How to Build a Bucket List for Your Life

Although it can sometimes seem as if our actions drive our life stories, really it is the other way around: the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, where we’re going and what we want out of life are what ultimately shape our actions. Like all travelers, I have always been a seeker and find that the mere act of casting my thoughts to a distant destination changes my inner narrative and, from there, my mindset and my actions. Our stories create our lives. For that reason, I curate and tend to my travel wish list like a garden, always adding and adjusting.

At Indagare, we specialize in creating travel bucket lists and in turning the dreams they embody into practical, long-term plans. Some of our members like to spread their bucket lists over years. We help them with information about optimum times to travel and how early they need to book (a year in advance for safari, for example). Others like to cover a lot of ground at once, with, say, a trip around Southeast Asia. For a few families, we have created round-the-world journeys and sabbaticals, with dozens of stops over several months. After all, there is no better way to educate our children and ourselves than with exposure to other cultures through personal interactions during a cooking class, a bike ride or a school visit.

Contact us to speak with a travel expert about building a roadmap of your travels and customizing your bucket list with us.

There is an art to creating a great bucket list. Like a great meal, it has rhythm and pacing, variety and balance: country and city, yin and yang. In the early days of Indagare, one of our members explained his preferences to me by saying: “I love works of God, but my wife prefers works of man.” This has since become a popular expression in our office for distinguishing two types of experiences.

Bucket List Trips for Stupendous Natural Beauty (Works of God)

Bucket List Trips for Culture and History (Works of Man)

Related: Melissa’s Travels: Why We Travel

One of the biggest benefits of Indagare membership is that you are part of a community of sophisticated travelers seeking authentic and transformative experiences. Because we have been arranging thousands of trips annually for a decade, we can discern which guides, hotels, excursions and meals consistently enchant our members. Among those, a few are so exceptional that they can be counted on to please everyone every time. I call these the A+ Experiences, and a selection of them serves as an excellent framework for any bucket list.

Bucket List A+ Destinations

Bucket List Indagare Adored Hotels

These properties are worth the trip for their exceptional service, setting and food, which all combine to enhance their magic.

Because connecting with people is one of the most powerful ways to engage with a destination, this select group also includes our favorite guides. Here are a few of the exceptional guide experiences we can help arrange.

Bucket List Guide Experiences

  • A Maasai warrior who travels with our members through the Serengeti
  • A hilarious and charming Gaudí expert in Barcelona
  • An architect in Paris who gives engaging and scholarly tours of the Louvre
  • An insider in Tokyo with amazing local connections
  • An adventurer in Beijing who accompanies hikers on deserted stretches of the Great Wall

Related: The Indagare Adored Gold List

Bucket List Experiences By Theme

It can also be fun to flesh out this framework with experiences organized around a theme. Such a list might include:

Over and Under the Earth

  • Descending into a volcano in Iceland
  • Scuba diving in the Blue Hole of Belize or Palau
  • Snorkeling at the Brando in Bora Bora
  • Sailing along the west coast of Corsica
  • Flying by helicopter over the fjord lands of Milford Sound in New Zealand

Unforgettable Wildlife Interactions

  • African Safari
  • Swimming with sea lions in the Galápagos
  • Walking with a cheetah in Zimbabwe
  • Washing an elephant in Asia’s Golden Triangle
  • Painting an elephant in Jaipur
  • Hiking amid silverback gorillas in Rwanda
  • Tracking kiwi chicks in New Zealand

Spirituality-based Trips

Food-focused Trips

Because we are foodies at Indagare, bucket list trips always involve wonderful meals, some as simple as uni and toro before dawn at the fish market in Tokyo or tapas at a tiny counter in San Sebastián, Spain. A few of our favorites include:

Related: Just Back From…India

We encourage you to tap Indagare’s Trip Designers to guide you to extraordinary experiences and help you envision your own personalized bucket list. 

Contact us to speak with a travel expert about building a roadmap of your travels and customizing your bucket list with us.

– Eliza Harris on February 10, 2019



My eyes already touch the sunny hill/going far beyond the road I have begun/So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp/it has an inner light, even from a distance/and changes us, even if we do not reach it.
~ "A Walk” by Rainer Maria Rilke

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