The List

Post image for The List

As promised, here is what I plan to do before I die. It will be kept current.

If you want to make your own list, here is the comprehensive guide to making one that you will honor.


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 – DONE2/17/2012 - I spent most of four weeks here and had the time of my life. I heart NY.



Rio de Janeiro



Washington, D.C.



San Francisco


Long-term trips to take

Since my trip to Australasia, I can’t stop thinking about other large-scale trips I want to take. They could last anywhere from a month to a year.

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

Explore South America, particularly Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina

Travel in Scandinavia and the Baltic countries — Norway, Sweden, Finland (maybe Denmark) Latvia, Estonia

Eastern Canada — From Ottawa and Quebec city, through the Gaspé, to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland

Take a road trip through US national Parks in the West, including Yellowstone, Death Valley, Zion, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Crater Lake and Glacier National Park

World treasures to visit

The Sagrada Familia

The Statue of Liberty - DONE1/23/2012 – 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. 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York - DONE - 1/17/12 – Wandered the galleries for a few hours and had a transcendent encounter with my favorite painting ever, Des Moiselles d’Avignon. Almost cried, again. Sat and stared at their Kandinskys for I don’t know how long.

Hagia Sophia


Countries/regions to explore

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

Thailand - DONE – 11/20/09 – Had a blast, will be back one day.

New Zealand – DONESpent 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.




Ireland, Scotland, and England

Nepal and India



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 proper etiquette for a full formal dinner, and use it

Spend a year practicing Buddhism formally (including taking precepts, joining a sangha)

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

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 do one-arm pushups

Learn to dance well - PROGRESS - I do dance now — I was afraid to for years — it’s feeling better and more natural, but it’s not quite “well” yet.

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 a workflow system - PROGRESS - Really getting there, finally. Not quite a master.

Learn to swing a golf club properly

Develop a nice, consistent signature (I’m 33 and haven’t done this yet)

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, Jean-Paul Sartre, Voltaire, Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx, Thomas Paine, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Albert Einstein, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Ayn Rand

Read about the lives of Napoleon Bonaparte, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Albert Einstein, Marco Polo, Helen Keller, Benjamin Franklin, Adolf Hitler, Leonardo da Vinci, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Marcus Aurelius, Jean d’Arc, Ferdinand Magellan, Lewis & Clark, Mark Twain, Horatio Nelson, Elizabeth I and John Lennon


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 - PROGRESSI am starting to pay a few bills from the proceeds of work I love. I quit my job in October 2013 and I plan to be making a sustainable living within six months.

Get into physical shape I would describe as “outstanding”

Go 21 days without complaining once – DONE – 4/3/10 – Had to restart a few times, but I made it. I learned a lot — the final report is here.

Adopt a sustainable lifestyle

Achieve a “location independent” full-time income

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

Books/films to read/see

NOTE: I reserve the right to put down any book I’m not enjoying. When I’m done, I’m done.

Schindler’s ListDONE9/13/09

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 myself tremendously bored watching it. 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.

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

WaldenHenry David Thoreau 

Vagabonding – Rolf Potts DONE7/2011 

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 – Another book I did not finish. I expected a novel with themes of zen and living in the present moment. There was no subtlety at all to the philosophical aspect. 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. 

The Hierarchy of Heaven and EarthDouglas Harding

Experiences to have

Plant and harvest a vegetable garden

Walk the Milford Track- DONE – 2/1/10 – Unforgettable hike. Some of the most dramatic landscapes I’ve ever seen. Had perfect weather. Pictures here.

Snowboard in the European Alps

Hike the Tongariro CrossingDONE – 12/8/09 – Incredible experience. Took photos. See some of them here.

Have an article published in The New Yorker

Go to an NFL game - DONESaw the Vikings and Packers in Minnesota on October 27/2013

Fly first class

Drive a 300+ horsepower muscle car

Drive a 500+ horsepower sports car

Take a Rocky Mountain snowboarding tour, spending a whole winter visiting different ski resorts in the Canadian and American West

Orbit the earth in a spaceship - I’m serious about this.

Fly in a hot air balloon

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.

Go rock climbing, on actual rocks

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

Take an epic multi-day hike in the Alps

See Radiohead live - DONE3/9/12 – Saw them in St. Louis. Beautiful, beautiful show. “Reckoner” and “Lucky” were transcendent moments for me.

Go snowboarding somewhere only accessible by helicopter

Travel by train through the mountains – DONE – 2/4/10 – Took the TranzScenic across the New Zealand Southern Alps from Greymouth to Christchurch.

Live in Montréal for at least a few months

Walk the Abel Tasman Coastal Track – DONEI 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

See Pagliacci 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 – 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

Eat a baguette and drink wine in France

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.

Order in French at a French restaurant

Hike in the Himalaya

Tour Le Marais in Paris

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

Take an overnight camping trip by canoe

Summit a mountain (10,000+ ft)

Ride a Harley Davidson

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

Attend World Domination Summit 

Total goals: 135

Total complete: 33

Last updated: Dec 17, 2013


Photo by Dudu Viana


Tonie September 17, 2009 at 11:05 am


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Javeed Ahmed M November 9, 2009 at 8:51 am

That is a Great List and a Long one too.. All the Best…Just a few More to Go….

