“Bucket List” Needs to Go Away

No More Bucket Lists Adventure List

As a lifelong traveler and seeker of adventure, I find the term “Bucket List” to be one of the most depressing terms in all of travel. No more Bucket Lists! Let’s replace it with “Adventure List.” But even still, adventurous lives are not about lists. They’re about attitude and engagement while ignoring the call to wait. Here’s how to build an Adventure List and make it become part of your daily life.

Goals Are Good Things

No More Bucket Lists Adventure List

I’m all for making lists. Lists are actually nicely numbered goals, and when goals are written down, they are achieved. I believe in this theory so much that I know my super power is the ability to achieve any goal I write down. Ritually, I create vision boards and New Year’s Resolutions. But I don’t create bucket lists. Here’s why.

Bucket Lists Anticipate your Death

Buckets lists are about dying. The idea came about to motivate people to get up and live their dreams before they “kick the bucket.” The whole idea is somewhat morbid. What happens when you finish your bucket list? You start making funeral arrangements?

Life Isn’t about Crossing off Items from your Lists

No More Bucket Lists Adventure List

Bucket Lists also insinuate that you’re going along, getting through life, and the only place you’ll find excitement is by crossing off items on your Bucket List. But how boring and lackluster is that? Why not make every day an adventure and accomplish something fun and exciting every day?

Adventure Lists

I’m not advocating that you should go hang gliding, experience Barrier Reef snorkeling, or lean against Pisa every day. I’m suggesting that having adventure is about attitude, not about destination. Adventurous attitudes are habit and behavior, not isolated to once-in-a-lifetime Bucket Lists.
So, instead of making a Bucket List, I suggest making a life of adventure. Write down all the things that are adventurous and just a bit outside of your comfort zone. Figure out how to incorporate them into your everyday life, then sprinkle in the getaways.

Adventurous Lives Differ

Perhaps you don’t have an idea about what adventure looks like? Start googling until you have perspective into what you find adventure to be. For some, it’s walking to the store. For others, it’s jumping off buildings.

No More Bucket Lists Adventure List

What would an Adventure List look like? Let’s say you want to meet new people and find more adventures. Rather than making it a future goal for your next 2-week vacation, start instead by talking to the person behind you in line at Starbucks. Go to MeetUp and find a group nearby then go to a meeting. Turn these experiences into positive, life-enriching moments which lead up to great adventures that happen every day. Or, say you want to learn to scuba on your next Caribbean cruise. Rather than waiting until you actually get on the boat, find a scuba class at your local YMCA right now. Join the class, learn how to scuba, and maybe even before you go on the cruise, you sneak in a certified dive in a nearby lake. By setting up small adventure goals, adventure quickly becomes a daily attitude, not a far-away getaway.

What’s on your Adventure List?

No More Bucket Lists Adventure List

Bucket Lists are about procrastinating and making things happen “one day.” Well, One Day is not a day of the week. Grab a calendar right now and start writing in the pathways to your adventures. Your daily Adventure List could be as simple as waving hi to one new person, trying a new flavor of coffee, or scheduling a Spanish tutoring lesson. Add to your calendar when you’re going to take the adventurous get away, and start with the first step to bring that adventure into your life.

Share your Adventure List

Share your Adventure List in the comments below or tweet it. Add my handle @eatwalklearn and tag it #adventurelist. Let’s build an entire library and get everyone living a life of adventure! Need some inspiration? Read a few of my 5 Unusual Things to Do posts. No more Bucket Lists!


  1. Richard Judy

    I have been ranting against bucket lists for years but not listened to much. Upgrading the term to “Adventure List” is a good start, because at least that reduces the morbidity of the terminology. But enslaving one’s self to a years-long series of items that must be checked off eliminates the joy of spontaneity. I am locked into one adventure right now, a backpack in Big Bend late next month. I have a number of other domestic hikes under discussion but not certain, and for next year, I just started thinking of Patagonia and Wales. Nothing locked in. Life is for the living more than for the planning.

    • EatWalkLearn

      Yes, yes, yes. I think the term “adventure” automatically includes spontaneity, and you make a great point. Tell me more about your Big Bend trip. That’s next on my ADVENTURE list!

      • Richard Judy

        I’m going to Big Bend with a group of guys I’ve hiked with since Boy Scouts. I start Medicare in two weeks, so we’re talking half a century. We plan to do split our trip into several overnight backpacks exploring mountain and desert. I’m not one of the planners, so much of it will be a surprise. I’ll be happy to fill you in later. Contact me offline at some point, I would like to thank you for putting THRU on your list of five best travel books ever for women.



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handsome hiking couple

Chris and Steve, the empty-nesting nomads, travel the world, one month at a time, housesitting and Airbnbing along the way. We uncover urban walks, great hikes, and vegan/vegetarian eats that other guide books miss. And we throw in a bit about Forex trading along the way.

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