Why You Need a Reverse Bucket List 

If you’ve read my F*CK-IT List you might remember how much I want to achieve in my lifetime. It’s a long list of 100 things. And I had to limit myself to 100. It was super fun to write, but it was also kind of overwhelming. Like a reminder to myself of all the things, I hadn’t done or achieved. So, when I learned about the reverse bucket list, I breathed a little sigh of relief.

Instead of thinking about all the things I have yet to do, I wrote down all the cool stuff I’ve already done. Things that make me feel proud.  To look back at my short 45 years on this magnificent globe and realize just how much I have done was pretty enlightening, not to mention good for the self-esteem!

Why bother writing a reverse bucket list?

Because it is not just an ego-booster, it’s an exercise in gratefulness. It’s easy to remember the bad stuff in life, and sometimes we just need to retrain the mind.

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”  Alphonse Karr

It’s so much healthier to think about all the positive memories, not the negative ones, that sometimes camp out in my small wrinkled brain.

When I look at all that I have achieved, I realize that my list won’t be so hard to accomplish. Of course, I might not fulfill all 100 things on my F*CK-IT List, but that’s because I will continually be adding more.  It will evolve as I do.

So, this is my very own gratefulness list to put myself into perspective when I need it the most. And to remind myself that I do, in fact, kick-ass.

Read on for my reverse bucket list.


Wildlife-related (favorite part of my reverse bucket list)

  1. Pet a rhino at a Reserve in Zimbabwe
  2. Hung out with monkeys at Monkeyland in South Africa
  3. Played with a baby lion in a reserve in South Africa
  4. Swam with whale sharks in Holbox Island, Mexico
  5. Saw the last surviving, century-old land turtle in the Galapagos. Lonesome George who died in 2012.  He was the last of his species.Galapagos Tortoise Reverse Buket List
  1. Trekked mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
  2. Went to Jane Goodall’s Chimp island and played with baby chimps
  3. Pet spider monkeys and baby sloths in a sanctuary in Costa Ricame and monkey on my shoulder
  4. Rode horses three different times and each time I’ve been “towed” by other horses because I couldn’t get my horse to walk (not actually proud of this one but I keep trying, and it makes me laugh)
  5. Pet llamas in Ecuador
  6. Saw Proboscis monkeys in the wild in BorneoProboscis Monkey, Borneo

Travel related

  1. Went to Carnival in Recife, Brazil
  2. Traveled to the Amazon rainforest
  3. Honeymooned in the Galapagos and saw blue-footed boobies
  4. Stayed in a boathouse on Lake Kariba on the Zimbabwe/Zambia border
  5. Floated down a river in Borneo and saw tens of thousands of fireflies light up the night like stars
  6. Celebrated Thaipusam, the most significant Hindu festival in Penang Thaipusam Celebration, Reverse Bucket List
  1. Hitchhiked in South Africa
  2. Traveled through Europe in a VW van with three guys I met in a piazza in Italy. We wandered for three weeks together sleeping in their VW van. They became my big brothers and protectors.
  3. Spent April 15-May 22 in Greece and Cyprus and most of it was through doing home exchanges so we didn’t pay for accommodation
  4. Traveled to 43 countries
  5. I went to school in Spain
  6. Drank spit beer from the Achuar Indians in Ecuador
  7. Spent New Year celebrating the toro y mula festival in a small village in Costa Rica
  8. Traveled alone in Europe

Work related

  1. Became a travel writer for International Living International Living Magazine, Reverse Bucket List
  1. Learned how to pull a proper pint while working illegally in London
  2. Started my own wholesale clothing business called the Feisty Kitten Showroom. It was a booming biz for 10 years.
  3. Taught English in Brazil and South Africa
  4. Published a blog
  5. Spoke on stage in front of over 100 people at a conferenceMe public speaking, Reverse Bucket List
    1. Became a published author
    2. Learned how to create a website
    3. Was a successful real estate agent for two years
    4. Volunteered in 2 archaeological digs; one in France and the other Mykonos
    5. Wrote a book about retiring to Bali for International Living
    6. Won an award for being in the top 100 expat blogs from Feedspot award ribbon

