Build your bucket list

Covid-19 has delayed many dream holidays, family reunions, and road trips this year. But as we all navigate the space between things we can do, things we can’t do, and things we still want to do in the future, there’s an opportunity to reflect on the bucket list goals that are truly important to us.

Ask yourselves these three questions. Your answers will help you build a better bucket list full of things you’ll enjoy doing today and look forward to doing safely someday soon.

1. How disappointed are we?

Before Covid-19, you probably felt able to fill up your bucket list with anything you could responsibly budget for. But it’s possible that not all of those items were of equal importance to you. A trip to Paris that you and your partner had been planning for years is probably dear to your heart. A spur-of-the-moment booking for a zipline trip, maybe not so much.

If you’re currently sifting through a bunch of returns, refunds and cancellations, think about how you really feel about those disrupted plans. Are you disappointed? Indifferent? Relieved to be getting the money back? Is this a trip that should stay on the family bucket list? Or would you rather use those funds to add something even more special to a trip everyone really wants to take? Of course ziplining could be fun – but an extra night at a five-star resort might be unforgettable.

2. Why did we want to do this?

If you’re trying to sell your children on a substitute for DisneyLand Paris … well, good luck. Keep that trip on the bucket list for next year.

But the motivations behind some of your other bucket list items might not be as clear-cut as riding roller coasters or visiting a favourite beach. Was this bucket list item a true dream destination, or was it just a pit stop on your way to somewhere else? Were you just looking for a reason to cash in some saved holidays? Is this really an activity your children will enjoy? Are you forcing a trip – any trip – just because you want your whole family to do something together?

3. What can we do instead?

Some of your answers might lead you to alternative fun closer to home. If the real purpose of a trip was golf, the money you’re saving on travel could buy you quite a few rounds at a nice course within driving distance. Buy a couple of lessons while you’re at it and you might enjoy that dream round even more when you finally tee off.

You might not feel comfortable packing up and heading to the south of France right now. But the British national parks system is more extensive than many people realise. We’re sure there’s a scenic spot closer to home that you’ve never explored before.

Many families are also adapting to Covid-19 by focusing on new, short-term bucket list items. If you’re not going to travel for the foreseeable future, you could take online classes and learn an instrument. 

Rescheduling your trip to Gran Canaria? Take family Spanish lessons so you’ll have an easier time getting around when you do go. Get serious about your exercise goals and develop a running or cycling regiment you can stick to. Set a family reading challenge. Could you learn to cook a new French meal every week? Your son’s football camp might have been cancelled, but the goal in your back garden is still there. Can he learn to bend it like Beckham by Christmas?

There are no perfect substitutes for all your bucket list items during Covid-19. But with a little flexibility and some creativity, your family can still have a fun and fulfilling few months.

And if you need one more activity to round off your week, schedule a family planning session for trips that are staying on the bucket list. Let everyone share their ideas on how to make the trip you couldn’t take this year into an even better trip next year. Thinking ahead will give everyone something to look forward to.