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The bucket list (derived from the saying ‘to kick the bucket’) refers to the idea of a list of things to do before you die. The term was first coined by screenwriter Jack Zackham for his film of the same name back in 2007. 

Somewhat ironically, top of Zackham’s bucket list was to write a screenplay that would be produced by a Hollywood studio – rather perfectly demonstrating the idea in action.

Why write a bucket list?

Life passes us by quickly but having a list of ideas you want to do before you pass on will give you the motivation to get out there and try new things. It can also help focus the mind and remind you what’s important to you and what you hope to achieve while you’re alive.

Like most aspects of life, planning is the best way to make things happen, so start writing your list today – after all, there’s nothing final in this, and you can always add to it as you go forward. Having a clear set of goals will help you deal better with the day-to-day humdrum while also giving you something to work towards. 

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Bucket list inspirational ideas

Most of us have ambitions to complete certain one-off trips or experiences before we’re too old but if you’re struggling to come up with ideas, below are some of the most common bucket list activities dreamed up by others to inspire you.

Travel by luxury yacht

Hiring a private yacht should be top of the list if you want to experience the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Yachts come in all shapes and sizes, so a trip needn’t particularly break the bank, so long as you keep your ideas within realistic expectations. There are hundreds of different options for traveling by yacht, ranging from full holidays to just short pleasure cruises. 

Alternatively, if you run a business, you could justify the costs of the trip by organizing a yacht party for your clients – or asking your boss if the firm would be interested in doing so. Not only will you tick off another bucket list idea, but you’ll also charm and engage your customers like never before and let them experience a taste of the high life. Corporate yacht parties can be as big or small as you want, featuring everything from live bands to private food and drinks services.

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Catch your first wave surfing

Bucket list ideas don’t just need to be limited to more expensive activities – rather, you should also think about one-off experiences. For example, if you’ve never tried surfing before, get out there and try catching your first wave. Warning – surfing is known to be a highly addictive sport, and most people who ride a wave for the first time go on to develop a lifetime compulsion.

Travel the world

Travel is one of the best ways to expose the mind to new cultures, people, and traditions while also experiencing the wonders of the world firsthand. Nations vary greatly from continent to continent, so why not make a list of the places you want to visit (cities, monuments, famous scenic viewpoints, etc.) then devise a route between them. 

If you find that idea a little daunting, look online for resources that can help you plan better for routes between where you want to go. For example, the website Rome2Rio is an excellent travel resource produced by two ex-Microsoft developers (Bernhard Tschirren and Dr. Michael Cameron) that allow users to plan and plot multiple destinations then provides recommended routes (i.e., bus, plane, boat, etc.).

Rome2Rio isn’t the only site you could use. In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s now easier than ever to plan and book multiple-stop journeys, so get online and start planning your ultimate trip around the world. 

Work on your language skills

On the subject of travel, why not take the time to learn a new language? Sure, learning a language is perhaps a little more sedate than other items on this list, but it could help hugely if you try the traveling the world idea – particularly if you learn a widely-spoken language like Spanish. 

There are few things more satisfying than conversing with another person in a language foreign to your own – plus the vast majority of nationals around the world greatly appreciate when they see visitors attempting to speak in their local tongue. 

Spanish can be a great help with travel, but don’t forget the other widely-spoken languages like Hindi, Mandarin, or French. 

In terms of resources, there is now a huge range of free and paid online services you could use to learn a language. In particular, the Duolingo app can teach you the basics of a language quickly with its free interactive lesson style (there are also many other apps and websites available). In no time at all, you could be speaking fluently in a foreign tongue. 

Get to your ideal weight

Obesity is one of the biggest health problems around the world today, and, in the US alone, it’s estimated one in three adults is overweight. Problems with weight don’t just pose a significant danger to your health; they can also present psychological and mobility issues – plus, they can ruin your personal body image. 

