Welcome to Bucket List

Howdy! My name is John Zumwalt. At five years old, my first international flight was to the tropics where I then lived for 17 years. My audacious parents lived among headhunters and this gave me the honorary title of being a blond Asian and an overwhelming love of cultures and adventure.

I don’t know why, but I always had a youthful foreboding that I would die by the age of 34, and I wanted to experience life fully before that fateful date. I didn’t know it then, but I was starting a habit of making “bucket lists” and worked hard to accomplish them for each stage of my life. This idea of a deadline pushed me to venture far beyond my comfort zones and experience life with all of its beauty. In high school I made a list of all the things I wanted to do before I was 18. I made a subsequent list for before I was 25 and again a “final” bucket list to be accomplished before the age of 34. In doing so, I have been fortunate to live the adventures of many lifetimes.

My lists included: working with refugees on the Cambodian border during the Khmer Rouge atrocities, living in Alaska, taking a year and circling the globe, studying art in the great cultural centers of Europe, drinking yak milk tea with monks in Tibet, caravanning through the deserts to the oases of the silk road, exploring the archeological digs at Lothal of the ancient Indus Valley people, standing atop the great altar of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, spending time in a vineyard in Tuscany, floating down the Nile at sunset, and many more experiences. I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of travel and experienced it as a backpacker staying in hostels and as a business man sleeping in five star hotels. 

That dark number 34 came and went, and I was fine. So what do you do when you have checked all the boxes on your to do list and still have time? You make a new list! In many ways bucket list became a guide for the meaning of my life.

For the last 35 years, I have been in the travel business exploring the world. I have led over 30 groups internationally and visited 34 countries. I have been a cross-cultural coach and trainer and curriculum developer in universities and international business schools both in the USA and overseas, preparing students and clients for the adventure of going abroad. I am convinced that travel and experiencing life in all its forms is our greatest educational tool! 

My mission is to point you toward your best life, through focusing on what you want to accomplish and experience before you kick the bucket.

How I Create Content

I have planned and edited all the content to ensure Bucket List meets the highest quality standards. This is to make certain that all the information is accurate and that you can trust Bucket List advice to make trips and purchase decisions. As much as possible I try to get my hands on items I mention in the blog and obtain real life experience and evaluations. When this is not possible I rely on extensive feedback from you and the online community of real people.

I spend a lot of time talking with travelers and I am always looking for the latest greatest trips or travel gear to make the journey more enjoyable. On this blog you will hear from seasoned adventurers, travelers, and global explorers about their experiences and insights. As we pull back the veil from the unknown and sometimes frightening world, we will endeavor to give you real, sincere perspective and advice.

All in all, I want this to be a site where you can get honest answers and trust that I am looking out for you, rather than a website that is rigged by brand sponsorship.

Anti Slavery

You will see some brands excluded from my reviews due to their participation in modern slavery. No human should be enslaved to create cheaper products, and I hope you will join me in boycotting anything that has the taint of human suffering and oppression. I will continue to advocate through my blog and actions for fair-trade and ethical adventures and products. 

What is in it for you?

Why should you read Bucket List? I would say the main reason you should check it out is you want to get busy living! We all get caught in the mundane daily routine, and if we are not careful that mundane existence is all we will have. To break out of it we need a compass, a guide to point us toward making our life fuller and more meaningful. Bucket List is that life coaching to help you define what is important to you and to encourage you to make your life an adventure.

If you resonate with the following statements, you will enjoy the content on this site:

  • You are the kind of person that craves experiencing new things.
  • You believe the journey is as important as the destination.
  • You believe we should all be free to pursue the best life possible.
  • You love the kaleidoscope of cultures that fill our world with beauty.
  • You want to obtain actual adventure and gear advice from real people not a commercial sales page.
  • You want every day to be filled with moments that take your breath away.

Laozi in the Tao Te Ching states that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step” (千里之行,始於足下). I want to welcome you to your first step toward creating your own meaningful bucket list here on my blog! 

Start your bucket list today by clicking here.

Dr. John Zumwalt

Founder and Editor of Bucket List