Why You Need to Rethink Your Bucket List

Jonno Appel
January 16, 2024

Think back on some of your favorite memories. How many of those were planned? 

Probably more than zero but definitely not all of them. 

Well, I didn't know watching the World Cup in the country of the winning team was on my bucket list and that's why it completely changed how I perceive them.

I’ve never been a huge soccer fan. I’ll get excited every four years when the US women play. But that’s about it.

This year, work had me in Lyon, France for a couple weeks in July. It wasn’t until I found myself watching the France v Belgium semi-final game with friends that it hit me I’d be in France for the final. 

We kind of looked at each other and said, wait a minute, we are going to be here to watch the French possibly win the world cup!

So we said fuck it. Allez les bleus!

World Cup Final

We were trying to figure out where to watch the game and decided to meet our French friends at a concert venue to watch on the big screen. 

We made friends with our table-mates, who shared some of their face paint so I could rep the bleu-blanc-rouge on my face. They taught us some curse words and some of the chants (or at least tried).

I was fully Team France for the whole game. I yelled the swears at the ref, put on my best “can you believe this?” face when appropriate, I erupted for each of the four goals and threw high fives to everyone who would accept them. 

There were hugs all around, laughs, jumping, cheering. 

Once the French sealed the deal and the final whistle blew, 4 - 2 in favor of Les Bleus, the bar went absolutely nuts. 

Everyone was screaming “champions du monde!” and embracing and jumping and singing and waving flags and celebrating every way they could think of!

It was time to go join the bigger festivities back in the main square. We bounced from the bar, hopped on the subway (chanting the whole way), and made our way back to Place Bellecour in the center of town. 

Even before we emerged from the subway station there were hugs from strangers, high fives everywhere, everyone still screaming champions du monde!

A car full of soldiers pulled up and they were  just as ecstatic as everyone else. A friend gave the driver a hug through the window and they’re shouting about being champions. Everyone is screaming. Allez! 

People are on top of cars, horns are blaring, noise makers roaring. It was an amazing display of humans coming together. I’ve never seen anything like it...and I've traveled all over the world and seen a lot.

And then it hits me that this is happening EVERYWHERE IN FRANCE. This is a country wide party! The biggest party I’ve ever been to, for sure. 

We ended up weaving our way through the crowds, avoiding riot police, jumping in 200 year old fountains, high fiving moving cars, hugging strangers...I'd never experienced anything like it. 

What does this have to do with my bucket list?

"Cool story, Jonno. We get it, we're sure it was an awesome time but what does that have to do with us or our bucket list?"

Here's what I want you to try and understand that was so amazing to me:

This wasn’t on my bucket list until I crossed it off. 

That’s right. I had no idea that I wanted to do this until I’d done it. This wasn’t even an experience that was on my radar. 

I’ve been living outside the US for the past two years in search of all sorts of experiences and this never crossed my mind. France wasn’t particularly high on my list of places to visit but I've grown very fond of it and definitely coming back.

To top it off, I don’t really like soccer all that much. 

Yet it was one of the most memorable days of my life so far.

So that got me thinking...

How often do we miss out on experiences because we’re so set on having some other specific experience? 

How often are we so worried about crossing that one thing off the list, that we skip over five or six incredible opportunities in our beeline to get there?

How many Peruvian mountain towns would you drive through without stopping because you’re headed straight for Machu Picchu? 

How many secret waterfalls do you miss in Iceland because you have to check off the famous ones? 

Think about how many things you haven’t thought of, and now think about how likely it is that tons of those things are awesome. 

The New Bucket List

I urge you to use your bucket list as a way to put yourself in the position to receive new experiences. Don’t treat it only as a checklist, but rather as a guide. 

Make your list and let it lead you in search of wonderful memories but be open to the twists and turns that hit you along the way. 

Keep in mind that some of the most memorable things that can happen to you are things you’ve never even thought of. 

Let them in. 

P.S. I still don’t really give a shit about soccer. 

P.P.S. Allez les Bleus!!

Wanna join us in France for Experience of a lifetime? Or perhaps France to Spain is more your style...

Jonno Appel
Jonno is a man's man who likes sports and tools. Also he's really handsome.


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