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AndyBaxley November 23, 2009 at 10:09 pm

David- Your site gets me jazzed; thank you sir. Might I suggest adding a book called Man’s Search for Meaning (Frankl) to your list. You of all people will find it profoundly inspiring, I am certain.

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Gayle April 14, 2013 at 3:23 pm

I was going to recommend this one as well. – A good read.

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Financial Samurai November 30, 2009 at 2:27 am

New to the site, good stuff!

Just wondering though, what are you doing for income in all your travels? I’d like to do this too one day, but I want to be financially secure before hand (by 40).

Cheers, Sam

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David November 30, 2009 at 5:27 am

On my current trip, I am living on my savings at the moment, which will not hold out forever. I will spend some time (probably in January) working for room and board in the WWOOF program ( as much for the experience as the room and board. After that I will find a paying job, and will be experimenting with internet marketing projects.

Long term, I plan to develop a location-independent self-employed income, so I can work while I travel via internet.

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Suzanne October 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Check out this guy’s website. His list involved a lot of traveling and he explains how to trip down one’s life and do it on the cheap.×5/sufficiency/
For me, it was the first time finding someone who got the difference between really needing something as opposed to wanting it. A person doesn’t need much to live a good and productive life but one has to live on one’s own terms and not those dictated to us by society. That isn’t always easy.

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David October 21, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Yes, Chris Guillebeau is well-known in the blogging community, I’ve been following him for years. Super nice guy and an inspiration to my whole generation of blog entrepreneurs. He is awesome.

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Financial Samurai December 1, 2009 at 12:11 am

Hi David,

Sounds great man. I truly have always wanted to do what you do, but I’m afraid that once I leave my job and location in San Francisco, I’ll never be able to get it back. I have a fear that I truly do have a good thing going, and will regret my departure.

How do you know when it’s the right time to pack your bags and go solo? Was there an aha moment? How do you know when it’s the right time to come back and work at a traditional job? Never?

Finally, what about trying to montize your blog? It seems to get good enough traffic to earn perhaps $1,000+/month.



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David December 1, 2009 at 2:07 am

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing if you never get your job back. It sounds like it is keeping you from doing something you really want to do.

You may be able to negotiate a leave of absence or something, you just have to take the steps. If you want to travel it can be done. I don’t think I’ve never met anyone who has said they regret traveling, but I’ve talked to plenty who have regret not traveling.

I was ready to change jobs anyway, so it was rather easy for me to just get up and go. I was also nearing the age limit for a Working Holiday Visa, so it was sort of a now-or-never thing for me.

I will probably begin to monetize my blog soon. It does get good consistent traffic, I just want to make sure I choose the right way to do it.

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Financial Samurai December 1, 2009 at 8:04 am

David – It’s one of those things where I want it all, but obviously, that can’t happen. I’ve actually lived in 6 different countries for 2-4 years at a time and it was wonderful.

I’m thinking, why not plant my seed now (my site), and when I’ve got the financial wherewithal to really walk away and never return in 8-10 years, use the site as medium for supplemental income and as a hobby.

It’s not like I’m locked in a cage, as my firm provides 6 weeks a year vacation, which probably sounds like a joke to you :) Perhaps i’m looking for just balance. We get a 1-3 month sabbatical every 5 years, so perhaps I’ll take on next year for a month at least.

The ultimate scenario is probably to just have a healthy passive income stream from interest on cash, and then obviously a fantastic website to supplement so you’re never held down. One day!

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Susan January 5, 2010 at 8:21 am

Hi David,
I somehow stumbled onto your site when I was searching life lists. I teach health & am teaching a high school elective called “fit for life”. I am very impressed with Raptitude and your ability to articulate. I just finished a unit on life direction & I will print your article on “What Were Your Highlights in 2009?” and have my students read it. Thanks for providing an invaluable service. Best wishes on all of your adventures! I will definitely continue reading!
Sag Harbor, NY

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David January 5, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Hello Susan,

Wow, thank you. I am humbled that you think my work is fit for the young minds in your classroom.

Thank you for the best wishes, I hope to hear from you again.

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tom February 9, 2010 at 9:55 pm

very inteesting its a long road i should say a wonderful road good luck to you.

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Hunter March 1, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Truly remarkable site. I stumbled upon this site using the website StumbleUpon (hah imagine that). But I thought I might suggest Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck to your list of books. Though you may have already read it and not quite consider it on the level of “The List,” I figured I’d at least suggest. It just touched me when I read it. Hope your current job search goes well! (With the exclamation point, too. Look at that.)

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David March 1, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Thanks Hunter. I have seen the play of Of Mice and Men. I remember being quite affected by it (but also a bit disturbed.) I will definitely read some Steinbeck one day.

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Aaron March 5, 2010 at 2:32 am

Robert Pirsig wrote a sequel to ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance’ called ‘Lila’ which I think is a must read if you’re considering Pirsig.

