What’s on Your Bucket List? 101 Things To Do Before You Die

Bucket List

Note from Celes on Aug 29, 2014: First written five years ago on Aug 10, 2009, I thought it’s high time that I update this bucket list article which has now been viewed over 1.3 million times!!!! I’ve significantly expanded on this article with pictures and helpful descriptors for each of the 101 bucket-list ideas, and hope that this article will inspire you to create your bucket list. :) (For those of you with your bucket list already, perhaps it’s time to review and update it!)

Be sure to download the free bucket list e-book (scroll down to the end of the post) which consists of the updated post. Share this post with others on your Facebook/Twitter to inspire them to create their list too. Enjoy! :)

“Every man dies – Not every man really lives.” ~ William Ross

“The only people who fear death are those with regrets.” ~ Author Unknown

A few days ago, I was surfing online when I came across someone’s bucket list. It quickly inspired me to create my own list and write an article about it at the same time.

What’s a Bucket List?

If you haven’t heard about the term “bucket list”, it is a list of all the goals you want to achieve, dreams you want to fulfill and life experiences you desire to experience before you die.

Why Create a Bucket List?

If you don’t live your days by personal goals and plans, chances are you spend most of your time caught up in a flurry of day-to-day activities. Ever feel your days are passing you by without any tangible output to speak of? What did you accomplish in the past 3 months? What are your upcoming goals for the next 3 months? Look at the things you did and the things you’re planning to do next – Do they mean anything to you if you are to die today? Having a bucket list reminds you of what’s really important so you can act on them.

Even if you frequently live by goals or to-do lists, they are probably framed within a certain social context e.g. performance, career, health. A bucket list opens up the context. It’s a forum to set anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to do, whether it’s big, small or random.

It’s just like planning ahead all the highlights you want for YOUR whole life. :D Even though goal setting is already my staple activity, I still found many new things to do while I was writing on my own list. It was an incredibly insightful exercise. What’s more, coming up with my list gave me a whole new layer of enthusiasm knowing what’s in store ahead!

The objective of creating this list isn’t to instill some kind of a race against time or to create aversion toward death. I don’t see our existence to be limited to just our physical years on earth – I don’t see our existence to be limited to just our physical years on earth – our physical lifespan is but a short speck of our existence in the universe.

The whole point of creating your list is to maximize every moment of our existence and live our life to the fullest. It’s a reminder of all the things we want to achieve in our time here, so that instead of pandering our time in pointless activities, we are directing it fully toward what matters to us.

Create Your Bucket List

Sunrise over the horizon

If you don’t have a bucket list, I highly recommend you to create one. How much will it cost? Zero. How long will it take? Probably 30 minutes to an hour, or more if you get really caught up in the writing. :) What do you stand to gain? Significant clarity and focus on what you want from your life. It’s an invaluable exchange. :)

If you already have your list, take this opportunity to review it. See if there are new items you want to add-on. If so, add them in. Check if all the items listed are still relevant. If not, remove them.

Now, take out your pen and paper or open up a text document. Start writing down what comes to mind as you read these questions:

  • What if you were to die tomorrow? What would you wish you could do before you die?
  • What would you do if you had unlimited time, money and resources?
  • What have you always wanted to do but have not done yet?
  • Any countries, places or locations you want to visit?
  • What are your biggest goals and dreams?
  • What do you want to see in person?
  • What achievements do you want to have?
  • What experiences do you want to have / feel?
  • Are there any special moments you want to witness?
  • What activities or skills do you want to learn or try out?
  • What are the most important things you can ever do?
  • What would you like to say/do together with other people? People you love? Family? Friends?
  • Are there any specific people you want to meet in person?
  • What do you want to achieve in the different areas: Social, Love, Family, Career, Finance, Health (Your weight, Fitness level), Spiritual?
  • What do you need to do to lead a life of the greatest meaning?

Come up with as many items as you can. The items should be things you have not done yet. Don’t stop until you finish listing at least 101 things! If you find yourself stuck, chances are you are mentally limiting/constraining yourself. Release those shackles – Your bucket list is meant to be a list of everything you want to achieve, do, see, feel and experience in your life. Check out the next section for added inspiration.

