The most underrated Bucket List goal category

Personal Development

“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”

– Anonymous

Every January 1, millions of people set goals they want to achieve in the upcoming year. Things are bright, fresh and full of possibilities! Resolutions are great, right? But by the time February 15th rolls round, I’m guessing 90% of people have, sadly, given up and slipped into their old – bad – habits. Personal development should be something we strive for on a daily basis. Yet sometimes this superb bucket list category is grossly abused. What could be better than learning and growing as a human being? The flashy and exciting goals like traveling or the adrenaline- fueled adventures often outshine skills and development. But new skills are some of the most valuable goals you can accomplish on your bucket list. They not only help you with your personal development, but also have such a positive impact on the world around you.

Realistically, just 8% of people keep with their pledges. Resolutions get a bad rap because they are set with the wrong state of mind. We see that people often set these goals on a faulty foundation of what is popular. The Paleo diet? Sounds like a great way to drop the pounds. Juice cleanse? Time to detox the skin and your stomach. But once a difficult patch hits, it’s easier to give up than to readjust your goals and objectives.


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How to save for your bucket list adventures – Travel Edition

“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.”
 Paul Theroux

Here’s the truth, travelling is going to cost you money, but the good thing is, it’s not as scary – or expensive – as you think if you’re smart about your savings and your spending before, during and after the trip. It’s all about priorities and if you’re really ready to commit to travel. In this section, discover how world travelers fund their adventures before the adventure. (more…)

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Hang gliding

Hang Gliding: Fly Like Superman

Hang gliding is the perfect bucket list goal for those who’ve always wished for the super power to fly.

A hang glider is a triangular sail with an aluminum frame. This is different from a paraglider, which is more of a parachute. In a hang glider, you’re facing down and forward – like you’re flying – while in a paraglider, you’re in more of a seated position. The two are often confused, with paragliding showing up on more bucket lists, but I’d like you to consider hang gliding too.

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Mike Horst – A Bucketlist Hero on top of the world

Climbing Everest encompasses everything Bucketlist stands for. It’s challenging, extreme, adventurous and above all, rewarding when you’re able to stand on top of the world – literally. We’re launching a new program focusing on the extraordinary people in our new series, Bucketlist Heroes. Our first featured member, Mike Horst, has not only conquered the beast that is Everest but is the first person in the world to reach the summit of two 8,000 meter peaks in 24 hours – more about that later. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Mike to talk about

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Skydiving for the Thrill Seekers Bucket List

Skydiving was one of the first bucket list goals I crossed off, mostly because it doesn’t take a lot of time or money. It also became one of the most thrilling experiences of my life.

A lot of people said I was crazy and shook their heads, but eventually I found four coworkers willing to strap a stranger onto their back and jump out of a plane with nothing but parachute.

We drove over to Vermont Skydiving Adventures in rural West Addison, Vermont.  After training, suiting up and practicing, two of us, plus our skydiving instructors, the pilot and the videographer/photographer squished into a tiny, tiny plane.

Skydiving in PlaneI skydived with my work supervisor and, yes, I wondered if I would have a job after this adventure.]

We sat on the floor and I was jammed tight between the door, the pilot and my instructor. Aloft, I felt and heard the roaring wind.  I looked down and saw a gap in the door, giving me a bird’s eye view of the growing distance back to the ground. The adrenaline started pumping.

At 11,000 feet, we maneuvered ourselves into jumping position. The little latch on the door was let loose and it flipped up with the force of the wind, revealing a horrific distance between me and the ground. My stomach was in my throat, the sound of the air merged with the pumping of blood through my veins.

Sitting on the edge of the plane, I put my feet on the wing. We had two, brief moments left:

1)     Look at the camera and smile. I wasn’t too capable of this on my own, so my instructor moved my head toward the camera, then away from the camera and back up into position.

2)     Split-second pause….at which point a tiny voice in my head said, “Am I sane?”

