My 50-Before-50 Bucket List

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[Updated November 2023] I turn 50 this decade, and I decided it was about time to truly start living my life. As someone with a tendency to hyperfocus on work, I decided, over the winter solstice, that wasn’t the intention I was taking forward into the new year or the new decade.

I didn’t want my bucket list to be something I made once and then stuck in a drawer. It was time to bucket list my life. There’s been reminder after reminder that life’s short and if not now, when?

A few years ago I made a last-minute attempt at a 40-before-40 list but it was only a few months before my birthday and a bit of a non-starter. (Except that I did manage to train for, and run, a half-marathon which was quite an achievement.)

Creating an achievable bucket list

Anyway, I dug out the list and made some changes. I wanted to have a mix of once-in-a-lifetime trips as well as smaller and daily things that I could do along the way.

2020 was to be my big year for tackling some of the most exciting things on the list, but we all know what put paid to that! After a number of trips got cancelled, I was about to resign myself to postponing my bucket list life for a while.

But then I remembered the whole reason I hadn’t made the entire list about travel was so that I would always have something to work towards. So, I reviewed the bucket list to see what was on there that I CAN focus on in 2020, and I’m working on achieving the ones I can.

Here’s the full 50-Before-50 Bucket List. Click the links for updates and scroll down for more info of each item.

Travel bucket list

1. Visit Costa Rica

2. Drive or train the west coast of America

3. Ride the Orient Express

✔️4. Take the Sleeper Train from London to Edinburgh

5. Visit Bali

6. Visit Thailand

7. Visit Cambodia and Vietnam (combined trip)

8. Return to mystical Sedona, Arizona

✔️ 9. Go Greek island hopping

Bucket list experiences

✔️10. Take a hot air balloon ride at sunrise in Cappadocia, Turkey

11. Visit the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

12. See the sunrise at Stonehenge on the solstice

13. Visit the Jurassic Coast

14. Spend the night on Mount Teide UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve

15. Hike the Jordan Trail to Petra and visit the Red and Dead Seas

16. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

17. Hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim and visit Antelope Canyon

18. Visit Portland, Oregan

19. Swim between tectonic plates in Iceland

20. Walk Cinque Terre

21. Fly business class on a long-haul flight

✔️22. Do a skydive (maybe indoors)

23. Celebrate Hogmanay in a Castle

24. Go to a ceilidh

25. Go to Secret Cinema, Immersive Gatsby or Murder Mystery event (or maybe all 3!)

26. Have a session with a personal stylist

27. Have afternoon tea at The Ritz, Paris

✔️28. Sleep in a treehouse

29. Swim with dolphins

30. See whales close up

✔️31. Get my PADI Open Water Diver certificate

32. Dive a shipwreck

33. Visit a coral reef

34. See the Northern Lights

Wellbeing bucket list

35. Attend an Ayahuasca Ceremony with a Shaman

36. Get lean and look sh*t hot – in progress, lost 15kg then stalled but onto phase two…

37. Get my teeth straightened – Invisalign in progress and i hate it

Altruistic bucket list items

✔️ 38. Volunteer to help clear plastic from the ocean

39. Volunteer with elephants (if it’s not detrimental to the animals’ welfare or taking a paid job away from a local)

40. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

✔️41. Give a Kiva loan

Business bucket list

42. Write a nonfiction book

43. Have 1 million website visits in a year

44. Have a multiple 6-figure per year business

45. Start a podcast

Spiritual bucket list

46. Do a silent retreat for a day

✔️47. Meditate for 365 days in a row

48. Do a random act of kindness every day for a month

49. Re-learn to do a handstand

Milestone bucket list

50. Own a tiny house with an outdoor spa, next to a stream in woodland

1. Visit Costa Rica

I’m a huge fan of nature, and the biodiversity in Costa Rica, along with their Pura Vida approach to life, makes this one a no-brainer for me. This trip was cancelled in 2020.

2. Drive or train the west coast of America

I’d always imagined this drive taking place with an open-topped, pink Cadillac. It was a rude awakening to see fly and drive packages being offered in very mundane vehicles. It hadn’t even crossed my mind it would be travelled in a 3 door, compact car!

Doing this “road trip” by train wasn’t something I’d thought of either, but I’ve seen it suggested as a great way to travel the West Coast. It takes the stress out of driving and isn’t hindered the same way driving can be with road closures.

