Why I Hate the Term Bucket List

“It’s on my bucket list”…I probably hear this statement 10 times a day from people. Ever since a movie came out a few years called ‘The Bucket List’, people have been adding things left and right to their bucket list. If I write about something or go somewhere, people always tell me they will add it to their bucket list. So this got me thinking about a few things about these so-called bucket lists and I really hate the term bucket list. First, when do people actually fulfill their bucket list? Second, what’s on my bucket list?
travel quote
If you read or listen to me regularly, you know I am not big on waiting to do things. I believe in doing things now and not waiting for tomorrow, or later on, or someday. I believe that if you want to do something, you should go out and do it. So the term bucket list bugs me a bit. However, I totally understand it but I have some questions of others and myself with regards to the bucket list.
listen to the whispers of your heart
Like I said, people tell me all the time that this and that are on their bucket lists. People also always ask me what’s on my bucket list. First things first; many people have bucket lists these days but when do they come to fruition? When do people do or go to where or what’s on their bucket list.
what's on your bucket list
You never know what is going to happen in life. We are all blessed and lucky to be here on this Earth and have the ability to live as we do. I totally understand people’s situations are different, evolving, changing and whatnot. However, if you keep adding things to a bucket list, sooner or later it will overflow.
overflowing bucket
So when do people knock off bucket list items? I don’t know. I feel like many people never do many things they want to do; they never fulfill their bucket list items. That makes me sad but I also think that many people don’t actually want to fulfill their bucket lists. I feel like many people enjoy having dreams of things to do or places to see and not ever actually doing them. People love to talk about things they want to do or places they want to see.
travel is the only thing that makes you richer
I believe this is a weird psychological phenomenon. People enjoy their comfort zone and they enjoy talking about dreams or exotic places. However, when it comes down to actually going places, I find that often time people back off and say maybe later or some day. When will that some day be?
bucket list
I don’t know but for me my some day is always as soon as possible because we all have a finite time on Earth and you never know what’s going to happen. I say it all the time, there’s nothing to do it but to do it. Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today? Just do it. (I really do say those all the time)
just do it
So what’s on my bucket list you ask? What’s on the bucket list of a guy who has been to every country in the world, overcome a lot of obstacles, done a lot of really cool things and accomplished a lot. Well, here’s my answer as best as I can give it at the current moment.
my bucket list
I don’t have a bucket list so to speak. I have things I’d like to do personally and things I’d like to achieve professionally. All of which are attainable. I also believe that anything is attainable and that we (people) can do anything we want to do.
I haven't been everywhere but it's on my list
I’d like to run a marathon. I hate running, but I feel like I want to run a marathon at some point. This is something I’m in no rush to do and when I do it, I’d like to put the proper training time into it to do it right. I don’t want to just finish as I already know I could run/walk 26.2 miles and finish at this moment in like 5.5 hours. I want to do it well and get a time I’d be proud of. At some point I will do this.
rock n roll marathon
I’d like to write a book about my life and travels. This is something that I will be doing in the next year or two. I would like to finish the Travelers Century Club list before I do it but much of the book is already written.
i want to write a book
I’d like to get my own TV show. This is something I am constantly working on and hopefully could happen at any time. People ask me about this all the time and my response is if it were easy to get a TV show, I’d already have one.
seven summits map, seven summits
I am debating doing the seven summits; meaning climbing the highest peaks on every continent. This is something I’d like to do and I have two done thus far (Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kosciuszko) and a lot of work for the other five. I have not fully decided whether I want to do this or not. It is a big commitment of both time and money so we will see where things go with my life before I commit.
I want to visit both poles. As most of you know, I was foiled in my attempt at the South Pole last year but I am giving it another shot in December. I will also be visiting the North Pole very soon as well. I am fully confident this will get done and if it doesn’t; it certainly won’t be for lack of effort!
the bucket list movie
So that’s pretty much what I would consider my bucket list even though I kind of hate that term. I believe bucket lists should be done and not dreamed. I hope many of you reading this get out there and do what’s on your bucket list. Get out there and achieve your dreams, visit that exotic island or climb that mountain. Whatever it is that you want to do, whatever is on your bucket list…makes Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman proud-just do it!

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  1. Interesting post and well stated. I just want to go to Bora Bora-is that bad?!

  2. Australia and South Africa were the only two on my list since I crossed off my childhood dreams of Paris, Hawaii and London. I will head to Australia in September and South Africa in February, 2015. I hope I don’t jinx myself by saying that and kick the bucket next year. 😉
    Marathon? You can have it! The rest of yours sound awesome.
    Happy travels and break a leg – get a show!

  3. I imagine you probably get asked the same questions over and over.

    I get the same for my job in life insurance when people find out that’s what I do…but I sell life insurance

  4. @mrsoaroundworld says

    I totally agree with you. You are a hard worker and you will get what you want. You know as they say, the more you try, the luckier you get!

  5. A marathon was on my bucket list more than a decade ago, and it turned out to be something I love. I think I’ve done about 20 now. But as soon as I crossed the marathon off the bucket list, I added something new — to run a Boston-qualifying marathon time. When I crossed that off the list, I added another something new — run all the World Marathon Majors. In some ways, I think of a bucket list as just being a list of goals.

  6. It’s probably more like a list of goals or dreams – things to aspire to!

  7. Good post Lee. I just want to hit the lottery, that’s my bucket list…is that too much to ask?

  8. I have a to-do list that I’m constantly adding to as quickly as I’m crossing off. The more I travel and interact with people like you, the more I discover in the world that I want to experience. I’m big on making lists, mostly for my own scattered brain. Thanks for continuing to inspire me to do and see things I didn’t know existed.

