The List

Post image for The List

As promised, here is what I plan to do before I die. This list is now a permanent addition to, 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.

Here goes.  

Cities to tour

To tour a city means to spend at least a few days there exploring.




Montreal – DONE but I will be back

Quebec City




New York






Washington, D.C.



San Francisco

Zermatt, Switzerland

World treasures to visit

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris

Chateau de Versailles

Pyramids of Egypt

Cairo Museum

The Eiffel Tower

The Statue of Liberty

The Louvre

Medici Chapel, Florence

Machu Picchu

Hagia Sophia

Taj Mahal

Chateau Frontenac, Quebec

Windsor Castle

Mont St-Michel

Town of Annecy, France


Countries/regions to explore

Visiting only one city in these regions doesn’t count. One week minimum, must include overland travel.








New Zealand



Czech Republic





The Maritime Provinces, Canada

Skills and knowledge

Learn French to fluency

Learn conversational Spanish

Learn Jujitsu until it’s muscle memory

Learn photography

Learn my wines

Learn to boost a car without worrying I might zap myself

Achieve a comprehensive knowledge of the events of the Second World War

Learn to surf

Learn first aid and CPR

Learn to do a handstand

Learn to do one-arm pushups

Learn to dance well

Learn to drive a stick

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 the GTD system

Learn to swing a golf club properly

Achieve a general understanding of the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Marcus Aurelius, Machiavelli, Francis Bacon, René Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, Blaise Pascal, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant, Thomas Paine, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Albert Einstein, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Ayn Rand


Become self-employed

Complete the Secret Service Snatch Test in 200 reps

Play guitar in a working band

Get a university degree

Own a house

Speak in front of a large audience (500+)

Become debt-free – DONE

Assemble a comprehensive family tree

Sponsor a successful entrepreneur in a developing country (through

Try a vegan diet for 30 days

Become a millionaire

Have my own website – DONE

Do 20 pullups in one set

Own a suit I feel great in

Make my living doing work I love

Achieve a midsection I like the look of

Go 21 days without complaining once

Adopt a sustainable lifestyle

Achieve a “location independent” full-time income

Get my gmail inbox to zero

Write my will

Books/films to read/see

Schindler’s List

Dr. Strangelove (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb)

Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

On the Road – Jack Kerouac

Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand

Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes

Moby Dick – Herman Melville

The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway

The Stranger – Albert Camus

Roughing It – Mark Twain

Beyond Good and Evil – Freidrich Nietzsche

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert Pirsig

Experiences to have

Become a parent

Plant and harvest a vegetable garden

Walk the Milford Track

Snowboard in The European Alps

Take a boat ride on the Nile

Take a boat ride on the Amazon

Hike the Tongariro Crossing

Explore Yosemite National Park

Take a gondola ride on the Grand Canal, Venice

Go to an NFL game

Drive a 300+ horsepower muscle car

Drive a 500+ horsepower sports car

Swim in the Mediterranean

Float in the Dead Sea

Orbit the earth in a spaceship – Yeah that’s right

Drink Irish beer in an Irish Pub

Fly in a hot air balloon

Look at the heavens through a huge telescope

Go rock climbing

Go bouldering

See the Northern Lights – DONE but I want to do it again!

Take an epic (ten day plus) hike in the Alps

See Radiohead live (in England if possible!)

Go snowboarding somewhere only accessible by helicopter

Travel by train through the mountains

Live in France for at least a few months

Live in Montreal for at least a few months

Walk the Abel Tasman Coastal Track

Take a round-the-world trip

See an opera in a grand opera house

Dine at a ridiculously expensive restaurant

Stay at a ridiculously expensive hotel

Share a ridiculously expensive bottle of wine with someone

Go to a movie by myself

Participate in the making of a documentary

Fire a pistol

Play a song I wrote in front of other people

Get a massage from a professional

Have a picnic on a green rolling hill with a checkered blanket

Eat a baguette and drink wine in France

Hike in a rainforest

Sit on a beach with no trace of any people other than me

Order in French at a French restaurant

Hike in the Himalayas

Go white water rafting

Tour Medieval villages in Provence

Take a road trip via motorcycle

Record an album of my own music

Tour Le Marais in Paris

Tour a region famous for wine, and sample a lot of it

Work for room and board in the WWOOF program

Take an overnight camping trip by canoe

Take a coast-to-cost road trip across the US South, visiting Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nevada and California

