11 Things That Aren't on Your Bucket List—But Should Be
When you hear the term "bucket list," the usual suspects spring to mind—life-changing travel experiences, breathtaking air balloon rides, dinner at one of the world's top restaurants—but we think it's time you hit the reset button. While these are all really amazing things to do before you die, your checklist could do with a few more meaningful and eye-opening activities. It's time to turn your standard list into an extraordinary one. Scroll down for a few of our suggestions.
We all love to travel with our family or a group of our beloved girlfriends, but there's so much to gain from going it alone. Embarking on a solo expedition as a woman is incredibly liberating and rewarding. You have the freedom to be yourself, to set the daily agenda without the distraction of fellow travellers. You can throw your watch away, think on your feet, trust your instincts, and just go with the flow. Without a rigid travel timetable, you can ditch the plans and go off the beaten track to explore the world at your own pace, and you just never know what places you'll discover or people you'll meet. Add this to your list of travel goals before you die.
We get it; we all lead busy lives with barely enough time for ourselves let alone others, but trust us when we tell you there's more to gain from being nice to others than not. In fact showing random acts of kindness to those around you has a lot of positive side effects. Not only does it make us happier, but it also has a fountain of youth effect and gives us healthier hearts. According to Dr. David R. Hamilton, the feel-good factor of being kind triggers a biochemical reaction and elevates our levels of dopamine in the brain "so we get a natural high, or what's known as the 'Helper's High.'" Not only that, this "emotional warmth" we feel actually slows the ageing process thanks to the oxytocin we produce as a result. Hamilton says this "reduces levels of free radicals and inflammation in the cardiovascular system and thus slows aging at its source." So buy a stranger a cup of coffee every now and then, pay someone a compliment, or bake a cake for your new neighbour. It feels good and it's good for you too.
There's something deeply rewarding about cooking a meal with vegetables from your own garden. It's such a simple, honest, and humble feeling watching your vegetables grow from seedlings into a nutritious bed of goodness for the whole family to enjoy. If you live in the city and space isn't on your side, buy some pots and start a herb garden or vertical garden. Urban gardening has become a popular global trend, with many cities swapping rooftops for garden beds. Look up community gardens in your local area that you can join. It's a lot of fun, and it can save you cash on groceries, too.
There's only so much you can do when you holiday overseas and much of it ends up being the main tourist attractions and regular sightseeing hotspots. But if you truly want to know a place, and yourself, then pack up your things and move overseas for a year or two. Ditch the self-help books and become an expat; the university of life will teach you everything—confidence, resilience, compassion, and freedom from fear.
So many of us throw money at a cause or offload our old unwanted things at the local Vinnie's store, but why not donate the one thing that really costs you: your time. There is nothing more valuable than that, and if you can impart some of your precious time to some of the charities that need it most, you'll feel that "Helper's High" we spoke about earlier but more important, you'll make a big difference in someone else's life. So sign up to lend a hand at the local soup kitchen, teach underprivileged children at a nearby school, or offer your services at a local animal shelter. Because it's like what Bob Hope said: "If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble."
How much do you know about the various cultures around the world or within your own country? We live in a diverse, multicultural world with a population of varying ethnicities, so it's time we all learned a little more about each other. Make it your purpose in life to befriend another person that isn't from the same heritage or background as you. Through learning about how other people live, from their upbringing to their traditions and ceremonies, we can all develop a deeper understanding of how the world works and why, which will ultimately foster more compassion for others. Now that is a beautiful thing.
This could be anything new, such as an online course or learning to bake bread, but why not challenge yourself and learn something that really pushes you out of your comfort zone. Try out surfing, buy a skateboard (with a helmet please), sign up for cooking classes, take a sommelier course, learn about photography, discover calligraphy, and establish some new life skills. You might meet "the one" or start a new business. The possibilities are endless.
Most people dream of travelling to far away exotic lands and embarking on a foreign adventure, but what about exploring your own backyard? Have you put your own home country on the list of things to do before you die? It's often the case that tourists see more of your hometown or nation than yourself, so it's time to change that statistic. Just because you live there and are familiar with the surroundings doesn't mean you know everything about it or can't be just as excited as those international visitors are. Don't overlook the magic of your surroundings, don't take your home for granted, and do go beyond the familiar to really uncover the treasures of the land where you live. You will forge a deeper emotional and spiritual connection to your home too.
The positive impact of journaling on your health and happiness are well known. I started journaling years ago and this process has dramatically improved my emotional and physical health. Oprah has been a devoted diarist since she was 15 and attributes much of her success to journaling. "It's astonishing to be able to track your own evolution—who I was, who I'm still becoming," she said. Our memory fades as we age, so by writing down our struggles, triumphs, laughter and tears, we can look back, reflect, and understand our lives a little better, when the time is right.
Have you ever done your family tree? Traced your heritage line back to where it all began? I hadn't ever really thought about it seriously until I asked our associate social media editor, Jasmine Fox-Suliaman, what she would put on her bucket list and she told me about her lifelong dream to research her family's ancestry. "I would love to research my families path, where they came from originally and how they got here and then take the same trip they did," she said. "I would love to go to those places and follow in their footsteps so I can connect with my heritage and understand all the things that happened before me."
We all know the word sustainability but how much do we really understand the importance of it? It's so much more than just a buzz word, it's about making lifestyle changes to ensure we are being mindful of the environment and protecting our planet for future generations. It's as simple as choosing to travel with an eco state-of-mind, choosing local décor brands that are conscious of the earth instead of contributing to landfills, and choosing renewable water filters over disposable plastic bottles. There are so many ways you can reduce your waste and conserve energy, so start making small green steps to make sustainability a part of your life.