101 Things To Do Before You Die

Here are 101 items to consider for your bucket list. :) Look through the list — any item that resonates with you? Take the items that resonate and use them for your own list! For your convenience, I’ve included useful resources (hand-picked by yours truly) to aid you in your bucket-list quest.

If you have experienced or have personally achieved any of the items below, feel free to share your experience in the comments section below. Thank you! :)

(Note: The list below is a sample list of things you can put for your own list. If you are curious about *my* bucket list, you can find it here: My bucket list.)

1. Travel all around the world

Paris

Traveling — it’s the single best activity that exposes you to new cultures, broaden your mind, move out of your comfort zone, allow you to meet new people, and experience the wonders of the world. 

I’m a strong advocate of traveling and have in fact traveled widely around the world in the past years. In 2011, I went on a seven-month non-stop trip around Europe and U.S. where I met PE readers from around the world and held PE readers meetup in London, London again, New York, and Los Angeles. I’ve subsequently been to Kuala Lumpur, India, South Africa, Hong KongScotland, and Hong Kong where I held PE reader meetups in all of them (except India).

All in all, I’ve spent about 50% of my time between 2011 to 2013 traveling! I look forward to visiting new countries such as South America, Canada, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand moving forward.

How about you? What new countries would you like to visit? Here are some traveling resources:

2. Learn a new language

Foreign Language

Learning a new language is never easy but it’s so satisfying when you are able to converse with someone in a foreign language! I admire people who are multi-lingual — I’m personally fluent in only English and Mandarin while having functional knowledge of Hokkien, Japanese, and Bahasa Indonesia. I hope to learn a few foreign languages — Spanish being one of them — in the future. 

Some language resources:

3. Try a profession in a different field

What profession are you in now and how long have you been doing this? Is it time for a change in profession? It’s nice to do something different from what you have been doing, and it doesn’t have to involve quitting your current job — you can always experiment with volunteer work in a field you enjoy or start up a part-time business on the side. It’s all about expanding your horizon and trying something new.

4. Achieve your ideal weight

Yoga Exercise

I used to be a severe binge eater (a story which I’ve shared in My Journey with Emotional Eating series) and making the commitment to overcome my emotional eating, live healthily, and lose my excess weight has been one of the single best decisions I’ve made in my life.

Make the commitment to be healthy. What is your ideal weight? Are you at your ideal weight today? What can you do to start being healthy? Some weight loss resources:

5. Run a marathon

Running a Marathon

A marathon is a long-distance race of 42.2 km (26.2 miles) long — definitely not an easy feat that requires training and hard work! Training and completing a marathon will not only develop you in your physical strength and endurance, but also your mental persistence, will, and attitude. Read:

6. Take part in a triathlon

Cycling

A triathlon is a “multiple-stage competition involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines.” Modern-day triathlons are swim/bike/run events that are done in that order. If you think that a marathon is tough, wait till you try a triathlon — the ironman triathlon consists of 3.86 km (2.4 mi) swim, a 180.25 km (112-mi) bicycle ride and a 42.2 km (26.2-mi) run (that’s a marathon-length race!), raced in that order and without a break!

But don’t run in the opposite direction just yet — there are many triathlons of varying distances that are completely manageable. For example, a sprint triathlon is 750 m / (0.47 mi) / 20 km (12.4 mi) / 5 km while an Olympic triathlon is 1.5 km (0.93 mi) / 40 km (24.8 mi) / 10 km (6.2 mi). One of my readers decided to train for a triathlon as a personal milestone — despite never having done a marathon in her life! She eventually completed the triathlon after a year of training, and was so proud of herself!

