Fifty Before 50 – My New Bucket List Challenge

With all the lack of travelling happening lately – and the likelihood that there won’t be a whole lot going on for the rest of this year – I have had a lot of time on my hands to think about the travel I want to do over the next (gulp!) almost-three-years! I’ve had a big trip in mind for my fiftieth birthday for a while now, but what other things do I want to achieve? Here’s my Fifty before 50 bucket list!

While I’ve certainly been aware that life is too short and we need to grab it with both hands, my recent brush with breast cancer has brought about a new focus. We did so much amazing stuff on our gap year throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East and I am eternally grateful to have had that experience. I’ve seen and done things many people don’t ever get the opportunity to do. But now it’s time to stop saying “I’ll get there one day” and to instead put a deadline on some of the amazing things I still want to do in the hope that I will actually do them!

I’ve always been a list person. I have two lists of travel-related things I have been slowly ticking off over time. One is so old I have it on a printed out list  and I have no idea where it came from. The second I at least made a note of where it came from – the Qantas website at some time in the past!

I’ve been lucky enough to tick quite a few things off these lists, but there are some things I know I just won’t do – like running with the bulls in Pamplona, or touring Krak de Chevaliers, a medieval castle in Syria. The lists also don’t have a deadline. So I’ve decided to steal some things from those lists, include some other things not on the list and come up with my own fifty before 50 list.

If I write it down it has to happen right?

With the corona virus situation and since I have only 33 months to get through this list, I have mostly included international destinations I have already got penciled in for 2021 and ones I hope to get to in 2022. Most of the items are those local things I have been saying forever I need to do. Well, now is the time to do them!

Let’s just hope the borders open soon and I can get stuck into ticking some of these things off!

2021 note – so Australian borders don’t look like they are going to be opening anytime soon. All those international things are looking so shaky right now. Fingers crossed I can still get to a few of them.

2022 update – the Australian borders are finally open again. I have twelve months to tick off a few more things. Let’s see how we will go.

(NOTE – some of the links below will take you to posts on my other blog, Exploring South Australia)

Final Count – 31/50

Well, I didn’t quite get there, but with all the Covid interruptions I think I did a reasonable job. Without this list I may not have done many of these things. So, there’s only one thing I could do from here, write another list! The next one will include all the things I didn’t do here, plus many more.

Head on over and check out my new Sixty before 60 Bucket List

My Fifty before 50 List

  1. Trek in the Himalayas
  2. Go to Dubai Expo 2020 (Finally got there just before it closed in March 2022)
  3. Walk the Milford Track
  4. Visit my last Australian state – Western Australia
  5. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
  6. Eat an insect
  7. Walk on the Great Wall of China
  8. See the Aurora Australis (sort of saw them in Tasmania, but not enough to say “done”!)
  9. Watch sunrise at Mt Fuji
  10. Do the Adelaide Oval Roof Climb
  11. See the Blue Lake in Mount Gambier – when it’s actually blue!
  12. Visit Coober Pedy
  13. See the whales at Head of the Bight
  14. Eat feral food at the Prairie Hotel, Parachilna
  15. Do a horse ride (Done in Tasmania!)
  16. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge (Done! Stay tuned)
    Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb 2021
  17. Visit the farm I grew up on
    Revisiting the past at Kelray homestead
  18. Visit Kangaroo Island (again)
  19. Kayak with dolphins at Garden Island
  20. Fly first class
  21. Do a station stay
  22. Eat oysters at Coffin Bay (and at Smoky Bay)
  23. Do the Lion 360 experience at Monarto Safari Park
  24. Do a wine-blending class at the d’Arenberg Cube
  25. Stay in a glamping tent
  26. Do a ghost tour (Done. Post up soon)
  27. Eat a degustation menu at a fancy restaurant (7 courses on Valentine’s Day in Argentina)
  28. Cycle the Riesling Trail
  29. Swim with sea lions at Baird Bay
  30. Start walking the Heysen Trail
  31. Take a ride on Popeye
  32. Have a cocktail at 2KW (done, twice – but I haven’t written about it anywhere yet)
  33. Go to Womadelaide
  34. Visit Darwin (and Kakadu National Park)
  35. Cruise to Antarctica
  36. Bush camp for more than one night.
  37. Go on a paddle steamer on the Murray River
  38. Do the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk
  39. Hike Cradle Mountain in Tasmania (Done. Post up soon)
  40. Swim in an outback waterhole
  41. Visit Sydney for the Vivid festival (Done, June 2022)
  42. Drive the Great Ocean Road – without kids this time
    Great Ocean Road
  43. Visit all the silo art locations in South Australia
  44. Visit my last three South East Asian countries – Brunei, East Timor, Philippines
  45. Hiking in the Grampians
  46. Ride in a Helicopter
  47. Swim with great white sharks (done – or close enough!)
  48. Take a cooking class (done in Valparaiso, Chile)
  49. See a Platypus in the wild
  50. Fly over Lake Eyre

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So there’s the list! I’ve had to think hard about the restrictions, both with travel and the time frame I have to do these in. There are a couple I am already worried about, in particular #44. There are also some here that are at the moment not possible. For example #6. At the moment I am vegetarian (for health reasons).

I am not sure if this will change or not, but I have always said I could eat an insect at one of those markets in Asia that have all those bugs on sticks. I think it’s time to put my money where my mouth is! I need to have at least one or two items that will be challenging to make the list worthwhile.

