Everybody has thought at one point or another about what they want to do in their lives beyond the realm of everyday activities. We come up with mental “Bucket Lists” so we may utilize and enjoy the time we have on such a diverse and interesting planet. They have a huge impact in that we spend the first quarter of our lives ultimately striving for a steady income to provide for our dreams. But more often than not, we obsess with saving and investing and forget that the best time to take advantage of life is now- while we’re young. Many of the things on our bucket list lose their value as we grow older, or simply aren’t a physical possibility any longer.
Don’t get me wrong- I’m totally in favor of saving money through college and immediately after graduation. Anyone who knows me can certainly verify that I put extra effort into conserving my money. However, when it comes to events or vacations that I will remember for the rest of my life, I’m willing to shell out a little extra.
Yes, I want to see the pyramids and Eifel Tower and Great Wall of China- but those are things I can do at any age with the appropriate funding. Hell, they can roll me on my deathbed in a hospital bed to see Buckingham Palace , so it doesn’t belong here. This list is purely designed to derive ideas that we can really only utilize to their full potential while we’re young. Also, many of the things I wanted to do as a child I’ve done, and so they are not included. (Sing Sweet Caroline at a Pitt game, Green Monster seats at Fenway, etc.) Also not included are things that I can’t control. (Such as Pirates win a world series, witness a tornado, meet a celebrity, etc)
So here is my list of the 30 things I wish to do before I turn 30 in ascending order:
30) Attend a Cubs game in the outfield seats of Wrigley Field in Chicago , IL
The oldest ballpark in America and home to the most jinxed team in professional sports history, Wrigley Field is one of the ultimate baseball experiences. Anyone who has ever watched baseball will instantly recognize the ivy that covers the outfield brick wall. Sitting in the outfield at a Cubs game brings you to seats that were shared with fans from the Roaring 20s. Since I’m spending the summer in Chicago, I should be able to check this off the list at some point in the next few months. I asked a co-worker about what it was like to go to Wrigley Field and her answer was, “you really feel like you’re stepping back in time; the antique stadium really brings the past to life.”
29) Explore the caves at Laurel Caverns in Farmington , PA
Any fifth grade class or Boy Scout troop within a 30 mile radius of the Pittsburgh area has been to Laurel Caverns for a unique trip through Pennsylvania’s largest explored cave. However, there is a program at Laurel Caverns that I have always wanted to do but simply never found the time or opportunity. That is the “Unexplored Tour”, a 3 hour wet and dry tour that takes you deep within the cave and requires a bit more physical exertion than the lit, guided walking tour. The guided tour always interested me as a kid, and I always said that when I reached the age requirement (12 or older) I would come back and do this tour. However, I simply never got around to it. I still think it’s a very interesting idea and something that should be done to, at the very least, see the cool underground world of Pennsylvania’s caves. An affordable and fun experience for anyone to enjoy.
28) Visit a casino in Niagara Falls , Canada
I owe my friend Chelsea for this awesome idea! Being 19 would be great for the gambling/drinking scene in just about any other country in the world- except the U.S. A good way around this particular problem is to head up to Canada and hit Niagara Falls. Not only does the area boast some of the best scenery in the world, but the casinos and bars are open to all guests 19 and over. As a poker enthusiast, I always wanted to go with my parents into the casinos of Niagara Falls when we visited, but was always denied. Now the idea of going with friends sounds like an awesome time! The area has some great casinos and being able to sip rum and coke while letting it ride in Canada, Eh sounds like a blast for anyone under the age of 21.
27) Snorkel by the Great Barrier Reef in Blue Pearl Bay , Australia
An experience for anyone interested in marine biology, sea life, or simply loves the ocean, the Great Barrier reef is must. The reef expands over an area of 133,000 square miles and can be seen from outer space! (see article Great Barrier Reef, Wikipedia) According to multiple online reviews, Blue Pearl Bay is one of the best areas in Australia to embark on a snorkeling venture to see the great reef. While this is the main coastal attraction of Australia, I would also want to see the other aspects of the continent. For example, a trip through the outback and a stop over to Sydney to see the famous Sydney Opera House light up the harbor.