Adventure related

            1. Went skydiving
            2. Shot machine guns in CambodiaShooting in Cambodia
            3. Crawled through a cave with an underground river in Ipoh
            4. Surfed in Sri Lanka
            5. I’m a PADI certified, terrified scuba diver
            6. Micro lighted over Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
            7. Micro lighted in Costa RicaMe microlighting in Costa Rica

        Other random stuff that makes me feel good

                  1. Did an episode of House Hunters International on HGTV
                  2. Was an extra in Indian SummersMe on Indian Summers, Reverse Bucket List
                1. Learned how to Batik
                2. Had a book club with award-winning author Vaddey Ratner
                3. Acted as a nun in a Singaporean b&w filmMe as a nun, Reverse Bucket List
                        1. Moved abroad many times; England for 9 months, Brazil for 3, South Africa for 2 years, Penang for 6 years and counting)
                        2. I walked over hot coals at an Anthony Robbins seminar
                        3. I married a really good manWedding day

                    So there you have it. If you want to know more about any of these, don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll happily give you all the deets.

                    How to make your own reverse bucket list

                    The list doesn’t have to be full of big things.

                    Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” —Robert Brault

                    It can be anything from learning how to ride a bike or bake the best banana bread, to things like graduating from college, or dancing like no one was watching during a Zumba class.  Whatever you are proud of that makes you feel good. Write it down.

                    When you start beating yourself up for some dumb reason, and if you’re like me you will, read your reverse bucket list and remind yourself how freakin’ incredible you are.

                    Instead of ogling Instagram for all the dream-worthy trips I am not currently taking, this is like a kick in my own ass reminder that I have lived a pretty dream worthy life. Time to embrace just how fortunate I am.

                What’s on your reverse bucket list? Tell me 3 of your proudest moments or coolest things you’ve done.


  1. Dawn

    Great article Kirsten, you certainly have achieved so much for a young lady! I am very pleased we have travelled India (twice) Turkey and Myanmar., These countries aren’t on everyones list of must do, but they are all exciting and exotic in their own way. . As Rick Steves says, ‘Just keep on travellin!

    • Kirsten Raccuia

      Hey Dawn! I’ve never been to any of those countries (well, we went to the northern part of Cyprus which is occupied by the Turks so that might count?). They are all on my to go list and living here means we are so close…just got to make it happen. I’ll happily take Rick’s advice!

    • Jeff

      Kirsten, your descriptions are breathtaking. Your reasoning is exact and to the point. At age 77 I’m a little old to start traveling and relocating, but just reading your blog makes me feel as though I was right there with you and Mark! Keep communicating beautifully. I can’t wait to hear about your next adventure with your partner, Mark.

      • Kirsten Raccuia

        Thank you so much, Jeff! I understand why you don’t want to relocate at 77. Just keep traveling like you do! You should come visit us in Penang, you’d love it over here!


    I love love love this! Sometimes I think about everything I still want to do but forget all that I did.

    • Kirsten Raccuia

      Ivy! Make a list! You will start to recall all the memories as you do it. And look back through pictures, that will helps! Let me know when you do it, I’d love to read it!

  3. Nova Halliwell

    Omg – I love this. Totally going to do one at one point & will
    Link back. xx

    • Kirsten Raccuia

      Nova! I’m super excited to read yours, It’s going to be a good one! And thank you for the future linkback!🥰

  4. Mark Raccuia

    1) getting over my addiction
    2) marrying you
    3) selling it all and moving to SE Asia for a new life

    • Kirsten Raccuia

      Aww, my sweet love!. You are the strongest, most incredible person I know. WIth you I know I can accomplish anything! Let’s keep tackling every day like we want to add it to this list! Love love love you



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