When I start planning this one I’ll consider which option is best.

3. Ride the Orient Express

For me, there’s just something romantic about travelling in the opulence of the Orient Express. It all feels so Agatha Christie and it’s compelling to be able to travel through a number of different countries in one trip like this.

I think it’s exciting to sleep in an exquisite little compartment with the sway of the train to lull me to sleep. (Safe in the knowledge that Hercule Poirot is just a few doors down.)

4. Take the sleeper train from London to Edinburgh

This is similar to number 3 but on a shorter trip to take me to Edinburgh which is the city closest to the town I grew up in.

Update – I completed this in March 2023. It was a bit disappointing by still a fun thing to do. I think it would have been better if I’d travelled further north and awoken to the rolling hills instead of a station platform. In the end it turned out to be more of a commute than an adventure.

5. Visit Bali

…for at least a month and have a private chef and a daily massage. I think it would be incredible to experience such a luxurious way of living. Sometimes, to uplevel, we have to have a taste of what’s possible before we can make it real for ourselves.

Even though I think of this as luxury, it’s also just good self-care. I’m not good at organising food, menus or meals so I always eat much better when someone else takes care of it all.

Same with the massage. Modern life messes with our posture, never mind our stress levels, so this would almost be like a reset.

Also, I’ve heard Bali is a magical place that changes you every visit.

6. Visit Thailand

Another spiritual place full of natural wonder that I’d like to experience

7. Visit Cambodia and Vietnam

I’d like to do this a combined trip for more spirituality and nature.

8. Return to Mystical Sedona, Arizona

I visited Sedona a few years back and loved it. I want to go again to hike on the red rocks, walk the medicine wheel in the peace park and enjoy some weird and wonderful holistic treatments.

9. Go Greek Island Hopping

Being out in nature makes me so happy (more so when it’s warm!). I love the Spanish and Greek islands that I’ve visited before. I love getting off the beaten track and seeing the slower pace of life. It always brings me back to realising what matters. Swimming in the sea is usually accompanied by walking coastal paths or lush woods and lovely fresh food at the end of it.

I’d like to spend a good few weeks moving between some of the lesser-known islands (and I’d need to since some of them have limited ferry service.) Urgh, it’s making me yearn to go there just writing about it.

Update: I’ve completed this one and ended up as a Greek resident.

10. Take a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia

(Turkey) at sunrise. I’m not a keen flyer, but somehow this feels like it might be a level of thrill (anxiety!) I can manage. To see these balloons all flying together is quite the sight, and I think it would be breathtaking to be amongst them.

11. Visit the Giant’s Causeway, N. Ireland

A closer-to-home experience. Nature again, feeling called to explore more of the celtic lands.

12. See the solstice sunrise at Stonehenge

I was house sitting only about an hour away in Glastonbury on the winter solstice last year but couldn’t get to Stonehenge itself without a car. Probably a more pleasant experience to be sitting out there in the summer anyway. One for another time.

13. Visit the Jurassic Coast

I came across this 95-mile stretch when I was looking for places to visit in England. It’s the UK’s only natural World Heritage Site and was appointed so by UNESCO because of its fossils and rocks. The geology shows changes from millions of years (as old as 201 – 145 million years ago – hence the name). It absolutely blows my mind thinking we can see something so old.

14. Spend the night on Mount Teide UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve

From ancient rocks to ancient solar systems. Mount Teide is the volcano on Tenerife, and the sky above is a protected area. It’s so dark that all the constellations in the northern hemisphere are visible, and all but about three of the ones from the southern hemisphere are too.

I think it would be breathtaking to visit. The national park is great for hiking, and there’s a sanctuary at the top of the mountain where you can stay and stargaze then watch the sun come up in the morning.

15. Hike the Jordan Trail to Petra and visit the Red and Dead Seas

If you hadn’t noticed yet I really love being out in nature and I love walking through it. It’s meditative and fascinating at the same time.

This hike through Jordan has been marked pretty recently. Doing the whole trail (30 days or more) is not on the list, but the section or two that lead into Petra would be amazing. Of course, I’d like to visit the Red and Dead seas while I’m there – more natural phenomenons.

16. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

More walking along a route that is special and remote and a completely different culture.

17. Hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim and visit Antelope Canyon

I think the Grand Canyon looks stunning and another example on this list of earth that makes me feel so small and such a tiny spec of existence. Although tons of people make their way to the Grand Canyon every year, only a small percentage venture further than the rim. Going beyond leaves a huge space for not many other humans.

