Why You Should Create a Local Bucket List

During this crazy year it can be difficult to keep hope alive. By creating a local bucket list you can inspire hope and motivate yourself to accomplish all new things.

Written by Adam on 2020-07-27. Blog, Financial Independence, Mindfulness, personal, travel. 9 comments. Find out how I make money.

Earlier this month I realized one missing piece in our life lately: a vision of the future. Planning for the future seems impossible when everything is still in flux.

Or at least, it can seem that way. For July, I’m trying to break out of that mindset and embrace a vision of the future – even if it may change.

The view from Ensign Peak in SLC.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, we’ve self-quarantined in our Salt Lake City, UT apartment. Our entire schedule (outside of the house) can be narrowed down to a few bullet points:

  • Every day
    • Walk Lily around the block once or twice
    • Exercise in some way – either a run, go to our apartment gym if it’s empty, or do body-weight exercises.
    • Try to do something productive (write, code, etc). I’m about 50/50 on this lately.
    • Watch/listen/read too much news (I’m trying to cut down).
  • About once a week
    • Order food for delivery from somewhere
    • Have a group Zoom call with friends
  • Every other week
    • Go to the grocery store to pick up as much food as possible.
    • Go on a longer hike (3+ hours).

There’s nothing that makes me enjoy being at home more than spending a day sweating outside. That can be a long run, a backpacking trip, or just a hike. That realization led me to wonder: what else could we do locally?

That’s my challenge for this post – and for you if you want something to look forward to.

We moved to Utah about 2 and a half years ago. The first year we both worked full-time but explored where we could on nights and weekends. The second-year I retired and Mrs. Minafi continued to work. We did more of the same, while I explored locally. Mrs. Minafi left her job earlier this year and we fully intended for 2020 to be a year of exploration.

But of course COVID-19. Now we’re adapting.

When we moved here from Florida after 30+ years we always planned for this to be a 5-year home (at most). Now that we’re half-way through that, I wanted to create a “Utah goals list” – a list of everything I want to do before/if we move.

Creating this kind of list has many positive side effects as well!

  • It inspired you to take action
  • It reminds you of what’s all around you
  • It helps you be a better host to guests
  • It helps you catch opportunities before they slip away

Side note: The hope isn’t to check off everything on this list. Instead, it’s about making sure that the ones that are the most exciting to me are prioritized.

Adam in front of the Delicate Arch in Arches National Park
Me in front of the Delicate Arch in Arches National Park


  • Visit and explore all of the National Parks within a 6-hour drive
    • ✅ Rocky Mountains National Park (2017)
    • ✅ Zion (2018 x2)
    • ✅ Yellowstone National Park (2019)
    • ✅ Grand Teton National Park (2019)
    • ✅ Arches National Park (2019)
    • ✅ Canyonlands National Park (2019)
    • ✅ Great Basin National Park (2019)
    • ✅ Capitol Reef National Park (2020)
    • ✅ Bryce Canyon National Park (2020)
    • ✅ Grand Canyon National Park (2020)
    • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
    • Mesa Verde National Park
    • Petrified Forest National Park (~9 hours away)
    • Great Sand Dunes National Park (9 hours away)
  • Visit and explore all of the state parks in Utah
    • ✅ Anasazi State Park Museum
    • ✅ Antelope Island State Park (2019)
    • Bear Lake State Park
    • Camp Floyd / Stagecoach Inn State Park and Museum
    • Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
    • ✅ Dead Horse Point State Park (2019)
    • Deer Creek State Park
    • East Canyon State Park
    • Echo State Park
    • Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum
    • ✅ Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
    • Flight Park State Recreation Area
    • Fremont Indian State Park and Museum
    • Frontier Homestead State Park Museum
    • ✅ Goblin Valley State Park (2020)
    • Goosenecks State Park
    • Great Salt Lake State Park (2021?)
    • Green River State Park
    • Gunlock State Park
    • Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park
    • Huntington State Park
    • Hyrum State Park
    • Jordan River Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area
    • ✅ Jordanelle State Park
    • Kodachrome Basin State Park
    • Millsite State Park
    • Otter Creek State Park
    • Palisade State Park
    • Piute State Park
    • Quail Creek State Park
    • Red Fleet State Park
    • Rockport State Park
    • Sand Hollow State Park
    • Scofield State Park
    • Snow Canyon State Park
    • Starvation State Park
    • Steinaker State Park
    • ✅ This Is the Place Heritage Park
    • Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum
    • Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum
    • Utah Lake State Park
    • ✅ Wasatch Mountain State Park
    • Willard Bay State Park
    • Yuba State Park
  • Check out some of the water
    • ✅ Visit Lake Powell
    • ✅ Fifth Water Hot Springs
    • ✅ The Great Salt Lake
    • ✅ Homestead Crater
    • ✅ Bonneville Salt Flats
  • Photo-worthy Sites
    • Monument Valley
    • Antelope Canyon
At the top of Observation Point in Zion National Park (November)
At the top of Observation Point in Zion National Park (November)