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David March 5, 2010 at 2:56 am

Hi Aaron. I’ve got a copy of ZAMM waiting for me when I get home. I’ll check out Lila when I’m done.

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Aoife March 24, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Word of advice, if you do manage to get to Ireland, do not refer to it as a ‘British Isle’.
Oh and let your Guinness settle before drinking it.

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Michelle April 8, 2010 at 10:37 am

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse: short but exceptionally inspirational.

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Sai Krishna April 11, 2010 at 10:51 am

How much money would I need to make such a tour? Say I wanted a break of 45 days, would this be enough to make a trip around the world?

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David April 11, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Well it depends what all you want to see. You could certainly circle the globe in a lot less than 45 days, but it’s the stops that make it worthwhile.

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Laurel April 11, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Found your site through a facebook friend and thought you should check my site….sendoutcards/ You can send a card for free and check out how to make money at it while you travel. Good luck with the list.

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Greg @ Greg Rides Trails May 20, 2010 at 9:23 am

Awesome list! Lots of things on there I’ve done, but many more I haven’t. Definitely some good ideas!

This prompted me to look up a list I wrote about 5 years ago to see how I’m doing. Admittedly, it was only 13 or so items long, but I was pleased to see that I’d checked about 3 or 4 off of it.

Good luck with the rest!

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David May 20, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Thanks man! I actually just completed another item: Learn to surf. I am in Australia right now and I just took a 4-day surf camp. Now I can surf! can’t wait to do more of it.

Tonight I’m going to pick off an easy one: Go to a movie by myself. It’s an IMAX movie about surfing :)

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Greg @ Greg Rides Trails May 21, 2010 at 8:34 am

Very nice! I have always wanted to learn how to surf, seems like an awesome, but challenging, sport!

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Rosa June 1, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Let me know when you want to learn conversational spanish and to dance well ;)

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David June 1, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Will do Rosa!

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sinisa September 4, 2013 at 8:07 am

Super, my quote for this text is 10.

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Cornelius July 10, 2010 at 12:36 am

I get the feeling that this whole website is solely for your own personal enjoyment and ego, and looky up at the list, have your own website is right there. You are no doubt going to deny such a selfish act and say you create for all to enjoy and learn and share, but i have read your articles and blah blah and have come to the conclusion that this must be true. Sorry to be such a debbie downer, now give me one of your little life lesson insights that makes you sound smart and feel better about yourself.

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Cornelius July 10, 2010 at 12:38 am

Im not saying this to try to be mean or look down upon you, I’m just throwing my version of the this sliver of reality into the mix

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David July 10, 2010 at 12:56 am

Can’t thank you enough for throwing your version of the this sliver of reality into the mix, Cornelius.

Telling people off on the internet, is that a typical Friday night for you?

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Cornelius July 10, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Man I’m not telling you off, you have some cool ideas and stuff I’m just saying what I see this roots of this website to be. It’s not like you are the only person in the world that does this kind of thing, it is people’s own personal interest that drives the lives of the vast majority of people. I guess I just wanted to see how my version matched up to yours, sorry if I offended you that honestly wasn’t the point if you can believe it.

aoife July 12, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Hey, anyone who uses the phrase “Debbie Downer” doesn’t deserve an internet connection.

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Lindsay August 22, 2010 at 8:33 am

David I love your list! I have my own too but I got a couple of ideas from yours as well, so thanks!

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Jason September 7, 2010 at 2:26 pm

What surf camp did you attend? Would you recommend it?

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David September 7, 2010 at 4:44 pm

I did Surf Camp Australia. We surfed at Gerroa, which is supposed to be one of the best learn-to-surf beaches in the world. The conditions were great every day. It was fantastic, I really recommend it.

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Starr September 10, 2010 at 8:46 pm

This is a ridiculously adorable list. I hope you are able to accomplish them all, and if not…it’s really commendable that you have a list. I think everyone should make a list.

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Bob Kiser January 14, 2011 at 8:08 am

Okay, I just happened on this site by looking up quotes. Perfect, just perfect. Congrats on doing what you love AND thanks for sharing yourself and your process. The greatest gift this gave me was the question to myself, “what am I waiting for?” which was then followed by “what is it I REALLY want?”

Thanks David…I look forward to your email updates. Happy New Year.

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Annalis January 21, 2011 at 3:31 am

I love it. I’m going to steal a few of these. Here’s mine:

1. Win an award/ certificate of recognition
2. Learn how to fly an airplane
3. Learn how to surf
4. Start/ run my own successful and profitable business
5. Do the full splits
6. Learn how to drive a stick shift
7. Become a certified mechanic
8. Learn how to shoot a gun
9. Be a spy (like in the FBI or CIA or whatever)
10. Go paint balling
11. Become fully self-sufficient (live on my own, by a car, etc.)
12. Live in Spain for 3+ months
13. Become fluent in Spanish
14. Get a dog
15. Make and have 1,000,000 dollars in my possession by age 30
16. Have a net-worth of 12,000,000 dollars before I’m 40
17. Start a no-kill animal shelter
18. Write a book
19. Create a wall of art (paintings, photographs, etc.)
20. Join a competitive sports team
21. Become a fitness instructor/ personal trainer
22. Get my real estate license
23. Dine at a self-sustaining farm/ restaurant
24. Dance professionally
25. Travel to Australia, Greece, Bali, Ireland, Brazil, Japan, X New York, X Canada, X Alaska, X Europe, X Las Vegas, X Mexico, Africa)
26. Own/ live on a boat for awhile
27. Direct a film
28. Have a successful marriage that lasts a lifetime
29. Have kids- be an awesome parent
30. Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower
31. Go horseback riding on the beach
32. Get my fortune told
33. Get a makeover
34. Swim with dolphins
35. Buy my parents a trip to Australia
36. Pay my parents back all my college tuition and then some
37. Participate in a dance flash mob
38. Go scuba diving
39. Plant a garden, grow my own vegetables and herbs
40. Make love under fireworks, X on the beach, in a kitchen
41. Own, create and live in my dream home
42. Star in a reality show/ TV show
43. Host a murder mystery or clue-themed party
44. Have a prohibition-themed party
45. Have a meal with someone famous/ one of my heroes
46. Fly first-class
47. Fall in love
48. Get a surprise party
49. Ride an elephant or camel
50. Become a gourmet cook
51. Complete Orochon Ramen #2 Challenge
52. Get kissed under mistletoe
53. Go fishing
54. Go on a helicopter ride
55. Bungee-jump or skydive
56. Take a day-long vow of silence
57. Find a way to positively impact women’s rights
58. Go scuba-diving
59. See the Northern Lights
60. Play badminton or raquetball with my Dad
61. Do public speaking (in front of 500+ people)
62. Jump off a waterfall
63. Take a social etiquette class
64. Go to Marseille in France
65. Ride a mechanical bull
66. Experience weightlessness
67. Attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans
68. Go to Burning Man
69. Attend Oktoberfest in Germany
70. Be interviewed by Conan O’Brian
71. Be interviewed by Oprah
72. Be on the cover of a magazine
73. Build a school in a developing country
74. Build a Habitat for Humanity home
75. Invest in a start-up business
76. Sleep in a castle
77. Live on an Island
78. Own a spa
79. Have my artwork exhibited in a gallery
80. Write a journalism expose
81. Create enough passive income so that I don’t have to work
82. Create a 5-figure salary from a web income
83. Invest in the stock market
84. Become financially literate and savvy
85. Get proposed to
86. Go on a honeymoon
87. Spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square and in London
88. Try bull testicles, frog, alligator, X escargot, X caviar
89. See the Grand Canyon
90. See Cirque de Soleil
91. See the Statue of Liberty
92. Be organized and self-disciplined
93. Go for a week without spending any money
94. Take a milk bath
95. Participate in a food fight
96. Eliminate bad habits, destructive vices and nervous mannerisms
97. Ride in a limo
98. XPlay strip poker
99. X Join the mile high club
100. X Go to Carnivale in Venice
101. X Take a cross-country road trip
102. X Learn how to rock climb
103. X Star in a movie
104. X Go on a Cruise
105. X Sing Karaoke
106. X Go skiing/ snowboarding
107. X Camp-out under the stars
108. X Go skinny dipping
109. X Go to a drive-in movie
110. X Brunch more
111. X Wear teddies and lingerie to bed instead of men’s boxers
112. X Become a film producer
113. X Go white-water river rafting
114. X Quit a job/ Get fired from a job
115. X Dye my hair purple
116. X Learn to play a musical instrument
117. X Perform in front of an audience
118. X Go on a picnic
119. X See the Mona Lisa
120. X Visit the Statue of David
121. X Go snorkeling
122. X Go to Disneyland
123. X Take a pottery class
124. X Graduate highschool
125. X Graduate college
126. X Make the front page of the newspaper
127. X Be a camp counselor
128. X Work a service job
129. X Make a documentary
130. X Meet the Dalai Lama
131. X Participate in an AIDS walk
132. X Write a script
133. X Eat pancakes in Amsterdam
134. X Host a dinner party
135. X Become a published author

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Travis March 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Fantastic list…a LOT of great stuff on here. I’ve just discovered your site last night really…and I’ve kept coming back throughout today. As I perused your list, I realized that I could check off quite a few items. I didn’t keep track, but it was around half of them, I’d say. It’s easy for me to forget the myriad blessings and spectacular experiences I’ve had. Thanks for the reminder!

P.S. When you get there, I think you’re really gonna dig Machu Picchu. I’ll also recommend the Cordillera Blanca range for Peruvian trekking too. Ah hell, I predict you’ll dig the entire country! I spent 30 days there in 2006 and I’d go back in a second.

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Sergio April 6, 2011 at 4:08 pm

You can cross off “Try a vegan diet for 30 days” now. :)

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Laura April 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Just came across your site from a link to your “Try a Vegan Diet for 30 days” post. I am loving what I am reading so far. This list is great, and quite honestly, made me feel pretty good about my own life, as I have done some of the things you have on your list! Good luck!