26) Watch Big Ben strike midnight on New Years Eve in London , England
The typical location for the “attend a New Years Eve bash” item is Time Square. Not that I wouldn’t want to join 50,000 New Yorkers on the streets to celebrate, but I want to do something different for a New Years bash. London has an equally large celebration on the annual celebration of the New Year, and what better of a way to countdown the time than by the 14 foot minute hand of Big Ben? Once the clock strikes midnight, the party only just begins, as the pubs open for a night of celebration. Not to mention you can tell your friends in America to stop “living in the past” for 5 whole hours.
25) Walk north to south the length of Miami Beach , FL
“This summer, I’m going to be taking my talents to South Beach.” While my decision won’t quite be on par with The Decision, Lebron wasn’t wrong in choosing the sun and shine of South Beach over the mistake on the lake. Miami beach stretches 7.8 miles from north to south and it is my aspiration to walk along the beach the entire length of it. A walk that can be completed in an afternoon, it will allow me to take in the entire city and the people who inhabit it’s beaches. And when I arrive in South Beach, the party scene is one of the best in the nation; and maybe I could catch “the Dream Team” hit the court.
24) Stay in the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas , NV
Perhaps by shoveling the cash to stay at perhaps the nicest hotel in Sin City, it will cause me to be a little more careful when I hit the casinos. Regardless, the Luxor is one of the best hotels in Las Vegas, with it’s unique pyramid design, amazing “tropical” pool, and location to one of the best vacation cities in America. Las Vegas is a city that has one of the best reputations in the world among young adults, and it would truly be a travesty if you did not experience it at this age. From the casinos, to the strip clubs, to the extravagant shows, it is certainly a place of fun and opportunity. They say “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” but where it really stays is in your memory for a long, long time. A trip to Vegas, and a stay in the Luxor Hotel, will certainly not be forgotten so long as you avoid massive debt, bankruptcy, marrying a stripper, or any other potential Hangover scenarios.
23) Swim in the Atlantic at midnight on New Years Eve in Outer Banks, NC
About two years ago, my family and the usual group of friends we go to the beach with took a trip to the Outer Banks over the week of New Years. Because of school and other reasons I couldn’t make it- to be honest I didn’t think there would be much to do at the beach when the water is 60 degrees. However, they came back with a story of a unique experience that I found to be intriguing. Upon witnessing the ball drop, they dashed for the ocean and, filled with adrenal and alcohol, managed to defeat the cold and swim in the waves. This just seems like an awesome experience to me that would be a great thing to do with a group of friends. You can think of it symbolically as “washing away the problems of the past year and coming out fresh and cleansed in the new year.” I just prefer to think of it as a good time and a fun story that could be helped by the addition of great people and alcohol.
22) Witness a Great White jump in Cape Town , South Africa
If you’ve ever watched Shark Week, you’ve seen about 60 different documentaries on the Great White Shark. The one that stands out to me every year is about the Great Whites off the coast of Cape Town between Seal Island and False Bay. Because of the enormous population of seals (go figure), sharks are attracted to this area in high density. But what makes it so unique is the hunting tactics deployed by these animals- they launch themselves out of the water to catch the seal. I mean, all they’re missing are the giant frickin’ lasers on their heads and they’d be enough to make even Dr. Evil shit his pants. Needless to say, a trip to Africa and flying sharks is a pretty cool venture.
21) Attend Carnival in Rio de Janeiro , Brazil
Carnival is the annual Brazilian celebration like Mardi Gras here in the U.S. in which a massive parade is thrown in Rio de Janeiro and a festive atmosphere occurs. Like any celebration of this magnitude, people tend to go wild, and clothing seems to be optional throughout. The costumes worn by the women in the parade are reminiscent of some of the wildest Victoria Secret Fashion Show outfits, just spruced up with vibrant gold and green and jewelry and beads throughout. Experiencing a foreign celebration such as this should be required for all young people.
20) Kiss a different girl from 3 continents, including both hemispheres and north and south of the equator (North America, Europe , South America/Australia)
Well, one can be checked off. :) But hey, if you’re going to travel while you’re young, you might as well live it up on the way. This goal will hopefully be helped out by Item 12, and maybe completed while visiting Australia. It’s a pretty straight forward goal- and one I intend to complete. It’s a goal every guy should have so as to deem himself “worldly” in his ways and means. Ok, I can’t type anymore for this, it’s just making me laugh. :)
19) Vacation in 3 of 6 locations of the song Kokomo by the Beach Boys
“Aruba, Jamaica, oohhh I want to take ya
To Bermuda, Bahamas, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go”
Pretty recognizable lyrics for any fan of the beach or 1960s surfer music. This has been a goal of mine since I heard the song and took a liking to it- and at the time I didn’t even know the latter two places existed. Most people vacation to the Bahamas and Jamaica, so I wouldn’t mind doing 3 of the other 4 just for a change of pace. Aruba has excellent “all-inclusive” deals that will get you your hotel, food, and drinks for a week at a reasonable rate. So to rise to the “beach bro” level of the Beach Boys, I need to hit these places up.
