People Share The One Experience That Everyone Should Try At Least Once In Their Lifetime

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Some things in life just shouldn’t be missed. Certain experiences just change our lives. They make us better, kinder, and overall wiser people. The opinions given below on experiences people should not miss in their lifetime come from all different perspectives. Some of them are joyful and wonderous. Others are a bit on the darker side, but still just as necessary in the grand scheme of things.

Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and it really shouldn’t be. We need to go through highs and lows. We need to be overwhelmed sometimes and at complete peace other times. These can easily be the most meaningful and beautiful parts of life. If you’re able to have at least a quarter of the experiences mentioned below at least once in your life, you’re probably in great shape.

#1 The Sky Darkening At Midday

You need to see a total solar eclipse at least once in your life. It is one of the most awe-inspiring sights our solar system has to offer. After being directly in the line of totality in North America in 2017, I’m completely hooked now. The next one to occur locally will be in 2024. They only happen once every couple of years, so you’re bound to catch at least one of them in your lifetime.

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#2 An Intimate Stranger

Spend a day or night with a stranger before they are never in your life ever again. Those fleeting moments can mean everything. When you think back on them, it can put a smile on your face or remind you of a happy moment in your life. It’s priceless. I’m not talking about a one night stand or anything like that; rather, more an instance involving a stranger that suddenly comes into your life for a very, very short time, but still manages to make a significant impact in your life.
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#3 I Scream, You Scream

Hearing the ice cream truck music. That’s probably one of the best childhood memories you could ever have running to your mom for money, then sprinting down the street in time to catch the ice cream truck. During summer break with your friends, getting ice cream from the ice cream truck often becomes a sort of ritual.

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#4 Now Here’s An Incredible Technology That Has Become Mundane

It’s rather mundane, and some people hate doing this, but everyone should take a trip on an airplane. It still blows my mind that human beings developed the technology that allows us to be transported in some metal and plastic tube thousands of feet in the air. I especially love the rush as the plane is building up speed just before takeoff. I also find it amazing that our technology has advanced to the point where the airplane itself can do a lot of the work, in terms of staying on course.
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#5 The Best Views In The World Are On The Mountaintops

Everyone should experience standing on the summit of a mountain, even if it’s the Appalachians or the Adirondacks. It does not necessarily have to be the tallest mountain in the world. You don’t have to climb the tallest mountains to enjoy a breathtaking view and have a sense of accomplishment. Those views can really motivate and inspire.

#6 True Love Is A True Gift

Tell someone that you love them. It’s a hard thing to do for a lot of people, but when the moment is right, it’ll just come naturally. Saying “I love you” doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal, either—it’s shouldn’t be something you’re scared to throw around. Life is short. There’s no saying how much time we have on this planet, so we might as well make the most of it.

#7 Live Music For The Soul

Go to a concert of your favorite musician or a band. This is a truly amazing and life-changing experience. You feel so alive as if there is no tomorrow. A lot of people are discouraged from seeing their favorite musician or band live because they’re content with studio recordings. Trust me, nothing compares to hearing your favorite songs played live.

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#8 The Light Pollution Has Got To Go

The night sky without light pollution. Seeing the milky-way bright and clear in all its glory is an unbelievably inspirational experience. Those who live in the city will have to make the short drive out to the countryside, where your view of the skies won’t be obstructed with skyscrapers and clouds of fog. You should also mark important celestial dates on your calendar, like meteor showers or aurora events.

#9 Dying Of Laughter

Laughing to the point where you can’t stand, breathe or even make any sign of communication but laughter. Those are the absolute best kinds of laughs. They’re the kind that you can look back on years later and still remember, in vivid detail, the exact sequence of events that led to you rolling on the floor laughing.

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#10 See The World Through Your Own Lens Only

Traveling alone. I’m not saying traveling alone is better than traveling with friends or a loved one. I’m just saying it should be tried once. Everywhere I’ve ever traveled, I’ve seen solo female travelers as well, so don’t let that deter you if you are female. I can’t give specific advice because I’m not a female and honestly have no idea what they go through, but I know women do it as well.

