As promised, here is what I plan to do before I die. This list is now a permanent addition to Raptitude.com, and the most up-to-date version can be found by clicking “The List” tab on the top of any page.
If you want to make your own list, here is the comprehensive guide to making one that you will honor.
A few notes:
- You’ll notice my list is very travel-heavy. One of my major goals in life is to achieve a location-independent income, which will allow me to move around the globe without the constraint of limited vacation days. Without the intention to live this kind of lifestyle, my list would not be realistic to me and I’d probably soon forget about it.
- I have tried to eliminate redundancies, but some are inevitable. I want to see the Louvre and tour Paris, but it is unlikely I’ll do one and not the other. Still, both are important and I don’t want to leave either off my list.
- The list is not complete. I cannot be sure I’ve thought of everything that deserves to be on it, but this is a pretty good start.
[NOTE: This is my list as it was on June 6 2014. The most current version of the list is always here.]
If you want to make your own list, here is the comprehensive guide to making one that you will stick to.
Cities to tour
To tour a city means to spend at least a few days there exploring.
Montreal – DONE but I will be back
New York – DONE – 2/17/2012 - I spent most of four weeks here and had the time of my life. I heart NY.
Long-term trips to take
Being away for months gives you an entirely different experience than being away for a week or two. You start to normalize to the new place and you start to lose the sense of being “away.” I like that. These trips could last anywhere from a month to a year.
Tour Eastern Canada — Visit Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland
Take a road trip through many of the western US national Parks, including Yellowstone, Death Valley, Zion, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Crater Lake and Glacier National Park
Take a Rocky Mountain snowboarding tour, spending a whole winter visiting different ski resorts in the Canadian and American West
Spend 4-12 months in a cosmopolitan city working on a writing project (NYC, Montreal, Seattle, etc.)
Spend 3-6 months living in a beach town where I can surf several times a week.
Do a homestay in a French city, to learn French in an immersive environment (either in Quebec or France)
Countries/regions to explore
To “explore” means to spend at least a few weeks traveling overland in these areas.
Thailand – DONE – 11/20/09 – Had a blast, will be back one day.
New Zealand – DONE – Spent six months exploring this wonderful country from Nov ’09 to May ’10. I visited so many beautiful places and am determined to return one day.
England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales
Nepal and India
Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia
Skills and knowledge
Learn French to fluency
Learn conversational Spanish
Understand the implications of Plato’s Cave
Learn photography – DONE - 1/2012 - I am proficient with the operation of a DSLR camera, the basics of composition and exposure. I can take pictures that make people go wow. There is an endless amount to learn and I want to learn more, but I’ve achieved enough to impress myself, which is all I ever wanted.
Learn my wine basics
Learn to boost a car without worrying I might zap myself - DONE – 12/13/10
Learn to surf – DONE - Took a four-day surf camp in May 2010. Learned to stand up and surf right away, and now I am in love with surfing. I want to surf all over the world.
Learn first aid and CPR – DONE - 5/12/11 - This had been on my conscience for a long time. I am now certified in level C first aid and CPR.
Learn to dance comfortably - DONE - 2012 – I do dance now — I was afraid to for years. I’m not good at it but I do have fun and that’s enough.
Learn to throw a tight spiral with a football
Learn to swim properly – after all these years I must say I really don’t know what I’m doing
Master a workflow system, like GTD
Learn to swing a golf club properly
Develop a nice, consistent signature (I’m 33 and haven’t done this yet)
Become self-employed - DONE - 10/14/13
Become financially independent – This means I am living off the returns of my assets and do not have to work.
Play guitar in a working band
Own a house
Speak in front of a large audience (500+)
Become debt-free – DONE
Try a vegan diet for 30 days – DONE – 3/24/11 – This became Experiment No. 10 and it changed my dietary habits forever.
Become a millionaire
Have my own website – DONE – 3/15/09
Own a suit I feel great in
Make my living doing work I love – PROGRESS - Paying some bills this way, working towards all bills.
Get into physical shape I would describe as “outstanding”
Achieve a “location independent” full-time income – PROGRESS
Get my Gmail inbox to zero – DONE – 4/16/10 – This is actually super easy, because of Gmail’s brilliant “Archive” function. I just selected them all and archived them. You should do it.
Write my will – PROGRESS
Books/films to read/see
NOTE: I don’t believe in finishing books I’m not enjoying. So if I end up not liking it and quitting, it’s still “done” in my mind. Of course I hope I like them all.
Schindler’s List – DONE – 9/13/09
Dr. Strangelove (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) – DONE – 3/19/13 – I appreciate the political significance of this film but I found it really boring after the beginning. The same joke went on for hours. I wanted to like it, and I’m not saying it wasn’t good. But I didn’t like it. Felt the same way about Catch-22 when I read it. Everyone else seemed to really like both, and they are certainly classics.