18) Scenic Skydiving in Taupo , New Zealand
Skydiving is something you’ll find on just about every person in the world’s bucket list. And why not- it’s a great activity and something that really defines a life-or-death moment. As In Providence would tell you, most people skydive simply “for the thrill of the fall.” However, if I’m going to do this, I want it to be a scenic fall that you can only experience in one place on Earth- New Zealand. Taupo is famous for it’s skydiving escapades, as the beautiful mounds provide a picturesque view for you as you plummet at 70 mph to the ground.
17) Take a cruise to Juneau , AK
I’ve never been on a cruise in my life, and seeing as I have about 10 other beach-related plans, a cruise to Alaska and northwest Canada sounds like a great experience. They say that this type of cruise yields some of the best views, from the picturesque snow-covered mountains to the multitudes of arctic creatures. Carnival cruise ships are noted for the extensive amenities and the awesome activity that you stop to do along the way. The cruise leaves out of Seattle and stops at several ports in Canada and 2 in Alaska, including the capital. This would not only be a unique experience to see some of the best sights North America has to offer, but also a kick-ass cruise to be enjoyed with anyone willing to accompany.
16) Attend a Running of the Bulls in Pamplona , Spain
The fast track to being either a bro in the eyes of Spaniards or become lunch, participants run like hell in the annual Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. While this event does occur elsewhere, Pamplona is the most globally recognized place for it. The concept is simple- they let the bull run at you while you and 50+ other idiots like you run for your lives. I’m not exactly sure I would want to compete in this event, but standing along side the street watching behind a nice and safe 2 foot concrete barrier wouldn’t be so bad. Definitely the most efficient way to move cattle, the Running of the Bulls is a unique, cultural event.
15) Drink at a real Irish pub in Dublin , Ireland
Going to a pub in America doesn’t quite compare to the authenticity of a real Irish Pub in the city of Dublin. If you’re an avid fan of drinking, this will be like a trip to the museum for you as you trace the roots of where the Irish drinking spirit comes from. Now, I’m definitely not one of those to go about boasting “Kiss me, I’m Irish” or “It’s pronounced KEL-TICK not SELL-TIC”, but I do appreciate my real and non-commercialized Irish roots. Therefore, drinking in an Irish pub would be remind me of a classy alcohol experience- until of course someone challenged you to a drinking contest. Best of luck against the Irish pros.
14) Ski the mountains of Chamonix , France
The resort in Chamonix is one of the best ski resorts in the world and boasts some of the most beautiful scenery and unique engineering. As the picture shows, a good portion of the resort is actually inside the mountain, and stretches from cliff to cliff. In addition, it’s said that European ski slopes are much faster and more exciting than the ones you might find at Hidden Valley or Seven Springs. A unique opportunity to explore the mountains of France, skiing here would be an awesome day of tearing up some fresh pow-pow and enjoying some of the best views Europe has to offer.
13) Go to Spring Break in Cancun , Mexico
I mean, the picture really tells the story here. Everybody knows what Spring Break is, what goes down at Spring Break, and how much fun Spring Break is. But it’s an experience that as a college student you must go through! And what place is more notorious for spring break festivities than Cancun, Mexico? An 18 and over drinking age, relatively flexible authorities, and several thousand handles of tequila make for an unforgettable college experience. Oh, and I guess the thousands of hot girls in bikinis adds a bit to the trip.
12) Take a Gondola ride with an Italian girl along the canals of Venice , Italy
Honestly, I can’t think of any type of date more romantic than a private gondola ride through the vast system of canals in Venice. I mean private boat rides have been wooing women for years (see The Notebook, The Love Boat, and, perhaps a stretch here, Titanic.) In a Lizzie McGuire Movie role reversal, I would love to take a trip to Italy, meet a nice Italian girl, and simply go for a nice gondola ride at sunset. The architecture of the buildings and houses is quite a sight to behold, and the elegance of a nice Italian woman takes a little more effort for a date than “Yo girl let me get that snatch.” I mean bringing a girlfriend would be just as romantic, but I feel it would detract a bit from the experience.
