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Buckt Box -Adventure in the Post

While I’ve been AWOI (Absent without Internet) I’ve not just been reading and cross stitching and generally becoming a well finished Georgian Lady, I’ve been using huge amounts of 3G to keep up to date with Facebook, Twitter and the internet in general.

During my online travels, I came across Buckt, a hopefully soon to be available subscription box. Now, I love a bit of surprise post, and a subscription box promising new and exciting experiences sounds right up my alley. Especially as it would mean having loads of adventures to tell you lovely people about.

Intrigued, I got in touch with Daniel (Founder and Director of Buckt Box) to see what Buckt box is all about. He was lovely enough to answer all my questions, and what follows are my questions and his answers (slightly edited due to length – I did ask an awful lot of questions).

What is Buckt?

Buckt is a subscription box and digital community inspired by the idea of a bucket list. Each month our awesome subscribers get 8-10 activities delivered to their door: surprise tickets to top attractions and venues, discounts on higher end bucket list activities, exclusive invitations from our partners and money-can’t-buy bucket list challenges.

Our launch is in January, so it’s all systems go, which means it’s kind of crazy, but also so so exciting.

What inspired the idea of Buckt Box?

So, about a year ago, I came out of a long-term relationship. The reality of the situation had hit me and – honestly – I was pretty down in the dumps. As you can imagine, it was a pretty rubbish time. I can’t remember why but one day I woke up and decided to write a bucket list: things I wanted to achieve by the end of 2016; everything I wanted to do but hadn’t had the chance.

Honestly, it was pretty therapeutic. It made me forget about the situation I was in, think ahead and gave me something to look forward to. A few weeks later I was thinking about an idea I had whilst at university about a ticket subscription box and then it clicked… What about a bucket list subscription box?

A bucket list is a really cool concept. It means so many different things to different people – making people happy in so many different ways. Buckt will mean something different to every person that subscribes to it in the same way that a bucket list means something different to every person that has one. That’s why I truly believe Buckt will be something special.

What’s top on your own bucket list? Why?

As mentioned earlier, I actually wrote a bucket list of things that I wanted to complete by the end of 2016. It isn’t necessarily those HUGE things that people associate with a bucket list, but was just a list of activities I’d always wanted to do but never got around to doing. For example, I’ve done a bungee jump, meditated, rode a horse, gone to yoga, adopted a tiger with WWF, performed in a public space and loads more because of it.

I really want to do a sky dive, and plan to do one next year to raise money for charity. Hopefully I’ll be able to tie it to Buckt in some way…

Are you basing it nationally or do you have international ambitions?

Initially we are launching in the West Midlands region (because the West Mids, in particular Birmingham, is the best place in the UK. Okay, as a Brummie, I’m slightly biased). We aim to move into London by August 2016, and then into East Midlands and the North of England in Jan 2017.

My dream is to take this international. It’s a model that can work in most places, with the US in particular already accustomed to the idea of subscription boxes. I’d be happy with anywhere nice and warm to be honest!

What do you think should be on everyone’s bucket list?

Ohhh it’s a tricky one. One thing I would say is don’t just think big. What are those small things that you may overlook, but actually you’ll remember forever?

It’s also not just about paid activities. Maybe you’ve never watched all the Lord of the Rings films back-to-back but really want to. Or you’ve never watched the sunrise with the person you love. Maybe it’s a challenge. I’ve got completing a long-distance run on mine (at the time of writing the list, it sounded like a good idea…). You could include learning a new skill or a langue. Or maybe it’s about trying something new, for example meditating, or going fishing (which are in mine).

Of course, there are the big things. I did a bungee jump and loved it. I’m glad I didn’t wimp out! I would totally recommend doing that.

What makes Buckt different from other subscription boxes?

What we are doing is truly unique. Buckt isn’t about sending random items that eventually end up on eBay, but actually giving subscribers fun, happiness, excitement; something to look forward to each weekend.

Can you could describe Buckt box in a sentence? How about 3 words?

Buckt is escape from life’s routine, inspiration for the adventurers and will bring fun and joy to all that subscribe.

3 words? Go live life.

Currently Buckt box is looking for support on Crowdfunder to help with the launch. There’s loads more info about Buckt on there, and of course, a list of rewards for donors.

To me, Buckt sounds like a great idea. Going out, doing things, exploring the cities that you live in are all things that I love (especially when there’s a discount…). And Buckt has so many bases covered from tickets for attractions, to invites for art festivals, to challenging you to take a step outside your comfort zone.

And as a Birmingham based gal, I do love the idea of something beginning in the Midlands. But I suppose, like Daniel, I might be a touch biased.

As with so many of my over enthusiastic posts, this post was written because I genuinely think Buckt sounds like a great idea. No money or products were sent to me in the making of this post. 

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Of charity and children.

Hello children. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Monday, as ever, was full of lesson planning. This week’s topics: The UK, the Queen and Thanksgiving. As you may know, I’m not American (despite what a man in Prague might think) and as such no basically nothing about Thanksgiving. Happily, I do have friends across the pond (Can I still say that even though I’m now in Germany and the pond is further away?) and they were very lovely and sent me pictures of their Thanksgivings and explained what exactly a Thanksgiving is. I also made a hand turkey thing which I’ve seen in at least two American sitcoms, so it must be a real thing.

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Coming up with things to be thankful was made easier by the amount of American sitcoms who have Thanksgiving episodes.

