The Alternative Bucket List

alternative bucket list - feature image

Swimming with dolphins, or driving a super-car around a track makes for thrilling memories. The pictures are great, and the buzz from having experienced such an activity is undeniably fantastic. However, when money dries up and we head back to our 9-5 mundane office jobs, we are sometimes left wondering what is there to drive us between the previous and the next bucket-list style of activity. We become a duller form of ourselves, leaving our brains in a sluggish slumber. Whilst bucket-list activities are fantastic and a must-try; they often require substantial sums of money (for what they are), and lack any deeper meaning.


Human are designed to feel purposeful. Yes, we can relax; but when contemplating the big questions as to what life is about; seldom do we truly come to the conclusion that it was all for a hot air balloon experience, or that amazing visit to the Grand Canyon. In reality, owing to our genetic makeup – people are often the ones written on our hearts when answering that question. Whether it’s our children, our partners, familes or friend; the majority of people want to share these fantastic bucket-list experiences with someone. 


bucket list-memories

Image: Credit to De Visu /


We are also, by nature designed to help people. It’s facinating to think that no single man would make an entire, standard pencil by themselves. The process of having to mine the graphite, to fell the wood and operate the machinary used to produced a standardised pencil requires multiple people. Likewise, in life, we feel that inner buzz after having helped someone. Arguably, the connections we form from helping others, the stories that are gained and the feeling of self-actualisation for the benefit of another can be equally as good as a bucket-list activity, and lasts far longer. 

So what are some activities you could add to the alternative bucket list?

Work in a Soup kitchen over Christmas

Too often the British public are quick to pass judgement on those less fortunate, especially those sleeping rough on the streets. No human can claim to have never needed a helping hand in life, and, when sleeping rough on the cold streets in winter, a hot meal makes a significant difference to those living in poverty. 

Soup kitchens exclusively rely on donations from the public as well as the benevolence of volunteers, who offer their time to dish out these all-important nutritious meals. Volunteering at a soup kitchen is a truly humbling experience. This form of poverty is so close to home. Also, appearances can be deceptive – not all came to be living on the street through alcohol and drugs abuse. Some who regularly attend soup kitchens are highly educated and have an arguably better outlook on what’s important in life than those who are suited and booted in oak-furnished offices. 


volunteering at a soup kitchen

Image: Credit to praszkiewicz /

Give Blood

Giving blood is a worthwhile and selfless process. Your donation could be the difference between a life and death for a patient in need of a blood transfusion.
According to

‘Over 6,000 blood donations are needed every day to treat patients in need across England. Each year, approximately 200,000 new donors are needed to counterbalance the number of donors who can no longer give blood. Most people between the ages of 17-65 are able to give blood, and around half of the current donors are over 45.’ 

How blood was used in 2014, according to hospital usage:

•    67% was used to treat medical conditions including anaemia, cancer and blood disorders
•    27% was used in surgery, including cardiac surgery and emergency surgery
•    6% was used to treat blood loss after childbirth


giving blood

Image: Credit to wavebreakmedia /

Plant 10 trees 

When looking to plant trees, you need ample space. Local parks, schools and churches sometimes look for volunteers to plant trees on their grounds. You can also plant trees in your own back garden – or that of a family member, after gaining their permission. And why stop at 10? If you find legal locations in which you can plant, do your bit for the environment and get planting!


planting trees

Image: Credit to g-stockstudio /

Take a ready-made dinner round to the new parents in your family

Sleep-deprived and now the sole, full-time carer to a tiny and demanding being; parents often skip on meal preparation time in order to gain valuable minutes of sleep time. Cold baked-beans out of a can and ready food however, doesn’t constitute a balanced meal. 

Making a tasty lasagna which can be frozen if not used straight away is likely to be far more appreciated than yet another 0-3 months baby grow. If you’re really feeling generous, you can offer to watch baby for an hour or so whilst mum or dad catch 40 winks! 




Send a present, card or mini Christmas tree to a forces member serving abroad

There are many forces members who will serve in a foreign (and maybe war-torn) country this Christmas. Having a few festive accessories such as; Christmas hats, Christmas crackers, presents and cards can really help to alleviate home-sickness over the festive period. 

 Christmas present for troops abroad

Image: Credit to Straight 8 Photography /


Sponsor a child from a third-world country and write letters to them.

When people aspire to change the world for the better, they usually start by contemplating changing the entire world. This in itself would be a monumental and difficult task. So why not start small and change a singular child’s entire world for the better? By sponsoring a child, charities such as, are able to provide a child with an education, the chance for vocation training, medical check-ups and nutritional support. You can also send letters to your sponsor child, which will be translated into their native language. You too will receive letters back from your sponsor child in return.  


Sponsoring a child in a third world country

Image: Credit to costas anton dumitrescu /

Leave a post-it note trail for a family member telling them why they’re awesome!

Everybody loves to have their day brightened in some way. A post-it trail, where sticky notes may be hidden in the car, in a lunchbox or on someone’s pillow are a great way of relaying to someone that you love and care about them. A simple, cost-effective, but surprisingly effective idea!

 post-it notes trail

Image: Credit to STUDIO GRAND OUEST /

Feature Image: Credit to wavebreakmedia /

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