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30 Things Everyone Should Experience Before Turning 35
Man feeling on top of the world after a hike

30 Things Everyone Should Experience Before Turning 35

Chances are, there’s a lot you still haven’t crossed off your bucket list.

There’s also a good chance that you’ve never really made a bucket list and just have a small collection of things floating around in your head that you’d really like to get to before you die (and, preferably, much sooner than that).

But there are so many incredible things to experience in this world, many of which you may have never thought of or known about. So, it’s time to make that bucket list a little bigger.

But not just by adding things to it -- I want you to make it a point that, after reading this, you will go out and cross off three things you’ve always wanted to do before the end of this month.

Deal? Alright, let’s talk about some awesome things you should do before turning 35 (or even after, it's never too late!).

It seems like almost every day I've been able to cross things off my bucket list.

– Maren Morris

1. Live abroad

Living abroad, even if it’s for just a short time, is an experience that can honestly change your life.

I don’t mean travel somewhere and stay in a hotel or nice part of town. I mean live in an average neighborhood or city surviving off basic utilities. Live just the same way as everyone there typically lives. It will change you in a fundamental way.

2. Rock climb

Rock climbing is so much fun. It’s one of those things that never particularly called out to me, but when I tried it, I had an amazing time. And you don’t have to defy death to experience the benefits.

You could even just go to a rock-climbing center to climb a fake wall and you’ll have a blast (but the real thing is better).

3. Hike

Similarly, hiking is an absolutely incredible experience. Years ago, my military buddy took me to one of his favorite spots.

The fresh air, unobstructed earth, beautiful scenery, and amazingly refreshing spring water all made for an incredibly fun, calming, and even spiritual experience.

4. Complete a race

woman-running-parkThere are some things in life that will not just give you the time of your life, but also "level you up" and give you with greater confidence and belief in yourself. Completing a marathon or any endurance event is one of those things.

It can take months to train for a single marathon, however, once you’re done you won’t just be in the best shape of your life, but you'll also feel like you can conquer the world and can use that momentum to move on to something else.

5. Learn to fight

I’m not telling you to learn to defend yourself, although that’s up to you if you so choose. I love the martial arts and have an absolute blast training, and it's especially rewarding if you’re learning from someone who really knows what they’re talking about.

Look up a local mixed martial arts gym and take a few classes. You’ll be tired as hell, but have so much fun (and maybe be a bit better at defending yourself in the process, although that takes a while).

6. Get a pet

This seems like one of the things that are so basic everyone has experienced it, but I’ve met several people before who have never had a pet. As surprising as that is to me, I know they’re not exceptions.

If you’ve never had a pet, and you feel like you can take a little extra responsibility on your hands (because they take work, especially if it’s an active pet like a dog), then I highly suggest it.

7. Start a business

As someone who is entrepreneurial at heart, I love starting up and owning a business much more than working a nine-to-five.

And just about everyone I know who starts their own business ends up loving the experience as well, despite working as hard as ever.

8. Travel to your 'top 3’

What are the top three places you want to travel to? Japan? Italy? France? Maybe you’ve always wanted to visit London or Hong Kong?

You can’t pass up on visiting these places in your prime. Do it sooner than later because travel can often be a life-changing experience.

9. Attend a white-tie event

Experiencing such an incredible level of class and sheer glitz is a ton of fun to do, whether it’s a dinner party or special event, even if you only do it once. Getting dressed up is super fun and it inevitably feels like a bit of role playing too, so James (or Jane) Bond it up.

10. Take a road trip

I took a two-day, cross-country road trip from California to Florida before and, while it was an enormous amount of work, it was easily one of the best experiences of my life.

You don’t have to go cross-country to experience what it’s like to set out on your own (or with friends). Even a day of traveling and back with a few special stops can be an amazing experience.

11. Mentor or volunteer

There’s something really special about volunteering your time to help another human being. It’s a feeling that can’t really be described, and it has the power to fundamentally change you in a positive way.

Whether it’s long-term mentoring of someone or one-time volunteering at a nearby shelter, you need to experience this.

12. Visit an incredible natural wonder

By natural wonder, I’m talking about visiting something like the Grand Canyon or the Son Doong cave system in Vietnam.

Different from visiting a human establishment, experiencing such an incredible natural wonder can touch you on a deep level and leave you with a new appreciation for everything in the natural world.

13. Pay off your debt

This is all contingent upon whether or not you actually have debt. However, if you do, even if it’s only a little, it’s seriously one of those things you need to hunker down on and devote yourself to accomplishing.

The sheer sense of relief and freedom you experience once having done so is well worth the hard work (and it often leads to other opportunities).

14. Visit a prestigious art gallery

While not something that I could see myself doing more than once, this is definitely fun and a very interesting experience the first time.

