Why Your Bucket List Should be Your To-Do List


Awesome Tips   Bucket List Worthy  

Walk along the Great Wall of China. Have a picnic beneath the Eiffel Tower. Become fluent in Spanish. Ride the Maid of the Mist under the spray of Niagara Falls. Run a marathon. Go on a wildlife safari in Africa. Float in the Dead Sea.

A bucket list is a collection of things that you dream of doing in your life, before you shuffle off this mortal coil and “kick the bucket”. It’s very inspiring to write down all of these amazing experiences you want to have. However, in my opinion a bucket list is lacking something very important – a pressing deadline.

The problem with having a bucket list is that so often the list gets filled with lofty dreams that are set aside for “someday” and never actually happen. Instead, the focus stays on other things that we think we “should” be doing, rather than the incredible experiences that we really want to be having.


You see, things only happen in our lives when we focus our attention toward them and put our energy into them. If you say that you want to start a business, learn a language or go travelling – you will not achieve that goal just by thinking about it. Your bucket list item needs to turn into a to-do list item, so that you can prioritize it and make it happen.

Too often we tell ourselves, “I’ll take time off and travel the world when I am older/richer/wiser/finished with school, etc.” We keep putting off the things we want to see and do because we think that we are not ready for them yet and we need more time to prepare. “Someday” is always in the future… which is why it is in danger of never actually becoming reality.

Dedicate Yourself to Your Dreams and Avoid Regret

One of the worst feelings in the world is when you look back on your past and wonder what would have happened if you had taken a chance and done things differently. Don’t let a dream go to waste because of uncertainty, fear or worrying that you will fail. Even if you do fail while trying to check off an item from your bucket list, you will at least know that you tried and you won’t have that lingering question in your mind – “what if?”


When I say that your bucket list should become your to-do list I mean that it is important to identify the dreams that are important to you – then make it a priority to work toward achieving them. Writing them on a bucket list is a good start, but it’s much too easy to file that bucket list away for some far away day in the future rather than figuring out how you can achieve those things right now.

So How Can You Check Travel Off Your Bucket To-Do List?

How do you turn these “someday” dreams into something real that actually happens? Whether you want to take six months off to ride your motorbike around Southeast Asia, go volunteer in a wildlife sanctuary in Ecuador or take the train around Europe – it is possible to make these dreams come true. Here are some tips:

Set Yourself a Deadline

“Before I die” is too abstract and far away. Give yourself a deadline that will force you to get moving. “In the next six months I will have applied for my Working Holiday Visa and booked my ticket to Australia.”

Take Things Into Your Own Hands

This might seem obvious – but you are probably not going to win the lottery and no one is going to give you a free trip to your Bucket List travel destination. If you want to see something before you die, the only person in the world who can make that happen is you.


This is actually very empowering news, because it means that you can make your dream trip happen. Take responsibility and figure out what you need to do to make your Bucket List item a reality – whether that means working extra hours to save or selling some of your unwanted stuff for cash. You will earn your trip yourself, which makes the experience so much sweeter.

Break the Goal into Smaller Steps

Let’s say that your dream is to travel around Europe for 3 months. To make your goal more achievable, make a list of the small things that you need to get done before you leave. For example, your list might include deciding which cities to visit, making a travel budget and estimating your costs, shopping around for the cheapest flight, choosing a backpack, etc. It can be overwhelming to try to accomplish everything at once, so focus on achieving one small step every week.

Speak to Those Who Have Done It Already

The very best place to get advice about your travel dream is from people who have already been there and done that. They will be able to give you honest guidance and tips from their own experience. If you don’t know anyone who has travelled to the region you want to travel to, use the internet to find someone! There are plenty of travel forums out there where you can meet fellow wanderers who will give you tips on your destination. Or, do a Google search for travel blogs about that country and contact the blogger directly with your questions.


It truly breaks my heart when I speak to people and they tell me about the big travel dreams that they have, but then they say something like, “maybe someday if I win the lottery…” Most of the time, these dreamers make the same wage as me or more – there is not much holding them back from travel other than the barriers in their own mind.

So why not see what happens when you turn your travel Bucket List items into a to-do list instead? Give it a try and you will be amazed by how many incredible dreams you can turn into reality.

About the Author: Kelly Dunning

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word. She and her English boyfriend Lee run Global-Goose.com, packed full with guides, stories and inspiration for those who dream of travel. They have been location independent and travelling the world digital-nomad style since 2011, with no address, no car and no fixed schedule.

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