Snowboard at Vail, Colorado

Go kayaking

Summit a mountain (10,000+ ft)

Attend Toastmasters

Drink beer from a ridiculous beer stein with the locals in Germany

Ride a Harley Davidson

Total goals: 161

Total complete: 4


Please share some items from your own list, or better still, publish it on your own blog or on I always find it fascinating to hear what people would identify as “must-do” experiences.


Photo by Dudu Viana



Sherri (Serene Journey) September 10, 2009 at 7:25 am

Far out David this is an amazing list! When you’ve accomplished all of these (and I have no doubt you will) imagine the life you will have led! You’ve completely inspired me to get working on my own list. Thank you.

Best wishes to you, these are truly fabulous intentions! :)
.-= Sherri (Serene Journey)´s last blog ..Get Lost =-.

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David September 10, 2009 at 8:11 am

Thanks Sherri. That’s what I’m aiming for: getting people excited about doing their own (doable) list. Good luck with yours!

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Jay Schryer September 10, 2009 at 7:37 am

This is a really awesome list! Like Sherri said, just imagine the life you will have lived!
.-= Jay Schryer´s last blog ..The Last Boy Scout =-.

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David September 10, 2009 at 8:22 am

For sure… Looking at it now it’s pretty lengthy. Time to get to work. I can identify about ten I’ll definitely have done by this time next year. I guess I’ll never be bored.

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Kim September 10, 2009 at 8:32 am

It is an amazing list, but are you not concerned about missing out on life? There is a great deal of truth in the saying “life is what happens when you’re making other plans”. I probably am on completely the other end of the spectrum to you in this regard, but I don’t think I’ve missed out – I’m not saying there isn’t room for some order and plans in my life (it might actually benefit from it!)
.-= Kim´s last blog ..Impressions of North Korea (Part 1) =-.

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David September 10, 2009 at 9:09 am

Hi Kim. I’m not sure what you mean exactly. What would I be missing out on?

I’ve always interpreted Lennon’s quote to mean “Life only happens now, so don’t miss it by keeping your mind in the future.”

I don’t think I am, no matter how much I plan to do in life.

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John September 10, 2009 at 9:01 am

Ha ha sweet list – it’s as long as I expected. I’ve done a few the things on your list (namely watch Shindler’s List and read Atlas Shrugged). Atlas Shrugged was an incredibly long read, but it was worth it.

Better get to work on mine (only written 15 so far).

Until next time.
.-= John´s last blog ..20 Quotes That are Simply Motivating =-.

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David September 10, 2009 at 9:10 am

Hey John. Are you doing your list on 43things? If so let me know when you’re done, I’d love to see it (and cheer you on.)

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Srinivas Rao September 10, 2009 at 9:32 am


This is an awesome list. I need to create my own. If you are ever in Caifornia and in LA I can teach you how to surf :), since I spend all my free time surfing. In fact I’m about to head to the beach right now.
.-= Srinivas Rao´s last blog ..Create your own definitions for success and failure =-.

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David September 10, 2009 at 10:23 am

For sure! I will be out that way at some point definitely, and I won’t be able to teach myself to surf. Have a good day at the beach, man.

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Nicky September 10, 2009 at 9:48 am

Awesome list. I think the benefit of posting it publicly is that when people see an item on someone else’s life-list that they know how to do or have done, the simply cannot resist lending a hand or sharing their experiences. That is a great thing for all involved.

Looking forward to hearing the stories as you move through your list!


