My Bucket List (So Far…)

I've been thinking a great deal lately about bucket lists, that is, lists of things that people want to do before they die. There's quite a few reasons this has been on my mind, with my medical issues (one year ago, I was recovering from a major seizure) and my new daughter being top on the list. Being reminded of my mortality on a regular basis helps to ensure that I consider what I want to do before I pass on. Having someone new (besides my wife and other members of my family) with whom I'd like to share many of these places and events also helps to ensure that I am all the more eager to do some great things before I die.

The question then becomes, what do I want to do? There's a lot of possibilities out there, with hundreds of skills to master, thousands of locations to visit, and millions of achievements to accomplish around the world. It would also be always increasing, as there are new things arising that I could do and new places I find out about. There's no way to ever call it complete, at least, until I do kick the bucket and can now longer do anything else.

Aw, the bucket, the thing everyone hopes to avoid kicking
Aw, the bucket, the thing everyone hopes to avoid kicking

With that in mind, call this a first draft bucket list. I don't expect this to be all the goals I would like to complete before I die, nor do I expect it to ever end. But it's nice to have some ideas of what to do in future, if only to have an idea of the goals I would like to meet. Luckily, there are plenty of bucket lists out there to give me some ideas. I've included some notes where I thought that my choices might need some explanation (or simply wanted to talk about them some more).  Without further ado, let's get onto the bucket list itself:

Roger's Bucket List

Languages To Master

There are many things I'd like to learn before I die. One of the greatest pleasures in my life to this point has been learning, and being able to speak, read, and write in languages other than English would be a tremendous experience. My first bucket list tasks are thus to master the following languages:

1. Japanese – Why Japanese? Well, my wife Sondra and I are fans of Japanese culture and would like to visit there and communicate with the natives. Hence, top on my list of languages to learn, even thought it is probably the hardest.

2. Spanish

3. German – My family is largely German, so it could help me talk to some distant, or even relatively close, relatives, among other people.

4. French

5. Hebrew – I'm a big fan of Jewish culture, and it would be nice to learn more about it in the original language. Being able to read the Torah in Hebrew, in particular, would be an incredible experience.

These are hardly the only languages I'd like to learn, but a complete list (which would consist of most of the languages in the world) would make this fairly long blog entry even longer.

Other Skills To Learn

Speaking of things to learn, there's quite a few things on my list that I'd like to be able to do before I kick the bucket. Before I go to write for that great big blog in the sky, I'd want to be able to:

6. Ride a Bike – I know what you're thinking: ‘Are you really saying you can't ride a bike?' As I've noted before, the answer is that I can't ride a bike…yet. I will learn how to ride a bike soon, and hopefully before my daughter learns, so I can help her to learn.

7. Fly Kites

8. Ski

9. Dance – Being a straight white man, I'm not exactly the sort to ‘get down' as the children (of the 70's) say.  I'm talking more about things like classical dancing, being able to take my wife to a ball and waltz with her.  Before I can do so, though, I'll need to learn how.

10. Perform (At Least) One Martial Art – Not only would it be nice to be able to defend myself should I need to do so, but it would be a manly way to stay in shape.

11. Make Pottery – My wife has a degree in ceramics, so this would be a wonderful way to connect with her.

12. Ventriloquism – Not a very useful skill, but one that would be kind of fun. (Plus, my wife and I are both Jeff Dunham fans, so there is that as encouragement.)

13. Juggle – Same as ventriloquism, not very useful but could be fun.

14. Fence

15. Draw – As with making pottery, my wife is able to do so, and it would be nice to share this skill with her.  Add in the ability to add my drawings to this blog, and it would be a sure winner.

(Thanks to the bucket list article on Daring to Live Fully for many of these suggestions, as well as some in the following sections.)

Places To Visit

There are lots of places all over this great world that I'd like to visit, just to experience them. With how many other places there are, I'm going to break them up, into natural wonders and man-made wonders.

Natural Wonders to Visit

16. Niagara Falls – You can't be an American (or a Canadian, I suppose) without this natural wonder being on your bucket list.  I have actually been there already, though, so…CHECK!

17. Angel Falls, Venezuela 

18. The Galapagos Archipelago

19. The Great Barrier Reef

20. The Northern Lights

21. The Amazon Rainforest

22. The Grand Canyon

There are plenty of other natural wonders to visit, of course, but this is a first draft, so more items will be added to it in the future.