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Lucie May 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Great list. If you ever visit Prague, Im ready to show you around. ;)

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Sandstorm November 17, 2012 at 9:57 am

evtra list got a new one.))

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Cherie May 3, 2011 at 2:02 am

Ciao David,

First off, awesome list :-) It’s got me thinking about what I should put on my list. Have you been updating your list? I hope so!
I guess I’m not quite sure what to say but your website & your writing gives me a lot of… insight. And reassurance. I’m in a pretty high-stress life check-point right now (graduating university), and I’m going mad trying to figure out what will come of my life. But I’m trying to keep perspective and keep my head above the water. It’s hard, but I’ll get through it. You give me a lot of strength to carry on. Thanks for that. I wish I could meet you in person some day.

Best of luck with everything. You’re getting real good with life, I know it!

-C x x

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David May 3, 2011 at 6:34 am

Yep, this list is updated regularly. At the bottom it says when the last update was.

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Matt R May 8, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Hi David,
Is it alright if I put up my own tab regarding my own “list” of goals I want to do on my website?

I just thought the idea was amazing and it blew me away when I saw it. I’ve hit a bit of a roadblock regarding my own goals so I was thinking a list could help that.


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David May 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Of course! I didn’t make this up :)

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Sunny May 17, 2011 at 9:54 am

thanks David.

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AJontheplaya May 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I’m enjoying your site & your list and thought you sound like you might also enjoy Burning Man. Not like you need to ADD anything to the list, I know… but it’s one of the most amazing communities on Earth and you seem like a natural ;)

Best of luck with your dreams – never stop.

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bg June 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm

This is an inspiring list. I think I will use it as a guide to make my own list. Thanks for sharing and good luck on your progress!

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Brad June 30, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Let me know when your ready to knock that one about taking up a protege off your list

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David July 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm

It will be a long time before I do that one ;)

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yoga ninja mama July 28, 2011 at 7:42 pm

ahh. my heart jumped when i saw “see radiohead live (in England if possible)” on your list. i’ve seen them live twice (once in my home state of Ohio, and once at Coachella music fest in Indio, CA back in 2004). they are magical. they’re one of the few bands i’ll pay a bunch of money to see, even after seeing them twice. that’s saying a lot since most of the shows i go to are under $25 (still bands i adore, but of much smaller fame). anyway, cheers to radiohead! you’ll get to see them, i’m sure of it! and it’ll be worth the wait :).

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lily white August 1, 2011 at 1:03 pm

If ever you find the opportunity to see Radiohead live in England (or anywhere on earth) you should consider seeing them with me, a stranger who loves Radiohead and is a fan of your writing.

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Sandy Hines August 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm

If you make it on that road trip and head through Colorado, get on SH 50, and make a detour on Highway 149, traveling through the historical and picturesque town of Lake City, 8,700 feet in elevation. I will happily buy you a drink and we can easily summit that 10,000 foot mountain, no problem.

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David August 9, 2011 at 6:38 pm

I will be there. One day :)

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Otter August 20, 2011 at 7:32 am

Add Hungary to the country list. It’s often overlooked, but it’s quite beautiful I can tell (because I live here). After all I can safely say we have the greatest water and spas in the world, also one of the world’s hardest, but most poetic language.

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Rita August 26, 2011 at 11:40 am

My two cents – read Kerouac before your US road trip. That book changed my life when I was 15 & will enhance the roadtrip experience. Also, if you haven’t already, read Kurt Vonnegut, anything by him!

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David August 26, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Great idea. Or maybe during my road trip…

I’ve read a few of Vonnegut’s. I usually like them.

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Rachel September 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm

If you want to go to Italy, you can’t miss Cinque Terre and doing the 5 hour “walk of love” hike across the beautiful towns that Cinque Terre is composed of. You MUST schedule this into your trip when you make it to Italy!

It was great to see the canals in Venice– it was beautiful — but I think Venice is doable in a day and a half. Rome and Florence were awesome! Def could spend a lot of time there.

Thanks for such an inspiring site…I’ve spend hours here.

And when you make it to SF, give me a holler ;)

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Connie September 25, 2011 at 1:29 am

I have many interests and I’m indecisive– I ultimately dropped out of college because of this. My interests include: English, Comparative Lit, Women Studies, Psychology, Advertising/Marketing, Philosophy, Evolution, Religion, Law, Political Science, et al. What do you think is the most important thing one can study in college?

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David September 25, 2011 at 9:29 am

I would study whatever will help you to earn a living doing what you love.

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ismo October 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm

I would like to invite you to consider visiting Africa. I think it is a big hole in your list. Best and good continuation, great website!

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Wilfred October 28, 2011 at 10:54 am

As part of your tour of Toronto, you could drop in to one of our ceilis or weekly lessons and learn a bit of Irish set dancing. Two birds with one stone (so to speak).

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Patricia November 7, 2011 at 6:53 am

May I suggest one addition to your list under Books/films to read/see, is the movie “What the Bleep Do We Know?” Everyone should see this, actually more than once.

