My New Personal Challenge (And Why It’s Not A Bucket) List

Ranua Lapland Finland

In January I turned 40, a concept I still haven’t mentally wrapped my head around just yet. A year before, when I turned 39, I created a list of 40 things I wanted to do before moving into the next decade of my life. They weren’t all travel related, although many were, instead it was a mix of the fantastic and the mundane. Learning how to sew on a button made the list, as did diving along the Great Barrier Reef. Completing the list was meant to be a way to be a little bit more well rounded before moving forward in life. I didn’t accomplish everything, although I managed to tick off a sizable hunk, and that’s ok. Upon reflection I realized that it would have been depressing to complete everything, to not have anything left to do. I also realized throughout the year that these lists aren’t static. No, instead they’re constantly changing and evolving, whether we write them down or just store them in our heads. We all have things we want to do, ways we want to improve and places we want to visit. Naturally, my list grows longer by the day, but I so enjoyed the process of the 40 before 40 list that I wanted to give myself a new challenge. No, it’s nothing as stupid as a 41 before 41 and it’s not a bucket list, not really. To me a bucket list is a finite list of things we want to do before we die. A depressing concept, I’ve never really cared for it. Instead, for me at least, that list isn’t finite and it’s always in flux, so while my new challenge may look like a bucket list, it’s not. It’s a life list. It’s a combination of experiences and skills that I don’t want to complete and then die, I want to accomplish them in order to help me keep living; living a meaningful life that is worth something at the end of the day. This list will change daily, whether I update the post itself or not. I’ll accomplish some things, fail at others and probably procrastinate on everything else. But it’s a healthy and I hope productive way to keep moving forward, to keep improving and to keep loving life. With all of this in mind, here is my new personal challenge list, a list I hope you’ll all help me tackle, even if it’s only with your moral support.

  • Hug a panda
  • Meet Dolly Parton
  • Eat a steak in Argentina
  • Write a book
  • Visit the remaining US states I haven’t visited
  • Once again, learn to better fold clothes
  • Go skydiving
  • Hot air balloon ride in Myanmar
  • Do one nice thing for someone else every day
  • Attend an epic festival or major event
  • Volunteer for a local charity
  • Pick up a new hobby
  • Try more new foods more often
  • Sleep in an over-water bungalow
  • Go bungee jumping
  • Start leading tours
  • Fly in First Class or on a private jet
  • Read 5 more books that I’ve been avoiding for years
  • Visit India
  • Learn another new language
  • Interact more with local cultures when I travel
  • Address silly fears (heights, jet skis, snowmobiles, etc.)
  • Take swimming lessons
  • Walk my dogs more often
  • Learn how to cook different foods
  • Paddle in a dragon boat
  • Visit the South Pacific
  • Learn to play a stringed instrument
  • Sunbathe along Copacabana beach
  • Drive a race car
  • Go on an epic, private, individual trip
  • Be more comfortable in my own skin
  • Be more proactive in business
  • Journey to the Arctic
  • Vow to break routine more often
  • Drive the Autobahn
  • Do something that scares me every now and then
  • Visit China
  • Snorkel in Belize
  • Teach more classes, or at least guest lecture more often
  • Go on a digital-detox at least once a year
  • Age gracefully
  • Rediscover what makes my own country so great
  • Learn how to tie a bow tie
  • Pay more attention to my health
  • Explore more of Asia
  • Learn to relax
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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

3 Responses

  1. Brande

    Matt I am loving this list! I love what’s on it and that it’s not a bucket list. Reading your list has inspired some new ‘gotta do this’ for my life. Thanks!!

    Reply
  2. Carl

    Great list and I was just wondering what type of racing car would you like to drive?

    Reply

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