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#11 The Hard Choices Are Often The Most Meaningful

Everyone needs to experience having to make a genuinely challenging decision; a decision that makes you not just think, but worry and stress a little too. Because as much as it would be nice to live without worry, it’s important to learn that sometimes there won’t be an easy choice. In the end, things will usually work themselves out, and getting to that point will help you grow stronger, both mentally and emotionally.

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#12 The End Of A Life Provides A True Perspective Shift

Witnessing the moment that someone passes away. Not from something traumatic like a car accident or something, but an older or sick person on their bed as life literally seems to leave their body. No matter your relation to the person passing away, it’s humbling to see. I witnessed both family members and non-family members passing away due to working in a nursing home for a while, and it really changed my perspective on life.

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#13 Life Is A Highway

I feel like a road trip is a great experience, whether you do it with friends, family, or by yourself. Just taking a couple of days or a week to drive around and see the sights is an incredibly relaxing thing to do. In fact, sometimes, the best road trips are the ones that you didn’t plan for—just pack your car with some essentials, fill up the tank with gas, and drive.

#14 The Power Of A Horse

Learn to ride a horse; along a beach when someone is leading you or the horse just knows to follow the one in front. There will come a moment when you realize that you and this huge animal are working perfectly together. They could very easily hurt you if they wanted to, but somehow they don’t. I’m a dressage rider personally as I enjoy the partnership that has to be formed in order for this creature to do certain moves. Jumping is really fun too, you do feel like you are flying! Horses are amazing animals and can be the greatest teachers. Working with horses is a great way of just switching off from the world for a few hours.

#15 At Your Service

Work in retail or the foodservice industry at least once. That way, you can understand how stressful that line of work can be and how dealing with “customers” with awful attitudes and entitlement can be emotionally draining. Specifically, the people who don’t think that line of work is as tiring need to give it a shot. It’ll give them a new perspective and maybe teach them a little lesson in humility and compassion.

#16 Only In The Far, Far North

Watch the Northern Lights at night. It looks cool in pictures, but in real life, it’s so surreal. It almost looks like a movie of dancing lights, projected into the sky. In Canada, there’s even a resort dedicated to the Northern Lights. You can stay in a tipi tent and light a campfire just outside of it while you watch the auroras glimmer in the dark of night. A must-do experience for sure.

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#17 Good Friends Are Necessary

Staying up all night chatting with a friend about anything and everything. There’s nothing quite like it.

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#18 Failure Is The Best Teacher Of All

Fail. Like, really, truly fail. It only really counts for anything if it’s totally 100% your fault. Failing a class because you just aren’t smart enough (or you were too lazy to study), losing a significant other because you weren’t a good enough partner,  losing a job because you weren’t good enough, etc. It’s not only the biggest educator but also the biggest motivator to do better next time.

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#19 Move Away

Try completely uprooting yourself at least once in your life. Being on your own, far from familiarity and support, and being forced to figure things out for yourself is empowering. I’m in my 50s now and the best thing I ever did for myself as a young man was leave my home state and learn to fend for myself. I made mistakes that I recovered from. I learned to take care of my own things.

I also took on jobs that put me at the bottom of steep learning curves in sometimes remote or unfamiliar places. The things that I learned and handled during these times have been invaluable throughout my life. It doesn’t have to be some exotic social media-friendly foreign country. Just go to someplace you’ve never been and make a life there. It’s one of the best ways to truly find yourself.

#20 Some Teasing Is Healthy And Necessary

Everyone needs to go through a good ROASTING. Have you ever met a kid that never had anything bad said to them? That kid grows up completely unprepared to handle criticism. Now, I’m not saying that EVERY child should get roasted—some kids can’t change the thing they get roasted for and that’s not good—but I’m saying they should get roasted for something they can control. As long as the roasting doesn’t leave them traumatized and insecure for life, then it should serve as a good exercise in handling criticism.