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Gregory November 8, 2011 at 2:58 am

You can stay with us when you come to Paris.
We can show you the Marais, and get the baguette and red wine thing crossed off, too!

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David November 8, 2011 at 6:36 am

Très bien!

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Jack November 8, 2011 at 5:14 pm

I’m so glad to see that Northern Canada made it on the list. The tundra is my favorite place in the world. This past summer 7 friends and I paddled from Selwyn Lake to Baker Lake, it was an incredible six weeks.

I actually thought of making a list similar to this a few weeks ago, but as I started writing things down I realized that I really had no idea what sort of things will matter to me in five to ten years, or even a month from now. Did you run into this same mindset?

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David C November 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Hi David,

I have just found your website and find it fascinating. Seeing the breadth of the things you would like to achieve in life written down is very inspiring! I particularly like ‘The Experiments’ part of your website and your open minded approach to learning and lifestyle. I will definitely keep checking in to keep updated. You should be very proud of this website.

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Gloria Bowens November 20, 2011 at 11:25 am

I would suggest that you also make it a goal to go to the middle east. I am from Jordan myself and I would like to tell you as a fellow blogger, a fellow human, and a fellow observer, that there are some things you should consider adding to your list such us Petra (a city carved in pink stone), the dead sea (the lowest point on earth), and the pyramids in Egypt. If you have any questions, or need help getting there just please e-mail me. Big fan btw :)

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zeyneb December 3, 2011 at 4:21 pm

hi david
stumbleupon led me to your page. been reading some of the stuff and
greatly enjoying it! thanks for sharing. hope to read it all.
surprised to see your list beginning with my native city!
istanbul is amazingly beautiful and hideous, chaotic and peaceful, all altogether, just like us, the people.
you’re much welcome to stay at my house when you’re here. try to make it sometime in early may – when tulips and judas trees are in full bloom, and when you can enjoy the openair seats of the bosphorus/goldenhorn boats.
i’ve heard a sufi master blessing his guests, saying: “may god increase your wonder.”
great name- raptitude!
be well

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sayama December 14, 2011 at 11:14 am

Love your site, and it looks like a great list- but where is Africa? I came to Mozambique three years ago, expecting to stay 1 year, and now finding it hard to think about leaving. It’s truly an experience. Or you can add a book to your list ‘The shadow of the sun’ by Ryszard Kapuscinski, if you haven’t already read it…. it might even make you want to visit in the end.
Ireland is great too though-nice to see it on the list..although I’m probably a little biased ;)

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sara December 14, 2011 at 9:36 pm

you should ‘learn your wines’ in Washington. If you study Buddhism for a year any time soon you should post some contact information, I am very interested in doing that and know I will have to venture outside my tiny town to do so.

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Clyde December 27, 2011 at 8:48 am

I see no Henry Miller or Marguerite Duras on your reading list. I highly recommend both. The former’s Rosy Crucifixion Trilogy and the latter’s War Writings are both musts.

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DJ December 28, 2011 at 11:05 am

I can help with a few things on your list. I have a yearly canoe trip with a friend that could easily be overnight. We meet in Alabama in the summer. If you plan your cross country trip at the right time you could accomplish a few goals at the same time. And firing a pistol could be arranged as well. The Harley is doable if you already know how to ride but honestly they are overrated. Riding, period is an experience. The bike is secondary to the experience.

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David January 11, 2012 at 8:45 am

Sounds perfect DJ. The cross country trip won’t be this year, but I will let you know when I decide to do it

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Randall Aynworthy January 2, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Selfishness is only good if you use it to build yourself up without tearing others down.

Apart from that, I agree with what Partha said in his first two sentences. I think Cornelius’ sponsorship of a successful Nicaraguan entrepreneur who probably couldn’t have made a go of it otherwise was an act of selflessness. On the other hand, letting yourself get *used* by people who don’t respect your time or your goals let alone your well-being isn’t selflessness, it’s something malignant in your spirit. If you’re letting yourself get ripped off in this way in order to be “liked”, “loved” or “accepted” (please note the quotation marks), stop it right now. Stay away from users. Don’t encourage them. Get help if you need it (and beware of users in the therapy business!).

OK, rant over. Congratulations on what you have already accomplished so far, David!

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iCare4youu January 3, 2012 at 1:21 am

Wow.. I feel like one would have truly lived life if he were to complete this Bucket List, which I’m sure you will..

Cheers! :)

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Pat January 3, 2012 at 8:53 am

WOW. That’s some list! Like the new photo of you much better than the old one. Good luck in your travels this year. I’m jealous.

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Zeynep February 22, 2012 at 6:22 am

What an awesome idea! “Develop a nice, consistent signature” made me laugh – definitely with you on that one… You’ve inspired me to make my own list, thanks. :-)

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Zeynep February 22, 2012 at 6:27 am

What an awesome idea! “Develop a nice, consistent signature” made me laugh – I’m definitely with you on that one… You’ve inspired me to make my own lis, thanks! :-)

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Kelly March 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm


Almost five years ago I wrote my first “list.” I was 41 years old, and was faced with a huge life change (divorce). For the first time in a LONG time, my life was completely about my wants, so I felt I needed to make them a priority.