Man-Made Wonders to Visit

23. Mount Rushmore

24. The Taj Mahal

25. Easter Island Statues

26. Stonehenge

27. The Eiffel Tower

28. The Leaning Tower of Pisa

29. The Vatican – Not during conclave, of course; that's way too busy for me, particularly when I'm not a Catholic.

30. The Pyramids at Giza

31. The Great Wall of China

32. Machu Picchu, Peru

Also, since it's practically a requirement of all bucket lists, I'd like to (33) Visit Every US State (and by visit, I mean go and spend a day or two, visit a major city and/or see a prime attraction of some kind; no ‘driving through Georgia on the way to Florida' sort of thing allowed).  Here's the list so far:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California – My wife's family live there, so we've visited already and will be heading out there again before long
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida – I've gone to Disney World, among other attractions, with my family at various times
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts – Attended my cousin's wedding; I do want to go again, if only to spend more time there
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey – Atlantic City, Baby!
  • New Mexico
  • New York – I've been to the Big Apple, Niagara Falls, and several other places throughout the Empire State
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio – My father's home state, and where I've spent more than two years getting my Master's degree
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania – Where I was born, and having visited everything from Philadelphia to Erie (and a lot of places in between), I can definitely cross this one off.
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

While we're talking about visiting places, I wan to (34) set foot on every continent (as of this writing, I've hit North America and Europe, but still need South America, Africa, Asia, Australia/Oceania, and if I'm particularly adventurous, Antarctica.

If I am taking a particularly long time to kick the bucket, I might add (35) seeing every country in the world to the list, but given the ever-changing number of said countries (and the risk posed by traveling to some of them), I'm not as set on knocking out that goal.  Still, here is a short list of what I have hit so far:

  • The United States of America – No surprise there
  • Canada – I've been there a few times, although mostly when I was much younger.  I'd like to go again before I consider this country completely visited
  • Germany – The destination of major high school trips, where I got to see and experience a great deal of the culture.
  • France – A side trip during said German trip, which was enjoyable, but hardly a full experience; I'll call this another part-visit.

(Thanks to the list of 28 Places to See Before You Die from the Smithsonian and the 10 Places to See Before You Die from MSN for many of these suggestions.)

Great Events to Experience

It's not just the places to visit (although as you can see, there are quite a few), but it's what you do while you're traveling around the world. There are a LOT of things you can try to do, but here are some I'd like to be able to say I've done (or at least, was close enough to watch other people really enjoying) before I kick the bucket:

36. Oktoberfest in Munich

37. Carnival in Rio de Janerio

38. Mardi Gras in New Orleans

39. Comic-Con in San Diego – Alright, maybe it's not so much a great event, but when you are a geek who is married to another geek, how can you resist going to one of the biggest gatherings of comic book geeks in the world?  (Admittedly, getting a ticket is nigh impossible, but that's a story for another day.)

40. Goundhog Day in Punxtawney, PA – Again, probably not a great event, per se, but when you live a few hours away from Punxtawney and enjoy groundhogs, it's a no-brainer.

41. New Year's Eve in New York City – I might drop this from my list, though, as it's going to be crazy, to say the least.

42. The Olympics in (Hosting City) – One of the biggest events in the world, period, and being able to experience it up close and personal would be wonderful.  (Even after the Olympics itself, the stadium can make a great place to visit; the Olympic Stadium in Munich is simply beautiful.)

43. The Superbowl in (Hosting City) – Not quite as impressive as Olympics, it's the Superbowl; definitely worth including, at least in a first draft.

(Thanks to 25 Events You Must Attend Before You Die on Event Manager Blog for several of the suggestions listed here, including Groundhog Day.)

Things to Do At Least Once

Not everything needs to be done multiple times, or requires going to a special place in the world to achieve. These goals are things that I would simply like to try at least once before I die. (Granted, some of them are things that might lead to my death if something goes wrong, but if you aren't willing to take a few risks…)  Some of these goals include:

44. Fly in a Blimp

45. Ride in a Hot Air Balloon

46. Go Paragliding

47. Go Skydiving

48. Ride a Mechanical Bull

49. Climb (At Least) One of the World's Highest Mountains – What counts as one of the world's highest mountains?  Well, one of the mountains on this list would prove pretty well.

50. Fire Walk

51. White Water Raft

52. Experience Weightlessness – Who knows, if I live long enough, I might be able to add ‘experience artificial gravity' and ‘set foot on another planet' to this list.

This is far from a complete list, but as a first draft, I think it's pretty extensive.  What are some of the activities you'd like to do, the places you'd like to visit, or the things you'd like to learn before YOU kick the bucket?

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