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David September 10, 2009 at 10:29 am

That’s something I hadn’t thought of, but it looks like you’re right; I think I’ve already got surfing lessons lined up :)

Another thing is that it creates accountability to do these things. They’re out there now, so I have more than my own expectations to live up to.

I’ll share the stories as they happen.

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Lori September 10, 2009 at 10:36 am

Great show!

Keeping this comment short, let me know if I can help! (Hint: I could help you cross off the San Francisco tour, give you swimming lessons, teach you to drive a stick – for starters.) I also loved the book Atlas Shrugged and drinking beer from a real stein in Germany. Great picks!

I’m looking forward to seeing things crossed-off your list, David, and also to your tales of how these events occur. :P
.-= Lori´s last blog ..These Roots Run Deep =-.

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David September 10, 2009 at 11:13 am

Awesome! I may take you up on those offers, Lori. I’m starting to see the potential for finding help with this list, like Nicky was referring to.

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Dayne | September 10, 2009 at 10:45 am

Wow, what a FUN read this was! I loved this post a lot. You have me motivated to create my own list now. Looks like you have plenty of things to do before you die. :)

Very nice post!

Dayne :)
.-= Dayne |´s last blog ..Happiness Challenge #1: 100 Breaths =-.

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David September 10, 2009 at 11:21 am

Glad to hear you enjoyed reading it Dayne. I was wondering if anyone would really care about my own plans, but I hoped it would entertain a bit at least.

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Lisis September 10, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Awesome list, except you forgot two things that I just KNOW you meant to put on there:

1. Hug a monkey in Costa Rica.
2. Try every flavor of Ben & Jerry’s. :)

OK… so those came off of MY list. I’ve done the first, and I’m well on my way to completing the second. I highly recommend them both.

I have no doubt you will accomplish the vast majority of the items on YOUR list!
.-= Lisis´s last blog ..Letters from Readers: Remembering Lost Loved Ones =-.

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David September 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm

I’m scared of monkeys.

Even chunky monkey.

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Lisis September 10, 2009 at 7:18 pm

That’s a damn shame! You’re missing out all around!
.-= Lisis´s last blog ..Letters from Readers: Remembering Lost Loved Ones =-.

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Hannah September 10, 2009 at 9:15 pm

feeling kinda cut that Australia didn’t make your list. Are we too extreme/not good enough?

.-= Hannah´s last blog ..Steve McCurry =-.

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David September 10, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Oh but it was so hard Hannah. There are so many countries (not to mention other kinds of experiences) I had to leave out. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to go, only that Australia doesn’t compel me quite as much as the countries I did list.

In a lot of cases this just comes down to dumb luck. I became intrigued in Germany, for example, because I’ve run into German travelers who got me interested. If they’d been Aussies, the list would be different.

Please don’t take it personally! :)

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Tina September 10, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Congratulations on your list! I know you’ll accomplish all of your goals:) You’ll like ‘On the Road’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged’. (Personally though, I do believe that ‘The Fountainhead’ is better than Atlas…there’s a reason the dog I get will be named Roark and not John Galt.)

Anyway, good luck and most importantly, have fun!

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David September 10, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Tina. If I like Atlas Shrugged I will certainly read the Fountainhead.

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Lance September 11, 2009 at 7:08 am

Hi David,
What a very cool list!! And, it’s giving me some new ideas on things I want to accomplish yet in my life!
.-= Lance´s last blog ..The Evolution of Our Heart’s Desire =-.

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David September 11, 2009 at 4:01 pm

That’s great Lance, when I was making mine I know I was inspired a lot by what other people had on their lists too. I find it so interesting to see other people’s dreams written out like that.

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Erin September 11, 2009 at 11:29 am

Wonderful list. So many places you want to see are on my list as well and Istanbul is also number one on my list. Be sure to add Garden of the Gods in Colorado to travel and in the reading category, Prayer: The Gate (for the spiritual part of your jouney). Thanks for a great post. Be blessed and enjoy the list and every moment of your grand adventure called life.
.-= Erin´s last blog ..Season of Change =-.