Ready to take up the triathlon challenge? :) Read:

7. Take up a new sport

Archery

Sports is a great way to keep fit! Whether you’re an indoor or outdoor person, there is a sport for everyone. Here are some sports to try out:

  • Technique sports: Archery, Golf, Bowling, Billiard, Skateboarding, Skating, Roller-blading, Ice skating
  • Racket sports: Squash, Badminton, Tennis, Table tennis
  • Water sports: Water rafting, Kayaking, Wakeboarding, Sailing, Swimming, Scuba diving, Snorkeling
  • Group sports: Soccer, Rugby, Baseball, Basketball, Ultimate frisbee

8. Go scuba diving / snorkeling and experience marine life up close

Scuba Diving

As humans, we spend all of our lives on land. Yet there is a whole world under the sea that we’re not privy to! Do you know that 71% of the Earth’s surface is actually the ocean? And do you know that because of the ocean’s depth, it contains about 300 times the habitable volume of the terrestrial habitats on Earth — and many ocean species are still to be discovered?

With scuba diving and snorkeling, you have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the marine life — and see, feel, and experience the vast ocean in person. Scuba diving is one of my bucket-list items!

Read:

9. Go skiing

Skiing

There’s something about being able to glide on snow while controlling your motor movements that just makes skiing such a  fun sport. It’s by no means easy or safe — one should take lessons before attempting to ski alone — but it’s worth trying out, especially for people who don’t live in winter countries. I personally haven’t skied before and would love to give it a shot next time. Read:

10. Trek the Inca Trail

Skiing

The Inca Trail is the most famous trek in South America and is rated by many to be in the top 5 treks in the world. It starts from Chillca and follows a route to Machu Picchu, The Lost City of the Incas. Read:

11. Go horseback riding

Horseback Riding at Elliot's Beach

Horseback riding in Chennai, India (here, I’m at Edward Elliot’s Beach), thereby completing item #62 of my bucket list! ;)

Horseback riding began in the 14th century, where it was used as a functional activity to transport materials and people. Today, it has transformed into both a hobby and a competitive sport. Horseback riding in itself can be a good sport to relax and unwind from the busy life. Unlike typical sports where you are alone or with other peopple, in horseback riding, you work together with an animal — the horse — and often times build an emotional bond with it.

More on horseback riding:

12. Do an extreme sport

I don’t consider myself an extreme-sports person, but I do like to experiment in life. When I was in Cape Town in April 2013, my host and reader Lizette invited me to go paragliding as she has friends who are licensed tandem paragliding pilots. I took up the offer, and went paragliding not once, but twice!!!

Celes Paragliding in Cape Town, off Lion's Head

Me paragliding in Cape Town on April 18, 2013. Check out THAT view!!! We were literally floating in the air for a good minute or two. One of the MOST surreal moments in my life!!

The experience was immense and one that I’ll never forget. I do recommend everyone to try at least one extreme sport in our lifetimes! (Of course, make sure *all* safety precautions are in place and you are with professional and licensed instructors.) While the experience may only last a couple of minutes, those few minutes will be some of the most memorable ones in your life.

More on my paragliding experience here: The Day I Flew (My Paragliding Experience in Cape Town!)

Get started:

13. Climb a mountain

Mountain climbing

Why risk your life to climb a mountain when the journey is fraught with rocky terrains and with ever-changing weather conditions? For some, mountain climbing is an external conquest; some find enjoyment in the sport; others see it as a step in their personal growth journey. Whatever it is, mountain climbing is a feat that takes physical endurance and mental tenacity to accomplish, and is definitely a bucket-list worthy item. I haven’t climbed a mountain yet but I plan to do that sometime in the future!

14. Learn a strategy game

Chess

Strategy games like chess, checkers, chinese chess, Reversi (also known as Otello), Mindsweeper (part of Windows bundle) are great ways to train your mind. As a child, my brother and I played chinese chess together very often; I also enjoy playing  mind sports like chess and Reversi a lot and would do so with my friends and against the computer). I don’t know if playing such games helped me to be smarter, but I know it certainly taught me to think quickly, to develop plan of actions in anticipation of future issues, and to think before I act!

Get started:

15. Connect with past teachers

Some of us may think of teachers in a bad light. After all, teachers are often remembered for giving us endless assignments and tests and generally making our lives miserable while in school!

