76 – Creating and Feeling More Ikigai with a Bucket List

Do you have a bucket list? What’s on it?

Often, when we contemplate bucket lists, our thoughts drift toward travel and the places we wish to explore. However, a bucket list can also serve as a tool for goal setting, aiding us in connecting with people and engaging in meaningful activities.

In this episode of the Ikigai Podcast, Nick talks with Trav Bell on how having a bucket list can offer us more opportunities to experience ikigai in our lives.

Having a reverse bucket list

“A lot of us do this stuff by default, rather than intentional design. And it's only until we stop, pause, and reflect. We go, ‘Yeah, I've done some cool stuff.’ But we live in such a forward-facing world, worrying about the next thing, the next item, the next goal, whatever it is, the next bill I gotta pay.

But when I asked people, give me three things, maybe five things at a stretch, things that you've done in your life as if they were in a bucket list all the way along. And people can't even think, they tap out at three. Because we're so programmed to look forward and not ingratitude of what we've already done. 

So when you build out this big reverse bucket list, people were like, "Oh, I've done some cool stuff and if I actually put some thought into this, some real intention behind this, everything's possible.” - Trav Bell

Podcast Highlights

Trav Bell

Trav Bell - The Bucket List Guy

Trav Bell is the ‘The Bucket List Guy’….The World’s No.1 Bucket List Expert. Trav is a speaker, coach and mentor, and Founder CEO of the Certified Bucket List Coach®, a global network of coaches who are on a mission to help 10 million Bucket Listers live purposely fulfilled lives or #tickitB4Ukickit. 

From families to Fortune 500 companies, Trav and his tribe run programs that educate, inspire and encourage others to embrace their best life and stretch beyond the ‘norm’.

Becoming ‘The Bucket List Guy’

Growing up, Trav was into sports that’s why he ended up pursuing a physical education degree. Unsure of his career path, he stumbled upon personal training through an influencer, Tony Hewitt. Fascinated by the results Tony achieved, Trav ventured into personal training.

He attracted numerous clients and eventually expanded, establishing one of Melbourne's first personal training studios. He expanded his chain across Australia, fostering a large network of trainers.

However, certain toxic individuals disrupted the system, causing personal struggles leading to mild depression. Rejecting heavy medication, Trav explored various avenues and attended seminars.

Encouraged by a friend, he conducted his seminar, sharing his experiences and the concept of a ‘bucket list.’ This inspired the nickname ‘The Bucket List Guy.’ Since then, Trav has prioritised freedom and helping others while embracing his role as a coach and motivational speaker.

“When you're speaking from your heart, and you're speaking from a stage in front of a lot of people, you’re self-actualizing, too.” Trav Bell

Speaking and Self-actualizing

The Bucket List philosophy

Trav’s bucket list approach is all about making intangible ideas tangible, motivating individuals to establish their own procedures, guidelines, and structured plans to reach their objectives. He uses ‘my bucket list’ as an acronym for his methodology:

M - Meet a personal hero

Y - Your proud achievements

B - Buy that something special

U - Ultimate challenges

C- Conquer a fear

K - Kind acts for others

E - Express yourself

T - Take lessons

L - Leave a legacy

I - Idiotic stuff

S - Satisfy a curiosity

T - Travel adventures

“A bucket list is a tangible life plan, where your career planning and your business plan should fit into your life plan and not the other way around.” - Trav Bell

My Bucket List

Two main bucket lists

There are two main bucket lists: reverse and future bucket lists.

  • Reverse bucket list - Everything you’ve done in your life as if it were in a bucket list all along.

  • Future bucket list - What you plan to do in the future.

The aim is to live a bucket list life for a more fulfilled and meaningful life, similar to having ikigai in our lives.

“You reflect on these challenges or ideas you bring forth to have this meaningful life.” - Nicholas Kemp

Meaningful Life

Creating a bucket list

It's crucial to jot down your bucket list as it enhances your awareness and focus on your goals. For Trav, while documenting goals, focusing solely on the 'what' and 'why,' and rating them from 1 to 10 based on inspiration and motivation to achieve them, matters.

  • What is it?

  • Why do you want to do it?

  • What’s your personal reason for wanting to do it?

Trav’s bucket list

Trav's bucket list includes visiting Japan to witness a live Sumo match. This year, he is focused on becoming healthier and aims to compete in an over-50s physique competition. Additionally, he desires to explore various surf spots worldwide, has been learning DJing, plans to perform a live set, and hopes to swim with whale sharks with his family


Maintaining a bucket list can significantly contribute to our ikigai, helping us recognize the things that hold importance in our lives. It assists in setting goals that resonate with our values, leading to a life of meaning and fulfilment.

Become an ikigaicoach