40 things in 4 years was a bit daunting. Oh, and I had only ever been to 2 countries outside of the US at this point! Even more daunting was the fact that the first two years showed a pretty slow start, only checking off less than a half dozen things per year. But things have been picking up recently. More on that later.
- Ireland/Scotland — Sample Whiskey at a distillery
- London — Float down the Thames River
- Drive coast to coast in the US
- Arizona — Swim in Havasu Falls
- 1-month sebatical
- Mexico — Do a shot of Tequila or Mezcal in Mexico
- Yosemite — See El Capitan in person
- Florida — Visit the Everglades
- Key West — Have a sex on the beach…
- Virgin Islands — Work from a beach
- Washington — Visit Seattle (Space Needle?)
- Paris — Top of Eiffel Tower
- Dangle my feet off of a cliff at the Grand Canyon
- Hike to Crater Lake in Oregon
- States visited total to 40
- Get lifeguard certified
- Speak a second language conversationally
- Take nephew(s) on hostel trip
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen
- Bet $50 on black
- Foster a puppy or kitten for a week
- Help build Habitat house
- Dumpster Dive
- Crowd surf
- Sport pink, blue, purple, or orange hair
- Parachute or Skydive or Bungee Jump
- Drive a dune buggy or trophy truck
- Cliff Dive
- Whitewater kayak or raft
- Swim with dolphins or rays or sharks
- Complete half-marathon either road or trail
- Attend Cleveland Browns home game
- Attend Cleveland Indians home game
- Cut down a Christmas tree from mountains
- See a Broadway show… on Broadway
- Host a progressive dinner party or the like
- Ride in a hot air balloon or blimp
- Complete a 60+ mile cycling trip
- 25. Weigh in at 150lbs
- Complete photo books of my years in Charlotte, NC
- Whale watch from a coast
- Sleep overnight on a beach
- Buy some stocks
- Learn to surf
- Become handgun proficient
- See Rocky Horror Picture Show at Midnight Showing
- Minimum 2-day guy trip with Joshua and Timothy
- Learn 5 songs on the guitar
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READ NEXT: The Prettiest F*cking Sintra, Portugal Travel Guide You’ve Ever Seen
The Learn To Travel Series: A Brief Apology To Fear
There My List Hangs, Mocking Me Daily
Once you’ve figured out your shortlist, the next thing I think you should do is to give your list permission to be kind of an a**hole. I did this by posting the list right on my office door so that I literally look at my progress, or lack thereof, on a daily basis.
Let The World Know About Your List!
Maybe a little simpler would be to just let your friends and family know what your plans are. Once they know, you’ll likely be able to get them to help you achieve some of their common goals. I took friends to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show (there are midnight showings all the time in most major US cities, year-round), had a friend train me on handguns, and went with my girlfriend at the time to the mountains to get a Christmas tree.
Tough Love, Tips & Strategies To Help You Finally Kick-Start Your Travel Life…Or Go Full Nomad!
Been wondering how the hell all those digital nomads, location-independent travelers, and remote workers, travel “full-time?” Maybe you’ve thought about living that life one day, but you’re really not sure where to start.
Beyond giving you the stepping stones to dive into short-term domestic and international travel, this book will show you how long-term travelers extend those tools, maximize their budgets, and turn weeks into months…or even years…of traveling the world indefinitely.
Start Thinking Ahead; Your Next Decade Will Be Here Before You Know It
So what I’m realizing recently, now that I have under two years to accomplish about 20 more things, is that I’m catching some steam. Trips are being planned to chalk off 3-4 things in a couple of weeks, like visiting the Everglades, Key West, swimming with dolphins or rays, and skydiving or bungee jumping are all planned for one fell swoop here soon.
And with the inevitable end of this list, I’ll have a whole 10 years to accomplish the next one! The ideas have been flowing and I’ve already started to compile my 50 Before 50, and it’s gonna be a doozie!
You’re Never Too Young, Or Old, To Start
Don’t think that you’re ever too old to get started on this, nor that any of your friends or family are too young or old. This can be a great inspiration later in life to “do all the things you’ve never done”. It’s also an opportunity to teach our youth how to open their minds and plan ahead, especially if they’ve never had the opportunity to travel or experience much of the world outside of their hometown.
Personally, I didn’t really understand that world travel was possible, in the way that I now understand it, until I was about 28 years old, which some might consider a late start.
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Write That List, Then Employ Friends And Family And Get It Done!
By the way. I use QUIP for drafting pretty much all of my content for the site, but I also use it for things like my 40 before 40. It’s great to just have a quick idea and be able to pop it into a living document or even to give your friends and family access to it to keep up on your progress!
About Jason Robinson
Jason is the author of “The Beginner Traveler’s Guide To Going Nomad,” as well as the voice behind the words and the eye behind the lens for The Nomad Experiment. “Planning to travel at some point” wasn’t actually getting the job done, so nearing 40 he decided to make it a priority, nomatter how scary that was. A few years later—through the pandemic and a Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis at age 42—now living a life of nomadic travel, he’s speaking out to encourage others of any age, or with any serious medical diagnosis, to live an unconventional life.
Travel Planning Tips
Figure out where you are going & how are you getting there…
I suggest using at least 2 to 3 different travel search sites. Start with Skyscanner or Orbitz or Booking …or whatever aggregator site you prefer. Then when you see what airlines to use, check their respective sites for better deals or rewards flights.
Figure out where you’re going to stay…
If you’re interested in hostels, search Hostelworld or Hostelling International. For longer-term or more private digs, look at Airbnb, VRBO, or you can look for hotel rooms in the links from the search engines listed above.
Get comprehensive travel insurance, or in the least, travel medical insurance if internationally…
Especially with Covid not going anywhere, get covered. Start with an insurance aggregator like Insure My Trip, or with SafetyWing, World Nomads, or another. Then decide what is important to you; trip cancellation, baggage coverage, medical, or all of the above. And get a yearly evacuation plan, since you’ll have to get home after your emergency!
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