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Before 30 Bucket List

Looking for ideas to put on your bucket list before you turn 30? You’re in the right place with a lot of ideas to get you started.

I’m in my 40’s now. I’m still surprised how quickly my forties came. Looking back into my twenties to see all the things I wanted to do and did, I’m here to tell you… pursue those dreams, check off that bucket list, and accomplish the all things you want in life now while taking care of your health.

What my 20s were like…

I lived my 20’s to the fullest. I got the job I wanted. I traveled a lot. I worked hard. I worked very, very hard! I bought a condo, went to grad school, and business school, got married, went on my dream honeymoon, lived in a different city, traveled for work, and lived the life I thought I was supposed to, until I realized it wasn’t what I wanted. I was severely burnt out from pursuing achievement. And I have two pneumonia hospitalizations to prove it.

I’m not telling you this story to tell you to live like me (as I’m not ordinary), or like anyone else. Rather, in the midst of the whirlwind of 20s when you’re hanging out with friends, working, possibly going to grad school, living a busy life, and dating, it’s a good take a step back, and really reflect on the life you really want, because I’m here to tell you that it goes by fast.

Creating Your Bucket List

Many of us live on “default,” doing what everyone else around us are doing. We can’t help but be influenced by those around us. But, since you’re here, I know you want to live a little bit more deliberately and live life to the fullest, so I’m here to remind you to take some time to think about who you really are – what makes you, you? What makes you happy?

What type of interests do you have that may have fallen by the wayside? What do you still want to learn? What do you need to do now in order to have no regrets later? Is there something in your heart tugging at you to do? An interest? An experience? Travel? School? Anything you’ve pushed aside as being “not important?”

Whatever those things are, pull them out, as they are important. They are clues to your heart’s deepest longings. 

Below is just my crazy list of doing a lot in my 20s. It’s my list to inspire you to give you ideas to add to yours. Most of all, I challenge you to do all the things you want to do before you have kids (if kids are in your plan). Life surely is different once you have kids!

Looking back, I’m so grateful that I valued time so much to make the most of my time and have as many adventures as I did in my 20s!

This is my 40-something self talking to my 20-something year old. Below is the Bucket List I did, and beyond that are some things I would tell myself to do.

Before 30 Bucket List Ideas:

  • Pursue that dream job!
  • Give your parents your first pay check (Korean custom)
  • Use credit card points to book an international flight
  • Take a hiking trip with a friend to Machu Picchu, Peru
machu pichu peru
Photo by Errin Casano on
  • Go snowboarding in the mountains of Japan
  • Eat sushi in Japan
  • Visit Korea (since I’m Korean) or wherever your ancestors are from
  • Save up money for a down payment towards a home
  • Look into affordable housing plans in a great neighborhood to purchase a condo. (Entry level income usually qualifies.)
  • Dine at your first fine dining restaurant
  • Try food from different countries
  • Go to grad school (if it will help your line of work or for a career change)
  • Visit the Taj Mahal in Agra, India
taj mahal india
Photo by Sudipta Mondal on
  • Eat at a Michelin star restaurant
  • Paint your room a new color
  • Go karaoke
  • Go whitewater rafting
  • Check out local events in your city and explore
  • Live every year as if it is your last year in that city (you never know if you will move)
  • Eat at food festival
  • Make that move to your dream city!
  • Pray to God and ask Him to reveal to you your future spouse (I did!)
  • Skip out on an outing or two to recharge when you need to
  • Take ballroom dancing classes with your fiance´
  • Get married (if you found your spouse)
  • Choose your dream wedding dress
  • Achieve mileage status on an airline
  • Use points to book your honeymoon flight and/or hotels
  • Take a cooking class
  • Learn to knit
  • Learn to sew
  • Go surfing in Costa Rica
  • Go ziplining in Hawaii
  • Go on a helicopter ride
  • Go rock climbing
  • Run a race
  • Take a long weekend trip to London
  • Get a dog (if there is one you’ve wanted)
  • Start a business
  • Become a freelancer/contractor and take clients
  • Learn to build a website
  • Take a furniture building class
  • Take a pottery class
  • Take a dance class
  • Work out
  • Dine at a 3 Michelin star restaurant
  • Take an art class
  • Take a glass blowing class
person in black shirt holding glass rod
Photo by Pixabay on
  • Take golf lessons
  • Take tennis lessons
  • Donate to a charity
  • Get an article of clothing tailored for you
  • Visit Cancun, Mexico
  • Don’t buy a timeshare (I’m still living this one out x2)
  • Eat a croissant in Paris, France
  • Ride a gondola in Venice, Italy
  • Visit Rome and Florence, Italy
  • Keep a journal
  • Learn to cook your favorite dishes
  • Start an investment account
  • Plan a big birthday party for one of your parents’ or in-laws’ big birthdays
  • Go on a boat cruise
  • Go scuba diving
  • Take a road trip
  • Go on a vacation with friends
  • Take a roadtrip through the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico
  • Visit New York City
  • Visit California
  • Visit Key West, Florida
  • Climb the Statue of Liberty
  • Ride on jet skis
  • Go skiing in Colorado
  • Create a YouTube channel
  • Start a blog
  • Try a different hairstyle
  • Eat raw oysters
  • Eat steak at a nice steakhouse
  • Try stone crab
  • Give a speech
  • Learn to use Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop
  • Go camping
  • Go to a spa
  • Visit Sedona, Arizona
  • Visit a Caribbean Island
  • Cook a Thanksgiving meal for your family

