Bucket List Ideas: 101 Things To Do Before You Die
51. Pack your bags and set off for a random location with no itinerary
If you have seen the movie Yes Man, you may remember the scene where Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel took a spontaneous trip to nowhere. Traveling on a spontaneous trip, with no itinerary planned, is not only exciting with friends, but also very romantic when done with a significant other / romantic prospect. Rather than going on a tour package where everything is already pre-planned, why not create your itinerary on the fly and explore places without anyone directing you? Like backpacking (see bucket list idea #50), you will find this a highly memorable experience. 🙂
52. Protect dolphins and marine life
In the recent years, dolphinariums have sprung all over the world, in part to enable humans to get in touch with the marine life, in part to profit from this seeming fun-loving activity. And I kid you not — as simple as they seem, dolphinariums are actually a multi-billion-dollar industry today.
However, unlike their kind facade, many of such dolphin programs do not promote conservation; neither do they give the dolphins (or whales, or the marine life for that matter) a good life. Today, many dolphins are stressed in captivity thanks to these dolphinariums, with many dolphins being treated in an inhumane manner unknown to the public. Some die pre-maturely, only to have the dolphin hunters hunt for more dolphins in the wild and replace the dead dolphins like they would their material goods.
While the idea of swimming with dolphins may seem fun (and I’d admit that it used to be on my bucket list until I discovered the dark sides of dolphinariums), wouldn’t it be better to let these dolphins be in the vast sea where they belong, as opposed to being kept in little pools their whole lives, forced to learn tricks and what not just to please us?
Patronizing dolphinariums will only encourage such inhumane activities and perpetuate the captivity of dolphins. So, make a stance! As opposed to swimming with dolphins, protect them by not patronizing dolphinariums and supporting animal wildlife groups. I’ve chosen to make this stance—how about you? Read more about the ill-treatment of dolphins (and marine life) below and why they activity do not promote conservation:
53. Live in a different country for at least 6 months
It’s great to holiday in countries around the world; it’s a different thing to live in a different country for an extended period of time. With the former, what you get is a taste of how different countries and cultures are like; with the latter, you get a full immersion of local culture and an inside view of it’s like to be a resident.
Realize that every country is richer than what you see from its tourist attractions — for example, while tourists in London will remember it for its Big Ben, London Eye, London cabs, and castles, what I remember London for (having stayed there for 3 months) is the amazing friendships I made that have stood the test of geographical boundaries of time, how its a melting pot of different cultures, the cosmopolitan outlook of its residents, and the forward-thinking culture.
How does one make this bucket list item happen though? One way is through an overseas job assignment; another way is an overseas internship/attachment; yet another way is going on a student-exchange program. The world is increasingly global today, and I believe as long as there’s a will, there will be a way.
54. Act in a film (self-production or otherwise)
We watch movies and dramas growing up, but have you ever considered being IN a movie/drama yourself? Not only is acting fun, it’s also a great way to discover yourself and pick up new skills, from self-expression, to communication, to personal grooming. It can just be a recreational activity, without turning into a full-fledged career.
Consider auditioning for the role of an extra or get together with a group of friends and act in a self-production. With the wide availability of video recording equipment today, anyone can be a director and producer. Immerse in your role and have fun in the process!
55. Get featured in the media for something you are proud of
Perhaps one of the highest forms of endorsements one can have for his/her work is when the media interviews him/her about what he/she has done. I’m a low-key individual and I don’t care for being in the spotlight, but I always get very excited when I’m approach by the media for a media coverage for Personal Excellence, as (1) it represents that I’m doing something right in my work, and (2) it’s an opportunity to reach out to more people with a message I care about.
I’m proud (and lucky) to have been featured over 80 times in the media on my personal development work (of which over 80 are unsolicited), including the feature on me in Soul Sisters, a documentary about inspiring women in Singapore. Each time, I’m excited to share my knowledge and experience, and I always ensure that the viewers/audience gets something in return for reading/watching/listening.
