Why You Should Make A Reverse Bucket List—& How Mine Is Keeping Me Inspired

July 22, 2020

I am a person who makes a list for everything. So naturally, I have had a bucket list since I was a little child. By now, my list is quite long and there are still so many things I want to do. Yet, the times we live in right now have made it more difficult, if not completely impossible, to check off some of the items. Of course, that can be a little frustrating, but things will eventually will get better. Until that time comes though, it might be nice to look at a reverse bucket list. A reverse bucket list gives you the opportunity to look back at all the things that you have already done in the past and that have brought you a lot of joy and positivity. That’s such a nice way to take your mind off of all the current craziness. It also makes you realize how many cool and fun things you have already done.

Looking at my reverse bucket list surely has helped me to not completely lose my mind right now. It might help you, too, to realize that you have also done some of these things. Or maybe my list can help inspire you for your next adventure and will expand your bucket list for after Corona times are over. So, let’s get to five of my top reverse bucket list items.

1. Learned new languages

I love languages. Always have. Listening to people speak in their native tongue is so much fun. From a very young age I wanted to understand them and be able to communicate with people from other countries. Knowing a person’s language is the best way to learn more about them, their life, their home and their culture. In school I learned English and I had French and Latin for a bit (liked French, hated Latin). Sadly, I forgot most of my French, but I want to get back to it one day. Later on a started with Spanish, too.

Two languages I have been fascinated with for the longest time though are Kiswahili and Arabic. So, when I moved to Tanzania I could not wait to start learning the local language. Interestingly, Kiswahili (or the language of the Swahili, and the lingua franca of East Africa) was heavily influenced by English, German, and Arabic during the colonial period, so it wasn’t too difficult to get a start with it. I love this language! At university I took a modern standard Arabic course for a bit but it was only after my undergrad that I went to Lebanon for six months to learn the urban, Levantine Arabic. I can get around now, but I am nowhere near fluent. Hopefully, that will change one day. I am working on it. 😊 My goal in life is to be fluent in six languages, so I have a long way to go. But I know what I am working toward.

2. Bungee Jumping

I am pretty sure my mom wanted to kill me when I told her that I was going on New Zealand’s highest bungee jump platform. 😉 I was doing a road trip with my friend and one of our stops on the South Island was Queenstown, the birthplace of bungee jumping. 134m in 8.4 seconds on the Nevis bridge. That was my jump. I was excited all day before it happened. Only when they attached me to the weights and the rope and I waddled to the edge of the platform and looked down, I had to take one (or maybe five) deep breaths. It was absolutely awesome and I cannot wait to do it again someday.


3. Went on a Safari in East Africa

Since I was a little child, I was fascinated with nature and wildlife. Lion King was by far my favorite movie and I always wanted to go and see lions and all these other majestic, amazing animals in their natural habitat. When I got the chance to move to Tanzania for six months, I took it—and I have not regretted it once. I got to go on Safari twice there and visit many different national parks. Getting to see the Big Five and all the other animals roaming around, seeing endless plains of nature and experiencing the most amazing sunrises and sunsets was an unbelievable and surreal experience that I highly recommend to everyone. There are other great national parks in countries such as South Africa and Kenya, but I have to say, that Tanzania, with the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro, are my absolute favorites!

Nature Serengeti Sunsetbig 5 tanzania

4. Floated in the Dead Sea and visited the lowest point on earth

I lived in Tel Aviv last year to do my master’s. While I was there, I traveled a lot to see amazing, historic places. One item that had been on my list for a very long time was to go to the Dead Sea and float while taking the obligatory newspaper picture. 😉  On the way there, you also get to go to the lowest point on earth (–430m from sea level) which is kinda cool, too. Before my time in the country came to an end, I actually got the chance to go to the Dead Sea 4 times and each time was an absolute blast. The floating feeling is so odd the first time you do it, and your skin gets a natural exfoliation and becomes so smooth and soft. If you go, remember: DO NOT touch your face under any circumstances. Also, I don’t recommend going into the water if you have a cut or wound somewhere. Unless you are one of the really, really tough ones.

Dead Seadead sea

5. Did a road trip down Australia’s East Coast and in New Zealand

While living in Sydney, I used all my breaks to explore as much of Oceania as I possibly could. Over Christmas break my friends and I decided to fly north to Cairns, rent a car, and take two weeks to drive down the East Coast back to Sydney. We got back just in time to celebrate New Years there and wait 7 hours in the same spot just to have an amazing view of the fireworks at the harbor. (That’s also one of my reverse bucket list points. The view of the Sydney Opera House and the harbour bridge was fantastic. We had front row seats, but the wait was an absolute pain.) Anyway, we started in Cairns, went scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef, drove down to the Whitsundays, Fraser Island, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast for Christmas, south to Coffs Harbour and back to Sydney in time for the New Year to kick in. We had so much fun and saw many great places. Road trips with friends are one of my favorite things to do!

sydney new yeargreat barrier reeffraser road trip

A few weeks after this trip, my friend and I flew to New Zealand. We spend 3 weeks on the road there, too, which was another one of my bucket list points that I can highly recommend. The South Island was definitely my favorite with all the nature, the waterfalls, the glaciers, lakes, and mountains. Also, I got to go to Hobbiton on the North Island, which let my Lord of the Rings nerd heart beat faster. 😉 The cities were great, too, and we saw many interesting and beautiful places. This was also my bungee jump trip, so two bucket list points checked off during one trip.

If you get the chance, go do road trips! There’s not much that is more fun!

new zealandnew zealandroad trip new zealand

Looking back, I am super glad I got to do so many fun and amazing things already. I really got lucky. There are many more item on my list, both on my reverse bucket list and on the list of things I plan to do in the future. I can’t wait to get back to checking them off, but until then I will just look back at what I have already done and remember how great these times were.

Also by Rebecca: Why Vegan Travel in Israel Should Be Your Next Big Trip

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Photo: Rebecca Willems

Rebecca Willems
A self-described queer vegan feminist, Rebecca is also trying to live a more zero-waste and minimalist life. During her undergraduate and graduate studies she put a lot of focus on sustainability, LGBTQ+ rights and gender issues across the globe. Having lived on 5 continents in many different cultures and being an avid traveler, she loves to learn about new cultures, learn languages, and try all the amazing vegan food across the world.


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