Seeing Northern Lights is top for bucket listers

HAVING a family, buying a dream home and sometimes even space travel often appear on people’s lists of things to do before they die.
The Northern Lights seen from the north shore of the Isle of Mull. Picture: SWNSThe Northern Lights seen from the north shore of the Isle of Mull. Picture: SWNS
The Northern Lights seen from the north shore of the Isle of Mull. Picture: SWNS

Now a survey charting the most popular “bucket list” request has revealed that a sight often visible in Scotland has come out top.

Seeing the Northern Lights is first on many lists, followed by visiting the Grand Canyon, seeing Niagara Falls and going on a round-the-world trip.

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However, the survey also discovered that with a typical list costing nearly £136,000 to complete, it would take people 80 years to fulfil their dreams at the current rate of money saving.

The main reason among 25 to 34-year-olds for drawing up a “bucket list” was fear of missing out, the study of more than 2,000 adults revealed, while, overall, two in five said thinking about their aspirations kept them motivated.

But three in five reckoned it was unlikely they would be able to complete their list before they died, with half blaming a lack of money.

The survey of 2,154 adults by GE Capital Direct 1, part of the GE Capital UK finance group, also found that men were much more likely to have wacky unconventional items on their lists, at 30 per cent compared to 18 per cent. For example, 21 per cent of men, but only 9 per cent of women, fancied travelling in space.

By contrast, 52 per cent of women, compared with only 30 per cent of men, listed activities related to social responsibility such as rescuing animals and doing charity work overseas.

Life goals such as “buy a dream house”, “get married” and “master another language” were also part of the top ten.


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Sheragh Beirne, from GE Capital UK, said: “Keeping a bucket list is a fun way to track our aspirations and can be a great motivator. When our aspirations have a financial cost, it can be difficult to work out the savings plan needed to fulfil our life ambitions.

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“Our grandparents’ generation kept tins and jars around the house labelled ‘holiday’, ‘entertainment’ or ‘car’ to track their goals. Their trick was to create a simple budget and stick to it. Luckily these days it is easier with savings accounts you can label, according to your own bucket list.”

In a survey released last year by the Discovery Channel, the top 25 “bucket list” attraction was again viewing the Northern Lights. But it also featured “Celebrate Hogmanay in Edinburgh” at number 23, which sat between witnessing the Masai Mara Great Wildebeest migration in Kenya and seeing the Sistine Chapel in Italy.

Responding to the latest survey, Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said yesterday: “In our experience, from social media and other consumer insights, we know that Scotland features on a lot of bucket lists, and quite right too.

“From enjoying a traditional Scottish Hogmanay, to Nessie hunting in the famous Loch, to experiencing a whisky at sunset on top of Ben Nevis, there are infinite unique adventures that inspire people in our breathtaking country.”

The 2007 film The Bucket List, directed by Rob Reiner and starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, centres around two terminally ill characters who go on a road trip to achieve various goals before they die. The film is credited with the bucket list concept becoming the phenomena it is today.


1 See the Northern Lights

2 Visit the Grand Canyon

3 Visit Niagara Falls

4 Go on a round-the-world trip

5 Buy a dream house

6 Go on safari

7 Swim with dolphins

8 Visit all Seven New Wonders of the World

9 Get married

10 Master a foreign language


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