Take Advantage of the Outdoors

  1. Hike the 20 most popular trails in Utah
    1. ✅ Angels Landing Trail [Zion] (Hiked part of it in 2018. Stopped due to high traffic).
    2. ✅ Lake Blanche Trail (2018, 2019)
    3. ✅ Delicate Arch Trail [Arches] (2019)
    4. ✅ The Zion Narrows Riverwalk Trail [Zion] (2018)
    5. ✅ Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail [Bryce]
    6. ✅ Bells Canyon Trail to Lower Falls
    7. ✅ Donut Falls trail
    8. ✅ Devils Garden Loop Trail [Arches] (2019)
    9. ✅ Stewart Falls Trail (2020)
    10. ✅ Mount Olympus Trail (2019)
    11. ✅ Corona and Bowtie Arch Trail [Arches] (2019. Didn’t hike it, but saw the arches from a boat tour!)
    12. ✅ Adam’s Canyon Trail (2017, 2019)
    13. Zion Canyon Overlook Trail [Zion] (short hike)
    14. ✅ The Living Room Lookout Trail (2019)
    15. The Watchman Trail [Zion]
    16. Fairyland Loop Trail [Bryce]
    17. ✅ Observation Point trail [Zion] (2018)
    18. ✅ Peekaboo Loop Trail [Bryce]
    19. Horseshoe Falls Trail
    20. ✅ Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail [Grand Escalante]
  2. Hike some of the most iconic off-the-beaten-path trails in Utah
    1. ✅ The Highline Trail (it’s 100 miles. I’d be happy to hike 10 miles of it).
    2. The Subway Trail [Zion]
    3. The West Rim Trail [Zion]
    4. ✅ The Narrows [Zion] (2018)
      1. I’d love to hike The Narrows top-down too!
    5. Coyote Gulch Trail
    6. San Rafael River Gorge Trail
    7. The Wave Trail
  3. Hike some of the largest mountains in Utah
    1. ✅ Mt. Olympus
    2. Mt. Timpanogos (2022?)
    3. Kings Peak (20221?)
  4. Go backpacking to new spots with friends
    1. ✅ Grove Creek to Battle Creek (2019 x2)
    2. ✅ Lake Blanche (Mrs. Minafi’s first backpacking trip)
    3. ✅ Amethyst Lake Trail
    4. ✅ Highline Trail (45 miles of it)
    5. Next: Fifth Water Hot Springs? Mt. Timpanogos? San Rafeal Swell?
  5. ✅ Enjoy luxurious car camping at fun sites
  6. ✅ Go to an old mining town
    1. Stayed in Ely, NV when visiting Great Basin National Park
  7. ✅ Explore Caves
    1. ✅ Mt. Timpanogos Cave
    2. ✅ Lehman Caves in Great Basin National Park
  8. Go stargazing in a dark-sky zone
Canyoneering in Zion (with a guide so we didn't die)
Canyoneering in Zion (with a guide so we didn’t die)

Personal Challenges

  1. ✅ Learn to ski black diamond slopes
    1. 2018/2019 – Had an IconPass and went out a bunch. Improved a small amount, but would have been more with an instructor.
    2. 2019/2020 – Between Jury Duty + COVID I didn’t ski this season.
    3. 2020/2021 – Took a lesson this year and have skied a few black diamond slopes! I’m not good, but I’m “not hurt myself” good.
  2. Go bobsledding
    1. You can do this at the Park City Olympic park! It’s $80, but it’d be an experience to remember.
  3. Go hang gliding
  4. ✅ Go Canyoneering
    1. Went with an instructor in Zion. It’d be fun to go again.
  5. Learn how to rock climb enough to scale 5.10 routes (5.8-5.10 are considered intermediate).
  6. Go skydiving
  7. Go on a week-long backpacking trip
  8. Go snowmobiling
  9. Go dog sledding
  10. ✅ Learn how to shoot night photography
The Tower Theater in SLC for Sundance
The Tower Theater in SLC for Sundance


