Hot Air Balloons in Cappadoccia Turkey

My 50-Before-50 Bucket List

I turn 50 this decade, and I decided it was about time to truly start living my life. As someone with a tendency to always put work first, 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 bucketlist 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 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. Visit Bali

5. Visit Thailand

6. Visit Cambodia and Vietnam (combined trip)

7. Return to mystical Sedona, Arizona

8. Go Greek island hopping

Bucket list experiences

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

10. Visit the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

11. See the sunrise at Stonehenge on the solstice

12. Visit the Jurassic Coast

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

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

15. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

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

17. Visit Portland, Oregan

18. Swim between tectonic plates in Iceland

19. Walk Cinque Terre

20. Fly business class on a long-haul flight

21. Do a skydive (maybe indoors)

22. Celebrate Hogmanay in a Castle

23. Go to a ceilidh

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

25. Have a session with a personal stylist

26. Have afternoon tea at The Ritz, Paris

27. Sleep in a treehouse

28. Swim with dolphins

29. See whales close up

30. Get my PADI Open Water Diver certificate

31. Dive a shipwreck

32. Visit a coral reef

33. See the Northern Lights

Wellbeing bucket list

34. Attend an Ayahuasca Ceremony with a Shaman

35. Get lean and look sh*t hot

36. Get my teeth straightened

Altruistic bucket list items

37. Volunteer to help clear plastic from the ocean

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

39. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

40. Give a Kiva loan

Business bucket list

41. Write a nonfiction book

42. Become a doTERRA Diamond

43. Have a multiple 6-figure per year business

44. Buy a failing business, turn it around and sell it for a profit

Spiritual bucket list

45. Do a silent retreat for a day

46. Mediate for 365 days in a row

47. Write a gratitude list for 365 days in a row

48. Learn to do a yoga handstand

Milestone bucket list

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

50. Secret!

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. 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.

5. Visit Thailand

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

6. Visit Cambodia and Vietnam

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

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

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

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

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

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

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. 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. (Did I mention I preferred warm climes?!). But again, another reminder that we are on an awesome (in the truest sense) planet.

19. 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.

20. 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.

21. 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.

22. 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.

23. 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.

24. 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.

25. 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.

26. 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.

27. Sleep in a treehouse

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

28. Swim with dolphins

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

29. See whales close up

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

30. 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.

31. Dive a shipwreck

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

32. Visit a coral reef

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

33. 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.

34. 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.

35. 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.

36. 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!

37. 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.

38. 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.

39. 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.

40. 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 and 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.

41. Write a nonfiction book

I’m no fiction writer. (Really, my English teacher used to dispair 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.

42. Become a doTERRA Diamond

Erm, did she just say MLM?! Yes! If direct selling releases all sorts of weird emotions in you then feel free to scroll past this one.

I love partnering with doTERRA for essential oils and greener products. The way they produce their oils is very considered and actively sets up communities for success. It reminds me of the spirit of the Kiva loans. doTERRA works with farmers and expert growers to create stability through things like co-operatives and fair wages.

I see it as using my privilege to enjoy cleaner every-day products as well as (for me, life-changing) natural remedies that give me relief from various ailments and keep me away from yucky doctors’ surgeries while changing the lives of other people through solutions or a business of their own while contributing to the things I mentioned above.

doTERRA also cover all the operating costs for the Healing Hands Foundation so after tax, the full price of particular products go directly to the Foundation. HHF is doing good, practial, hands-on work to rescue victims of the child sex trade amongst other things.

43. 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.

44. Buy a failing business, sell it for a profit

I’ve had a positive impact on many businesses and I’d enjoy buying a brick and mortar business and turning it around. I love watching the Hotel Inspector and I see myself as a bit of an Alex Polizzi! (#IWish).

I imagine this to be something in the beauty/wellbeing/spa/fitness space.

45. 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.

46. 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.

47. Write a gratitude list for 365 days in a row

Gratitude is responsible for many wonderful things. I generally find myself stopping to give gratitude quite often throughout the day and appreciating the things around me.

However, similar to the previous point, I know a lot of people like to make this a dedicated daily practise and I’m interested to see what would change if adopted that habit too.

48. Learn to do a yoga handstand

I used to do a lot of gymnastics, dancing and ice-skating and sometimes I miss learning a physical skill. Although there is an element of ego in this one (not really the spirit of yoga…) 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!

49. 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!

50. Secret bucket list item!

Affairs of the heart will remain private for now!

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 list or are top travel places or experience you think I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.

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

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