How to develop the perfect bucket-list…

During a recent trip up to northern California with my brother, we got on the topic of bucket-lists.  We embarked on a trip, one I’ve taken several times, but at some point I realized I had never walked on the Golden Gate Bridge.  As a native Californian, I realized I was missing out on a quintessential part of American culture.

So during one of my days there, I ran around on the Golden Gate and got a chance to check something off every tourist’s bucket-list.  But this got me thinking about future accomplishments.  At first, my list was a mile long and I began to wonder the basis for some of these accomplishments.  “Climb Mt. Whitney” is a reasonable request, but other accomplishments like “learn to play the harmonica” seemed noble but expendable.

So, below you will find a handful of tips and suggestions for developing the perfect bucket-list…

1.  Know the purpose for developing a bucket-list list:

See, introverts need a bucket-list to push themselves outside of their boundaries, to challenge themselves and do something the otherwise wouldn’t.  But for extroverts, people who pride themselves on being adventurous and daring, extroverts need bucket-lists as an exercise in exclusion.  Extroverts shouldn’t approach bucket-lists as a chance to add more notches in your belt, but as an exercise in saying no and excluding

2.  Push your boundries:

With our society inching closer to a more sedentary lifestyle each day, a successful bucket-list should spark some sort of physical demand.  As we age, a bucket-list can encourage us to run a marathon, increasing our cardiovascular strength or take up surfing, which builds upper body strength.

3.  Dream big:

Perfecting career goals should also be included on the list.  Job specific goals can set you up for failure, but open ended career goals like “Own my own business” or “Work in the movie industry” give you flexibility to job on any opportunity that comes along, while keeping you focused and ambitious.

4.  Always leave room for more…

That’s right, the point of a bucket-list is to grow as an individual, and part of that growth process is trying new things.  By pushing yourself to add new items casually to your bucket-list, you’re forcing yourself to grow.

5.  Include something bigger than yourself

Most bucket-lists are ego-centric road maps for our own personal lives, but one common mistake by most is the exclusion of goals that will leave a lasting impact with our society.  This could of course be as straight forward as volunteering regularly, but could also include starting a non-profit, sending someone to college, or being a committed grandfather.  So many of our lists include feats that would either satisfy or scare our ego, but how many lists really include selfless acts of generosity.  How many lists include goals that will leave your footprint?


I’m hoping this will open up a discussion, and change the way you look at bucket-lists.  Feel free to leave a comment below with any thoughts or opinions.

Bucket List – Kern River

Bucket List is a feature that will routinely discuss multi-day excursions around the state of California, as well as outside the state.  This intended as a travel guide and resource for areas that would otherwise offer little information.

Nestled in the foothills of the south western region of the Sierra Nevada mountains is the Kern River.  Fed by runoff from Mount Whitney, Kern River is most notably known for it’s white water rafting and bed & breakfasts.

The weather in the canyon itself is dynamic.  Ground temperatures can be hot and dry, while rain can roll in at any moment and coat the surrounding mountain peaks with snow.

kern river

A scant 3 hour drive north of Los Angeles, Kern river serves as a perfect get away for those looking to immerse themselves in nature for a day.  The river serves as a gateway to the Sierras for those living in the southern half of the state.

River side campgrounds are a plenty, and reservations can be made here, here, or here.  Camping is plentiful in the area, so while reservations might get you a better spot next to the river, they’re not necessary.

This means Kern river is open to the best kind of travel accommodations, impulsive weekend trips.  Outdoors adventures are not meant to be planned out, down to each and every step of the way.  Nature has no schedule, and planning minor details to your trip prevents you from living in the moment.

Swimming in the river is strongly discouraged.  The river itself was named after Edward M Kern, who nearly drowned to death while venturing out into the waters.  Kern has strong under currents, so even when it looks safe, the river can grab you at any moment and take you down it’s turbulent path.