  1. Run the Pioneer Day Marathon
    1. ✅ 2019 – Ran the Half-marathon (2:08)
    2. 2020 – Cancelled
    3. ✅ 2021 – Ran my first marathon (5:44 – 2:20 for the first half, then had bad cramps).
  2. ✅ Volunteer at the Sundance Film Festival
    1. ✅ 2019
    2. ✅ 2020 – w/Mrs. Minafi!
    3. ✅ 2021 – volunteered remotely with Mrs. Minafi
    4. 2022 – Signed up!
  3. ✅ Visit a Christmas Market
  4. ✅ See the Christmas lights at Luminaria in Thanksgiving Point
  5. ✅ See the Christmas lights at Temple Square
  6. ✅ See The Book of Mormon a block away from Temple Square
    1. We won tickets in the daily lottery and were able to see it from the front row!
  7. ✅ Watch the yearly bison roundup in Antelope Island
  8. ✅ Celebrate Utah Pride with the parade
  9. ✅ Geek out at FanX (SLC’s Comic-Con)
    1. ✅ 2018, 2019
    2. ? 2020
    3. ✅ 2021
  10. Go to the Salt Lake City Gaming Convention
  11. ✅ See a concert at the Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
    1. We saw a bunch! Our favorite was Pink Martini.
  12. Check out Evermore
  13. Participate in Questival – Cotopaxi’s 24-hour group scavenger hunt
  14. ✅ Enjoy Beer and Brats at Alta’s Octoberfest

Take in Some Utah Culture

  1. ✅ Check out the Gilgal Sculpture Garden
  2. ✅ Go to the Hogle Zoo
  3. ✅ Visit the Tracy Aviary & Botanical Gardens
  4. ✅ See the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium
  5. ✅ Explore the Natural History Museum of Utah
  6. Go to the Pioneer Memorial Museum
  7. ✅ Go to a drive-in movie

Where to Start?

Looking through your list can be motivating or sad. Sad because so many events and opportunities are not available this year. Or you can choose to find them motivating – giving you more time to look forward to a future date!

We don’t plan to expose ourselves to unnecessary risks. With COVID on the rise at the time of this writing, we’re reluctant to do anything around other people until there is a vaccine.

If your list is anything like mine, there will be some items that you can still do now! For me, those include national parks, trails, and a bunch of outdoor activities.

What about for you? Are there local goals you want to accomplish? Are there any you could work towards today?


Hi, I'm Adam! I help millennials invest to reach financial independence sooner than they ever thought possible. Want to see what you could do to reach FI sooner? You're in the right place!


Why not add to the conversation below? Your voice is welcome!


July 27, 2020

We’ve kept up our tennis and running and off roading, all of those are socially distanced outside activities where you are with other people but not very close to them. Since those were our normal social outlets, plus my remote consulting, life hasn’t changed really much at all for us this year. In fact in a week we are headed clear across the country to Colorado to do some trail riding.

Those are all good ones for the current times. Any chance to get outside and still be away from other people at this point. As much as we love hiking, there are a lot of trails that are just too crowded to attempt at this point. At least in Colorado there’s no shortage of options.

Hi Adam,

I love how you’ve broken down this list to enjoy local attractions in your area.

For an area that has a considerable amount of snow during the wintertime, have you prepared a separate list for future wintertime activities (I see that you are considering skiing) that can be done within the social distancing constraints?

I know things will potentially change between now and the winter months with our constraints, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to plan for the winter (holidays, activities, etc.) to avoid cabin fever.

Have you prepared a separate list for future wintertime activities

Ohh, I like that idea! I was thinking about loading these into Airtable and adding some additional ways to filter (weather, isolation, duration, etc). Could be a neat way to prioritize and see what’s available at any time.

I wasn’t initially planning on getting another ski pass, but with no travel and limited outside activities, it seems like that’ll be the one “get out of the house” activity for us. I haven’t thought about other ones yet – aside from maybe some sledding and snowshoeing.

That’s a long bucket list! We keep a similar running list of things to do in our area (we just moved to Jax Beach, FL this year after 4 decades in NYC). We also keep a list of when cultural sites like museums have their free or discounted days, or when there are ad hoc exhibits or fairs. The list comes in handy so we don’t squander our free time in endless debate about what to do.

That’s a nice area! You’re close to St. Augustine, Savanah, and even Charleston isn’t too far away. We went to St. Augustine a bunch of times over the years and always enjoyed it there.

Don’t wait until next year to see the Grand Canyon—do it this winter. The crowds will be gone and the air will be clear. Summer is iffy for both.

That’s a good idea – and Winter would be an ideal time for sure. We went down to Moab/Arches last August and it was just blazing hot. We’re thinking about planning a multi-park trip to hit a few places from Goblin Valley to Grand Canyon in the winter.

We’re still not sure if that’ll be safe to do this year or not. Going on a road trip where we camp or stay in a few hotels, get only takeout/delivery, and don’t spend any time inside seems safe enough. We’ll play it by ear and see if it feels safe and like we’re not putting others at risk.

Great bucket list! I can’t wait for next year or this pandemic crisis. Hopefully the later is sooner. Great read. Thank you.

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