Call them amazing challenges, a bucket list or just plain old ‘stuff you’d love to do’; here’s our pick of amazing, once-in-a-lifetime challenges. They will stay with you long after you climb down the mountain, arrive on the French shore, finish your Michelin-style meal or break a world record.
The old adage goes that there’s a novel in all of us but do you have the boundless creative energy, discipline, commitment and drive to do it? Of course you do! The blank page is an exciting place that’s full of endless possibilities for storytelling. The detail needs to be worked on and you need a plan but all you need to start is imagination and a story you want to tell. It could be autobiographical based on personal events, fantasy, adventure, crime, love or indeed anything you want. It may be a daunting prospect at first but imagine the pleasure of seeing your book on the shelves and getting your first positive review!
The Tour de France is the most gruelling cycle race in the world. It is three weeks riding 2,200 miles through picturesque countryside and up the toughest climbs in world cycling. Are you ready to take on a stage of the fearsome race? There are charities where you can ride individual stages from the shorter flat time trials to 190km Alpine stages with 30km climbs, a 12% gradient and five mountains! Are you ready to meet your cycling match?
Are you obsessed with football? Do you have a spare year? If so, you can join The Ninety-Two Club! To be a member of this exclusive band of merry men and women, all you have to do is watch a match at every one of the 92 football league clubs. To make the challenge much more interesting, you can go for the world record which currently stands at a quite remarkable 237 days set in the 1994/95 season. Old Trafford on a sunny August day is one thing, but how will you cope on a freezing cold January night in Carlisle? The challenge is yours…!
Swimming the English Channel is a phenomenal, awe-inspiring undertaking. It’s been described as the ‘Everest of swimming’ (more have conquered Everest than have swum the Channel) and is not for the faint-hearted! The water is freezing, the currents and tidal patterns are notoriously unpredictable and it’s 21 miles point-to-point but you will end up swimming far more. Throw into the mix you’re swimming through one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and you see why it’s a mission for the bravest of souls. Have you got what it takes? The Channel Swimming Association can help you to prepare for the most amazing adventure of your whole life!
How many times have you said ‘I’d love to learn a musical instrument but I’m too old and don’t have the time?’ Well we’re here to say that you’re never too old and there’s always time. Whatever instrument you choose, there’s lots to learn and it can be a slow, frustrating process but one day when you least expect it, it will click and it’s a day you’ll never forget. If you have the discipline to self-teach there are lots of online tutorials but if not, there will be music teachers in your local area who’ll be delighted to teach you what they know.
Steve Jobs said: ‘I think everybody should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.’ As the traditional ‘three R’s’ have been joined by digital literacy, knowing how to get computers to do what we want them to do is as important as using them. Britain is leading the world by introducing coding into the curriculum. It’s a skill anyone can learn and you can take it with you as we move deeper and deeper into the digital age.
It all starts with a jog round the park and before you know it, you’ve got your ballot place and your runner’s number…how did that happen? Running the marathon is a long way from your light canter round the park. It takes serious amounts of commitment, dedication, motivation and effort as well as eating more pasta that you ever thought possible, but the rewards are most certainly worth it. Can you think of a better high that crossing the finishing line knowing you have accomplished such an amazing feat of endurance while raising loads of money for charity? We can’t.
The UK’s most popular mountain challenge involves climbing Ben Nevis (SCO), Snowdon (WAL) and Scafell Pike (ENG), Britain’s three highest peaks. You can do it yourself or join an organised tour - there are pros and cons for both. Do the planning, training and research and while it’s a serious test of fitness and endurance, it will be an amazing experience that will leave you with everlasting memories, lifelong camaraderie and a remarkable sense of personal achievement.
How amazing would it be to be crowned the best in the world at something? Are you a competitive eater or a champion beer mat flipper? Do you have a remarkable memory or a huge collection? Are you super-strong or do you have a dog that gets mistaken for a horse? Explore the Guinness World Records website for inspiration and you can even come up with your own record to try. This is your chance for everlasting glory and immortalisation in the best-selling book of all time!
In the age of satellite and cable TV with hundreds of channels and thousands of hours of airtime to fill, it’s never been easier to get your fifteen minutes of fame. One of the easiest ways is to become a TV extra by signing up to an agency. The roles are paid, flexible and largely part-time so it’s perfect if you’re looking to expand your horizons and earn some extra cash. You’ll meet some amazingly talented people and you never know, Scorsese could walk past you and think ‘oooh…’! There are also agencies where you can apply to go on any one of dozens and dozens of game and reality shows across lots of channels. Can you bake? Looking for love? Willing to sit in a tree for two years? Your fifteen minutes are waiting for you!