Bucket List Lifestyles: A New Trend for Modern Living

© Ewa Tomko

Constantly in search of new experiences and interactions, there is a new generation who are selling up, rejecting traditional pathways, and getting out to see the world and live life to its fullest. This fluid way of living finds its roots in a generous culture of knowledge sharing on social media about how, exactly, to follow suit – and not look back.

There is a trend for what we’re calling Bucket List Lifestyles for 2024. Published in 2021 in our Macro Trend report, we described it as a more nomadic way of living where individuals are reassessing their current lifestyles and taking a bucket list approach to setting personal goals. Speaking recently about this trend to The Independent, our Founder and CEO Joanna Feeley explained “Whilst not everyone is going to take off in a camper van around the world, (#vanlife searches have increased 216 per cent since 2018), there is evidence of a trickledown effect of people living more purposefully and going after their dreams.”

What’s driving bucket list lifestyles?

Globally, house prices are now unaffordable even for middle-class incomes, making ownership all the more inaccessible. Demand for both longer and shorter-term rentals has increased. This, along with the rise in the cost of living, has resulted in a younger generation who can’t get on the property ladder, haven’t seen wages keep pace with inflation, reject 9-5 in-the-office culture and are prioritising other things instead.
Living longer lives is also shaping the way individuals choose to work and altering the perception of retirement. As explored in the book ‘The 100 Year Life, Living and Working in an Age of Longevity’, longer lives means we are creating new frameworks for living to attain the elusive work-life balance and incorporate travel, culture and adventure into everyday life. Marty and Jess Anderson, a retired couple from Australia have achieved exactly this. Last year they booked 51 back-to-back cruises not only for their love of sea travel but because it’s less costly than a retirement home.

Nomads of change 

A modern migration of digital nomads are building bucket list lifestyles where the home must follow suit – because home is wherever they are. Assessing where, when and how to live, and this constantly being changeable as it suits, is providing a whole new spectrum of domesticity to subscribe to.

In 2021, Airbnb launched a patent to support this trend, enabling them to tailor their product to nomadic families. This would theoretically allow them to be able to generate recommendations that would enhance the educational experience of a child. We expect many brands and organisations to develop an interest in providing services for nomadic individuals and families.

The Van Life effect

The Gen Z Van Life movement sees a rejection of mortgages, conventional living, and the 9-5 office culture in favour of a more transient lifestyle, using DIY to create mini homes on wheels to explore the world in bucket-list style.

The rise in the number of young people taking life on the road and converting vans into tiny homes is inspiring innovative new solutions for the built environment within traditional homes too. We’re beginning to track some interesting developments in home joinery, particularly bespoke solutions for seating and hacks which tackle small space living or broken plan layouts.

Adventurous Boomers and the rise of the Queenager

And it’s not just about Gen Z. Eleanor Mills the founder of UK media platform Noon coined the term ‘Queenager’ to describe women who are living life freely and challenging the narrative of midlife.  Gen X and Boomers are creating new lifestyle frameworks to incorporate adventure into everyday life. As ‘super consumers’ they’re widely considered to be the most recession-proof cohort and yet they are massively underserved. Research from Marketing Technology News shares findings that 85% of luxury travel is taken by Boomers with only 57% indicating that budget plays a part in their plans.

How will this lifestyle trend evolve?

Whilst this shift is significant, clearly not everyone will be responding by uprooting, but there are lots of subtle implications that will cascade down from this new set of bucket list lifestyles and behaviours. Relationships with home, education, mortgages, possessions, keepsakes and how householders and consumers think and plan vacations are all impacted. For brands, this opens a big opportunity to deliver services and products that cater to more transient lifestyles.

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