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad – DONE – 11/16/09 – Finished it on the beach in Ko Phi Phi. Fantastic book, everyone who loves the English language should read it.
On the Road – Jack Kerouac
The Stranger – Albert Camus
Walden – Henry David Thoreau
Vagabonding – Rolf Potts DONE – 7/2011
Roughing It – Mark Twain- DONE – 12/2011
Dune - Frank Hebert
Beyond Good and Evil – Friedrich Nietzsche
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert Pirsig - DONE – 3/19/13 – Did not finish. I expected a novel, with background themes of zen and living in the present moment. But it came off like a diatribe. There was no subtlety at all to the philosophical lessons. Philosophy can be incredibly boring when it’s discussed in the abstract, and it doesn’t take long to discover that that’s what the author really wants to do. Was turned off very quickly, but I think it’s because my expectations were so different from what it was.
The Hierarchy of Heaven and Earth – Douglas Harding
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas and Auguste Maquet
The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Experiences to have
Plant and harvest a vegetable garden
Hike the Tongariro Crossing – DONE – 12/8/09 – Incredible experience.
Have an article published in The New Yorker
Go to an NFL game - DONE – Saw the Vikings and Packers in Minnesota on October 27/2013
Visit the Sagrada Familia
See the Statue of Liberty – DONE – 1/23/2012 – I was exhausted from a day of walking around lower Manhattan, and suddenly felt a bit crowded out by the busy streets. So I went walking down by the water around Battery Park City. It was drizzly and suddenly quiet, and then I saw her still figure in the distance. Heart almost stopped. Just like the Sydney Opera House — the best way to see world-famous landmarks is by accident.
Visit the Museum of Modern Art, New York - DONE - 1/?/12 – Wandered the galleries for a few hours and had a transcendent meeting with my favorite painting, Des Moiselles d’Avignon. I didn’t know it lived there.
Visit the Hagia Sophia
Orbit the earth in a spaceship
Look at the heavens through a huge telescope – DONE – 4/1/11 – I visited the huge observatories on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii and looked at several nebulae and planets with a 11″ reflecting telescope. Now, that’s not quite “huge” — I did not get to view the heavens through the enormous (some 20m-plus) telescopes in the observatories for two very good reasons: a) they are extremely exclusive and you have to have a lot of academic clout to even have a chance of using them, and b) modern telescopes do not have eyepieces — you can’t look through them. They are operated remotely and the heavens are viewed as high-res digital images. They are basically big cameras, and the images are freely available online.
See the Northern Lights in person – DONE (twice now) but I want to do it again!
See Radiohead live - DONE – 3/9/12 – Saw them in St. Louis. Beautiful, beautiful show. “Reckoner” and “Lucky” were transcendent moments for me.
Travel by train through the mountains – DONE – 2/4/10 – Took the TranzScenic across the New Zealand Southern Alps from Greymouth to Christchurch.
Walk the Abel Tasman Coastal Track – DONE – I had planned to walk the entire length of the track on December 23-27, 2009. When I got to the first hut, I found myself to be the only solo traveler at a beach full of vacationing families. I had left friends behind at the beginning of the track, and decided I’d rather spend Christmas with them than do the rest of the track with all of these couples and families. So I went back the next day. I did not walk the whole track as I intended, but I’m calling it done. I saw everything I wanted to see. It was beautiful, I just didn’t need five days of it at that particular time.
Take a round-the-world trip
Dine at a ridiculously fancy restaurant
Stay at a ridiculously fancy hotel
Share a ridiculously fancy bottle of wine with someone
Go to a movie by myself – I attempted to do this in Sydney in June 2010, at the world’s biggest IMAX screen, and unfortunately I ran into a bunch of friends going to the same movie
Participate in the making of a documentary
Fire a pistol
Get a massage from a professional – DONE - 10/14/09 – (There will be many more.)
Have a picnic on a green rolling hill with a checkered blanket
Hike in a rainforest – DONE - 1/24/10 – Hiked through the rainforest at Franz Josef, NZ, up to the top of 1300m Alex Knob. I am so sore. Pictures here.
Do a ten-day vipassana retreat
Go on a multi-day hike (with a few other people) and sleep rough
Summit a mountain (but not one I need crampons or ice axes for)
Get a quality barrel
See Cirque du Soleil – DONE - 7/24/10 – Saw “Allegria” at the MTS Centre. Incredible show, exceeded my expectations. Want to see more Cirque shows.
Attend South by Southwest
Live in New York City
Watch a sports game from a luxury box
Float in a sensory deprivation tank for an hour or more
Total goals: 110
Total complete: 34
Last updated: June 6, 2014
Photo by Dudu Viana