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Trav Bell, The Bucket List Guy
Trav Bell, The Bucket List Guy

How Trav Bell became The Bucket List Guy.

In my wallet, is a neatly folded piece of paper. It comes from a daily calendar on November 30, 1995. The paper says, “Make a list of 25 things you want to experience before you die. Carry it in your wallet and refer to it often.”  

On the back of the paper is my first bucket list. Today, I keep a bucket list on Google Docs. Every time I cross something off the list, I add something else.  

When it comes to bucket lists, Trav Bell has me beat, hands down.  

Trav Bell is The Bucket List Guy. He speaks to audiences around the world, including his incredible TEDxMelbourne talk.  

But he wasn’t born with a bucket list. It developed over time.  

“I’ve never worked for anyone in my life,” Trav explains. “I’ve always been an entrepreneur.  

“That’s probably because my dad was a fitter and turner, a mechanic. He worked for the same people from the age of 16 to the age of retirement. He liked it, but he wasn’t really engaged the whole time. It brought him a fair bit of unhappiness.  

“That’s probably why I went to entrepreneurialism, and why I chose my own path.”  

Trav was always good at sports. He grew up as a surfer, swimmer, lifesaver (or lifeguard). When he went to university, he studied physical education. In his third year of college, he started training others as a personal trainer.  

“This is when personal training wasn’t a thing. There were only a handful of personal trainers running around Australia. I was in Melbourne, so I started this personal training thing.”  

Trav eventually grew his personal training business from a single customer to a franchise business that served tens of thousands of clients. “I did that business for 20 years,” Trav remembers. “But there were some things that happened in my life that spiraled out of control, that got on top of me. I went through a bout of depression. I had a breakdown before my breakthrough moment.  

After twenty years of work to build a thriving business, the business began to take its toll. Trav decided to sell his business and to pursue a different path.  

“I found myself in personal development course, getting coaches, reading up on positive psychology, neurolinguistic programming, all this good stuff. If you put a course in front of me at that point, I would have done it and invested heavily.” 

Eventually three coincidences came together to put Trav on the path to being The Bucket List Guy.  

Three Steps on the Path to The Bucket List Guy

“I was in one of these courses, and friend of mine said, ‘Why don’t you teach this stuff?’”  

So, Trav began to develop a signature talk.  

Not long afterwards, Trav was in another workshop. He was paired with a woman named Deb, who was in her forties. “I told her my story of what I was going through. She said, ‘Oh, thanks for telling me about that. I just had a hysterectomy. Now I’m clear of cancer, and I really wanted to have kids.’  

“It was such a big reset for me. It was such an overwhelming sense of gratitude that my life was not that bad. I just wondered to myself, what the hell are you complaining about? What gives you the right, what gives any of us the right to play small?” 

Around this same time, a friend handed Trav the book Happier, by Tal Ben-Shahar. The book asks you to discover your purpose at the intersection of three circles: Meaning, Pleasure, and Strengths (MPS). “I did it, and I got Motivational Speaker,” Trav says, slightly surprised.  

With the encouragement of his friend, the challenge he felt from meeting Deb, and with guidance from the book Happier, Trav gave his first speech.  

“During the talk, I shared the fact that I’ve had a bucket list written down since I was 18. Someone came up to me afterwards and called me The Bucket List Guy. I went home and registered the domain.”  

Trav has been doing this work ever since, speaking to groups and encouraging them tick items off of their bucket list “before they get their use-by date.”  

“It’s coaching one-to-many. I’ve done a lot of one-on-one coaching, but speaking was coaching one-to-many, and that’s what I love.”  

Today, Trav helps people live their Bucket List before it’s too late. Trav says, “A Bucket List is a tangible Life Plan. Where our Business Plan or Career Plan should fit into our Life Plan and not be the other way around.” 

He’s also the Founder CEO of Bucket List Coaches who are now on a mission to help 10 million Bucket Listers to #tickitB4Ukickit. 

Learn More about Trav Bell: