The Bucket List: Creating a Lifetime of Amazing Memories
The 1989 Batman is tied for number 1 on my list of favorite movies. The soundtrack, for geeks like me, is something dreams are made of! Prince AND Danny Elfman?! Growing up, I loved Prince. Darling Nikki is one of my theme songs. I always knew that seeing him perform live was going to be a bucket list item. Last year, he did a series of pop-up concerts and because I had spent a lot of money on concerts the week he was in town, I passed. “I’ll see him next time”. Well, a week later, he died. I couldn’t tell you the utter devastation I felt. My heart broke. I would not get to sing and dance, live, with someone that I loved since the age of three… I regret not purchasing the tickets and I’ll carry it with me forever. But, his passing is why I jumped on getting tickets to see Stevie Nicks at the Forum this year, and furthermore, he is the reason I will never say “next time”, because “next time” isn’t promised.
Bucket lists give us something to live for, dream about, and be active towards. At the end of my life, I want to remember all the awesome things I did and the beautiful places I got to see, not the things that I didn’t go after and wished I had. There are so many things to experience and places to go… why not create a list of our wildest dreams and then do them? The memories will not only shape you as a person, but they will set your soul on fire. I’m all about good vibes and I really hope to inspire you to be excited about life.
I see so much beauty in the world. I appreciate every sunset and sunrise, quiet moments with romantic partners, cups of coffee on rainy days… As much “happy” I get from the little things, I get pure ecstasy from being active and going on adventures. So, today, I wanted to share with you my bucket list and the things I’ve been able to cross off of it so far.
Â I love traveling. I love getting on a plane. I love experiencing new cultures and places. I have major wanderlust, so it’s not surprise that most of my list is travel based. Let’s start with the places I’ve been…
London and France — I have these together because it was the same trip. My dad was working overseas for 6 months when I was in 5th grade. My mom took me and my sister over the pond to visit for 2 weeks. Honestly, I’d love to go back because I didn’t appreciate it when it was happening. But, in hindsight, it was a pretty amazing trip. We took the hovercraft from England to France. One of my favorite memories was at dinner one nice in Calais (I think I spelled that right); the waiter served me champagne. I was 11.
Bermuda & Bahamas (Come on Pretty Momma… the beach boys? no? ok…) — I’ve actually been to Bermuda twice. It’s a favorite vacation spot for my aunt and uncle and because they don’t have kids, all of their nieces got to reap the benefits of a “family vacation”. Happiness for me is a beach on a tropical island, which is why for my 21st birthday, I went to the Bahamas with one of my best friends. I saved up all summer to pay for it myself. We stayed at Atlantis, Paradise Island. It is one of the most beautiful and fun hotels I’ve ever stayed in and it was worth every penny. Our last night there, we smoked pot and ate an entire rum cake. I regret nothing.
Jamaica — A couple years ago, when my sister was graduating from college, I wanted to do something fun for her. I also wanted some bonding time, since I live across the country. So, I surprised her with a trip to Jamaica. A little backstory on this… I told my family about it because I knew she needed to renew her passport. My mom even took her bathing suit shopping in March, like, hello! There is still snow on the ground in New Jersey, but for some reason she didn’t suspect anything. I told her that I wasn’t going to be able to make it to her ceremony, which she understood because I lived so far away. BUT, my crazy ass got on a redeye after work one day and showed up. Now, my sister is not a crier, but when she saw me there, she cried. We went to dinner after the ceremony and I gave her a big overnight bag with beachy clothes and things in it. She opened the card, which read “I’m so proud of you. Now, let’s go party in Jamaica! No, really… we leave tomorrow.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so excited. We stayed at an awesome, all-inclusive resort, drank way too many Pina Coladas, climbed a waterfall… but most of all, we enjoyed sister time that we don’t normally get.
Hawaii— Have you ever been to a place so beautiful; that had such a good vibe, you didn’t want to leave? Because that’s what happened to me when I went on vacation in Oahu. It was actually a vacation taken with my ex-boyfriend. (No, I haven’t burned the pictures. They’re amazing memories and it was a good time.) We actually went out of run a spartan race, so we did that and then went full tourist. I think the Hiking Hawaii tour we did was my favorite. At the top of the mountain, we had a 360 degree view of the island. You could even see all the volcano craters! The traditional Luau was pretty amazing, too. If I were to live any place other than California, Hawaii would be it. I can’t wait to go back and island hop.
I’ve also been to many states in the U.S. Not necessarily bucket list trips, but still travel all the same. New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, California (San Diego, Los Angeles, San Fran, Napa and every place in between)…
Where to next?
I’d really love to get to New Orleans, Louisiana and Portland, Oregon this year! Actually, one of the U.S. trips that’s DEFINITELY on my bucket list is Salem, Ma. I’m obsessed with the witch trials and think it would be a great Halloween trip… dressed up like a witch, of course. Discovering more of California would be fun too! It’s a big state.
Bora BoraÂ — numero uno on my list. I don’t care how much it costs; I’m staying in one of those over the ocean huts. Done and done. Might as well go to Tahiti, Fiji, and the Maldives too. I’m telling you, tropical is my thing.
Cuba — My dad and his family immigrated to the U.S after Castro took power. I haven’t met half my family, so I’d really love to get there… especially before there is a McDonald’s on the Embarcadero.
Here’s the list of all the other places I want to go: Exuma, Bahamas (Becuase there are swimming pigs that need to be hugged) Australia, Thailand, Morocco, Spain, Italy, Mexico (to see the mayan ruins), Panama (omg, the beaches!), Argentina, Costa Rica, Brazil, Africa (to see lions and other animals in their natural habitat), Dubai, Egypt… I think it would be totally awesome to see the 7 Wonders of the World, too!
I’ve held monkeys, snakes, and other animals. I’m an animal lover, so getting to interact with them is high on my list of things to do. Activities make up the other half of my bucket list. Somethings are easy and some take some planning, but physically experiencing something new is very important. It keeps life interesting and you learn great lessons.
Â Let’s start with the things I’ve done…
Surfing — When I was younger, I got caught up in a riptide, needless-to-say, I haven’t been very comfortable in the ocean since then. For my 30th birthday, I decided get over my fear and try something that I’ve always wanted to do… SURFING. I hired a private instruction in Zuma, just north of Malibu. Honestly, it was equal parts terrifying and fun, but at the end of the lesson, I wasn’t so scared of the ocean any more AND I was able to stand up TWICE.
Jet Ski — I gunned it through the Bermuda Triangle and almost killed my sister. It was a good time.
Snorkeling — I make sure to do this wherever the water is clear and calm. It’s so much fun to see what’s swimming around you.
Run a 1/2 Marathon — I couldn’t run a mile when I was in high school, but my newly adopted healthy lifestyle sparked some change and I decided to train for a 1/2 marathon. I can’t begin to tell you what my poor legs felt like after I crossed that finish line, but guess what? I did it and I did it in 2 hours and 20 minutes, which is a 10 minute mile pace. You can do anything you put your mind to. From there, I did all kids of races, including obstacle course races like Spartan Race and Rugged Maniac.
Climb a Waterfall — Boom. Checked that off in Jamaica.
Move away from home — I went to college in Georgia and then moved to Los Angeles two weeks after I graduated college. I wasn’t letting anything hold me back from pursuing my dreams, that’s for sure.
Go to a music festival — If it wasn’t for the fact that my favorite band was headlining, I would’ve hated it. I don’t do well with crowds. I’m glad I had the experience, but I now know that the festival scene isn’t for me.
Sailing — It was a cold December day in the San Francisco bay, but the sun was setting as we sailed under the Golden Gate bridge, around Alcatraz and then back to Sausalito. It was a beautiful two hours and I’m really glad the dramamine worked because the water was CHOPPY.
See the Redwood Forrest — On a drive from San Fran to Mendocino, I got to go through a redwood forrest. The sheer size of these trees really articulate how small and insignificant we are. We will never be as majestic and that’s ok.