The rocks of Antelope Canyon look stunning and being so near I’d like to get there too.

18. Visit Portland, Oregon

I’d heard that Portland was similar to Sedona in some ways. When I looked it up the surrounding nature looked amazing and so it’s gone on the list.

19. Swim between tectonic plates in Iceland

I’ll need to psyche myself up for this one since the water temperature, even in summer, doesn’t rise much above freezing. But again, another reminder that we are on an awesome (in the truest sense) planet.

20. Walk Cinque Terre, Italy

It’s a cliché bucket list item, but since I love walking, the coast and Italian food, there’s no way I could leave these pretty little fishing villages off the list.

21. Fly business class on a long-haul flight

I don’t enjoy flying but I think having a little bed and cubicle to myself would make it infinitely better. I’d like to experience this.

22. Do a skydive (maybe indoors)

This is something that I think I’d do, hate and then want to immediately do it again so I could enjoy it! Unfortunately, I don’t think this works like that. Buuut maybe I could do an indoor skydive and then see whether I like the idea of a real one.

23. Celebrate Hogmanay in a Castle

I’m Scottish born and bred and I love the celebrations at New Year. I love the rugged grandure of castles and would love to be part of a big celebration in a castle with roaring fires, music, kilts and dancing.

24. Go to a ceilidh

My favourite PE lessons were when we did a block of Scottish Country Dancing. The Ceilidh in question might occur at Hogmanay above. However, I’ve wanted to go to the Ceilidh club in London for a fun night out for years. Hopefully, that will happen sooner.

25. Go to Secret Cinema, Immersive Gatsby or Murder Mystery event

…or maybe all 3! More theatrics. I used to be a dancer, and although I’m not much of an actor, I like the atmosphere, costumes and details that go into these types of events.

26. Have a session with a personal stylist

I used to be a lot better with clothes, but I’ve put on weight and nothing really looks the way I want it to. I think it would be nice to have some help getting some style back without the overwhelming experience of trawling the shops.

27. Have afternoon tea at The Ritz, Paris

I’ve enjoyed afternoon tea at The Ritz in London. Again, I love the detail that goes into the affair as well as the live piano and general ambience. Paris seems like the place to do it again.

28. Sleep in a treehouse

Out in nature, somewhere more exciting than a tent. What’s not to love?

29. Swim with dolphins

Another cliché bucket list dream item but I’d love to get close to these playful creatures.

30. See whales close up

I can’t imagine how breath-taking it would be witness these mammoths of the sea in person.

31. Get my PADI Open Water Diver certificate

Although I’m a strong swimmer and love being in the water it took a long time for me to think that I’d like to do any diving. Snorkelling yes. Diving where you have to remember to breathe only through a controlled hose? Hmm, not so much.

Anyway, about a decade ago I did a try dive in Egypt and actually found it a lot less intimidating than I’d imagined. I’d like to do the full open-water qualification so that I can go and see the fascinating marine life in the various places I travel to.

I started the PADI course in March 2020 and passed all the theory. I’d been planning to do the second part, the open water dives in May 2020 but that wasn’t possible due to COVID. I’ll start again and do the whole thing elsewhere.

32. Dive a shipwreck

This ties in with number 30. It feels fascinating and eerie at the same time to explore a wreck.

33. Visit a coral reef

Again this ties in with number 30. Who wouldn’t want to explore a coral reef teeming with beautiful life?

34. See the Northern Lights

As you can probably tell I’m in awe of nature. The Northern Lights are a beautiful, mind-blowing phenomenon to me that I’d like to see.

35. Attend an Ayahuasca Ceremony with a Shaman

I’ve never done drugs in my life and when I first heard about the various different plant medicines I was a bit taken aback. I didn’t think it would be for me. I was partly scared of giving myself a heart attack and partly sending myself insane.

But I read more about this plant and it’s actually incredibly healing for those with mental health issues (if administered correctly by someone who knows what they’re doing). I think this could be a truly life-changing experience and I’d love to be able to take part in this piece of culture.

36. Get lean and look sh*t hot

I was very athletic as a child and have had periods of being very fit in my adult life. It tends to depend on my job and other daily habits because if I’m inactive I pile on the weight. I lost weight a couple of years ago with an active job but that changes and it’s piled back on.