#21 Don’t Miss Alaska

The train ride from Anchorage to Fairbanks. I went in the off-season and got my ticket for less than $40. It was the best freaking money I ever spent! A lot of people refrain from choosing Alaska as a vacation spot because it’s up north where it can get rather cold. But if they just gave it a chance, they’d realize there’s so much more to the state than just cold weather.

#22 There’s Only One True Place To Find Unconditional Love

The unconditional love of a dog. There really isn’t anything like it. Even people who aren’t animal lovers should experience owning a dog at least once. I’ve come across many people who eventually became animal lovers after owning a dog, or some sort of pet. Dogs, in particular, are great for first-time pet owners because they are mostly easy to train and they’ll always be loyal to you, no matter what.

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#23 Bonafide Camping Is A Must

Tent Camping. No, not your regular going-out-to-the-local-woods-next-to-a-highway camping, I mean actual camping. No Wi-Fi, no internet; just you and your friends or family. Disconnecting from all social media to just enjoy nature is one of the best things a human can do. Especially now. My family has an annual camping trip, about a six-hour drive for most of us. I highly recommend a national park, as that is what we go for. They’re always clean, really nice, the wildlife is breathtaking; I have no words for it. The place we go to is Kings Canyon. It’s perfect for anyone in the southern area of California who wants to legit camp in group sites. There is a lodge down there with a little convenience store where you can buy essentials in worse case scenarios.

#24 The Quiet Of Winter Is Breathtaking

My favorite time in the winter is when it’s snowing at night. It’s dark, and there isn’t a sound to be heard. The complete stillness and silence are unsettling yet so peaceful and relaxing. As much as snow can suck, there’s something heavenly about it in a moment like that. You don’t even need to be outside to experience it—even a simple glance outside the window can provide you with the same magic.

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#25 Three-Course Meals Are Not Just For Foodies

Making a full three-course meal. Being able to make it and say, “Hey, I made all of this by myself from scratch” it’s relishing. Being able to be proud of the skills you’ve cultivated from when you began from making a simple sandwich to crying from chopping onions and making banoffee pie. It’s something everyone should do and it’s honestly so easy.

#26 History Is Full Of Lessons

Go to Auschwitz, or someplace similar, like the A-bomb museum in Hiroshima. I feel it’s important to witness, as close as we can without replicating it, the pain and suffering we are capable of inflicting. It is humbling yet terrifying, and something that is easily forgotten in our everyday lives. Lastly, it’s important to realize that similar things are happening, right now, in other parts of the world.
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#27 A Life Without A Best Friend Is No Life At All

Having a best friend who will always be there for you, no matter how far you live. I’m kind of a loner and meeting my best friend lights me up no matter what my circumstances are. I know it’s not a once in a lifetime thing, but friends and relationships are some of the things that give me a meaning to keep living when I’m really down and out.

#28 Being The Minority

Going somewhere where you are in the minority for an extended period of time, either racially or where you don’t speak the language. Getting out of your comfort zone and meeting people you would never meet during your day to day life. These are experiences that will help you expand your horizons, and keep you open-minded enough to embrace people’s differences.

#29 Hang Out With The Bats In Their Natural Habitat

Camping in a cave. I recently got to take a cave tour for the first time in my life, and it was one of the most breathtaking experiences I’ve ever had. The anticipation of what the next area will look like combined with the slight fear of the unknown is a feeling I’ll never forget. It’s a feeling that actually felt very natural, human, and grounding. The stillness is unbelievable, too. Definitely go check out your local cave systems if you’re interested.

#30 Nothing Like Being Brokenhearted

Getting your heartbroken. It sucks, but it forces you to reevaluate yourself and your priorities. I think it also helps you deal with future relationships in a more mature way. Honestly, I think the earlier you can do this, the better. It teaches you how to deal with those powerful emotions before you can truly mess up your life over the loss of a relationship. I’ve seen grown adults get their hearts broken for the first time in their 30s and it is not pretty. At that age, you have the resources, freedom, and ability to do some really stupid stuff when you aren’t in your right mind.