Skydiving Smile for the CameraClearly, I was too shocked to look at the camera myself, so my instructor had to maneuver my head manually, producing these priceless photos.]

Then we were falling.

For the first few seconds, it was all adrenaline, fear and excitement. The wind beat hard at my body and ear drums. I forced my eyes open and realized we were flipping: “There’s the sun. Oh, there it is again!”

Gravity had a 130 MPH downward grip on us. The force of the air shoved my breath back down my windpipe.

Skydiving Fall

Eventually, the instructor signaled to extend my arms and get out of the fetus position. Then he signaled to pull the rip cord. I pulled hard and suddenly we reversed direction, going up again.

We floated and turned and swooped. This was the only time my stomach felt queasy, but I didn’t want it to stop. I wanted to savor this and stay, live up here in the clouds forever.

On the ground, our reactions ranged widely. I was excited and didn’t know what to do with all the extra energy. Joe was the best: grinning ear-to-ear, his hair blown back, he glowed/floated off the landing field.

I can vividly re-inhabit two moments: when the airplane door opened dramatically and right before I jumped and it was all before me. The adrenaline rush is still accessible and it was an experience of a lifetime.

If you haven’t gone skydiving, don’t let it linger on your bucket list. The US Parachute Association states that tandem dives, perfect for the beginner, cost between $150-$250. It’s worth a few months of brown bag lunches or skipped lattes.

But, beware: other bucket list goals may pale in comparison to the thorough adrenaline rush that skydiving provides.

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Top 7 Back to School Bucket List Ideas

Just a couple more weeks of freedom before the school bell rings and parents can breath a sigh of relief. Even though summers almost over doesn’t mean the fun has to end there. Call me a nerd, but back to school was one of my favourite times of the year.  Fresh notebooks, new clothes, and reuniting with friends are just a couple of reasons why September is awesome. But if your dreading the homework and those hallowed halls, here are our top 10 things you need to do before the school doors open.

7 Things to do Before You Go Back to School


1. Swim in the ocean/lake/pool

It doesn’t matter where you go swimming, but take advantage of the warm weather while it’s still here! When I was growing up, my sister and I would always beg our mum to take us to the pool before school started, it’s just the symbol of my young summers.

2. Finish that summer read

Once you’re back to school you can nearly forget reading for pleasure, especially if you’re heading to University. If you’re halfway through Harry Potter, obviously its a no brainer.

3. Throw one last summer bbq

Soon the snow will start to fall from the sky and you’ll look back longingly on the times you could sit on a patio for hours without a care in the world.

back to school bucket list

4. Go to the Fair

Nothing screams summer like wandering around your local fair grounds. Ride the ferris wheel, eat deep fried fair food, win for yourself or someone you love an oversized teddy and live those instagram worthy memories.

5. Run a 5km or a Color Run

While the weather’s still warm, get outside and get moving. Colour runs are such healthy and memorable activities. Check out the people below, they seem to be having a pretty amazing time!

6. Take a last minute road trip

Soon routine will take over. It’s time to live out your spontaneous youthful days during these last couple of years!

7. Dance in the rain

Such a popular bucket list idea, but definitely for a reason. For me the smell after a summers rain is can’t be copied, so fresh, so clean. Break through any reservations and easily knock this one off the bucket list before school starts.

Use every last minute of summer to the fullest.

PS: What activities are you going to cross off your bucket list before school starts?

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10 MORE ideas to add to your Summer Bucket List

I guess I just have summer on the brain. There’s something so fantastic about the weather being warm, the long days and the short nights. I’m brimming to the top with all the things I want to do before the first leaves of fall…fall. So here are 10 more exciting, adventurous, and down right fun ideas that you just need to add to your

Summer bucket list.

1. Stand Up Paddle Board

PADDLE BOARD summer bucket list

2. Go to an outdoor Dance Party (or host your own)

And…stay up all night, until the sun comes up.