I love feeling fit and strong and lean and so I’d like to work back to that point.

37. Get my teeth straightened

I go through phases of being really embarrassed about my teeth. I had a brace when I was younger and over time my teeth have moved back – worse than before I think. It’s all exacerbated by a really horribly done capped tooth. I’d love to have a nice smile so this is on the list. I hate the dentist thought soooo it’s a battle!

38. Volunteer to help clear plastic from the ocean

The situation with plastic in our water is frightening. There are some brilliant initiatives out there now from some really clever people and I’d like to somehow contribute.

39. Volunteer with elephants

This is on the condition that it’s not detrimental to the animals’ welfare or taking a paid job away from a local. I’ve heard the elephants are very intelligent creatures and are somewhat like humans in some ways.

I read the book The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony and was so moved by it. I love seeing elephants being rescued from harmful lives in captivity and would like to support this further.

40. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

As above, I’d like to use my privilege to support other communities IF I can do so in a way that’s truly helpful for the communities in question. This is not a task to fuel my ego or act out white saviour complex.

41. Give a Kiva loan

Kiva loans are crowd-funded loans where the lenders give $25 or more towards a particular loan. You can choose who you loan money to.

You could support someone who wants to buy livestock for their farm, buy hair care products to sell to the women in their village, buy compost to clean coffee crops, buy food to sell in their cafe affected by COVID.

There is a small risk that the venture will fail and you won’t retrieve the money you lent, but otherwise it gets repaid and you can either withdraw it or use the same some to help crowdfund a different cause.

42. Write a nonfiction book

I’m no fiction writer. (Really, my English teacher used to despair with me when it came to creative writing. I can’t compose anything, music, stories or dance. My brain just says no.)

Factual writing is a different matter and I know there’s a book or two of the non-fiction variety.

43. Have 1 million website visits in a year

I’ve updated this item in 2023 to fit with my current business goals. I would like for this site to reach 1 million sessions per year. Best get writing…!

44. Have a multiple 6-figure per year business

I’d like to earn multiple 6-figures per year. It will help fund the exciting travels plans on this list, give me security, and allow me to contribute more to the causes I care about.

It’s important to get money into the hands of people who can direct it to good.

45. Start a podcast

This is another item that I changed in 2023 to reflect my current business goals. Part of me thinks this could be a disaster, people struggle to understand my weird accent at the best of times. But let’s see how things progress.

46. Do a silent retreat for a day

I have ADHD and the thought of this is excruciating, but at the same time, I’d like to see if I could do it and what state of mind I could achieve if I did.

People with mental health issues need to be cautious about this type of Vipassana medition. My friend goes to 5-day retreats which is definitely not on the cards but I’d like to try a day.

47. Mediate for 365 days in a row

I procrastinated foreeeeeever about getting started with meditation but it’s really helped since I started this. I wanted to be more intentional with my practice and benefit from the neuroplasticity of regular meditation.

48. Do a random act of kindness every day for a month

Originally this was to write a gratitude list for 365 days. But I kept procrastinating and starting and stopping. I generally just give gratitude as I’m going along and tell people I appreciate them in the moment. So this just felt like a chore.

Instead, I’ve changed it to doing a random act of kindness which I think is nicer because it helps other people instead of just feeling the gratitude in my own head.

49. Re-learn to do a handstand

I used to do a lot of gymnastics, dancing and ice-skating and sometimes I miss learning a physical skill. I would enjoy the challenge of having something like this to work towards. It may work somewhat in tandem with number 35 so that I actually have the strength to hold my body up!

50. Own a Tiny House

…with an outdoor spa, next to a stream in woodland. I’ve stayed in a variety of Tiny Houses. I looooved this one and if there was an outdoor spa on the deck it would be heaven.

As a nomad, I love the idea of having a base somewhere that I could come back to from time to time. As much as I love the thrill of moving somewhere new all the time, and discovering different experiences, I also like a bit of nesting and arranging.

A Tiny House in the countryside that I could rent out on Airbnb feels like a winner. Although this may morph into some kind of tiny house on wheels so I can travel about with my home all the time. We’ll see what transpires!

That’s it. That’s the Bucket List

So there you have it. Of course, there are other places I’d like to travel to but they might need to go on the 60 list!

Did you get an ideas for your bucket list or are top travel places or experience you think I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.

Need Some More Bucket List Ideas?