Yet, our teachers are also crucial educators who impart importanted knowledge — and life skills — to us during our early ages when we were the most impressionable. They ensured that we would be on the right path as we entered preadolescence, adolescence, and subsequently adulthood. While teachers don’t always get everything right, their intentions come from a good place and they want to see us win.

Think about your past teachers in junior school, high school, and tertiary education. Find ways to get back in touch with them. (Calling your alma mater is always a good start.) Let them know how they have touched your life.

16. Let someone know how much he/she means to you

Best friends cuddling

In our life’s journey, we are constantly touched and supported by people around us, be it friends, family, or acquaintances. Can you identify someone who has made a difference in your life? Write a letter to the person today and let him/her know how much he/she means to you. You can do this as many times as you want, for as many people as you like.  Read:

17. Give a heartfelt surprise to someone

Surprise

When’s the last time you gave someone a surprise? :) It’s always heartwarming to come home to a nicely cooked dinner, to have a bouquet of flowers sent to you at work, or to even receive a simple text message from a loved one. Who is someone you would like to touch today? What surprise can you give to him/her?

Read: #KindnessChallenge Day 14: Do Something Unexpectedly Nice For Someone

18. Perform a kind deed without expecting anything in return

Sharing

Many of us are often waiting to receive rather than to give. Yet for any relationship to work, there has to be both giving and receiving. If you often find yourself wondering why no one is giving you what you want, how about practicing giving to others first? :) The rest will follow.

Can you think of someone in your life who is in need of help or can benefit from your help? How can you extend your support to him/her? Read: 

19. Make a difference in someone’s life

Donate

Making a difference is more than doing a kind deed, though it can come as a result of a kind deed. When you make a difference in someone’s life, you change the person’s life for the better… permanently. What is the difference YOU want to make in others’ lives? How can you make that happen?

Read: #KindnessChallenge Day 7: Make a Donation

20. Be a mentor to someone

Student and Teacher

Teaching is one of the most rewarding things we can do. No matter how old you are, even if you are in your teens, you are always in the position to mentor someone else — perhaps someone who is more junior than you or someone who is older but can benefit from a particular expertise you have. Mentoring others is also a great way for you to develop yourself too.

Many communities are always looking for volunteer mentors, so check with your local community programs for such opportunities. At the same time, is there anyone you know who can benefit from being mentored by you? Extend your hand to help — who knows, it may well be what he/she needs at this moment!

21. Pursue your passion

Passion

Honestly, life is too short to be spent doing something you don’t love. This was why I quit my day job in September 2008 (right start at the start of the financial crisis no less) to pursue my passion to help others grow. I have never looked back ever since — for the past five years, I’ve been writing at Personal Excellence and helping people to grow. It has been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done and I plan to do this for the rest of my life.

What is your passion? Is it to be an artist? To sing and perform? To be a life coach? To travel? To help other people to grow (same as my passion)? To be the best that you can be? How can you start pursuing it?

If you don’t know what your passion is, this exercise will help you to discover it: Discover Your Purpose in the Next 30 Minutes

Some people pursue their passion part time while some make it their careers (or even turn their passion into a business). I personally think that if something is your passion, then you should turn it into your life’s work, because that’s the most synergistic and rewarding path you can pursue. Contrary to common belief that pursuing your passion is at odds with being rich, you can pursue your passion and be financially abundant. I’m an example of this. 

These articles document the early stages of my passion journey and will help you in yours:

22. Start your business

Entrepreneurship is fraught with uncertainty but it certainly is fun and rewarding! I started my personal development business in 2008 without knowledge of professional blogging or coaching and started earning more than my last corporate pay within my third year. By being smart, diligent, and persistent in your endeavor, there’s no reason why anyone shouldn’t succeed. Read:

23. Fly in a hot-air balloon

Hot air balloon

The view of the world as you float away in a hot-air balloon… spectacular. Once, I got to fly in a hot-air balloon while I was in Orange County in 2012… though that was just a stationary balloon ride that went up for a minute before coming back down. My next goal is to have a real hot-air balloon ride.