I will come back here and update the list once I have completed each item. Since I need to accomplish these at about 1.5 items a month, I should be updating regularly!

EDIT: 1st Jan 2021
Seven months after I wrote this list I have completed eight items – which means I’m already a little behind schedule. I’ve got a few more things planned for the next month or so, so hopefully I get there. Covid-19 has really made this task more difficult than I was expecting at the beginning.

I knew travel would be restricted for a while, but it looks like Australia’s borders are going to be closed for much of 2021, making all of those international items impossible to achieve again this year.

Within Australia, the state borders are very volatile, opening and closing suddenly when new cases pop up. That means planning travel in advance is tenuous at best. I’ll keep working on my list though, and have as many experiences as I can manage.

Looking for more bucket list adventures? Here are some from my past
Climbing Mount Kinabalu
Two Days at Petra
Alice Springs to Uluru on a Budget

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14 thoughts on “Fifty Before 50 – My New Bucket List Challenge”

  1. I wrote you a decent thoughtful response after thinking about what I would say to you. Once again it all disappeared before I had finished never to be found. But the suggestion caused me some deep reflection.
    That is a magnificent bucket list you have – apart from item # 6 – which does not appeal at all.
    Life in my arena is so uncertain at present together with the lurking potential of threat from the coronavirus and the perhaps potential for Trump to blow his top and start WW3.
    I approached the initial Lockdown in very good spirit. Who wouldn’t mind being shut in for weeks with books only for company? What could be stressful about that? Both Jack and I had ancient birthdays separately in April and the family orchestrated superb zoom gatherings.
    Then two close family members in two different countries died ; one after a long cancer battle and one brother-in-law with funerals by technic methods that were as good as possible.
    Blew my self control apart initially.
    Enough of that. I dare not write a bucket list – would be tempting fate IMO. About 14 years ago
    I did have one major true bucket list aim. “If I could travel 1st class just once.” That thought must have met wrong ears at the time I had a nasty fall down a stair case in a French home landing head first on an unforgiving slate floor. Medical doubt about cause of fall resulted in three horrid weeks in a neurological ward in a special hospital in Brest, France. In places like that there is absolutely no salt allowed in very place but well cooked meals. Then I was medi-vacced home to New Zealand in what was nearly First Class. Jack was travelling with me but the insurance wallahs wouldn’t move him out of “cattle class” although he was able to visit me occasionally during the long trip. My escort was a most personable Italian Doc from Medicines Sans Frontiers which was certainly a great experience!
    But I have not really made any bucket lists since.
    You go Josie. I will continue watching your travels with awe, wishing you safe travels. Hope our paths cross again.

    • Thank you as always Jan. You are not the first person I know to have experienced a much better class of travel thanks to a medical evacuation! Take care, and I am sure we will catch up next year in Christchurch 🙂

  2. I love this idea, maybe I’ll borrow it and start a list for us. There are so many things here in the U.S. I want to see and I know that it’ll be easier than trying to hit international destinations for a while. Flying first class (or even business class) is on my list for sure. Just once, I want to be the person getting my food on a real plate and drink in a real You have several on your list that would appeal to me. Basically, anything that involves water and marine life and I’m in. Thank you for sharing your dream with us.

    • Thanks Lynette! I think we all have those local things we keep saying we will do “one day”. Now is the perfect opportunity to finally do them. I hope this list will make sure I do!

  3. Wow, quite a list! Hop you are going to make it, or at least most of it. Not sure where you’ve already gone but here are some ideas for you. In Asia, There are a couple of Myanmar bucket list items such as Going on a hot air balloon ride in Bagan or smoking a bamboo pipe with the women of the Akhu tribe in Kengtung (though not Covid-19 friendly). I would also add go truffle hunting around Istria, Croatia. The area is amazing, relatively without tourists, and known for its delicious truffles!

    • Thanks Maya, some fantastic suggestions. I have been to Myanmar, but didn’t do either of the things you have suggested. Bagan was amazing though and I woud like to get back there one day. As for Istria, it is very high up on my European destination list – I’ve looked at it a few times now. I just don’t know how much of an opportunity I will have to travel to Europe over the next couple of years. I have Finland (for an event) and then an Ireland road trip pencilled in for 2021. Fingers crossed we can leave Australia by then.

  4. I too am a list maker and I have completed a number of the items on your list. I am 60 years old and was a full time traveler until Covid so rudely interrupted my life. Meanwhile I continue to plan, because although I have been to 110 countries have so much more to see. You have inspired me now to make a 65 by 65 list!! BTW, I highly recommend adding Walk the Camino de Santiago and Hike the Inca Trail as #47 and #48. Two of my all time favorite things I have done in my life.

    • Thanks Laureen! Both the Camino and the Inca Trail are on my long term list, but I don’t think I will be able to do them in the next couple of years, otherwise they would definitely be on my list!

  5. Nice list Josie! You’ve challenged me nicely to write mine up … although #6 has been done when I inadvertently inhaled a fly (several actually over the last 20 years) living in Outback Australia. OMG … awful experience!

    • Hahaha…I guess if it comes to that then I can probably tick it off the list too! I think it needs to be one of those crickets in Thailand, or perhaps a wichetty grub. I’ve always said I would give it a go if the opportunity arose, so time for some action I think!

      I look forward to seeing your list!

  6. You can do the clamping when you visit Sydney for the Harbour Bridge Climb. You can go clamping on the famous Cockatoo Island.

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