Taking regular exercise and regulating your diet will give you greater energy levels and improve your overall general outlook on life – plus, it will make you more attractive to your significant other. 

Check online for your suggested ideal body weight and start working towards it with a daily exercise routine. Again, you’ll find a huge raft of resources online these days in the form of websites and apps that can help provide motivation – or even plan your ideal workout routine and give dietary advice. 

Perfect a new sport 

OK – maybe perfection would be stretching it a little, but you’re never too old to take up a new activity, and learning a new sport is a great way to give both your body and mind a workout. Getting good at a new sport will also increase your confidence levels as your technique improves and can take you places you might otherwise not even dream of visiting (for example, skiing in high mountain landscapes). 

Sport can also have a knock-on effect of increasing your circle of friends, plus it will also help you achieve your ideal body weight (as noted above). 

No matter what age you are, there’s a sport out there for you – anything from relatively sedate sports like swimming or bowling right up to high-octane activities like wakeboarding, paragliding, snowboarding, or mountain biking. 

Experience wildlife firsthand by trying scuba diving

We humans may spend the majority of our time on land, but the earth is actually around 71% water. So rather than just limiting yourself to on-land activities, why not try exploring the vast watery resources around us by trying scuba diving?

Most beach resorts have short ‘try dive’ sessions conducted in a safe and monitored group that will give you a taste for diving with relatively little training involved. If you get hooked, you could then improve your skills by taking an accredited course that will allow you to dive deeper and start exploring the deeper, more exotic seas around us. 

No matter where you choose to learn, you’ll be exposed to the hidden wonders of the ocean and get up close and personal with a huge variety of wildlife and animals that we simply don’t see from the surface or on land.

Train to run a marathon 

Public marathons are run in most larger cities around the world, so why not start training to take part? During your training, you’ll improve your fitness and stamina levels – plus, you will have the added advantage of being one of the very few that can say they’ve completed the full 42.2km (or 26.2 miles) challenge. You could even look to getting yourself sponsored for the event, thereby raising valuable money for your preferred charity. 

Training for – and completing – a marathon will work wonders for your confidence levels and also improve your overall endurance and physical fitness levels. 

Go tandem paragliding 

Most extreme sports take years to become skilled at; however, with a tandem paraglider, you can rely on the knowledge and experience of a professional pilot to fly like a bird high above the earth. Paragliding is the ultimate rush (particularly if you suffer from vertigo) and can help you overcome many other fears or trepidations.

Nothing quite compares to the feeling of running down the side of a mountain, only for the earth to drift away between your feet as the canopy above inflates and sends you flying into the air. Your pilot looks after all the flying duties allowing you to take in the views in a very safe and controlled activity. When coming to land, the pilot will also advise you on the best practices for landing as you glide slowly back down to earth. 

For an added adrenaline boost, you could consider asking your pilot to perform a spiral landing where they’ll corkscrew you back to the ground. Again, the sense of speed and G forces are unlike anything else you’ll have ever experienced. 

Walk the Inca trail

The Inca trail is the most famous walk in South America and is generally regarded as one of the top five trail treks in the world. Starting in Chillca, the most popular walk is just 26 miles long, eventually culminating in a visit to Machu Pichu – the Lost City of the Incas. Along the way, you’ll take in breathtaking scenery ranging from subtropical jungle to lush forests – and, of course, the world-famous Inca ruins, tunnels, and monuments.

There are numerous dedicated resources online to find out more information or book a trip with a specialist trail guide company that will keep you on the right path while also explaining the significance of the sights and sounds around you. 

Perform a selfless, kind deed with no reward in return

Most people would agree that it’s better to give than to receive, and performing a selfless, kind deed for another person can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences. Try thinking of someone you know (or even that you don’t know) who needs help, then devise a way to assist them. Yes, money will often help but also try thinking of more out-of-the-box ideas that could give them a helpful push in the right direction. Not only will you end up helping the individual, but you’ll also derive a sense of pride in doing the right thing. 

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