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David September 11, 2009 at 4:05 pm

I will, thanks so much Erin. I’ll investigate your suggestions too.

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Erin September 11, 2009 at 11:32 am

You will not find the secret service snatch test on my list.
.-= Erin´s last blog ..Season of Change =-.

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Daniel Edlen September 11, 2009 at 1:50 pm

What an awesome list! The other early step in the lessons I just emailed you about was to make a list of dreams for our life. Your’s is way more complete than mine. I’ve gotta work on it!

.-= Daniel Edlen´s last blog ..Baby Barter =-.

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David September 11, 2009 at 4:08 pm

It does take some time. Normally I just sit down for one or two sessions to write a post, but this list I’ve had running for over a month now. I recommend taking some time, trying to throw one together too fast will give you a list you don’t believe in. I made one in high school like that.

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Lori September 11, 2009 at 3:42 pm

What an amazing list! We actually have a lot of common goals, like self employment, guitar, becoming a parent, and exploring the Nile, among others. Thanks for sharing this =)

I never thought to write one of these, but I suppose this would be very helpful in maintaining forward momentum. You’ve inspired me to write my own.
.-= Lori´s last blog ..Panic Attack! (It’s Never Lupus) =-.

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David September 11, 2009 at 4:11 pm

I think everyone has some kind of list, even if it’s just in their head, but there really is something awesome about getting them down on paper (or a computer.) They stare back at you, challenging you to actually do them. Glad you’re going to make a list. Have fun.

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Ian | Quantum Learning September 12, 2009 at 4:51 am

I think you already know it’s a great list (it’s yours after all)!

When did you first write this? What I mean by that is ..I’m guessing you’ve already done far more than 4 things from the list you would have written, say 10 years ago? That would also be inspiring to read all the things you’ve already achieved that are good enough to make the list.
.-= Ian | Quantum Learning´s last blog ..We think too much and feel too little =-.

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David September 12, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I didn’t reach too far back to find items I’ve already done, but I did add them as they occurred to me. To be honest I always had a strange aversion to achievement until this last few years. I was afraid to set high expectations.

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Brad September 12, 2009 at 3:30 pm

I share many of these aspirations; what I am really excited about now is becoming fluent in a couple languages. I don’t know how much experience you have, but my advice to you is learn Esperanto.

One, because studies show it drastically reduces the time required to learn a natural language. Because of its simplicity its reasonably easy to become fluent in a few months, so you have the full experience of second language acquisition. When students who either took 3 years of German or 1 year Esperanto + 2 years German were tested, they found the latter group tested much better for fluency in German, even though they studied it for 2/3 as long.

Secondly, because through the Pasporta Servo program, you can stay with an Esperanto speaker in practically any country you’d want to travel to and they can show you the ropes. It’s a hospitality program.

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David September 16, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Thanks Brad, I’ll look into Esperanto when I get back from my trip. I’d never heard anyone give a convincing reason to learn it, until now. I’m intrigued.

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Find yourself with a smile... September 15, 2009 at 10:46 am

Thanks for this, David.

In the rush to ‘get stuff done’, it is easy to forget the really simple and obvious stuff.

Like “Why don’t I make a list of things that I would really love to do before I die!”

It is interesting to read through someone else’s list, not only for ideas, but for the occasions when you can say “Hey, I’ve already done that” or “I’ve done that too!”

Suddenly success isn’t so far away… :-)

I’ll be posting one on my own blog soon.

keep smiling,

.-= Find yourself with a smile…´s last blog ..3 Simple Secrets for Intensifying Love… =-.

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David September 16, 2009 at 3:55 pm

I have had lots of fun reading through other people’s lists.

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Roberta September 16, 2009 at 3:40 pm

As others stated awesome list! I still need to get mine started this weekend.

When you travel through Los Angeles, CA I know my friends and I would love to show you our city!

