Make the Most of Summer with Boring Old Bucket Lists

Bucket lists may be an unoriginal idea, but I bet you don’t have one for this summer. And I bet that using one would help you make the most of it.

Almost Forgot…

Has this ever happened to you?

You go into summer full of excitement to do all sorts of fun activities like hikes, weekend trips, bike rides, BBQs. But then you fall into a groove. Before you know it, the leaves are changing color, you’re pulling your sweaters back out of the closet, and barely any of those dreams were realized. You had fun in the sun, but you also have that nagging feeling you didn’t make the most of it.

I know the feeling. It’s happening to Kim and me right now.

With all the hullabaloo of returning to Canada from South Africa, quarantining, and now trying to find an apartment, time has been flying by. And we don’t have much to show for it.

So this week we turned to our trusty strategy: bucket lists.

Since our second year together, we’ve made summer bucket lists every year. We also make them every time we move to a new city (Mexico City, Medellin, Cape Town, Valencia, Essaouira). They are like guidance counselors for fun and fulfillment, ensuring we extract maximum enjoyment before it’s too late.

Taste test with friends outside in the summer with one of our bucket list items, Mount Currie, behind us
Two summer bucket list items in one photo: Mount Currie and blind taste tests.

Bucket List Tips

A few tried-and-true strategies we use for our bucket lists:

  • Don’t make them too long. A few big activities can fill a bucket just as well as hundreds of little ones.
  • Keep most activities open-ended. For instance, we’ve bucketed a couple of day trip bike rides, but are keeping our options open on where we’ll go in case a friend suggests somewhere other than what we have in mind.
  • Only a couple of specific activities. One of ours is to climb Mount Currie, the mountain in the photo above.
  • Steady pacing. We don’t bother scheduling our entire bucket list in advance. Instead, every Sunday or Monday we decide on one or two activities to knock off in the coming week.


  • Reminders: Use a reminders app to share and sync your summer bucket list. Kim and I both have iPhones, so we use Apple Reminders (see photo above) to manage and monitor our bucket lists. Our grocery lists, too, but those are more boring.
  • City Guides: If you live in a city, check out Airbnb’s little-known things to do guides. They’re a consolidation of the recommendations from all the hosts in a particular city. We often use them to uncover new restaurants and attractions to visit, even in our hometown of Vancouver.
  • Saved Places: Speaking of little-known, not enough people make the most of Google Maps’ Saved Places functionality. Here’s how to unleash its full potential.

Seize the Summer

Bucket lists can’t stop time from flying by, but when it’s gone we know we will feel like we made the most of summer thanks to making one.

Consider making one, too.

Until next time,

Chris and Kim

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Chris and Kim

Kim and Chris started The Unconventional Route in 2018 to share their experiences exploring extraordinary places, things, and ideas. Now, over 150,000 people a month read their questionable advice. Every week, they share a new complacency-challenging and curiosity-tickling idea in their newsletter, Consider This.