What is a message that you believe in? What is your mission that you want to accomplish in this world? What are your highest goals and dreams? Realize them, and you’ll find that you’ll slowly get
56. Knit a scarf
Why knit a scarf when you can easily buy one in the market? Well, for sentimental value, that’s why! Perhaps knitting a scarf for yourself seems redundant, but doing so for a loved one makes it totally worthwhile. Not only can you customize the color, length, or design, your scarf will be a personalized gift that can’t be bought anywhere.
Get started with knitting:
57. Create your dream home
We live in our home for nearly half our life — make it two-third for those of us who work from home — so why not make it a beautiful and inspirational place that nourishes our soul? You don’t need to be a millionaire to create your dream home, for there are lots of cheap yet creative furnishing options these days (IKEA comes to mind). What you need is an expressive mind, a good eye for colors, and a well-planned budget.
58. Whip a home-made meal for your loved ones
When it comes to food, nothing beats a home-cooked meal. While restaurants can offer you top-of-the-world ambiance and gourmet foods, a home-cooked meal is where you can feel the love and effort that went into the meal preparation, by a loved one no less. My husband cooks for me every day, and it’s the reason why I look forward to dinner daily.
Who are the most precious people to you? What do they love to eat? How about whipping these foods for them, over lunch/dinner? It doesn’t matter if you’re not an award-winning chef — it’s about cooking a meal by yourself for the people you love. Watch some cooking tutorials, research on recipes, and get down to cooking! Not only will they get to enjoy their favorite foods, your efforts will also express your love to them in a way words can’t.
59. Bake a cake for someone special
It’s easy to just buy a cake for a special event, but how about baking a cake yourself? Like whipping up a meal (see bucket list idea #58 above), a cake is more personal and close to heart when prepared by a love one. Even if you don’t know how to bake (I don’t either!), you can start by reading cake recipes and experimenting before doing the actual cake. Here are some cake recipes:
- Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake
- Perfect Cheesecake Recipe
- Strawberry Torte
- Chess Cake [Video]
- Rainbow Cake [Video]
- Captain America Cake [Video]
60. Go deep into the heart of Mother Nature
Most of us live in a world that’s far removed from Mother Nature. In Singapore where I live, I’m surrounded by high-rise buildings, shopping malls, material goods, automobiles, and digital goods. While I’m very grateful for the advancement of the human civilization and the modern society, the world we live in (for those of us who live in modern cities) is very much different from the natural state of Mother Nature.
For your next vacation, consider a trip to get close with mother nature. Go trekking in a rainforest; camp out in the wilds; walk in a valley; visit a waterfall; or even, swim in an ocean. Feel the heartbeat of the planet that you live in. You may walk away with a renewed experience on life.
61. See snow (if you haven’t before)
If you have lived most of your life in the tropics and haven’t been overseas before, then chances are you have never seen snow in person! I was born in Singapore and lived here my whole life, so it was only when I was in 24 and vacationing in Chengdu (in China) that I saw snow for the first time. And it was truly a surreal and majestic moment to see these little white balls floating down from the sky. 😀
There are plenty of activities you can do in the snow such as:
But before you fly to the nearest winter wonderland, make sure you have appropriate clothing. Winter happens between December and February in the northern hemisphere and between June and August in the southern hemisphere. For some temperate countries, snow does not happen every year, so check the local weather forecast and plan your trip accordingly.
62. Live through 4 seasons of the year: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
If you live in a tropical country like I do, then you likely only experience 2 seasons every year — rain or shine. 🙂 (Or in some countries, a third season — haze. 🙂 ) Living through 4 seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter is a fun experience and something everyone should at least experience once in their life. I got to live through the 4 seasons while I was traveling abroad, and while I prefer living in a tropic country (too afraid of the cold!), experiencing the 4 seasons has helped me to see the other sides of mother nature, experience the pleasure of dressing up for different seasons, and appreciate the warm climate in my home country.
To fulfill this bucket list goal, it doesn’t mean that you need to migrate! Getting a work assignment in a country with a temperate climate or planning your travels around the 4 seasons will work just fine.