3. Start the ultimate water fight

Put a little bit of organization into this goal and organize the ultimate water fight between your friends, your neighborhood, your school, even your city! Divide into teams and let the war begin.

4. Skydive

summer bucket list

5. Take a spontaneous weekend trip

For once I’m going to tell you, don’t plan just do. Follow your instincts, grab your best bud and drive. If you are a super adventurous person leave your phone at home and unplug for a while. You’ll return re-energized and braver than ever!

6. Build the perfect sand castle… No sand Empire! 

Self explanatory, but I’d recommend investing in some quality tools. Always makes the building process easier than using plastic cups.

7. Eat the strangest food at your local fair/carnival

Such delicacies are only acceptable at the fair.For example, I head scorpion pizza is available at some fairs. Let me know how it tastes (I might pass on that one)

8. Ride the worlds tallest roller coaster

Measuring in at 456 ft, the Kingda Ka at Six Flags is terrifying, but what’s a summer bucket list if you don’t feel like you’re going to throw up every once and a while.

9. Hit a hole in one

(mini-golf counts)


10. Crash a wedding

Step 1, watch wedding crashers. Step 2, copy wedding crashers

Feel free to add any of these images to your profile. Visualizing how much fun you are going to have will guarantee to get you motivated to start crossing off your own summer bucket list. What are you going to do this summer?

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It’s tulip time! – A Bucket List Story

*Editors Note* we are pleased to share this story from Laura Vanderkam

A few years ago, I put “visit the Netherlands during tulip time” on my List of 100 Dreams. I am thrilled to say that I can now cross that off.

We spent the past week in the Netherlands, staying in a farm house about an hour outside of Amsterdam, and exploring the whole country. Traveling with small kids (6,4,2) is always challenging, let alone traveling internationally, but we had a good time. Some memories, day by day:

Sun April 13: We arrived in Amsterdam after the overnight flight from Newark. Some of us slept more than others. My husband slept, which is good, since he was driving (neither “L” — nanny, who came with us — or I can drive stick, which is what the van Hertz had to special order for us was. I allegedly learned, but couldn’t start the car at a busy intersection years ago and was so traumatized from the experience that I haven’t tried since). We flew on my husband’s frequent flier miles — 6 free-ish tickets on Delta! — so I guess all that traveling was good for something. The long list of Disney movies made the flight a lot more bearable than it would have been, as did the 1-to-1 adult-to-kid ratio.

We landed and drove to the Artis Royal Zoo, and took in the elephants, lions, butterflies, etc. The kids were most taken with the playground, playing amidst all the blond children while the adults pounded coffee. We lost intensity halfway through the zoo when the jet-lagged 6-year-old started falling asleep on benches. No one can carry him, so we had to leave. We drove to our lovely house (rented online) out in the country, and after a short nap, headed to Hoge Veluwe national park, where we biked with the 3 kids on the backs of our bikes Dutch style — no helmets. No one wears them there, but it is a flat country built for cycling, and everyone cycles, which means that drivers expect to see bikes flying through every intersection. I’m wagering that the Dutch also aren’t that litigious, given the playgrounds we visited. We ate at a little roadside place that had a playground outside with a zip line. They took credit cards, but the line was broken, and since we were short on euros, my husband wound up driving 5 miles to another tiny little Dutch village to find an ATM. The playground came in handy during that wait!

netherlands bucket list

Mon April 14– The kids slept surprisingly well (only I was up at 4 a.m.) We threw the kids a bone with a visit to Efteling, the Dutch Disneyland. An article in the Wall Street Journal several months ago claimed this was extremely kid friendly and worth a visit. The fairy tale forest of animatronic type scenes was all in Dutch, but the kids still liked looking at Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, etc. We rode several rides, and despite it being horribly cold and intermittently rainy, the kids had a good time, especially the 4-year-old who got to ride a roller coaster. We had trouble finding a restaurant open on Monday night, but eventually stumbled into an empty bar that served us amazing savory pancakes (and Heinekens). Sometimes you get lucky.

