Live the good life!
Exploring the Inca ruins of Peru, going on a safari in Kenya, wandering through Jaffna (including the surrounding islands), and back-glam-packing my way across Europe are some of the things on my bucket list. We all have at least the smallest inclination of what we want to check off our once-in-a-lifetime-must-do list. After all, we have only one life to live, so we might as well live it up and drink it down, right? Right. But, have you ever really thought about what you want to do before you, well, hit the bucket? Until a couple of years ago, I hadn’t. It took a fair amount of reflection to figure it out. “How do you even go about it?” you ask. Well, here’s what you do…
I always knew I wanted to experience certain things well out of my comfort zone, but it was a consistently vague idea that never amounted to anything concrete. That was until my (now) fiancé started discussing the subject two years ago. He shared what was on his list and inquired into mine. I have to admit, I was slightly stumped. You see, I knew I wanted more, but because I never physically wrote (or typed) it down, I was at a loss. By not taking the time to list out my #bucketlistlife, I never really gave my explorer dreams sufficient priority or tried to set out to achieve them.
We get so wrapped up in juggling our careers, personal and social lives that we often fail to actually live, choosing instead to merely exist. We hardly sit up and ask ourselves, “What do I actually want to do that adds value to my life?” A bucket list will get you a step closer to answering the question. Try going about it like this:
Write It Down
We spend a lot of time listing out daily, mundane chores (think: Doing laundry or shopping for groceries) and forget to write out the more fun, fulfilling stuff (think: Getting a PADI license) we want to accomplish. It probably sounds rather morbid, but actually penning down what you want to do while you’re still alive and kicking will give you something tangible to work toward and, in a way, hold you accountable for all that you want to accomplish in your joyride.
Think About What Makes You Happy
Setting down goals in the form of a bucket list, pushes out positive emotions and gives us hope for a fantastic future. You’ll be forced to take a closer look at your life: where you are and where you eventually want to be. It’ll also help you figure out what’s currently missing, give you the opportunity to take charge and, if need be, change things around. So, think about what sparks joy and what you could do that gives you that elation.
Add Aanything Scary To Your List
Stepping out of your comfort zone is key to delving deep into what you truly want to do. Think about it. You may want to do something as simple (not!) as an extreme waterslide with a vertical-drop, but since Sri Lanka doesn’t have anything so rad just yet, you’ll have to take the extra effort on your travels to get to a waterpark. I did it and it was challenging and kinda frightening, but the adrenaline and the sense of accomplishment that followed made it oh-so worth it. Would I do it again? Probably not! But, what’s important is that I followed through.
Cross Things Off Your List
Once you’ve got a workable list going and get started on the task of bringing it to life, relish in ticking the little check boxes that appear beside each item (draw them if you have to!). It will give you a tremendous amount of satisfaction. Last year I went parasailing in Bali and, although I was initially completely freaked out, when I crossed it off my list, I felt quite pleased with myself!
Keep Adding On
It’s okay for your list to constantly be a work-in-progress. Keep adding items and allow your list (and more importantly, yourself) to grow. With each new experience or skill you acquire, you develop as a person. Regularly updating your list will give you fresh ideas and allow you to weed through ones that are no longer relevant. What’s more? You’ll always have something to work towards that will make you constantly happy.
Make The Time
We’re always busy and constantly on the go, checking emails, social media and dating apps. So, procrastinating the writing and execution of your list can happen with ease! However, it’s important to find time for these plans. Learning and experiencing new things will keep you on your toes (in the best way possible!).
Don’t be discouraged if some of the heavy hitting items on your list, especially those involving travel, may require a large amount of funds. Figuring out what you want to do early on will allow you to work towards saving up and motivate you to find cheaper, alternative ways to get you to your destination.
Channel Your Creativity
I’ve put a few items on my bucket list that were, at the time, just so nuts that I didn’t even think I’d get to achieve them. I even thought I was being silly to add them in the first place. But I kept them anyway, because who knows…. It pushes you to think of out-of-the-box ways to draw a line across that item. If you don’t see a clear path towards your goal, you may have to think up something that includes a few detours, but it will make your journey all the more interesting!
Local Bucket List Inspo
Sri Lanka has so much to see and do, and chances are we think we’ve seen it all. But have we, really? Try these on for size!
Eat a packet of rice and curry so spicy that tears stream down your face! It’s the ultimate challenge, and who doesn’t love a good ol’ hot rice and curry, complete with loads of papadam! I’m drooling at the thought!
Stay at Helga’s Folly. A hotel lodged in the Kandy hills, Helga’s Folly is quite a trippy experience. I’ve only walked through its halls once and combed one of the rooms briefly, but it left me intrigued and longing to stay there for a night. Filled with strange photos, drawings and deco, this place can easily creep you out. But, that’s what’s so darn interesting about it!
Take a Geoffrey Bawa tour. An afternoon delving into Bawa’s contemporary architectural designs is an afternoon well spent! Visit Number 11 in Colombo and Lunuganga Garden in Bentota.
Learn to surf. Hop on a bus, head to Arugam Bay and learn how to surf! We’re island babes, so we should totally acquire a taste for the ocean.
Try a different sorta yoga. Making waves in Weligama, Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga teaches you how to practice yoga on a paddleboard…on water. More demanding (mentally, that is!) than yoga on land, you’ll learn how to stay calm, focus and find your balance to a greater degree.
Take the scenic route when climbing Adam’s Peak. Opt for the road less travelled when ascending to Sri Pada. The Deraniyagala/Udamaliboda trail is the least popular path as it takes you through the forest and all its wilderness. Watch out for wild animals and make sure you’re out of there before sun down!
Enjoying each moment and seizing all opportunities to do something you genuinely desire will undoubtedly bring you joy. More importantly, imagine the amount of confidence you will gain with each bucket list item you cross off? Your list may feel quite mundane compared to the wackier things your besties are doing, but this list is personal and you don’t have to share it with the world (unless you want to, which is totally fine!). So, make sure the achievements and experiences you write out are what you want to do.
This article was originally published as ‘Live The Good Life: A Guide To Creating The Ultimate Sri Lankan Bucket List’ in the June 2017 issue of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka. For more life advice and tips, grab a copy of our latest magazine.
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