Things I did post-30, that would’ve been easier in my 20s without kids:

  • Go on a hot air balloon ride
  • Visit Southeast Asia
  • Go to Santorini, Greece
  • Go parasailing

Some things I haven’t done yet, but would have loved to have done in my 20’s:

  • Go on a hike to the Wave in Arizona (need to book in advance)
  • Swim in a cenote in Mexico
  • Do an Outward Bound trip
  • Try the Tilt at 360 Observation Deck in Chicago
  • Swim in a swimming hole with a waterfall
  • Read all the books on I own
  • Read the entire Bible
  • Study a new language
  • Make a photo book of all our travels

My biggest advice to my younger self would be this…

  • Don’t let anyone talk you out of something you really want to do. If you feel you’ll get push-back, just plan it all out first and notify people later after things are almost ready to go. Often people project their own fears and limitations onto you. Just remember, it’s not about you. It has nothing to do with whether something is possible or not. Dream it. Believe It. Do it.
  • Choose the most important things to you and do those first. Sometimes we put others first and ourselves last, and then we find that our things were at the bottom and never made the list. People will want a lot of your time in your 20s. It’s important to carve out time for yourself to move your dreams and goals forward and plan other things around it.
  • Don’t push yourself so hard. Have fun, learn a lot, and learn to relax. Get enough sleep, take food-based vitamins, get sunshine or Vitamin D, eat veggies, get some exercise, and take good care of your health.
  • You are more than your job. Your identity does not revolve around your job. Make sure to make time for the other hobbies and activities that bring you joy. These things are not wasted time. They will fuel you.
  • There will be things you didn’t achieve by age 30 that you thought you would. It’s ok. The truth is, it happens to all of us. I don’t know a single person that ended up where they thought they would be by 30. Despite all the fun with friends in our 20’s, we’ve all endured hardships — failures, heartbreak, disappointments, health issues — no one is immune. Make peace with where you are. You’ve got a long life ahead to enjoy and you’re just at the beginning.
  • Seek God in all that you do. It’s easy to get caught up in “busy,” rushing from one thing to the next. Make space in your life to sit in His presence and read the Bible. He will guide you to the right path for you. Seek Jesus and He will show you the wayw.
  • Write down your bucket list and your all of your goals and dreams. I’ve surprised myself so many times to later find a list I wrote down with something I had no idea I was pondering at the time. These things resurfaced later when the time came to actually pursue that bucket list dream. It’s fun to see how long you’ve wanted something. The longer it’s been there, it means it is time to make it a priority!

Did I leave anything out that you have on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments below!

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