63. Read a book on a subject you had never thought of reading
Reading books is the perfect way to gain quick knowledge about a subject. However, many of us tend to read only topics that we have an interest in. How about reading a book on a subject that you had never thought of reading? According to The Medici Effect, the most groundbreaking ideas are found at the intersections of diverse fields, industries, disciplines, and cultures — meaning, the most powerful ideas tend to come from reapplying ideas from a totally different field.
So, open your mind and read a new book, a book in a domain you’d never think of reading! As you read this book, think about how you can apply its concepts to the field you are in now. Who knows, it may create paradigm shifts in how you approach your work/life.
64. Volunteer at a hospice
A hospice is a place of care for the terminally ill, in their final months/week. While we can’t do anything about the patients’ condition, what we can do is to provide emotional and spiritual support to them in their last days. Consider volunteering at a hospice — not only will you change the lives of the patients and their loved ones, you may well change your life in the process too.
65. Fly a kite
Did you know that in the ancient times, kites were used to send messages? Kites were invented in China in the 5th-century BC., and it was recorded in AD 549 that a paper kite was used as a message for a rescue mission. It was also reported that kites was used for measuring distances, testing the wind, lifting men, signaling, and communication for military operation.
Nowadays kite flying has turned into a fun recreational activity, with kites coming in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors! If you have not made a kite before, consider making one with your loved one(s) — not only is it fun, it’s also something you can use over and over again! You can get kite kits at Amazon at an affordable price. Check out HQ Kites Creative Line: Eddy Kid’s Creation and X-Kites MicroKite Mini Mylar Kite — Tropical Fish.
66. Fall asleep on grassy plains
Not only is sleeping outdoors a great way to get close to nature, it also helps you to relax and rest your mind, body, and soul. Here are some tips to follow to get the best of this experience:
- Bring a pillow as a head rest
- Bring a mat so that you can rest comfortably on the ground without abrasion
- Make sure you’re in an area where it’s safe, e.g. there’s no snakes or wild animals
- Bring a mosquito repellent and sunscreen to protect your skin
67. Contact a company you like just to thank them for their great product/service
Many of us are often ready to complain when we get bad service. But how about when we receive good service ? Do we take that for granted or do we go the extra mile to thank the company for a job well done?
Just like how companies need to know when they’re not performing to standards, they also deserve to be credited when they are doing a good job. Not only does it help them to know what they are doing right, your compliment will inspire them to create more great products and deliver superb service to you. Be it writing a quick email or calling their customer service, this is a quick 5-minute thing that you can do right away now.
- Lessons From a Poor Service Encounter (and 10 Elements of Great Customer Service)
- #GratitudeChallenge Day 10: Give a Gratituity Tip
68. Eat a healthier diet
The whole point of creating a bucket list is to do what we love before we die. The easiest way to have more time for what we love is to live healthily. Barring genetics, the best way to manage our health is through our diet.
What is your diet like? Do you have unhealthy habits that you want to stop? How can you improve your diet? As our bodies are different, the best way to figure out what’s healthy for you is to research, learn more about the nutritional value of the food you consume, and experiment. Try different food items and assess the effects on your body. Constantly read up on health studies to learn about food and health. To quote Jim Rohn, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” We only have one body, so start caring for it today.
69. Explore a cave
Have you explored a cave before? A cave is a natural chamber in the earth or in the side of a hill or cliff. Caves form naturally by the weathering of rock and often extend deep underground. While caves are found throughout the world, only a small portion of them have been explored and documented. Some popular caves are Mammoth Cave (US), Sistema Sac Actun (Mexico), Jewel Cave (US), Sistema Ox Bel Ha (Mexico), and Optymistychna Cave (Ukraine).
When I was in South Africa, I went to the Sterkfontein Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was humbling being in such a towering structure of nature, where fossils of more than 4 million years old, dating to the birth of humanity, have been found.
