How to Make a Bucket List + 8 Ideas!

May 29, 2015

It’s a summer Friday, so fun post time! Do you have a bucket list? When I was 17, I made one with my best friend Renee. I can’t remember everything but it had some hilarious things like “date a firefighter” and “date a musician.” Clearly, priorities and romantic preferences change over the years. But the really wonderful thing is, I’ve crossed off three things on my bucket list already: get a tattoo (Mom you didn’t just read that), start my own company, and go to Paris. The funny thing is, Renee was the one who insisted that I’m bound to have my own company at least by age 27. I didn’t really care one way or the other, myself. But anyway, that was eerily true. Also, my Paris trip last fall was like the best consecutive 12 days of my life. I’m fully appreciative of the power of bucket lists and what they can do to change your life.

So what is a bucket list, anyway? It is basically a list of things you’d like to do or experience before you die (ie kick the bucket). If that makes it sound a tiny bit morbid, it doesn’t have to be. We all have a limited amount of time here on earth and the fact of our mortality makes our lives more vital and beautiful. It turns our attention to the things that we truly want in life. So how to figure out what you need to do? Consider the following:

-What would you like to do if you just had a week left?

-What would you like to do if money wasn’t an issue?

-What would you do if you had an unlimited amount of time?

-Ever read something in a book or seen something in a movie that made you go, “I’d like to do/see that!”

-Do you have anyone you’d like to meet?

-If you could be anywhere in the world right now with anyone, what would that be?

-Later on, when you look back, what would you say you did on the happiest day of your life?

To give you some ideas, here are some items on my own, revised bucket list.

How to Create a Bucket List + 8 Ideas


1. Go backpacking / camping in the Glacier Lake National Park in Montana. 

I have had this image of Wild-style solo hiking/camping trip in the prairies of Montana since long before Wild. I’d take photos and walk for hours every day and sleep under the stars. Bring cans of baked beans and protein bars. Clearly I’ve thought it through!

2. Live in France.

Since crossing off one item, I’ve replaced it with another–actually live in Paris for 3 months to 1 year. That’s not so crazy and totally doable in a lifetime, right?

3. Give a public speech. 

I’d really like to give a speech to thousands of people whether that’s at a TED talk or a college graduation. Like, I’d be so good at it! Thoughtful but funny. 🙂

4. Go to Africa.

I have gathered so many romantic images from books and nature documentaries that this needs to happen. See elephants, float down the Nile in a sail boat, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro (not necessarily to the top though–or is that wimpy?), see the sunset over the bush and retire to camp where I fall asleep to the sounds of lions and birds.

5. Go to Iceland et al. 

I’ve been pinning pictures of Iceland, Norway, Copenhagen, etc forever and ever. There’s something there that just pulls at me: fjords, northern lights, polar bears…I love cold places and this is it.

6. Master French and learn Italian.

So, #2 should take care of “master French” part. I also think it would just be so cool to learn Italian.

7. Throw a lavish, decadent party. 

It’s true most people get to do this anyway, on their wedding day. But what if I threw myself an extravagant 40th birthday party? Or a no-reason, life-is-just-fabulous Gatsby-esque party? And what if I wore the most beautiful dress ever that you don’t get to wear much in adulthood, except when you throw your own lavish party? And got down dancing and drinking champagne, and then disappeared mysteriously into the cool night as the party continues behind? Clearly a good idea.

8. Create my own perfume and lipstick. 

Mary and I have discussed making our own luxury vegan lipstick line one day (mmm so glam). (Name probably won’t be Peaceful Dumpling since that conjures up images of food rather than beauty, but small problem). Aside from that I’d love to create my own signature scent. This shouldn’t even be that hard, since there are places in NYC that do exactly this, but I’m busy–like when do I have time to go all the way downtown just to mix my custom perfume?! But it needs to happen somehow.

Your turn–what’s on your bucket list? Have you crossed anything off yet?

Also like this: How to Create Your Personal Manifesto

5 Ways to Feel More Alive

5 Ways for More Joie de Vivre in Your Life

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Photo: Travel Manitoba via Flickr


Juhea is the founder and editor of Peaceful Dumpling and the author of bestselling novel Beasts of a Little Land. Follow Juhea on Instagram @peacefuldumpling, @juhea_writes and Pinterest.


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