Never one for New Year’s resolutions (I find them a complete waste of time and headspace) I do tend however to give consideration to the upcoming year and this year I have headed into the new year slightly differently.

Unusually for me I have had an exciting goal in place since last June that I completed last week when a small group of friends and I walked the 80km Heaphy Track. It was a profound experience on many levels and probably the biggest physical challenge of my life.

A trifling goal in comparison to many other people’s far more lofty ones, it nonetheless was a big deal for me and something I’ve had in the back of my mind for many years.

Why then if it had been in my mind for so long, did it take all that time to realise it?


Sometimes you just have to say “yes” and make the time

It’s so easy to let life get in the way of what we really want to do, and we have ample justification for not doing these things because of course we are all SO BUSY with work and family and a bunch of admin and obligations (not to mention distractions.)

Then of course time goes by and although you may have had a good year, you’re probably no closer to doing some of the larger or more meaningful things you have in the back of your mind to do “someday….” and in this way we can maybe get the feeling of life passing us by.

Whilst most of us don’t have the budget or opportunity to head off to Rio for Carnival or trek the Annapurna Circuit (even if we wanted to) we certainly, in most parts of New Zealand have a wealth of closer to home, easy to access opportunities for fun, curiosity, adventure and growth. Hence the concept of a close to home bucket list.

Left to my own devices, I may never have scheduled the time to do this walk, but when a couple of friends suggested it, I jumped straight in and committed instantly. I knew there would be logistics and planning (neither of which are my strong point) and it took me away from my work and family for a week, which added some more pressure points. Was it worth it? A resounding YES!


What is a close to home bucket list?

I was introduced to this concept during a conversation with one of my clients last year based on something he’d read in book.

I was immediately struck by it and went home and starting adapting my existing bucket list to create a more localised one – one that I actually might be able to start experiencing.

Of course lists and goals and adventures aren’t for everyone, but here are some of the benefits I believe they can give us:

  • They can provide opportunities for us to live out our values (those feelings or states that are most important to us) which makes us feel good!
  • Many of us have a need for variety, which it’s so easy to indulge when we’re doing and seeing different things and having different experiences
  • It can be like pressing the re-set button on life – I just feel like I’ve been somewhere completely different which has given me the sense of being “out of time” and any concerns or worries were parked for the week, totally clearing my headspace
  • Challenge, growth, satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment are important for many of us (and are important for our wellbeing) and we can perhaps experience some of these when we’re doing a bucket list activity
  • Clarity and perspective. It’s amazing what you can process when you take yourself out of your routine and give yourself space to just be. The effects of this can be profound when you come back to reality…
  • When you share a cool experience with other people, particularly if it’s been a challenge, it really helps draw you close
  • Adding to the memory bank. When I’m an old lady sitting in my rocking chair, reflecting back, I want to know that I gave life a “bloody good nudge”


How to create a close to home bucket list

The list neither needs to be fancy nor exotic. I’ve been living back in Christchurch for nearly 7 years and there are so many things I’ve driven past and thought that I must call in and check that out, eat there, go for that walk.

What’s right under your nose or within striking distance for a day or a weekend?

You could have some fun with this and make it a family affair by creating a list together.

Here are some (very local, Christchurch) ideas to get you started:

  • Walks of varying distances, such as: Halswell Quarry, Crater Rim, Rapaki Track Taylors to Boulder Bay, Bridle Path (go on a Saturday and you can check out Lyttelton Market)
  • Check out the DOC website for all manner of hikes in Canterbury and beyond
  • Drive the Summit Road and watch the sun go down
  • Catch the ferry from Lyttelton to Diamond Harbour or Quail Island
  • Day trips to Sumner, Akaroa and Banks Peninsula bays, Birdlings Flat, Arthurs Pass
  • Check out the museum and the (new) library
  • Free concerts and events
  • Tree-planting, beach cleaning, community days