11) 21 shots on my 21st Birthday in Oakland , PA
This really should be something every college student tries for when they finally earn their horns. I attempted to do 19 shots on my 19th birthday, and I’d say I got relatively close before finally tapping out (special thanks to B for helping with that). It would definitely be necessary to spread the shots out over the course of a long and eventful night so as to not spill it walking to a bar at midnight. But based on past performances at school, I feel this task is definitely doable. And if I end up getting sick, well I’ll join just about every other college student who turned 21 on a Saturday night!
10) Stay up all night sitting on a beach in Avon , NC
I’ve been going to the Outer Banks every year for vacation since I was about 10, and I’ve loved it more and more every year. The draw of the Outer Banks as compared to other more populous beaches is exactly that- less people. And while you’ll definitely want to bring a group of your friends with you, it is nice to not have to constantly fight for beach real estate and not have the haggle of power-abusing lifeguards. In addition, OBX is one of the few popular beaches at which you can go on at night and have a campfire. I’ve walked the beach many times after dark (and even went swimming once) and I constantly see people enjoying themselves around a campfire with cold beer and music. So my goal is to sit on the beach so as to see the sunrise in the morning and just have a great night with some friends.
9) Watch a game at Rucker Park in New York City , NY
I can honestly say I’d much rather see ANY basketball game here at New York City’s most famous outside basketball court than inside the confines of Madison Square Garden, or any NBA arena for that matter. Rucker Park is where the best of the best (in terms of street ball) come to showcase their talents for anyone who can manage to score a seat. The teams have the talent of any D league team, the ball-handling skills of any Globetrotter, and the street skills of the best player on And1 Basketball. Top NBA stars such as Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, and even Jordan have made cameos at this court. That roster legitimate enough for you? For anyone who has ever simply played a pick-up game of basketball at their local park, this is the ultimate playground basketball experience.
8) Camp out and see the Northern Lights in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
As a former Boy Scout and therefore “camping MVP”, I’ve always wanted to take an extravagant camping trip to an exotic location. Not that Conestoga wasn’t the great camping experience that it was, but I’d prefer something with a little less “merit” and a lot more adventure. What better a place to camp then than a place where you can get one of the best views in the world of the natural wonder that is the Aurora Borealis. A scene that lights up the sky, particularly in the spring and fall (good camping seasons), the Northern Lights dazzle the open sky of the Yukon Territory and make for a great backdrop to a warm campfire and cozy tent.
7) Complete a road trip from Oakland , PA to Oakland , CA
Road trips are awesome, and if you have never done one I’d highly recommend it (although I wouldn’t recommend the movie or the European version of it). I’ve made road trips to Philly, Baltimore, Cleveland, Orlando, and most recently Chicago and I can assure that they are a blast. But the best way to take a road trip is with your buds across the country. In this case, I want to take the Oakland to Oakland trip so as to really get a feel for all areas of the U.S. Bring money but pack light for a great adventure!
6) Surf a wave in Huntington Beach , CA
Huntington Beach, also known as Surf City USA, is one of many of California’s awesome beaches at which to catch a wave. I’ve always wanted to go to Huntington Beach as I heard great reviews as a kid about the place from my cousin. The beach is constantly packed with people, the weather is always gorgeous, and most importantly the waves are constantly kicking. Huntington Beach is one of those places where you rent a crappy house for the week and simply live on the beach for the majority of the trip- or all of it if you’re too cheap for a house.
5) Celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans , LA
I couldn’t help but use this image as it’s just hysterical! Mardi Gras is the annual celebration (much like Carnival) in which people let loose, drink excessively, and do stuff like this. Naturally, the number one place to go for this is New Orleans, as the city is rich in the culture of Mardi Gras. The parades and festivals that occur rock the city and it is often considered the best “party” the U.S. has to offer. Guys drink heavily, girls go nuts, and the people who live in the city who aren’t party-people board up their houses and throw on some Bose headphones for the day. Undoubtedly, an experience that everyone must have in their lives.
