My Reverse Expat Bucket List

kisssI’ve never made a Bucket List. The concept never really interested me as I’ve seen one too many shows and/or movies where someone’s really disappointed in themselves for not crossing off like 5 out of their 10 items. My thought about that is, ‘Why would I want to get into my 60s and then be sad I never made it over Australia? Sounds like a pretty big bummer.” But Amanda over at Life With A Double Buggy put a spin on having a Bucket List: Instead of making a list of things you hope to do, make a list of things you’ve already done.

That didn’t sound like such a bummer, so I tried it out to see what I could come up with. This particular reverse bucket list is specifically an expat list – things I’ve been given the opportunity to do as an expat living in Vienna, Austria:

1. Learn a second language

2. Develop friendships with amazing locals

3. Learn to live simply

4. All yourself to be uprooted from what’s familiar to somewhere unfamiliar

5. Quit your job, sell everything and move to another country

6. Survive without air conditioning.

7. Refrain from giving (fully) into homesickness

8. Learn how to make Schnitzel

9. Celebrate your birthday in another country

10. Drive to another country with friends for a haircut

11. Spend a week speaking only German with 15 other women in the Austrian Alps

12. Hike up a huge mountain to see a rewarding view of Austria’s countryside

13. Survive a week of kids camp speaking only German

14. Conduct daily life tasks (doctor appointments, food orders, etc.) entirely in German

15. Find out you’re pregnant in Vienna

16. Live in an apartment in Vienna

17. Attend a German-speaking church

18. See Sigur Ros in Vienna

19. See Other Lives in Vienna

20. See Tallest Man On Earth in Vienna


22. Experience different cultures

23. Enjoy a babymoon in Turkey and Greece

24. Develop friendships with others in different countries

25. Have a bible study in 3 different languages

26. Attend church in Croatia


27. Eat a fish with its eyes still intact in Zagreb, Croatia

28. Witness a beautiful Slovenian sunset

29. Learn how to cook with ingredients different from what you’re used to

30. Learn how to make ingredients from scratch

31. Loosen up

32. Appreciate the closing of stores on Sundays

33. Learn how to slow down and relax

34. Appreciate the importance of meals with friends

35. Live without a car

36. Celebrate two Christmases – Austrian and American

37. Go to a Viennese Christmas market

38. Drink coffee in Vienna’s most famous coffee houses

39. Tour friends and family around Vienna

40. Watch movies in German and understand enough to laugh at the funny parts

41. Understand a Garfield comic in German

42. Read medical information about babies and understand

43. Be able to translate for others who don’t understand German

44. Use Austrian home remedies to help with illness

45. Learn to love crafting (parts of it, anyway)

46. Survive playing rounds of Taboo in German

47. Take intensive German classes

48. Be told you sound fluent in your 2nd language by a local

49. Try to learn bits and pieces of Austrian dialects

50. Love your job in Vienna

51. Eat lots and lots and lots of gelato

52. Get everywhere by train, tram, bus, bicycle, or foot

53. Expand your global perspective

54. Understand Austrian politics – as much as one can

55. Walk through Vienna and never tire of it

56. Watch others fall in love with Vienna and appreciate it as much as you do and cry as you witness such things

57. Show your parents your new life

58. Appreciate where you come from



59. Learn German phrases to most definitely never, ever say to someone

60. Develop a bad habit of speaking English with German verbs and nouns randomly thrown in

61. Forget the English words to songs you now only sing in German

62. Think in 2 languages

63. Dream in 2 languages

64. Scream “I love Vienna!” in a field of flowers

Linking up with:

Expat Life with a Double Buggy


    1. Author

      Thanks – I am indeed!

  1. That’s one heck of a list! You dream in German; that’s saying a lot. I got to see Paul McCartney in Warsaw last year – amazing showman, isn’t he?

    1. Author

      I definitely wake up more tired after a German dream compared to one in English. Yes, Paul is the greatest!

  2. Wow. Dream in two languages. That’s impressive. Great list! I found your blog on Amanda’s reverse expat bucket link up. Wonderful. I’ve only been to Vienna once, years ago, but I thought it was beautiful. Must be amazing to live there.

    1. Author

      Thanks for stopping by, Meghan! You should visit Vienna again sometime. It’s probably doubled in beauty since your last visit.

  3. I absolutely LOVED reading your reverse bucket expat list, especially because Vienna was the first place I studied abroad! Your list brought back fond memories (and some of the struggles, too — the homesickness, etc). Oh man, I love Vienna and it’s beautiful. And also, the Austrian accent is totally the right one. 😉

    1. Author

      I agree 100% about the accent. Vienna was my first place to study abroad as well and I’m glad to have made it my home. Thanks for reading, Erika!

  4. This is great! I actually have a YUGE list of things I want to achieve in Vienna as my bucket list (about to publish it too, jinx!) but this is an excellent expat focussed one…gotta love a great list, thanks for sharing 🙂

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