Legacy Maker

Making a bucket list a reality

Paula Reid, Portsmouth, England

Many people mentally compile a bucket list of things they really want to do, but author, coach and adventurer Paula Reid, 51, has already completed one longer than most people could write.

“Growing up, I’d always mark down what I did on my calendar,” she says. “And at the end of the year I’d think – ‘that was a boring year’ or ‘that was packed’. It made me realise that life is a gift. We choose the lives we lead.” Already working within the travel industry, Paula began to actively draw up what she calls a Live Life To The Full List, and has since completed more than 100 adventures. These have ranged from the big – skiing to the South Pole – to smaller wishes such as attending Glastonbury festival and having some of her poetry published.

“Life is a gift. We choose the lives we lead”

Her favourites? “Two trips stand out,” she says. “I went to Cambodia, and paddled down the Mekong. And I went to West Papua, which has no roads or technology. I met the elders, trekked the jungle. I was in my element.” Having done a Masters degree in psychology, Paula began to promote the benefits of “adventure psychology” and doing good deeds. This has translated into a new quest, in which she cycled across all 50 European countries, doing a “good turn” in each.

“What makes these special moments happen is deciding to seek them”

“It can be a selfish thing, helping other people – because it benefits you so much mentally!” she says. “It’s truly fulfilling. Adventure psychology is all about developing a mindset in which you can be positive, despite not knowing the circumstances that lie ahead.” You don’t have to conceive a big mission to lead a richer life either, Paula says. “We might be bound by time, money, a family – the thing is to be realistic. When you write an actual list, it increases your motivation to complete it. And it’s nice to draw one up with your partner, kids or friends. It can be something as small as watching a sunset, something free. You realise that what makes these special moments happen is deciding to seek them.”

Photography by Jody Daunton