4) Underwater Cave exploration at Hidden Worlds in Cancun , Mexico
So I’ve covered snorkeling and I’ve covered cave exploring; so why not mix the two together? At Hidden Worlds located in Cancun, you are taken on an underwater tour of one of Mexico’s beautiful caves. As shown in the picture, you are loaded up with scuba gear and dropped in, allowing you to explore the depths of the cave and the creatures within it. The water is crystal clear so that you may vividly see the formations of the rocks and sun breaks through in certain areas so that you are not completely in the dark. A unique spin on the traditional cave exploring, this is an awesome exploration opportunity.
3) Spend a night in the Jade Mountain luxury hotel in Soufriere , Saint Lucia
In my opinion, the Jade Mountain resort is by far the nicest hotel the world has to offer. (although the folks in Dubai may disagree) This luxury hotel located on the small island of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean is known for it’s dazzling view and intimate connection you supposedly make with the island. The rooms even include a “waterfall” pool as in the picture, all of which look out over some view of the mountains on the island. In addition, a vacation package here offers hiking, biking, swimming, and most importantly, relaxing. Definitely a good trip to take with someone for say, a honeymoon?
2) Attend El Clasico at Camp Nou , Barcelona , Spain
This is the ultimate experience in the ultimate fan sport. I’ve been to sellout Steelers games, countless Pirates games, and even a Stanley Cup Final game- but none of those compare to what the atmosphere at a soccer game is like. Having only ever attended one MLS soccer game in my life (the lowly Chicago Fire), I was still amazed at the lengths the fan base went to cheer on their squad. El Clasico is the biannual or more meeting between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid that occurs in La Liga play. The two most successful clubs in Spanish soccer history, this heated rivalry shines in the spotlight every year, and naturally brings out the wildest of fans. A gathering of the best players in the world including consensus #1 Lionel Messi, goal-scoring phenom and record-setter Cristiano Ronaldo (provided he doesn’t transfer), firecracker forward and “ultimate soccer bro” David Villa, and long-haired, butter-fingered Sergio Ramos (also barring a transfer) will ensure a game of excellent magnitude. Camp Nou in particular brings the experience to life, as they say it is one of the loudest stadiums at full capacity in all the world. Attending El Clasico would be like attending no other soccer game, or sporting event for that matter- they wouldn’t call it “The Classic” without due notary.
1) Spend a summer living on Venice Beach, CA
They say a picture says a 1000 words, but even that amount of words cannot begin to describe the experience of Venus Beach. Granted I’ve only been there one time, but it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. The scenery is obviously a perfect 10, as watching the sunset over the Pacific is a fantastic view. Beaches are my favorite place in the world, making this a great environment. But the draw of Venice beach goes far beyond the normal catches of beaches- it’s the culture and the atmosphere that really make it such a great place. Walking along the boardwalk you can get a taste of what Southern California really represents. The sounds of the waves, coupled with the beautiful sights, and the, well, potent smell of Cannabis that can be expected anywhere in So. Cal. really brings your senses to life. The people are among the most unique I’ve ever experienced, hailing from various cultural backgrounds and lifestyles. From Hispanics selling custom crafts to potheads simply playing acoustic guitar with a sign that says “Will play for weed money”, you really get a lifestyle melting pot. And the atmosphere is unlike anywhere else on Earth. The houses are like what you would find on the Jersey Shore- slightly rundown, but perfect for the beach lifestyle that the people live. The alleyways give you a connected feel to your neighbors because of the close interactions you have daily. Nothing, and I mean nothing, sounds like a more fun summer than spending it with a group of friends at Venice Beach. Work as a fry cook, work as a bartender, work as a lifeguard, it doesn’t matter. It’s a summer to relax, have a good time, make new friends, experience a lifestyle unlike any other, and ultimately create a lasting memory that will no doubt be the highlight of your young life.
These are the type of events that make life worth living. To me, the success you have in life isn’t measured by the amount of money you have sitting in the bank when you retire. What’s the point of having all that money if you’re too old to really enjoy the experiences that you can have using it? When I grow older, I’d much rather have $50,000 less in my savings and be able to look back upon the great times that I had in my life as a youth.
We’re all intrigued by the idea of completing a bucket list; Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson wouldn’t have the number one movie on Netflix if the idea didn’t interest us. So why not get out that and explore the world and all the amazing experiences that it has to offer? You only live once, and more importantly, you’re only young for a short time.
Another cool list similar to this is Here. Check it out!