Looking forward to the future blog posts as you check of items off your list!

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David September 16, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Thanks Roberta. My travels will definitely take me to LA again. Suddenly I have a lot of dots to connect!

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Nazim Khimani September 17, 2009 at 7:00 pm

This is quite an extensive list! Which area are you currently focusing on?

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David September 18, 2009 at 8:06 am

Hi Nazim,

At the moment I’m focusing on my upcoming trip to Thailand and New Zealand. There are ten or twelve items I plan do cross off during that time, and I’ll have plenty of time to work on others too as the opportunities arise.

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Roberta September 17, 2009 at 9:22 pm

I have started my list if anyone is on 43 things please feel free to add me.

Only just started but definitely helpful and easy to use the 43 site.

David, thanks for propelling us towards this beautiful journey!

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David September 18, 2009 at 8:11 am

Hey right on Roberta, thanks for sharing. I’ve subscribed to your list, but I haven’t put mine on 43 things yet. Do you have a country in mind that you want to live in for 6 months?
.-= David´s last blog ..What’s Your Problem? And Why? =-.

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Alison | Quest for Balance October 5, 2009 at 1:56 pm

You know, I’ve never made a “life list” like this… but reading yours, it strikes me how many of them (YOUR goals) I’ve done! I will count them up and give you a report. Then, perhaps, I will work on my own list. : )
.-= Alison | Quest for Balance´s last blog ..Adventure: Starting Over =-.

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Katrina October 20, 2009 at 11:41 pm

Awesome list! The Stranger by Camus is a quick read (unless of course, you’re reading the French version and not the translated version). You can easily finish it while you’re on the plane to any one of your exotic locations! (:

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David October 22, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Hi Katrina. I was picturing the translated version, but if I like it I may add the French version to the list. I’ve got Heart of Darkness on the go right now.

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Nawala January 17, 2010 at 2:18 am

hey david! amazing list! it is so awesome that so people are doing this. i just discovered the idea about a week a go and have already added it to my blog as of today! so excited for you and my life list! take care!
.-= Nawala´s last blog ..Follow Your Heart…live a little! =-.

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David January 17, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Hi Nawala, thanks. Nice list yourself. Looks like you’ve got a big 2010 ahead of you. :)

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Nawala January 17, 2010 at 8:29 pm

yes i do!…geez i’m nervous! lol
.-= Nawala´s last blog ..Food For Thought 8 =-.

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Tara June 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Hey! I know you want to explore Dublin but it’s really not part of “real” Ireland! Galway city or Cork city is the place to be for a warm welcome and a good time! (If you’re going city travelling specifically)

If you’re coming to Ireland for any travel.
The mountains in Kerry are amazing to look at and climb! The people there are crazy. Amazing scenery. And if you come to Tipperary, it’s green and lush, completely contrasting with Kerry! Great mountains there too!

That’s one extensive list! Inspiring!

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David June 18, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Oh I’ll definitely see more than Dublin. :)

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Mehdi July 5, 2010 at 6:28 am

Very inspirational ! It makes me want to write such a list…From what I know, becoming debt-free is the utmost prerequisite to make it all possible (and one of the most difficult). Good thing you did get it done. I’m working on that myself.
Anyway, thanks for sharing and good luck achieving your goals !

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David July 5, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Thanks Mehdi. Depending on what’s on your list, there is a lot a person can do without any financial prerequisites. Have fun with your list :)

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Maya January 6, 2014 at 7:15 pm

Hi David,
thank you for writing the guide to write a life list and posting your own, it is really inspiring! Thanks to these articles, I decided to write one for myself as well. It is actually a lot of fun! I also found another benefit of doing it- I’m 17 now and I have to start thinking about my future education and career. In my opinion, thinking about what I want to acomplish in my life and creating my own life list is a good way to start and it can help a lot. I am also proud of that I see Czech republic on your list, it is my home country. If you ever need tips, what exactly is worth seeing there, feel free to contact me, I would be happy to help you!

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