Tues April 15 — back to Amsterdam for the day. We went to the Rijksmuseum, splitting into groups of 1 kid per 1 adult, though unfortunately, all 3 kids managed to be pills in their own way. I thought I had lucked out, drawing the 6-year-old, but he got so obsessed with the multimedia touchscreen tour guide that he didn’t want to look at the art and he walked straight into people. I started putting him on the benches in the middle of the rooms while I checked out the Rembrandts. L had the 2-year-old and eventually just took her out, figuring that running around the entrance area beat running through exhibits. My husband reported that the 4-year-old started lying on the floor whenever he stopped carrying him. Good times! We recovered after a late lunch and went to Vondelpark, the Amsterdam version of Central Park (think Central Park with way more obvious pot smoking). The kids played on a playground with another zip line, then we drove home on an alternate route that took us through some bulb fields — beautiful tulip fields where the colors alternate every few rows. The stripes are striking. My husband and I went out for dinner in Harderwijk, a village on the water, enjoying a lovely 4-course dinner with beverage accompaniment for me (he was driving!) It was a walled city with those picturesque tiny roads you see in old cities in Europe. These are not cities built for cars, so it’s always humorous maneuvering a 7-passenger van down the streets.

wind mill bucket listWed April 16 — A relatively low-key day at Hoge Veluwe National Park again. We started at the park’s Kroller Muller museum, which — like the Rijksmuseum — offered my children a chance to be at their best. Ha ha! At least no one actually touched the Van Goghs. We wound up not going to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam precisely because we were so traumatized by our museum experiences. We biked around afterwards, ate ice cream by a lake, and played on another Dutch playground. This featured an even bigger zip line! The kids loved it. We went back to Harderwijk en masse for dinner, and ate in an Italian restaurant that served pizza for the kiddos. I eat everything enthusiastically, which makes international travel fine for me. Even if I can’t read the menu, I’m willing to eat whatever it is. My kids don’t seem to feel this way. They ate bread and cheese much of the trip. Pizza was a nice break. We walked along the water, drove home and played on our house’s swingset. After we put the kids to bed, my husband took off for Brussels for a 24-hour trip.

Thurs April 17 — A home day for L and me and kids, as my husband took the car, not that either of us could drive it if he hadn’t. We traded off taking our runs into the local village of Uddel and playing with the kids. I got a few hours of work done. When I couldn’t figure out the Dutch washing machine, I washed our clothes by hand — communing with my Dutch farmwife ancestors, I suppose. The kids liked running around the fields and were alternately good, playing beautifully with each other in the spring sunshine, and awful. There was biting. Ugh. Hubby came home at 11 pm.

Fri April 18 — We traveled north to Houwerzijl, where my grandfather was born. It’s about half an hour outside Groningen, but it is really in the middle of nowhere. We were driving on one-lane roads through the open fields and past windmills to get there. The little village was charming, and the old church is now a nice tea and sandwich shop with a clean (and free) WC. Alas, they did not take our version of credit card, and we were short on cash again, so my husband had to make another 5 mile drive to a neighboring village’s ATM. We explored a little book store, and an old cemetery, where I found a Van Der Kamp, but no Van der Kams (and my mom tells me it wasn’t just a matter of dropping the “p” on American arrival). Oh well. We drove on to Bourtange, a fortified city (and massive tourist trap) near the border, then briefly crossed into Germany to drive — with no speed limit! — part of the way home.

tulip fest bucket list

Sat April 19 — It is tulip time in Holland, and we drove to Keukenhof, the big flower show. It was crowded but dazzling, with thousands of tulips blooming amid azaleas, cherry trees, daffodils, lilacs, etc. We went crazy with the camera, taking our Christmas card photos, then we went into Amsterdam to a place that supposedly had awesome mussels. Upon arriving, we were told that it was not mussel season, so no one was serving them. We had cheese fondue instead, and walked around old Amsterdam, then drove home and had a picnic dinner in our lovely yard before packing up and getting ready to leave on…

