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The Bucket List

Post image for The Bucket 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



Vancouver – DONE 11/2014 – Lovely city. I could live there.



Hong Kong

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





Washington, D.C.

San Francisco


Long-term trips to take

Being away for months gives you an entirely experience than being away for a week or two. You start to normalize to the new place and the “on the road” feeling. These trips could last anywhere from a month to a year.

Finally 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 all the time

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 – 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.


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 a comprehensive history of the land known today as Canada

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 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 34 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 – DONE7/31/14 – “Work I love” income in 2014 will exceed living expenses for the first time.

Get into physical shape I would describe as “outstanding”

Go 21 without complaining once (as per A Complaint Free World) – DONE – 4/3/10 – Had to restart a few times, but I made it. I learned a lot — the final report is here.

Achieve a “location independent” full-time income – PROGRESS – Essentially I’m here now, but I’m not going to check this off until I take my first major “non-vacation” trip, where I do self-employed work and earn while I’m abroad.

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 

Earn a university degree – PROGRESS – Begun classes as of 6/2015. 

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 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 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.

WaldenHenry David Thoreau

Vagabonding – Rolf Potts DONE7/2011

Roughing It – Mark Twain- DONE – 12/2011

Dune Frank Hebert

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 EarthDouglas Harding

Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Count of Monte CristoAlexandre Dumas and Auguste Maquet

The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway

Les Misérables – Victor Hugo DONE – 5/2015 – Loved it. 

Moby Dick – Herman Melville

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell

Experiences to have

Plant and harvest a vegetable garden

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

Hike the Tongariro CrossingDONE – 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 – 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. 

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.

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 DONE3/9/12 – 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 – 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

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 – DONE – 6/2015 – Done twice now. Saw Jurassic World, which was terrible, and Mad Max: Fury Road, which is amazing.

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.)

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

Get a quality barrel while surfing

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 (for a little while)

Watch a sports game from a luxury box

Try training in boxing – DONE – 9/23/2014 – Went to my first boxing class last night, so officially I have “tried” it. I really liked it and will continue.

Float in a sensory deprivation tank – DONE – 1/2015

“Lift for the cycle” (Reach 1, 2, 3, and 4 plate weights for the overhead press, bench press, squat and deadlift  respectively [135 lbs, 225 lbs, 315 lbs, 405 lbs])

Reach the “1000 pounds” club (Bench press, squat and deadlift totaling 1000 lbs.)

Total goals: 114

Total complete: 40

Last updated: July 12, 2015


Photo by Dudu Viana


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