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 World Travels, 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. Experience Heaven on Earth
Cost: $1,000/person for 5-days accommodations—not including airfare or dining.
One of Julia’s favorite places to connect with nature is the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. “The landscape is really unique,” says Julia. “Almost like you’re on the moon.” We realize, however, that one person’s warm, inviting dessert, is another person’s rich, tropical getaway. If this is the case for you, Hvar Island in Croatia, is a haven of beaches (Adriatic Sea), luxury yachts, lavender fields, ancient olive trees, and vineyards. Close enough to civilization to be comfortable, yet far enough to avoid the bustle of industry and high prices.
2. Best Sunrise/Sunset
Cost: Guided tour $300, or take the hike yourself for free.
Mount Nemrut, found near the small town of Kahta in rural Turkey, is one of the most beautiful places to witness the beginning and ending of any day. Your experience will begin around 2:30 AM, with a semi-difficult trek up to the summit. Once you reach the top, you’ll be greeted by an unspoken serenity among the enormous, 165 foot tomb (hill) presumed to hold the body of Antiochus Theos, the Roman-Persian king. As the sun rises between the aligned statues of Greek gods, heroes, and kings, a mystical orange glow is cast across the landscape.
3. Celebrate Life!
Cost: $300 to $360 for the week long event.
Get out with some people who really know how to party! The 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
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 for 10-day Mozambique or Antarctic experience—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 also bring your own life into greater perspective. Swimming with the whale sharks of Mozambique is both inspiring and exhilarating. You can then eat fresh mango all day while snorkeling with the manta rays. An alternative to the hot beach, is enjoying the serene chill of the Antarctic glaciers, while viewing penguins and sea elephants from the front row seat of your own kayak. “I’ll be crossing this one off my list in January,” says 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 Zambezy 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 Ricksaw 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 Rishshaw 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
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.