 Read: World’s 10 Best Hot-Air Balloon Adventures

24. Sing to an audience

If you love singing, don’t keep your passion to yourself! The next time there is an event, offer to sing as one of the performance items. Singing shouldn’t be limited to when you are showering in the bathroom. :)

25. Do volunteer work

Barefoot on sand

Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to the world. As I mentioned in Day 4: Sign Up for Volunteer Work of the Kindness Challenge,

Volunteer work is one of the best ways to expose yourself to a new medium of helping other people. There are tons of volunteer work out there, from assisting the elderly at the old folks’ home, working with delinquent kids, being a mentor to kids at orphanages, helping out at animal shelters, beach cleanups, and so on.

Volunteer work doesn’t have to be some grandiose act. As long as you are offering a part of yourself pro bono to the world (be it in terms of skills, knowledge, time, effort, or money), you are in fact volunteering.

Read more: #KindnessChallenge Day 4: Sign Up for Volunteer Work

Some places to get started:

Proceed to page two for bucket list ideas #26 to #50…

  • http://www.personal-success-factors.com Stephen Borgman

    Celes, do you participate at any of the sites you mentioned above to record and track your bucket list. If not, how have your recorded your bucket list, and have you tracked it? Do you have any kind of dreamboard representing the dreams on your bucket list?

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      Hey Steve! I use my own blog page http://personalexcellence.co/blog/my-bucket-list/ and my personal tracking document to track on my goals and pursuits, so I can’t comment on the sites above. But they do seem like great resources and many are using them, so I shared them as part of article.

      As for my vision board, yes I do have one! More on vision board and how to create yours:
      http://celes.tv/vision-board/

  • Lady Mae

    This is an intresting list. I do find it a bit cliche but its understandable.
    I used about 5 of the suggestions to use on my own bucket list. :)
    Thanks for all this!
    Virginia Mae.

  • http://www.hibbins.com Psytec

    I made a list at http://www.popclogs.com/ , since i started keeping a list it’s amazing how many things I have crossed off !

  • http://www.joshuanoerr.com Joshua Noerr

    I find a bucket list, or whatever term you choose, to be of incredible importance. Mid-life crises happen when people realize that time has passed them by and they have nothing to show for it. My bucket list is full of experiences, not things. This is how I encourage people to start when they sit down to compose a list.

    I think a valuable thing to do after a list is created, is to go to each item and figure out what will be needed to make it happen. How much will it cost? How much time will it take? What resources do you need to make it happen that you do not currently have? These kinds of questions move you closer to making these dreams happen. As you wrote, it is not enough to make a list, you have to take action!

    I enjoyed the post very much Celes!

  • http://read-y.com boris

    Celestine,
    Great list. However, I was surprised that your bucket list doesn’t include any task related to the Horizon Deepwater Oil Spill. We all shoul dbe doing something about it!
    All the best,
    Boris

  • Jacob

    Here is one way you can go about walking on water. From Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebook http://www.leonardoda-vinci.org/68067/Skis-With-Which-One-Can-Walk-On-Water-large.jpg

    Buoyant shoes with polls to push against the water (the lack of friction makes the polls necessary).

    WARNING: – develop your balance first!
    – make it easy to take off the shoes.

  • http://www.enrichedwomen.com Miranda Cruz

    Hmmm… perhaps make peace with my dad whom I haven’t been conversing with for the longest time.

    Or perhaps go to the happiest place on earth with my kids.

    There are lots of things want to do. :wink:

  • http://elleswim.wordpress.com Elle

    What an excellent list! I have many of the same goals on mine.

  • ashna

    This is a great list Celes. Thanks for the extra tips ;)

  • Dave M

    great ideas, thank you. If I can make a suggestion… please watch “the Cove” to see if you are still interested promoting swimming with the dolphins.