Sun April 20 — iIt’s a long haul back to the US, but the 1-to-1 adult-to-kid ratio helped, and so did the movies. I know the parts of the trip my kids liked the best — the amusement parks, the playgrounds, etc. — could obviously have been done at home, too. But I’m not willing to put off traveling until they’re older, and there were enough good parts to make up for the challenges. I saw lovely Van Goghs and Rembrandts, I biked through a gorgeous forest, I saw where my grandfather is from, I enjoyed the tulips. I’m happy to have crossed this one off the bucket list.

About Laura

Laura Vanderkam is a nationally recognized writer, journalist and author who questions the status quo and helps her readers rediscover their true passions and beliefs in pursuit of more meaningful lives.READ MORE »

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What I Learnt from Richard Branson: Part One

I’ve been a fan of Richard Branson for a long time. I first heard about Branson at a young age but it wasn’t until I had started my first business that I really learned more about him.

As a young entrepreneur I was working hard on growing my company and always looking to learn from other smart people. I remember buying Branson’s autobiography, Losing My Virginity – it was a massively inspiring book.

There was one section that was really stuck out for me. Branson describes how he was eventually forced to sell Virgin Music to allow him to grow Virgin Airlines along with hundreds of other businesses.

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It was after reading this that my friend and business partner Bart and I decided to sell off one of our two companies. It ended up being one of the best decisions we ever made – and allowed us to rapidly grow our business Advisor Websites. The sale also allowed us to acquire and grow

Ever since reading the biography I’ve been pretty interested in meeting Richard and, as fate would have it, I got my chance.

I’m a part of a business organization called EO (Entrepreneurs Organization). It’s an amazing organization filled with some very cool people. It was through EO that myself along with 30 other entrepreneurs had a chance to visit Richard at his home on Necker Island.



Visiting Necker was a very cool experience – the Island is a tropical paradise with some amazing history. There are too many stories to share in one blog post but some highlights that stood out were going sailing with Richard, exploring Necker Island and surrounding area, and meeting with the amazing people who were on the trip with us. Richard was a very cool guy, he was very interactive playing tennis with guests, kite boarding, and joining us for many dinners.


What were my key takeaways?

  • Have fun and success will follow: Richard was constantly on the go and having fun playing tennis, kite boarding, sailing and taking time to get to know everyone on the island. But he didn’t just play the sports he was very playful. When it came to kite boarding he was happy to piggy back guests on his back. I had a chance to sail with him and had a blast tossing people into the ocean. I believe this playful attitude translates well in the work place as well. Richard wrote on article on LinkedIn which discusses this topic in more detail:

“[In Business] If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong. If you feel like getting up in the morning to work on your business is a chore, then it’s time to try something else. If you are having a good time, there is a far greater chance a positive, innovative atmosphere will be nurtured and your business will flourish.”Five top tips to starting a successful business


  • Write down what you want to achieve in life: Visiting a place like Necker Island and being surrounded by so many inspirational people is one of the best environments to get new ideas but it’s important to write those ideas down and execute on them. There’s a study by Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the California’s Dominican University which proves that writing down goals, sharing them with friends and reviewing them frequently significantly increases your chances of achieving what you want.
  • Work with amazing people and treat them like gold: I’m not the first person to say this, but doing great things requires great people. Once you’re surrounded by these individuals empower them like crazy so that they can achieve great things. Branson wrote a great article in called People Power — The Engine of Any Business in which he states:

    “Good people are crucial to business success. Finding them, managing them, inspiring them and then holding onto them are among the most important challenges a good business leader faces. How you deal with these matters often determines the long- term success and growth of your business.”

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Would I recommend this experience to others? Absolutely. It was frigging amazing. To learn more about Necker Island go here, to learn more about EO go here.

Related goals to add to your bucket list

Visit Necker Island

Meet Richard Branson

Start a business

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