The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Bucket List in 2024

My bucket list started in the same way it may be starting for you: sitting at my desk, in a job I wasn’t excited about dreaming all of the interesting things I could be doing.

This was 2009, but everything has changed since then.

Now we’ve got social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok feeding us exotic travel destinations, insane meals, and celebrity encounters with a simple swipe of the thumb.

There’s even more FOMO, and if you’ve been languishing over the past few years, seeing it can often feel even more hopeless.

This is what I felt when I was working as a financial analyst at the height of the recession over a decade ago.

But there’s one thing that saved me.

The very first step I took, completely changed the trajectory of my life, and I’ll forever be grateful for it.

What was it?

(I bet you can see where this is going.)

It was starting my bucket list.

I’d saved up all of my vacation time for the year to go to Rio de Janiero for Carnival. It was two weeks of the most epic adventures I’d ever had in my life.

Outfits for Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

Dancing at Carnival in Rio. Why I’m sharing this publicly, I have no idea….

We went hang gliding over Rio, went to Iguazu Falls, danced in the Carnival parade – we did it all.

And the whole time there was this nagging thought that I couldn’t shake:

“I should be able to do this stuff whenever I want.”

To cap it all off, the day I got back I got a 20% pay cut.

A few weeks later I had a chance encounter with Chris Guillebeau, and he encouraged me to do two things:

  1. Create a bucket list
  2. Start a blog to hold myself accountable for checking things off said, bucket list.

So that’s what I did.

Two months later Location Rebel was a reality, and I set to work checking things off my bucket list.

In less than a year, this led to me leaving my job, moving to Thailand, starting a business, and creating a lifetime’s worth of stories in a short period of time.

Chris and I used to meet at Starbucks every month or two during that first year. It was pretty cool to see him 11 months after that first meeting at a Starbucks in Bangkok:

Chris Guillebeau and Sean Ogle

Chris and I in Bangkok circa 2010.

Within a couple of years of publishing my bucket list in an effort to hold myself accountable for actually doing these things, I:

The list goes on (you can see it below).

A decade and a half later, I’m still working for myself and having adventures. And it’s all thanks to creating my bucket list of things I wanted to do before I died.

But that’s enough about me, if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re thinking about creating a bucket list of your own or perhaps you’re just looking for ideas of what to include in your list.

I’ve spent 1/3 of my life crafting this, editing this, and checking things off.

It’s safe to say I’ve learned a lot about what makes a useful, fulfilling list.

(And guess what, it’s not just adding the obligatory “visit the Eiffel Tower” item.)

So today I’m going to show you how to create a bucket list in a way that’s meaningful and is likely a bit different than any other posts you’ve read on the topic.

We’re going to answer questions like:

I’ve also included the most up-to-date version of my bucket list that you can use for ideas and motivation.

What is a Bucket List?

I can hear some of you right now, saying “what the heck is that?”

Quite simply:

A bucket list is a list of things to do before you die (or, morbidly before you “kick the bucket”).

The key here is that your list should be things that you want to do and would love to do.

That’s all there is to it.

It was made popular from the movie called “The Bucket List” where two terminally ill guys (Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson) meet in a hospital and then set out on an adventure to try and do everything on their lists.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to go and have some adventures with these guys, right?

What Should You Put on Your Bucket List?

My thoughts on this have evolved a lot over the last 13 years.

My original list, had some unique items, but a lot them were your typical “see the Eiffel Tower” type items. (Which, check by the way.)

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to see the typical touristy hotspots. But I think your bucket list should be more personal than that.

For instance, what are the things you’re truly interested in and passionate about? You should have a lot of items specifically related to those things.

What people do you want to have experiences with? The best part about traveling and frankly, life in general, is the people you share things with.

So the current iteration of my bucket list has a number of things I’d like to do with certain people that I think would be really meaningful.

A few other categories to think about are:

We go into more depth on this one in our “How to Start a Bucket List” post. So if you’re looking for a walk-through for creating your own, check that out.

The Bucket List Quest

A bucket list can be whatever you want it to be, but I personally love the idea of a quest. A quest is a type of bucket list, but you’re generally working towards a goal in a specific niche.

For instance, Chris wanted to visit every country in the world by the time he was 35.

I’m trying to play the top 100 golf courses in the world.

I’m also trying to visit the top 100 bars in the world.

While I don’t call them bucket lists, that’s effectively what they are.

It’s a list of things I would like to experience before I die – they just happen to be all related to a common concept.

So if you’re really passionate about something, consider creating a “quest” rather than just a typical bucket list.

My Bucket List (And Bucket List Ideas for You)

Without further ado, let’s jump into my current bucket list.

This has evolved quite a bit from the original 100 things I published. Many items are still on there, and many have been removed. But I’ve crossed off the ones I’ve done, and added a little commentary about each section, to help give insights that might inspire you and your own list.

Experiences with Specific People

I love being around people who are passionate about something. This holds especially true when I have a shared passion for that thing. So many of these are people I’d like to meet, but I don’t just want to shake hands and say hi. I want to do something more memorable than that.

Places I’d Like to Ski


Food and Restaurants

Eating can be one of the great joys and experiences in life. This is especially true when you travel. If you like to eat, food can be a fantastic starting point when creating your own bucket list.

The Fireworks Feast was the single greatest culinary experience I’ve ever had:

Work and Business

Many of these bucket list goals were set when I originally published this list in 2009. It’s nice to see that I’ve made some progress!


As I mentioned above, golf is a passion of mine and something I’ve traveled extensively for. So naturally, a portion of my bucket list is going to have some golf-related items.

My Top Golf Courses I’d Like to Play

The Old Course Hotel at St. Andrews at Sunrise.

Sunrise on the most famous golf course in the world: St. Andrews.

Real Estate

Sunriver is one of my favorite places on Earth:


I’ve always had a weird obsession with luxury hotels. Often it’s the hotel that I’m most excited for when I travel. This list could easily be dozens of items long, but these are some of the highlights for me:

Cool Experiences

Major Events

Travel Experiences

Sydney Opera House from Taronga Zoo

At the Taronga Zoo, with the Sydney Opera House in the background.

Other Interesting Bucket List Items:

Petra by Night

Petra by Night in Jordan

What is a Reverse Bucket List?

A reverse bucket list is simply creating a list of things you’ve already done, rather than a list of things you want to do in the future. 

The idea is to help you realize that you’ve done more than you think. It’s a great way to be thankful for those experiences, rather than frustrated at the things we haven’t done.

Plus, we all like to take a minute and appreciate everything we’ve already accomplished, right?

We look at what it is in detail and talk about how to create one in this video:

Want to learn more? Check out our post on reverse bucket lists.

How to Get Anything You Want in Life

A lot of people start out with a bucket list because they’re thinking of all the things they truly want in life. Whether it’s material items, experiences, or relationships.

Well here’s the deal, getting anything you want in life is actually not as difficult as you think.

Read: How to Get Anything You Want in Life (in 31 Simples Steps)

How to Create a Bucket List of Your Own

Over the years I’ve written quite a bit of content about bucket lists, because creating one has had such a dramatic affect on my life.

Hopefully, these posts will help you come up with some cool bucket list ideas of your own and give you some things to think about as you begin creating your list.

Enjoy, and here’s to doing more of the things that make us happy in life!