Also on Monday, I got stopped by a charity guy. His name is Franz, he has dreadlocks and if you’ve ever seen Stephen Fry’s approximation of a German, that’s what he sounds like. He sneakily started a conversation by complimenting my clothes, and before I knew it he was telling me how many kids are starving in the world. Thankfully, this is where an interesting German phenomenon kicked in. Charity people don’t get mad if you say no. They don’t try and guilt you into staying or anything. It’s amazing! So I apologized, fist bumped and walked away.

On my way to work on Tuesday, Franz stopped me again. I apologised, explained I was going to be late if I stopped to talk and walked away, again, without him trying to persuade me stay. Work was fairly boring on Tuesday, as they kids were being tested so I really wasn’t needed. I sat in my two classes anyway, the teacher occasionally checking words with me. Oh yeah, and one of the girls went mental. Called the teacher Schlampe (that’s whore for those of you who don’t parlez vous Deutsch) and stormed out of the classroom. What had the teacher done? Must have been something terrible, right? No. She told the girl to sit down. Politely. That was all she’d done. What was done about this you ask? Her guardian was told. And that was about it. She didn’t get yelled at or anything by the teacher. I know if someone had done that in my primary school – in fact when people did do similar things in my primary school –  they got detention forever and about ten other punishments on top.

Seeing as it was a Tuesday, I was at the BC café weekly meeting in the evening. Turns out if I sit with German speakers, as opposed to English speakers, I talk to more people. Hmmm… I also got a pep talk on how to make friends. Which apparently involves talking to them. Psh, whatevs.

Wednesday brought an interesting development. One of the boys asked me for my phone number. I’m gonna assume he was just practicing his English. And no, I didn’t tell him my number. For one thing, I don’t have it memorised. The same boy was later scandalised when I said that British kids generally have crisps in their lunchboxes. Just to be clear, I didn’t say they only have crisps. But I feel like this screen shot of my facebook sums up my inner (and online) response to this outrage perfectly.

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Yes I blanked out parts of people’s names. And what?

I ended up watching a couple of videos that go with the kids’ English textbook, and I want to know how much Sainsbury’s paid the company, because there is so much product placement I had to laugh. And then explain why I was laughing… I also ended up arguing with a 9 year old about her ability to do maths. I swear Dad and Grandad would be so proud of my mental maths right now. That’s the thing about being an adult. You have to know the answers. And fast.

Franz stopped me again. He really wants me to help support his charity. But I was going to miss my bus, so I apologized, got a high five and went on my merry way. Wednesday also meant tutoring, which went pretty well, considering I forgot to take a picture of my family with me. Awkward considering that was going to be the centrepoint of the lesson. Whoops. Ah well. Also, it was so cold when I got outside (after a quick stop to McDonalds. I hadn’t eaten, they pay cash in hand and McDonalds is next door. What’s a girl to do?). So very cold. I had on a long sleeved top, a jumper and my standard coat that in England sees me through to at least mid-December. Somehow the cold still got through. So I ended up dancing at the bustop. Not dancing really. More twitching and pacing. Either way I’m glad it was dark because I must have looked like a right idiot. It kept me warm. Is all good.

Thursday meant helping in a German class. After being asked if I find the imperfect tense hard (the answer being yes, but I use it all the time so I kinda end up guessing a lot), I was set to helping one boy with learning the alphabet. Was going fine until I had no idea how to spell ‘ant’  in German because I don’t know what ‘ant’ is auf Deutsch. After the impromptu spelling bee, it was time for breakfast. I’ve realised that thanks to the breakfast break, I get to have second breakfast. I am living life like a hobbit. Which is fantastic. Today I was told I had to try “Gehacktes”. I don’t know if that’s what it’s actually called, but that’s what I was told. It was pretty much raw mince and onions. The face I pulled when I tasted it had the entire staffroom in hysterics. Dear Reader, it was grim. Oh so grim. I’ve genuinely had the taste of it in my mouth for the rest of the day, and blehhhhh. 0/10. Would not recommend.

Also a thing that I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned, is that the trouble kids always want me to sit with them at lunch. Beloved by the problem kids – if only my 8 year old self could see me now. Well, to be honest, she’d probably be too distracted by that fact that I have ginger hair to really care about kids from Germany.

Then I had my first taste of the German health system. It began with the surly looking receptionist saying I spoke good German, so that was enjoyable. The doctor spoke English to me and was super lovely. And despite stories of the Apotheke (the pharmacy) being stupid expensive, it really wasn’t. So in all in all, was pretty good. Huh? Oh yeah, I’m fine, thanks for asking. Nowt to worry about.

Friday was a day for national identity issues. I started the day with a lesson on Thanksgiving, and trying explain that there are differences between American English and British English is really hard. But everyone seemed to understand why Thanksgiving is a thing, so I’m gonna count that as a win. Then my next lesson was about the UK and the Queen. Ended up showing the kids my passport – turns out saying Welsh auf Deutsch is super hard. I also took real money in with me which they thought was super cool, despite the fact that it was mainly coppers…

I’d like to tell you I bumped into Franz again, because if my life were a book then that’s what would have happened. But I didn’t. So no more awkward charity encounters for me. Result. I also bought a coat today, in prep for the snow that I’m about 75% certain will come this weekend. It is, however, not a Jack Wolfskin coat. Though it is from a shop that sells Jack Wolfskin stuff, so I guess it’s Jack Wolfskin adjacent. (The Germans seem mad for Jack Wolfskin, in case I just lost you.)

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An authorised Jack Wolfskin dealer. Because you’ve got to be on the look out for those black market Jack Wolfskin dealers. Meeting you in alleys, avoiding meeting your gaze, furtive exchanges of goods and cash.

So yes, that was my week. Hope yours was good too. If with less bumping into charity people than mine entailed…