Perform on Stage — I was such a musical theater nerd. I LOVED being on stage, so most of my childhood was spent belting out songs, acting, and playing the flute.
**The problem with keeping a mental list is, I’ve probably done so much more than I can remember at this point… like skinny dipping and ice skating that just popped into my head. But, I’m glad I’m getting to reminisce and share with you!
On the “To Do” List
The “to do” list is constantly growing because whenever I see something cool or someone doing something awesome, I most likely want to do it too. Unless, it involves heights. I’ll stay on the ground. But, there are a few activities that I would love to do and have been on my list for some time now…
Standup Paddle Boarding, whale watching tour, canoe on a lake, water skiing, pole dancing class, be in a horror movie (slutty cheerleader #3 that dies a horrible death would be just fine), sell a screenplay or two, publish books (working on this one, stay tuned), do motivational speaking at a convention, do one of those fancy pants self-discovery retreats, elope (I believe a wedding ceremony should be intimate and private, but don’t worry, I’ll have a party for everyone afterwards), all night movie marathon, foster a child, rescue more animals, volunteer with habitat for humanity, meet my idols (Quentin, Shonda, Chelsea… and so many more that have inspired me to do what I do)…
This list is to be continued…
I hope you enjoyed today’s blog! Let me know what some of your top bucket list items are in the comments section! Can’t wait to see the places you want to go and the things you want to do. Viva la vida. xoxo Nikki
Love what you read?
Check out the video that I did on the subject of Bucket Lists!
Jamaica is on my list right now too. I’m trying to convince my partner to go sometime in the next year. I want to learn to sail really badly. I live on the bay of San Francisco and see people sailing all the time, it looks like so much fun.
Author Brandi Kennedy
I have a pretty long bucket list myself – it’s quite incomplete and I’m always thinking of (and forgetting about) things I want to add to it. Right now it’s so long and has so much on it, sometimes it’s a little overwhelming! It’s on my website if you’re in the mood to pick up about a hundred new ideas: http://authorbrandikennedy.blogspot.com/p/my-bucket-list.html
It is important to have a bucket list so you can keep track of your dreams and aspirations. Love this article. You have some great stuff written there.
It’s always nice to have a bucketlist, especially if it’s for travel and for seeing more of the world! This is quite a list! I’ve traveled to many places and I still thirst for it, it would be awesome to travel more this year.
I’ve never done a bucket list. Isn’t that depressing? It’s not because I’ve not got no aspirations to do a load of things but more because I’ve never sat down to think about ALL THE THINGS I want to do. Maybe I should – it would be much easier to work towards those dreams if they were all in one place, visible.
Looks like you have already been in a couple of places and done a lot of things that a typical person is not feasible and you still have many other places you want to go. You have a very good attitude of living life to the fullest and not wasting any of it because, according to you, Life is worth enjoying for.
I’ve been to all those countries except Morroco, Egypt, and Cuba. Hopefully I can make it to one of those this year but sometimes I just go back to the same countries like Australia. I love that place, I’ve been there three times.
wow you have such a great memories, I don’t think i can do the same because i don’t travel that much but you give me the idea to built a lifetime memories from important stuff that we did in our lives(Actions in your post ) like wedding, graduation ..thank you for the great idea
I love the idea of moving away from home, and running a marathon. I have actually added the marathon to my list.
What an amazing bucket list! There are so many things and places on your list I’d like to visit and experience too! I hope I can visit Bora Bora in the future!
Wow you have an amazing list there!! GO GET EM GIRL!
Sounds like a wonderful bucket list! I find everytime I check something off my list, I add about 3 more. haha. It is forever growing. Good luck with your list! Happy Travels!
Love what you have written about England and France. I was thinking about my kids when I was reading it. I hope they also appreciate the places they have seen so far with us.
i have a cruise on my bucket list and hoping i can cross that off later this year. i love to travel and see new places.
I love how detailed your list is! Its inspired me to look at my list again and add some more details!
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Ooo I wish I could travel more. I have been to a lot of places, but I never appreciated them at the time. So I’d love to go back.
It sounds like you’ve done a lot of amazing things!