As I made my list, the very first item was identical to one on yours, “Hike in the Himalayas.”

A couple of months later, my church announced that one of their upcoming mission trips was to Nepal. I knew this was my chance. If it wasn’t for my list, I would have likely let the opportunity pass by.

As it turned out, the trip was very expensive. Everyone backed out but me. I knew I had to go, so I moved forward with the plans, even though I was going alone. 40 days prior to the trip I had a windfall, so I purchased two tickets so that my 18-year-old son could go with me. He’s an Eagle Scout, and also an avid backpacker.

Since there were only two of us, we weren’t able to do a large-scale construction project for the mission in Kathmandu, which is typical of these trips, but instead we spent the entire trip hiking into remote villages in the Annapurna region in the Himalayas doing needs assesments and first-contact mission work. This was quite literally a two-day bus ride to the end of the road, then backpacking on vertical trails in the mountains (mostly stairs) for days. Amazing.

Not only was this a life-changing trip due to the magesty of the surroundings, the nature of our work and the fact that it was my first trip outside of the US, but most importantly because I was able to do something pretty large from my list very shortly after creating it.

So, for anyone reading this, I highly recommend creating your own list. If you don’t, you very well may let an opportunity pass you by without ever seeing what it is.

Last note for you, David: going to a movie by yourself seems pretty easy. Get to it! ;)

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Lorraine James March 25, 2012 at 2:33 am

Ever heard of a site called It’s all about goals, finishing them, starting some and even quitting some. It’s 43 because at some point, you can’t just keep on making goals until you start doing something about them. I’m on there. Find me.

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David March 25, 2012 at 10:56 am

Hey Lorraine! Good to hear from you. I think I have an account there but I do all my list-work here!

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Michelle March 31, 2012 at 10:49 pm

I can’t believe that this is the only comment I’m going to make after being entirely inspired by most of what you’ve written… but you should definitely go rock climbing. The feeling of accomplishment you’ll get when you achieve a climb you couldn’t do in a previous trip and swore you could never do is one of the best motivators for accomplishing other things on your list, I’ll bet. I dare you to do it this week.

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Megan McCain April 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I don’t believe in “Things to do before I die” lists. As they say, life is not measured by how many breaths you take, but rather, by how many moments take your breath away. Likewise for accomplishments. It’s not about how many things you can accomplish, its about whether or not you can accomplish yourself.

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katie April 16, 2012 at 1:52 am

your site is very cool!

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Donnie Todd April 16, 2012 at 9:45 pm

This is a fantastic idea.

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Lori April 30, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Great to see you have so many people interested. Be proud of that list, just as it is. Amazing!

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Jake June 23, 2012 at 11:55 pm


I wanted to let you know that I’m really enjoying reading this blog. You have a unique style of taking idea which many people experience everyday and writing about it in a way which allows the reader to become more aware of — and better understand that idea.

I was particularly happy to see how much you traveled around New Zealand. I was there with my family several years ago and it was an unforgettable experience. Have you sat yet on a beach with no trace of civilization other than yourself? The one time I remember doing so was just west of Kaiteriteri on the Abel Tasman Coast!


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Christine Egger June 25, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Why “done” and not “in progress”?

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Kristen July 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I’ve just stumbled upon your list. I’ve had one going for the last few years, but there are only a few items and most of them were chosen by friends. Some are funny – one friend had me in ‘chile training’ to eventually be able to eat a vindaloo, another objective is to build a proper igloo. I might go to Finland to do that. The list had me running a marathon in May – I never thought I’d do something as masochistic and downright ridiculous.

Your list is far more comprehensive. I might need to use this page as inspiration (ie, i’m going to shamelessly copy you) to get mine on my website and make myself more accountable.

Oh yeah – and if you fulfil the item about visiting England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, feel free to use our flat futon in Edinburgh!

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Kyrstin July 20, 2012 at 10:41 am

This is awesome list and quite similar to mine. Although, I must admit that nearly all of my goals are either surf or music (festival) related and every place on my “to see” list is surrounded by warm water waves. Luckily surf trips have plenty of down-time for reading heaps of book and even learning a new language. Many birds, one stone.

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Nathan August 6, 2012 at 12:38 am

I been doing Argentine Tango and love it, also I am a martial artist; PASSIONATE martial artist, and one thing i you need to know before learning martial arts is that you want to join a system that fits you, that you enjoy. it’s like finding a workout you like…you know you hate running. I started off with Kenpo Karate, and then found Wing Chun Do, and by far am at home with this style. Bruce Lee’s modified Wing Chun is what it is. what you notice doing Dancing, Gymnastics, Martial Arts, is it is all similar because your teaching yourself something physical. I look at all these things as instruction manuels for your body which is like a tool you know little about using, thank you for your time!

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MM October 3, 2012 at 11:01 pm

No falling in love?

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Suzanne October 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm

If you ever get to New Brunswick and need a guide….let me know! It would be an honor.