My suggestion? Go all-in and learn about the artist and the themes behind their work and really study the pieces as you go through the gallery, attempting to discern what the artist's message is. This can give the experience a whole new dimension.

15. Learn a new language

Learning a new language opens up a new part of the world to you, or at least the people in that part of the world.

It can make traveling somewhere a totally new experience and even offer career benefits. Plus, learning a new language isn’t as difficult as you might think.

16. Read 100 books

Reading the occasional book is nice, but devoting yourself to learning and accomplishing something on this level not only deepens your experience of life, it gives you memorable experiences (if you’re reading fiction) and invaluable knowledge (if you're reading non-fiction) that you can take with you forever.

17. Learn an instrument

Learning an instrument is an incredible experience because it offers you a new avenue for self-expression.

If you practice enough, you can even use it to impress your partner, family, or bosses at special events. It’s a nice little hat trick aside from the joy that can come from simply playing the instrument itself.

18. See a great play

As a huge Harry Potter fan, I’ve been making plans to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway this year.

However, that’s partly because I saw my first play, Wicked, at the Pantages theatre in L.A. many years ago and it was really something incredible, something everyone should experience once.

19. Scuba dive

Deep water scares the crap out of me, but I’m mesmerized by the incredible diversity and beauty of underwater life.

Plus, scuba diving is pretty accessible and safe at endless locations all around the world (North America and beyond). Totally worth it.

20. Go fishing

Admittedly, the most I’ve ever fished is hanging out the back of my stepdad’s old boat trying to grab one from these little schools that would hang around the bay we docked at. Cute little guys. That is, unless you include the time I was throwing up over the side of said boat when he took me and my younger brother Mako shark fishing (I got my sea legs eventually).

Maybe I don’t make a very compelling case. But trust me, get out on a boat and feel the peace of the water (whether or not you fish, I suppose). It’s awesome.

21. Attend a concert

I went to my first concert at 15 and I can say from experience that seeing your favorite musician or band live is nothing like listening to them from a device.

It’s just an entirely different experience; from the sound level to the chanting crowd to actually hearing their voice live from their mouth, to their mic, the amp, and straight to your ears. Think of someone you’d like to see live and make it a point to go to their next concert.

22. Take time off from work to be with yourself

Take time just to be with yourself in near-silence for a week or longer. Focus on creative endeavors like painting, writing, or building. Read a few great books, stare out at the stars at night, and meditate.

This kind of inward experience, for even just a week, can fundamentally change how you think and unearth some very interesting things that you never knew were there.

23. Eat at a Michelin Star gourmet restaurant

By gourmet, I mean some Gordon Ramsay-level stuff. I mean that kind of experience that can absolutely blow your mind (because it likely will).

The stuff these chefs make is mind-blowing and will completely change your perception of what good food can look and taste like.

24. Fall in love


It sounds cheesy, but there’s absolutely no way you can get to 35 without at least trying to experience what it’s like to fall in love.

Clearly, this isn’t the kind of thing you can fully control, so don’t kick yourself over it or force yourself into something. However, having said that, love is an experience you really must have sooner than later.

25. Visit a national park

If you live in the U.S., there are countless national parks you can visit for little to no money. They offer one of the most incredible natural experiences you can ever find with huge spaces of open nature being perfectly preserved for all to enjoy. Just get ready to get a little dirty.

26. Learn something new

Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn but just never got around to? Like card tricks, carpentry, or filmmaking? Whatever it is, use some free time to dive into the subject, find some local classes or a class online and enjoy yourself.

27. Plant a garden

Another great “natural” experience that I think everyone should have, planting a garden has several benefits from it being the perfect stress-reliever to improving patience (seriously) and, you know, you’re growing your own food! Watching your plants grow is a really fulfilling process.

28. Shoot a film

Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to become a filmmaker. Chances are, you have a camera in your pocket, on your desk, or in your hand right now (that you’re reading this on!) that can shoot in some pretty decent HD quality.

That doesn’t exactly mean you’ll be any good at it, however, you can have a blast making your own mini-movie with friends (or just by yourself) whether it’s a fictional story, motivational film, or something else altogether.

29. Write a book

Okay, this might sound a bit ambitious, however, it’s now possible to publish a book all on your own if you’re willing to do a bit of work.

Obviously, the writing of the book can be an enormous amount of work– but it’s so worth it, especially if you tell a story (fictional or not) that is compelling and seeks to help others by expressing important lessons.

30. Take a huge risk

Some of the things on this list are pretty small and easy to accomplish. However, many require you to do some planning and saving and even taking a little risk. If you’ve lived to 35 and you haven’t taken any real risks, you’re not truly living.

Get out there and start that business, ask that person out, take the first step to making that big trip, or try that thing out that scares you to death (but you’re dying to experience).

Whatever it is, you only have so much time left to do it, so stop hesitating and allow yourself the satisfaction to know that you lived a great life instead of living in your golden years with nothing but regret.

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