  9. Franziska M says

    Haha, great post! Bucketlist 2014: write my book, be conversational in Spanish, get some abs, hit all Carribean islands. There I said it in a public forum so hopefully enough motivation and you can annoy me about it 😀

  10. I like to think of a bucket list as another term for goals. Talk to any successful person and they will tell you of the importance of goals. Write them down, think about them constantly and always be striving to achieve them. For me, the so called “bucket list” is just that. I constantly think about ways to tick off items on the list and add new ones as they come along. I think it is simply about the way we approach the list rather than the actual list itself don’t you?

  11. I agree and am with you on the bucket list term, I have never liked it, as at matter of fact I’m part of a marketing team for a travel agency and part of our team wanted to do a campaign a few years ago with that theme and I kicked it out and refused to work with it. I thought it gave a negative annotation. I don’t want to advertise that travel later or whenever! I want to say Get up & Go! Go, go NOW!

    As matter of fact I cme across your site looking at images, and saw your images you posted from your Cabo trip with friends. Liked what I saw and read, I signed up for your newsletter. I’ll be following you.

    I Love the way your living your life.

  12. I saw your blurb on running a marathon. I had the same goal in 2006 when I ran my first marathon. I also had a goal to travel more. I am now working on running the 6 world majors. I have done New York, Boston and Chicago. In April I will do London. Then Berlin in October and Tokyo in February of 2015. Who knows maybe I will start on the “seven continents club”. All I know is I’m staying healthy and having a great time doing it. When it comes to proper training and making the time remember: Someone busier than you is running right now!

  13. I hate the term Bucket List as well. But the term is so ingrained in the vernacular that I have to use it. I have a Bucket List. It’s long, varied and aimless. But I’ve made it a point to work towards each goal. It’s impractical to think I’d be able to “just go do” many of the things on my list. Some take a lot of time or money or training or are just inconvenient. Or all of the above. Some things just take preparation to accomplish. If someone says they have a Bucket List, I basically ignore them unless it’s written down and they’re actually doing something to accomplish the goals on the list. I think people just want to have dreams to make life more meaningful or make themselves seem more interesting. If someone hasn’t actually done much with their life, it’s convenient to talk about all the things they want to do someday. It distracts from the fact they haven’t done anything and aren’t doing anything now.

    That’s my take. That said, my Bucket List has around 250 things on it.

    • Yup. Nothing wrong using the term or having a Bucket List. It’s a positive thing. People wish and dream. Even it’s more likely they’d be struck by a truck than realizing. Like I regularly buy lotto tickets ?. But I’m a very hardworking lady who save for my nice vacations, too Hating the term is actually sound like a Debbie Downer.

  14. Walter Jackson says

    I want to become the 1st South African to visit every country. I have done 113 UN countries so far, but its mostly the easy ones. Have you got any advice on getting into North Korea, the Stans and the Sudans?
    Strange how similar our goals are. I have on my list: visiting every country, North Pole, South Pole, complete my PhD, write a book and run a marathon. I guess when you realise that you only have 1 life you want to make the most of it.

  15. A few years ago, I stumbled across a bucket list I had written way back in 2001 and was pleasantly surprised I had knocked out a lot of items on it – running a marathon, visiting Russia, visiting the ‘Stans and going to all 4 Grand Slam tournaments were all things I was able to check off. When I turned 37, I made a list of 14 things I want to do before I turn 40 (run the Great Wall Marathon, go to Kamchatka, write a book & hike the Janapar Trail in Nagorno-Karabakh among them), but even that list is constantly evolving.

    If you do run a marathon, even though you’re a New Yorker, I highly recommend Chicago as a great place for your first marathon! It is entirely flat and the atmosphere is absolutely electric.

  16. Want to hug Afif saying that ‘i love u’

  17. I love that you say you want to do a marathon. That’s my biggest goal I am working towards right now. I have paid for a race in June, trying to work on getting my body and mind ready for it! I think your story is incredible and you have inspired me to keep traveling. I started in 2013 with a trip to England. I went back last year and toured 10 countries in Europe and am in the planning process for a trip to Puerto Rico and The Dominican Republic in May. It’s great to find other travelers who help inspire me to keep traveling.

  18. I’ve been struggling with this idea as well. I don’t want to name it a bucket list because I feel like it brings my focus to deadlines and more external experiences. I do want a list. I like the experience of it being visual but the title matters because I feel like in some way the “bucket list” is about achieving or experiencing who we really are….you know the conventionless self. I’m thinking about a Soul Calling list. Soul being who I really am…the spirit self. Calling meaning my soul calls the experience out for my human self to live them and the soul calls out to call in the experience. Gotta be deeply meaningful to me or why bother! Think I got my title!!!

  19. Mark Terrell says

    A bucket list is just a list. To achieve ‘visiting Australia’ or ‘bungee jumping’ is just doing something. To achieve bring up a child or becoming a nurse (and actually doing the job) or learning to drive/sing/speak Italian is an achievement. When I get close to kicking the bucket, those will be the achievements, not the countries I visited.

    • You’re wrong Mark, sorry. Traveling is one of the #1 ways to learn and grow. And by you’re rationale regarding “learning to drive or sing” you contradict yourself. I understand where you’re going with you’re opinion it’s just not thought out…learning about and accepting other culturals is probably one of the most important things we need to do, don’t you think?

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