You could create bucket lists for specific things as well as having an overall bucket list of things you want to achieve before turning 50 or during your fifties.

Simple Bucket List Ideas

Your bucket list doesn’t have to be filled with expensive trips around the world. You can get so much pleasure from taking time for simple things. Here are some more bucket list ideas.

Get up early and watch the sunrise

Watch the sunrise and sunset on the same day

Create a classic novel bucket list of all the books you want to read and never got around to

Create a video/movies bucket list of all the classic films you want to watch

Create a list of all the people in your life you want to thank for something

Do a house sit in a part of the country you want to visit

Learn a new skill from Youtube

Have a game night and even create a regular family or friends game night each week

Watch a play or an opera online

Watch the Bucket List film and see where the phrase comes from and what the characters want to do before they die

Grow some herbs or other plants on your windowsill

Adopt an animal and keep up to date with their progress

Declutter a drawer, area or room that’s been bothering you

Acts of Kindness Bucket List Ideas

None of these need to cost anything and they could be an extension of the simple bucket list ideas above

write a positive review for a recent good experience

give a genuine compliment

lend someone a hand

donate something you don’t need or use

recommend someone’s business to your friends

mentor someone

Extreme Bucket List Ideas

Want your bucket list to be full of adrenaline? Here are some bucket list ideas for YOU!

Go bungee jumping

Ride a mechanical bull

Do an outdoor swim event like Alcatraz, Swim The Arctic Circle or Lough Cutra Castle, Ireland

Explore a haunted house

Run a marathon – extreme version (Marathon des Sables, Morocco, Great Wall of China Marathon)

Learn to become a high diver

Climb a mountain

Take up snowboarding

Active Bucket List Ideas

Go horseback riding (make it specific if you want like go horseback riding on the beach or horseback riding western style)

Go scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef

Run a marathon or run a half marathon

Do a charity walk or walk challenge over the course of a month

Work with a personal trainer

Travel Bucket List Ideas

See all the modern wonders of the world

Road trip across Europe

See Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Visit the rainforest in Rio de Janeiro

Drink the national drink of every new place you visit

Go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Visit New Zealand

Eat the national dish of every place you visit

Have a long weekend in New York

Attend a Broadway show in New York

See the Taj Mahal

Visit all your country’s National Parks

Go on the world’s largest cruise ship

Visit Greenland the world’s largest island

New Skill Bucket List Ideas

Fill a whole bucket list with just new skills you want to learn. Here are some bucket list ideas to keep your brain active.

Learn how to play an instrument

Set a Guinness World Record for something

Learn how to play chess

Learn a new language (a new language could include sign language or an ancient language)

Learn DIY

Learn to sew or knit

Learn to sing

Learn to act

Learn morse code

Learn to cook a national dish for every country in the world

Learn to swim

Learn public speaking

Fun Bucket List Ideas

Your bucket lists should be full of the bucket list items YOU want to do. Not things you think you should want to do.

Your bucket list makes life fun for you. Make sure as well as becoming skilled/well travelled (which can be hard work too) you come up with some bucket list ideas that are just plain fun.

Attend the Olympics

Go skinny dipping (or if skinny dipping isn’t your thing, a cold water swim instead)

Go for high tea at a fancy restaurant

Use the free personal shopper service stores provide

Watch a match and see a team play a sport you’ve never seen live before

Go to a pop concert

Have a day at a fancy spa

Attend a masked ball

Family Bucket List Ideas

If in you’re ideal life you want to spend time with family then fill your list with bucket list items more in line with your personal goals.

Think it’s a bit late to have “get married” or “create a family” on a middle-aged bucket list ideas list? Write whatever you want to do or include some bucket list things you never did when you were younger.

Go on a blind date

Go on a double date

Write a love letter to someone

Life and Career Bucket List ideas

Work with a life coach -get out of your comfort zone and achieve a life goal

Work with a career coach to hit a career goal you’ve wanted

Start a new career mid-life

Learn how to stand up for yourself

My 50-Before-50 Bucket ListMy 50-Before-50 Bucket ListMy 50-Before-50 Bucket ListMy 50-Before-50 Bucket ListMy 50-Before-50 Bucket List

Suzie Young

Suzie writes informative posts for solo, nervous or first-time travellers to Greece, Turkey and other countries on her 50-before-50 bucket list. She became a Greek resident in 2020 and intends to visit every inhabited island (13 down!).

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