#31 It’s The Closest We’ll Ever Get To Flying

Jumping out of an airplane 14,000 feet above the ground. I still randomly stare at the sky and get waves of feelings I can’t understand. I see the world differently now… As in, literally—I feel like my eyes see differently, especially when I’m looking at large open skies. It feels like my body takes a step back from reality. Surreal.

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#32 A Real Lightbulb Moment

The feeling that you get after hours of time spent on looking for a solution to a problem. After countless ideas and thoughts that end up leading nowhere, something finally clicks in your head and the puzzle just assembles on its own, giving you the answer you needed. It’s a truly magnificent feeling that motivates me to take up challenges head-on.

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#33 The Joy That Children Bring Is Priceless

Carrying a small child who loves and trusts you (maybe two or three-years-old). The way they laugh close to your face and absently curl their little finger in your hair or grab your earlobe. How their bodies radiate how safe they feel; the way they feel secure enough to look out at the world with curiosity from their perch and then talk to you about it. And sometimes, they get overwhelmed and just wrap their arms around your neck.

#34 Meditation Is Not Nonsense

Meditation. Thought it was a bunch of nonsense, but I felt I experienced something unexplainable when I was truly bored and tried meditating with an open mind, so to speak. It’s something so simple and yet so powerful. No substance high I have experienced has come close to it at all.

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#35 Mental Health Matters

People should definitely check in on their mental health. I saw a psychologist and realized that 100% of the things I worry or stress about don’t even exist (I was in a constant anxiety-type thing). When I first told him what was wrong, he said in such a reassuring tone that my “unhelpful thoughts” don’t even exist, not one. From that first session on, talking about it drastically changed my point of view on life. I suggest if you have a problem as I had, talk to a psychologist. Best decision you’ll ever make. Trust me.

#36 The Human Cage

A night or two spent in jail. Spending a night in a cell meant for 10 but filled with 30 people is a pretty wild experience. It makes you realize how worse things could actually be compared to your problems outside of that cell.

#37 We’re All The Same Deep Down

Living or studying with people from different countries, preferably from different continents. When you live in a grad school dorm building that hosts more than 50 nationalities, those “foreigners” people keep talking about on the news turn out to be… well, just people like you.

#38 Tragedy Changes Us

A great tragedy; one that makes your life fall apart temporarily. Something that will highlight all the good times you had and make you look forward to feeling a great sense of joy, all the while revealing the rawest, inner emotions that will help you explore your own strength and expose your weaknesses. I’ve had very close friends who completely changed after a personal tragedy. One, in particular, who stands out to me, found the importance of friendship and got rid of many toxic friends who leeched off of him.

He found that even in a sense of hopelessness there were still people who loved him. It sounds cheesy I know, but before the tragedy, this person didn’t value anything because he was spoiled from a young age (rich family). He’s still wealthy and his joyful self, but I’ve never seen him sneer at struggling families after what happened. He wouldn’t even joke about. That’s as much as I can say.

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#39 Near-Misses Are Eye-Opening

A near miss that that would have very bad consequences. I had one when I was younger and it really changed the way I see things in terms of safety. It made me realize that daring and unsafe are two different things.

#40 Generosity Is A Gift To Both The Giver And The Receiver

Giving up something to help another person. I recently gave my new TV to a friend who was struggling financially and mentally. He lives alone and I know he likes to watch a bit of Star Trek. I was thinking of upgrading my TV to an OLED and was planning on selling mine to cover some of the cost, but I thought about it and came to the conclusion that I could still afford the new TV even if I gave my old TV to him. It was worth more to him than the money was to me.

I ended up getting him a couple of Star Trek box sets online to go with it. When I took it all around to his house to set up, he started crying and kept asking, “Are you sure about this?” I was like, “Seriously, you’ve been a great friend, it’s nothing and you’re worth it.” Now, every time I go around, I see the TV and think about how great that turned out. I’m happy with the value we both got out of that rather than me being selfish for the sake of a little bit of money.