70. Go bamboo rafting
We are surrounded by high-tech modes of transport from airplanes to automobiles, so it’s nice to kick back and return to nature with bamboo rafting. Here, you stand on a bamboo raft and navigate your way through the river, while enjoying splendid nature views. Many places offer bamboo rafting as a tourist activity, such as Chiang Mai, India, some China provinces, and Jamaica.
71. Fold 1,000 origami cranes and give them to someone special
We all know that the crane is the classic shape in origami. However, did you know that crane is a symbol of happiness and eternal youth in Asia? In Japanese, Chinese, and Korean tradition in particular, cranes stand for good fortune and longevity because of its fabled life span of a thousand years. In fact, an ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds 1,000 origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane, which is why there is the practice of folding 1,000 cranes today, be it among school students or ministries.
If there’s someone whom you’d like to bring hope to, perhaps folding 1,000 cranes (with some help if needed) and giving them to a person will brighten up his/her day. Whether or not his/her wish is granted, he/she will definitely be touched by your kind gesture.
- How to Make an Origami Crane
- How to Make 1,000 Cranes
- Sadako Sasaki — the Japanese girl remembered through the story of 1,000 orgami cranes
72. Conquer your biggest fear
Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
We all have fears. Fear of heights, fear of spiders, fear of public speaking, fear of failure, and fear of rejection are among them. While physical fears are legit for safety reasons (e.g. fear of lions, fear of falling off a ledge, etc.), in most cases, our fears are irrational and don’t protect us from any real danger. Such are mental fears, as I have shared in 4 Reasons We Should Overcome Fear.
The good news is that fears can be overcome. Some fears (such as intense fear of dogs) can be a result of traumatic events in the past, while other fears (such as fear of failure and fear of rejection) can be simply a desire to protect ourselves from “danger” when the danger is merely self-perceived.
73. Tell at least 10 people about your bucket list and encourage them to join you!
Rather than work on your bucket list alone, how about inviting your loved ones to create their own bucket list too? 😀 Not only will it be super fun to do so, you may also learn something new about them during this process, such as dreams they have which you never knew! Not only that, after creating your lists, you can also be accountability buddies, holding each other accountable to the items on your lists!
Simply point them to this very article you are reading, 101 Things To Do Before You Die, and invite them to create a draft version of their bucket list. You can share your list with them as an example. Then, schedule a session to discuss your lists together and build on them!
74. Go on a meditation retreat
With the urban, work-driven and material-driven culture that most of us live in today, it’s easy to get lost in the thick of things and neglect our well-being. When that happens, it helps to go on a meditation retreat to reconnect with our inner selves. I’ve been on a meditation retreat before, Vipassana Meditation, which is a 10-day free meditation retreat (it’s donation-based). During the course, I did a deep dive into meditation — think continuous, nearly non-stop meditation from 4:30am to 9pm every day for 10 consecutive days!! I got to sit still and listen to my deepest inner thoughts, which apparently had been inside me all this while, just that I didn’t know about them.
I definitely recommend everyone to go on a meditation retreat at least once in their lives, if not for meditation, then for the experience. Learn more about meditation in my 3-part meditation series:
- Part 1: 10 Reasons You Should Meditate
- Part 2: How to Meditate In 5 Easy Steps
- Part 3: Vipassana Meditation 10-Day Course
75. Experience an OBE (out-of-body experience)
If you think an out-of-body experience is woo-woo and only possible when you die, think again. Astral projection is an out-of-body experience where your astral body separates from your physical body without you physically dying. If it sounds impossible, you actually do it every day — when you sleep. The only difference is that you’re not conscious of it when you sleep, whereas you’re conscious of it when you astral project. I’ve experienced astral projection twice in my life, during my teens. I wouldn’t say they were life-changing experiences as I already knew that astral projection is possible, but they did affirm my belief in this area.
Skeptics will always be skeptics, so I’m not going to talk about my experiences or justify that they did happen. Rather, I will point you to some resources and let you decide whether astral projection is real, and whether to try it out. 🙂
- Astral Projection 101
- Astral Projection: The Basics Explained
- How to Astral Project
- The Dangers of Astral Projection
Proceed to page 4 for bucket list ideas #76 to #101…