  • http://www.InternetLifestyle.com Yanik Silver

    I’ve been honing my own bucket list or as I call it “Ultimate Big Life List” for years. It’s been an interesting evolution. Some of the things I put on there were playing it too safe – and there’s a longer story behind it but one of things I put on there was be a semi-pro beach volleyball player. (I’m only 5′ 8″). Anyway a matter of circumstances presented a chance to be in a real pro tourney – which meant I had to join the professional org (AVP) so I was “technically” a pro. After that I added all sorts of items to my list that were pretty outrageous to most people – but who cares? It’s just a list and you’ll be surprised at the power of the list to draw in the right people and circumstances to make it happen.

    One other thing I’ll share is sometimes its easiest if you have categories to fill in the blanks to. I created a booklet that helps people with creating their big life list by having “Top 5″ lists for different categories. i.e. Top 5 people you want to meet, Top 5 adventures you want to take, Top 5 surprises you want to create for others, etc. This usually makes it easier to tap into what you want to really do.

    -Yanik

    P.S. Great blog

  • David

    Brilliant post!!
    Just one thing, the term ‘bucket list’ was around way before the 2007 movie, I have a bucket list from at least 10 years ago :)

    The bucket list has changed my life more than anything else. I recommend it to everyone (AS LONG AS YOU STICK TO IT!)

  • AbbyZ

    It all sounds wonderfull..
    But what are the chances you might actually do all this or even half?
    I’d go for a more realistic list, because i could die happily without even having flown first class.
    Dying with a half undone list would suck… :-|

    • gary

      Abbyz, here is a more realistic list for you to do…

      1. Wake up

      2. breathe

      3. take a shower

      4. eat breakfast

      5. go to work

      6. eat lunch

      7. go back to work

      8. go home

      9. eat dinner

      10. sleep

      11. repeat the the steps

      • Ignorant Andy

        And suck a dick, son!

  • Tom Hagen

    Move # 87 to # 1

  • Bill

    Celestine -

    Very nice piece, as is always the case with an idea translated into words that makes us think AND dream. While my list dovetails with yours, it’s nice to see some things of interest to you which I may have previously overlooked, et al.

    Here’s hoping that our friend Gary (above) gets past his fears and expands his horizons.

    Again, many thanks for a nice piece!
    Bill

  • http://throughthebrickwall.com/ Hendry

    The list here (and your personal bucket list) really shock me. It remind me of many things I want to do but chose to forget since I thought it was impossible. I’ll start my own right after this and (hopefully) in the future there are many strikethroughs in it.

    Btw, with all your achievements over these 2 years, I’m surprised you still find the time to replay both FF7 and 8. Hopefully I can follow your example soon and get rid of the “I always don’t have enough time” mindset

  • Rosaleen

    Good morning Celes,

    I enjoyed your bucket list article. It makes me thankful.

    It reminds me of how many ‘to do’s’ I have achieved. (For example when I was about 25, I decided I would never never again work in a job where I needed to travel in a big city at rush hour(s). Even though I lived and worked and in New York, London and Dublin, for over 30 years since then, I have never traveled during rush hour).

    But there is more to do, thank you for reminding me!

  • Edith

    Dolphins are stressed in captivity. They live miserable lives in our small pools, and having to do tricks and swim with people makes them even more stressed out. You can google this up. I kindly suggest you take out “swimming with dolphins” from the list, for the sake of this intelligent mammals that are not in this planet for our entertainment.

    • Sandra

      I went swimming with wild dolphins in Australia. We didn’t touch them at all they said it was actually bad to touch a dolphin. We just Snorkeled holding onto the person in front and watched that way if they came close then it was just a bonus. The people taking us went to the spots where we would see them and they were the lead people when snorkeling. So don’t take this off the list. Just change it to swim with wild dolphins it is an amazing experience :-)

    • Ignorant Andy

      Suck a dick, son!

    • Ashley

      Thats why it isnt on my list :)

  • http://personalexcellence.co/ Celestine Chua

    Hey Shushma, thanks for sharing. :) There is already a list of sites included in the article (below the 101 sample items).

  • dave

    instead of stressing dolfins in captivity why not just swim with them in the ocean

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