Your Best Bucket List: The 12 Best Experiences to Have in Life for Adventurers
Did you know that the Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson film The Bucket List (2007) also invented the term?
You’re not alone if you thought it was older than 15 years. It’s such a well-known and popular name for a list of things you want to do before you die or “kick the bucket.” These are often some of the most memorable, rewarding, and best experiences to have in life.
If you feel like you’ve been coasting in life up until now and can’t remember doing anything adventurous, it’s not too late to learn how to live a full life. Or if you’re an adventurous person, you’re likely always looking for more bucket list experiences to conquer next.
Lucky for you, this is a list of some of the best life experiences that will challenge and change you for the better.
- Learn How To Open Water Scuba Dive
There is a lot to explore above land, but you will find some of the best experiences to have in life under the sea. Oceans are full of flora, fauna, history, and mystery that you can only witness if you scuba dive.
If you want, you can book a half-day session at a dive shop and try scuba diving without a certification. But you’ll only be dipping your toe in the water (pun intended!). To become immersed in a scuba diving adventure, you need to get certified.
There are so many great places around the world where you can gain a PADI or SSI open water diver certification. These include:
- The Red Sea in Egypt
- Koh Tao in Thailand
- Galapagos Islands in Ecuador
- Yucatán Cenotes in Mexico
- Great Barrier Reef in Australia
There will be some classroom parts of the course as well as the practical side. Gaining this certification takes around one week in most dive shops.
The cost varies depending on what part of the world you gain your certification. It’s a great excuse to learn to scuba dive in the warm waters of Thailand. Courses will be cheaper in South East Asia than somewhere like the US!
- Walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain
It goes by many names: Camino de Santiago, The Way of St. James, St. James Way, or shortened to The Way. It is a pilgrimage route to the city of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Many Catholics believe this city to be the final resting place of St. James the Apostle.
There are many different Camino routes you can walk to Santiago de Compostela. These are the top ones:
- Camino Frances (the French Way)
- Camino Portugues (the Portuguese Way)
- Camino del Norte (the Northern Way)
- Camino Primitivo (the Original Way)
- Camino Inglés (the English Way)
Camino Frances is, by far, the most popular route. It begins in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France and the distance to Santiago is around 490 miles.
You keep a pilgrim passport and collect stamps along the Camino. These are available in churches, albergues (pilgrim hostels), and other notable places along the route. When you present your passport in Santiago, they will issue you with a certificate of completion.
It takes most people around one month to walk the Camino de Santiago and it’s both a cultural and physical experience. You will be able to eat local food, practice your Spanish, and make lifelong friends.
- Join a Safari in Africa to Spot Wildlife
You’ve seen these majestic creatures in movies and nature documentaries. You may have even seen them in zoos and animal parks. But seeing African animals on a safari is one of the best travel experiences you will have in your life.
The Kruger National Park in South Africa and the Serengeti in Tanzania are both great places to attempt to spot the Big Five. These are the five most popular game animals in Africa:
- Black Rhinoceros
There are tons of other animals you might see as well like zebras, gazelles, and giraffes. One of the best experiences to have in life is to see The Great Migration of two million wildebeest and other animals. They travel across the Serengeti in search of food and it is a magnificent sight.
Don’t forget to brush up on your survival training and photography skills before you go. You’ll need both for this wild adventure!
- Visit the Seven Wonders of the World
If you have an adventurous spirit, then the seven wonders of the world are the best places to travel before you kick the bucket. There is no contest.
These are the seven wonders of the new world:
- Great Wall of China
- Chichén Itzá in Mexico
- Petra in Jordan
- Machu Picchu in Peru
- Christ the Redeemer in Brazil
- Colosseum in Italy
- Taj Mahal in India
The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt is an honorable mention as it is the only surviving wonder of the ancient world.
You might also want to experience the seven wonders of the natural world. These are:
- Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
- Harbor of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil
- Grand Canyon in the USA
- Great Barrier Reef in Australia
- Mount Everest in Nepal
- Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe
- Parícutin in Mexico
If you were to visit all these places, you would subject yourself to culture shocks and thousands of years of history. You would need to improve your fitness, open your mind, and get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
- Complete a Test of Endurance
Speaking of improving your fitness, how about a test of endurance to push yourself to your limits?
Here are some ideas for tests of endurance that you can do:
- Run a marathon in a different country
- Climb to Everest Base Camp
- Trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro
- Cycle the Romantic Road in Germany
- Kayak, canoe, or sail a great distance
- Hike the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trail
Most people have “get fit and healthy” on their bucket list. But you’re an adventurous person. Sprinkle some adventure onto your fitness journey too.
- Hop on an Epic Train Journey
Road trips are awesome. But let’s be honest, everyone and their dog has ventured on at least one road trip. Dare to do something unique by hopping on an epic, cross-country train journey in a faraway country.