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Kim Anh October 25, 2012 at 5:12 am

Amazing bucket list. This inspires me to start compiling my own list.

Thanks for this.

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Larissa Qat November 12, 2012 at 3:55 pm

You should add taking a trip to the middle east ;) Jordan in particular as Petra is one of the wonders of the world and it surely is mesmerizing. And ya skydiving too!

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Todd Waldorf November 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm

I’m in New Zealand right now and I have learned that they have the “Southern Lights” down here. Witnessing lava spew from an active volcano (from a safe distance) and seeing the Aurora (Borealis, or the Australis) is my top two on my Must See list. I’m hoping for some strong solar activity in the coming months!

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Kim Lianne November 29, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I found many items on your list would easily be on my list :)
Among those things you have yet to do, I could teach you the basics of driving a stick and give tips on ordering in French at a French restaurant (easily my fave class assignment in 8th grade!).
A truly inspiring list.
Wishing you much more world travel and the Tango! *hug*

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silver December 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I like your blogs…. you have an unique perspective to the things… would love to read more… !!

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Amruthaa February 9, 2013 at 4:20 am

I absolutely loved The List!
I sort of stumbled upon your site.. and now i have it bookmarked..
some points brought a smile to my face and some inspired me, even to make my own list!

Thanks David!
Good Luck with The List! :)

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m February 15, 2013 at 11:21 am

tip – do the buddhism thing first then the list may simply be:

do nothing, be nothing :-) the external world of forms is nowhere near as important as the inner world. crave not, just flow :)

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Ameya Bhurke February 26, 2013 at 3:53 am


This is commendable. I really appreciate the effort You’ve put in to solve problems and what better than sharing it with the world!

May You have the opportunities to have a “100% DONE” on this wishlist.

God Bless,

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W. Bradley Simon - M28:20 April 5, 2013 at 1:30 am

As a father, I would also add to your list, family. Visiting the world and experiencing all the world offers is great, but there’s nothing like snuggling with your wife, backpacking with your boys (even if it’s only in the North Carolina mountains), and spending time with your daughter. It’s hard work, but a great investment.

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Azka` April 15, 2013 at 9:18 am

Great list! When you’re visiting India and Nepal, you should explore a bit of Pakistan too. :) Hunza and Gilgit are among the most magical places in the whole world.

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Laura July 3, 2013 at 12:13 am

Glad to see a Chicago visit is on the list. :) When you find yourself here, if you’ve got some spare time I’d be happy to treat you to a float-tank session. I tried out this place last summer, and it was a very neat experience:

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خرید و فروش بلیط هواپیما چارتر - پرواز چارتر ، بلیط هواپیما ، پرواز و تور کیش ، تور استانبول ، تور دبی ، تور ترکیه ، تور مشهد و انواع فروش بليط July 3, 2013 at 11:30 am

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boki August 4, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Great text thanks

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Branko Jagodic August 23, 2013 at 9:49 am

Great post!

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Bokac August 23, 2013 at 9:51 am

The best!

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Danny November 4, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Hi David,

I really really enjoy reading your blog! huge fan now, just started reading about a month ago now. I’ve found myself clicking onto the link to “the list”

which tool me here for a quick read.

just looking at an item there”

“Go rock climbing, on actual rocks” …..

don’t know if you have done this already David?

I run an university outdoors club in Sydney, Austraila.

if you’re ever in town this way and interested to tick this one off flick me an email!,

would be happy to take you out climbing as a thank you for discovering your excellent blog.



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Robyn bunting January 5, 2014 at 4:56 am

I am reading the unabridged version of harding’s hierarchy this winter.
Met him a year before he passed.

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David Cain January 5, 2014 at 10:52 am

I own it but haven’t read it yet. Richard Lang is doing a course on it very soon I think, where you read a few chapters every week and there’s a discussion group. I would do it but the pace is too fast for me right now.

I wish I could have met Mr Harding.

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A March 8, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Hi David, your list and your spirit is wonderful and simply admirable :) Some of my ‘To Do’s’ are similar to yours but when I think of my age (nearing 30) I sometimes feel that I would never be able to do them as it is too late. But your list gave me the courage to add more and that I could do. At least I can try rather than striking them off. Thanks and Good luck :)

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argentina vital records March 11, 2014 at 12:11 am

Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on
blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It’s always interesting to read articles from other
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Rosa July 12, 2010 at 5:12 pm

So what if someone has a blog for their own personal enjoyment and ego?
Your comment had no point, in my opinion.

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Partha August 30, 2010 at 8:42 am

A bit late for me to wade into this one, but I think I have the answer to that, Cornelius. There is one and only one really honest and good reason to do a thing: namely, that you LIKE doing it, that it’s good for you, that it makes you feel good. All three are selfish reasons. Selfish, my friend, is good. Selfless is vacuous, selfless is stupid, selfless is a circle that takes you nowhere. I repeat: Selfish is good. And taken in its full sense, selfish is good for others too. Just like this site of David’s (which of course he’s set up for good, pure, selfish reasons) is a great place for many of us readers.

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