The biggest tip to creating your perfect bucket list

The Bucket List. Words that to many bring up thoughts of exciting possibilities; no pressure, no time scale, just something to do one day when we have more money, time or usually both. Whether you've seen the film or just quoted the phrase when something appeals, most of us either have or at least talk about our bucket list and adding things to it. But what if we just keep adding to it but we never get round to actually doing any of it - sound familiar...?

Making lists can be demoralizing, particularly when it comes to following through with it. If it's a list of chores I need to get done in a day or a week I'll often 'cheat' and add in a few easy tasks or tasks I've already completed just to make me feel like I'm getting somewhere - it can be a great moral boost.

But it's not just lists of chores that can be tough; even a bucket list can be daunting to the point that you may start wondering if you'll ever get any of it done. And then what? Scrub the list and give up?... I'm a bit of a cheat and like to make things as easy as I can for myself, and this includes doing things I enjoy. So I have a mixed bucket list consisting of everything, (at the moment) that I want to do in my life and all the things I've done that I believe warrant some sort of recognition. (Click here to read my list if it interests you) Now instead of looking like this huge list of less than likely dreams I want to fulfil, my 'Two Way Bucket List' looks like I've almost finished. And if that alone isn't an incentive to follow my dreams and complete the rest, I don't know what is!

And the rules determining what you can add to your list that you've already done? There aren't any! If it felt like a big deal at the time - write it down. If it didn't feel like a big deal at the time but looking back now it does - write it down. Trust me; wrack your brains for just a few minutes and before you know it you'll have this resume of a derring-do life you'll barely recognize - and more importantly, the motivation to carry on and make those wild dreams happen.

Leave me a comment and tell me 'What's on your Bucket List?' - naming one thing you've already checked off, and one thing you've yet to achieve!

Midlife-Crisis, what Crisis?!...

It was 10 years ago this month that my life changed forever. After a successful 23 year career in the British Royal Air Force I handed in my notice and took 'early retirement'. I was 41 years old.

It was a big, bold, move. It was scary, daunting and exciting. I was leaving on my terms. At the time that felt right to me. And I had plans....

My wife and I had long ago decided that we would 'celebrate' my retirement by taking a year out to travel. We would go to Florida, buy an RV and spend 12 months traveling around the USA. What a way to spend that retirement bonus eh?! So we did, and the rest they say is history!

That 12 months turned into 4 and a bit years. That US trip turned into a USA-Canada-Mexico-Belize-Guatemala trip. The RV turned into an RV-with-a-motorbike-and-2-push-bikes-strapped-to-the-back. And our lives and plans for the future changed forever.

You see when I first handed in my notice to leave the military it was an 18-month notice period. We had a loooong time to get ready and get used to the idea. We had wonderful pre-conceived ideas of what it would be like, what we would do, how we would do it and how we would pay for it all. It was a year long trip (in my mind it had to be at least a year to make it worth leaving!) at the end of which we would return to the UK, move back into our house and carry on a 'normal' suburban life in England. (Spoiler Alert: that didn't happen!)

During the course of 'the year' we realised that 12 months was never going to be long enough and we started adjusting our plans to sustain ourselves through a longer time frame. We briefly returned to the UK at the 13 month mark to 'sell up' a few items, re-signed an extended rental agreement on our house and returned to the US with some extra cash in our pockets, a revised budget and some serious belt-tightening! Life was grand! Whilst the US is a big place we took trips up into Canada and down into Mexico and beyond for the winters and to satisfy the visa restrictions we had.

It was around the 4 year point that we were starting, albeit gradually, to look forward to having a home and job and long term local friends again. We'd fallen in love with Canada, and quite specifically the Okanagan and had applied for permanent residency. When the travel bug was biting less frequently we returned to the area as tourists but started looking for work and a job offer that would help expedite that process so we could settle legally. Getting back into the job-world was tough! (And a lot different to the job search process back in the UK) and after a few months of unsuccessful job-hunting our visas were up and we needed to leave the country.

We spent 6 months that winter back in the UK. We made good use of our time and renovated our house, following it's extended period of tenants and got it ready for selling. It had served us well over the 4 years providing us much needed rental income to help fund our travels.

In our 5th year we returned to Canada and got legal status. I was offered a job using my previous skills as a heavy duty mechanic and service manager, work permits were issued and our application for permanent residency was fast-tracked and complete by the fall. We had done it! We were legal residents of Canada. We'd bought a beautiful home and settled in one of the most beautiful parts of the world!

So during our mid life crisis-cum-career break-cum-retirement we managed to visit 40 US states, 6 Canadian provinces, 15 Mexican states and 2 Central American countries. During our winters back in the UK we'd also travelled to 8 Eastern European countries.

10 years ago I took a huge leap of faith. I left that comfortable secure lifetime career with no clear plans of how or where I'd work again, but I've ended up with something so much better. After initially getting work in Canada using my previous skill set, I moved on and re-trained as a Health, Nutrition and Lifestyle coach and most recently I completed intensive training to be a part time volunteer fire fighter in my local community. Life is good :-)

What's on your bucket list? Where would your leap of faith take you?

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