Here are some examples of great railway journeys for inspiration:
- Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia
- Tren Ecuador AKA The Train of Wonders
- Bergensbanen in Norway
- Rocky Mountaineer in Canada
- The Darjeeling-Himalayan Railway in India
- The Glacier Express in Switzerland
By taking the rail less traveled, you will be able to see landscapes that you would miss on an airplane. You will learn to navigate buying rail tickets in another country and take time out to relax.
- Sleep in Weird and Wonderful Places
Even the most avid adventurers need somewhere to relax at the end of the day. Why not sleep in a bucket list-worthy spot and kill two birds with one stone?
Here are some ideas that you can add to your bucket list of cool places to sleep:
- Lighthouse in Nova Scotia
- Castle in Scotland
- Ice hotel in Sweden
- Houseboat in the Netherlands
- Treehouse in Costa Rica
- Yurt in Mongolia
- Glass igloo in Iceland
- Safari lodge in South Africa
- A five-star hotel in Paris, France
- Capsule hotel in Japan
The only downside is that your queen-sized bed at home will pale in comparison to the other nighttime adventures you’ve had elsewhere.
- Attend the Best Festivals in the World
If you’re adventurous, chances are that you love the buzz and excitement of a party or two. There’s no better party than a festival and these are some of the best festivals in the world:
- Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana
- Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland
- Burning Man in Black Rock, Nevada
- La Tomatina in Valencia, Spain
- Dia de Los Muertos in Mexico
- Songkran in Thailand
- St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland
- Holi Festival in India
- Semana Santa in Southern Spain
Whether you want to experience religious or music festivals in other cultures, you have plenty of choices.
- Learn To Cook in Different Countries
Experiencing adventure before you kick the bucket doesn’t only refer to doing adventurous things. It can mean eating adventurous things too. Every country offers its own unique and delicious cuisine and you should be bold and taste all the weird and wonderful offerings.
But why not take it a step further and take cooking classes as you travel the world? You could learn to toss pizzas like the Napolis, make green curry like the Thais, and roll sushi like the Japanese.
Create a SMART goal for your bucket list of taking 20 cooking classes in 20 countries. Your dinner parties are sure to delight your friendship circle.
- Travel to Antarctica
There are lots of destinations featured on this list of the best experiences to have in life. But none of them hold a candle to the adventures to be had in Antarctica.
For starters, getting there is an adventure in itself. You will have to learn financial skills to budget and save for this trip as it can cost thousands. Then you will have to fly to somewhere like Ushuaia in Argentina, the southernmost city of the Americas.
But when you get there, you will see landscapes and wildlife you won’t be able to see elsewhere. Sailing around icy coastlines and embarking on glacier hikes will be everyday activities. Spotting penguins, polar bears, seals, and whales will become commonplace.
There is no way you will be able to travel to Antarctica and not be forever changed. At the very least, you see the effects of climate change firsthand and you will feel compelled to do your part to stop its progress.
- Master an Extreme Sport
Is it possible to list adventurous bucket list experiences without including extreme sports? No, because extreme sports are adventurous by nature.
Here are some examples of adventurous extreme sports:
- White water rafting
- Rock climbing
- Mountain biking
- Hang gliding
These sports offer a lot more excitement than sports like badminton, for example.
Many of these extreme sports will also compel you to travel to different destinations to pursue them. Skiing in the Italian alps is essential for snow bunnies. And you need to add hang gliding in Switzerland and surfing in Hawaii to your bucket list if you decide to take up those sports.
You also don’t need to “master” these sports. There is nothing wrong with trying a few once or twice to see which you enjoy the most. Some extreme sports, like bungee jumping and skydiving, are difficult and expensive to do often anyway!
- Conquer a Fear
Everyone has phobias but few have the courage to work towards overcoming them. Here are some of the most common fears that people have:
- Arachnophobia (fear of spiders)
- Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes)
- Acrophobia (fear of heights)
- Aerophobia (fear of flying)
- Cynophobia (fear of dogs)
The first step in overcoming a fear is to educate yourself. If you have a fear of an animal, learn how dangerous that animal is in reality. Research the statistics of what you are afraid of and the likelihood of it actually happening.
Then, channel your adventurous side and face your fear. Pet the dog, perform on stage at an open mic night, and get on the flight. Removing this obstacle will open you up to new and even more daring bucket list experiences.
The Best Experiences To Have in Life That Make It Worth Living
This list has some of the best experiences to have in life if you want to push yourself out of your comfort zone. They will help you appreciate what you have and help you realize why you are on this earth.
There is nothing wrong with working a stable job, raising a family, and living in a house with a white picket fence. But there’s also nothing wrong with wanting more.
If you’re adventurous, you must love to travel. Browse our travel articles for destination inspiration and tips for your next trip!