#41 Reunited And It Feels So Good

Reuniting with someone you thought you’d lost or, similarly, connecting with someone who’s been in your life but you never really knew. I bring up both of these because they both happened to me just this month and I feel like my life has changed. I met up one night with one of my best friends from college for the first time in nine years because he was visiting my city for a concert and we just instantly reconnected.

We now lead such different lives but the bond between us was the same; by the end of the night, it felt stronger than it has ever been. Forget state lines and schedules; we plan to meet up more in the future. The same experience led me to create a social media group chat with him and some of our other mutual college family, and now we all talk every day even though years have passed between conversation. Another time, it happened when I was visiting NYC at the same time as a cousin of mine.

We have a seven-year age gap, which matters a lot when you’re in your childhood and teenage years. We never became close. I decided to friend him on social media and noticed how much more often he reacted or commented on a post I’d made more than any of my other family, immediate or extended. We decided to meet up when we learned that we were both in New York, and instead of the usual bland pleasantries given at large family functions, we got to know each other more than ever over two hours after years of never really talking. Turns out, we have a lot in common and it seems like I met this brand-new friend. This has been one of the most incredible months of my life just because of those two instances.

#42 To Be Truly Alone Sometimes Is A Gift

Live by yourself for a year. No roommates, no partners, etc. Just YOU. Once you get married and have children or whatever, it’s doubtful you’ll ever have time to do that again. My mom told me this and I lived by myself when I was 32. I learned a lot about myself and how to take care of ME. Best year ever. I’n married now, but I think that time living by myself helped prepare me for the things I’d face as an adult.

#43 A Rebel With A Cause

Being free. I mean that in ways beyond that which we perceive freedom in society—not being held down by people who disrespect you or mistreat you whenever they feel like it. Not sticking around with family who treats you this way either. Not sticking to that dead-end 9-5 job simply because you need it to survive.  Humans did not evolve physically and mentally to work day after day like that in the same environment doing the same thing just to get a little bit of cash to live… All the CEO makes more than you could ever imagine and doesn’t have to work too hard. Working such a demanding and long hours job can have a serious impact on your health and lead to an early death.

And probably the most important freedom: breaking away from expectations, closed-minded thinking, and lies you’ve been conditioned to believe. The freedom to think critically, to search for truth, to expand your knowledge. To see the world how it truly is, and not how capitalism and blatant propaganda news channels want you to see it. We’ve been taught to hate those we’ve never met simply because they live in another country different from ours. Because they may have a different skin tone, different facial features, different cultures and traditions, different religions and histories.

We’ve been taught to be blindly obedient to a nation, to a flag, to an anthem, to culture, to religion, and to what our leaders tell us. We’ve been taught to never question because it’s “not right to do so”. I want everyone to experience what it’s like to see how all of this is nonsense. To question it, to learn the truth, to learn about differences and how we’ve acquired those differences. I want everyone to see the experience of becoming a true citizen of the world, not confined to nation and tribe.

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#44 Don’t Plan, Just Go

Spontaneous travel. I get not everyone can do it, but I traveled overseas with a couple of friends with no plan. We bought our plane tickets two weeks in advance and that’s it. It was refreshing to just wake up and explore without getting stressed about itineraries and plans.

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#45 We Are All Creators

Make something beautiful, useful, or both, with your own hands, and enjoy it for both its virtues and the pride of your accomplishment. It can be as simple as a nice loaf of traditionally baked bread, a lovely pie or a very plain wooden table, made with just advice from the internet, some inexpensive materials, and a few borrowed tools. It can be as complex as homebuilding a PC or restoring a classic car. It can be as intricate as a soapstone box carved intaglio to resemble traditional Chinese jade, or as beautifully straightforward as cutting, sanding and varnishing some scraps of hardwood into cubes and rectangles to make some blocks for a friend’s new baby.

Even just putting together some Ikea stuff for yourself or making a pickup supper from one of those recipe websites where you put in whatever you have and it gives you suggestions of good things you can make, that is a powerfully human feeling. There was nothing, and now there is something. You made a thing. You improved your world. You are powerful and you can do more than you thought you could.

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