Your ‘anti-bucket list’: What to skip before you die

"Plunging head first into a body of water and seeing someone's body snap like a matchstick that terrifies me."

"Plunging head first into a body of water and seeing someone's body snap like a matchstick that terrifies me." Photo: Getty

What would be on your anti-bucket list?

For author Kathy Lette, it’s orgies. For media personality Jane Caro, it’s Singapore (“like being locked in a giant Westfield, only duller”). For writer Benjamin Law, it’s writing a bucket list in the first place (“reeks of privilege”). Welcome to the anti-bucket list.

Everywhere you turn, you’re bombarded with inspirational lists, mantras and Instagram pictures of experiences or places you simply must try/visit before you kick the bucket, coining that most modern of phrases, the ‘bucket list’.

In a subversion of that trend, I asked Aussies what would be on their ‘anti-bucket list’: overrated experiences to avoid before you die. And they didn’t hold back. Here’s what they warned you should steer clear of at all costs.

Kathy Lette, author


The most over-rated events in the world are orgies (it’s so hard to relax when you’re worried that other people are having more fun than you are, and that someone might accidentally wear home your designer Moschino).
(if I want to feel terrified, I ring my agent)
Los Angeles
I don’t like to see the air before I breathe it. Besides, this is a place where people say ‘have a nice day’ … and then shoot you.

Jane Caro, media personality

Meeting your idol

… whoever they are. Turns out they’re always only human and rather less impressive in person than otherwise. Hang on to that illusion and keep your distance.
Climbing Mount Everest
Or, frankly, any mountain. Too dangerous, too steep, too cold, too scary and then you have to climb down!
It’s like being locked in a giant Westfield, only duller.

Benjamin Law, writer

Writing a bucket list

Personally I’ve just always felt the whole concept was idiotic and reeked of privilege. Sure, have some goals and experiences you’d love – ideally – to experience, but there’s no need to beat yourself up if you can’t achieve or afford them.

Life ain’t a checklist and the best things are often unplanned surprises simply involving the people you love. And sometimes, the planned stuff is disappointing. Case in point: I did a scuba course recently because I thought it’d be magical and life-changing. It sucked – the instructor was mean and I broke out into hives.”

Other contributions

Leaning Tower of Pisa
Smaller than you think, less leaney than you imagine, a bugger to get to and tonnes of people trying to get that perfect shot of them pushing it

The Leaning Tower of Pisa photo – one of global travel’s great cliches. Photo: Getty

over. I missed Florence for Pisa and I’m still bitter. –@BenedictBrook, Sydney)

The ball dropping, New Years Eve, Times Square.

I can’t drink, I can’t feel my legs, and I can’t even go to the toilet! –Michael Daley, 36, Sydney

The Melbourne Cup

It’s seriously one of my favourite days of the year, and I love horse racing. Unfortunately, it’s ridiculously overcrowded, meaning you have to pay a shedload for a decent seat then fight your way to put a bet on or get a drink. Then you barely hear the commentary over the crowd so have no real idea of what just happened. Stay at home, have a party with friends and watch the excellent TV coverage instead. – @ozdale, 36, Melbourne

The Night Noodle Markets

Overpriced, queues for days, you eat lukewarm noodles on the ground next to a bin while an ibis watches. – @bondnickbond, Sydney

Bungee jumping

There’s something about plunging head first into a body of water and seeing someone’s body snap like a matchstick that terrifies me. – @luci321

See the Mona Lisa

Surrounded by so many beautiful and fascinating exhibits, the painting is so tiny you can’t even see it due to the huge crowd in front of it. Definitely cannot see what the hype is all about. – @2ndchancewozza, Melbourne


Not half as romantic or elegant as it wishes it was (sic). – Ella Arendelle, 25, Cammeray

Las Vegas

Far too hot and, once your gambling budget expires, it gets very boring very quickly. – Chris Ashworth, 36, Waterloo


You’re only one sullen uninterested teenager’s Saturday job away from unfurling a tablecloth rather than a parachute. – Gary Minford, Winston Hills. 39.
Swimming with dolphins
If it is a captive enclosure then you only have to watch the documentary The Cove to see why you shouldn’t. If it is a ‘wild’ experience then you need to know that dolphins are actually massive assholes.They kill the new-born calves so they can mate with the mother. – Gary Minford, Winston Hills. 39.

Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Overpriced and the view is just as good at the top of the pylon things. And you can take photos there. – Kate Solway, Guernsey (formerly Sydney)

Kuta, Bali

I just don’t get it. – Stephen Close, Sydney

Twitter: @garynunn1

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