UMM Bucket List: 10 Things to Do Before You Die

The idiom, drop in the bucket, refers to the idea that most things in life are only a very small portion of the whole. Kick the bucket, references death by imagining yourself standing on a bucket with a noose tied around your neck. Once the bucket is ‘kicked’, well, you can imagine the outcome. But where does the term, bucket list, come from? Some say it originates from the movie, “The Bucket List (2007),” starring Jack Nickolson and Morgan Freeman. Others say it is a hybrid of the previous mentioned idioms. Imagine life as a collection of small ‘drops’ of experiences gathered in a bucket, and at the end of that time, our buckets are spilled over, highlighting the most important memories.

If you died tomorrow and your top 10 highlights were flashed before your eyes, do you think you’d be satisfied with what you saw? We teamed up with Julia Dimon (Traveljunkiejulia.com), travel expert and host of several popular television shows, including Word Travels (City TV, OLN, Travel Channel UK), Destination Getaways (MSNBC), and Outside Today, to help us decide what world experiences are truly worthy of anyone’s list. From gentle solitude to the rush of adrenaline, these are the 10 drops of life we’d most like to remember when our own buckets are knocked from our feet.

1. Heaven on Earth

Cost: $1,000/person for 5-days accommodations—not including airfare and dining.

“Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania is one of my favorite places,” says Julia. “It’s a perfect combination of African culture, white sand beaches, fresh seafood, and a ‘hakunamatata’ vibe.” The saying, You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, may describe your uncle in boxer shorts, but it certainly does not even come close to describing the spirit and imagery of Tofu Beach, Mozambique. “It’s amazing,” exclaims Julia. “You will spend the day eating fresh mangoes and snorkeling with manta rays and whale sharks in the Indian Ocean.”

2. Best Sunrise/Sunset

Cost: Free to see (yes, some things are still free).

The most beautiful sunset Julia has ever experienced, was over the Valley of the Moon in Chile’s Atacama Desert. “In the winter, at around 6:30 PM, the sky gives rise to a rainbow of watercolor reds, oranges, and purples,” describes Julia, in awe of her own imagery. “A warm hue illuminates the million-year-old mountain ranges that jet out from sand dunes like spines of prehistoric reptiles—a millennia of desert winds have sculpted stones and sand formations, and the colors look more like the inside of a gobstopper candy.”

3. Celebrate Life!

Cost: $300 tickets, but you also have to consider food, accommodations, costumes, and water (it’s hot).

Get out with some people who really know how to party! Burning Man (www.burningman.com) is held annually at Black Rock Desert, located 120 miles north of Reno, Nevada. It kicks off the week prior to Labor Day, and climaxes on the Saturday before Labor Day when “the man” is burned (don’t worry, it’s not a real man). “I just went last year and it’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime must experience,” says Julia. “For one week, some 50,000 costume-clad visitors travel from all over the world to celebrate humanity, creativity, music, nudity, charity and chemically induced happiness, celebrated to the beat of throbbing techno.”

4. Do the Bizarre

Cost: $5

If you’re looking for the perfect way to solidify your status as a bad-ass, look no father than Dawson City, Yukon, home of the sour-toe cocktail (www.sourtoecocktailclub.com). “I’m a card carrying member,” Julia says proudly. The way it works, is after a speech and ceremony performed by an equally bad-ass, sour-toe member, Captain Dick, you’re given a drink (preferably whiskey or beer) with a severed toe swaying along the bottom. “You chug the thing back and the toe has to touch your lips,” describes Julia. Be careful, though, as several toes have been lost via unintentional swallowing.

5. Where the Wild Things ‘Really’ Are

Cost: $10,000 minimum—airfare not included.

Getting up close and personal with some of the worlds most majestic animals, will not only bring a better understanding of nature, but will bring your own life into greater perspective. Trekking with the 400 lb silverback mountain gorillas in Uganda, will certainly serve as a reminder to respect your relatives (ancient relatives). An alternative to the Uganda heat, would be the serene chill of the Antarctic glaciers, while viewing penguins and sea elephants from the front row seat of your own sea kayak. “I’ll be crossing this off my list in January with the company Antarctic Dream (www.antarctic.cl/web_eng),” gloats Julia.

6. Exhilaration of Adrenaline

Cost: $85 for the day (once you’re there).

One of Julia’s most exhilarating experiences to date, is throwing herself off Zambezi Gorge in Zambia (www.thezambeziswing.com), then swinging back and forth like a pendulum across the Zambezi river. “You’re looking down and it’s quite terrifying,” describes Julia. “It is one of the biggest adrenaline rushes!” If swinging from a gorge is beyond your fear factor, perhaps Zorbing (www.zorb.com) down a hill in a giant inflatable hamster ball will be more to your liking. Located in either the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee (USA) or in Rotorua, New Zealand, this experience is a reminder of what fun is all about!

7. Road Warrior

Cost: $349 for the Dragster Experience, and $1,500 for the Rickshaw Run.

Professional racer, Doug Foley, has developed a dragster program (www.dougfoley.com/), offering the thrill of professional racing. The course includes instructions, safety equipment, two ‘smokey’ burnouts, and two hard launches down a professional track. A road worthy alternative is a 5000 km journey across India’s treacherous roadways on a 150cc Rickshaw. The Rickshaw Run (www.rickshawrun.theadventurists.com) is a slow paced, but highly eventful two week road trip through dessert, jungle, and the Himalayan Mountains (that is, if you’ve got the guts and believe in your rickshaw).

8. Out of this World

Cost: $12,000 (MIG tours) to $200,000 (Virgin Galactic).

Book a space voyage on the Virgin Galactic (www.virgingalactic.com), which includes sub-orbit time, allowing passengers six minutes of weightless floating around the cabin of the plane. If $200,000 is a bit too steep, Incredible Adventures (www.incredible-adventures.com) will take you to the edge of space at a fraction of the cost ($12,000 to $50,000) aboard a MIG-31 Foxhound jet. Passengers will soar 68,000 feet about the earth’s surface, while also being given the opportunity to take control of the mighty MIG. These ships set sail in New Mexico (Virgin), Russia, and Cape Town, Florida.

9. Fear Factor

Cost: $150/person

Some people say one of the most pivotal moments of life is a brush with death. Such an experience makes most other fears in life pale by comparison. “Crocosaurus (www.crocosauruscove.com/) in Darwin, Australia looks bad ass,” exclaims Julia, fantasizing about setting foot inside the “Cage of Death”. “I’m really excited to do this one!” There are not many places you can come face to face with a one-ton salt water croc and live to tell about it. Their secret is the plastic cage with which the human morsel (you) is placed, before being dunked in the crocodile pool.

10. Testing Your Limits

Cost: Bolivia Death Road $103/person, 5-day Great Wall of China Marathon package $1,200.

For some, testing their limits is all you can eat buffet. For others it’s letting gravity take hold as they sail down “The World’s Most Dangerous Road” (www.gravitybolivia.com), with nothing more than a pair of handlebars between their face and the dirt. This downhill trek begins in the chilly mountains of Bolivia, ending 11,800 feet down in the steamy jungles of the Amazon. A less dangerous challenge, although just as physically grueling, is the Great Wall Marathon (www.great-wall-marathon.com). Experience the most historically, astonishing sights in China, while pumping your leg muscles over the 5,164 steps of the Great Wall.

(Article originally appeared in the winter issue of Urban Male Magazine)