Choosing a Life of Travel and Adventure (My 100 List)

On a bus driving back from a middle school track meet my teammates, our favorite coach and I were discussing places we’d like to visit. Smiles were plentiful as we shared what lands near and far we wanted to jet or drive off to see in our lifetime–California, Hawaii, Australia, England…the list went on and on.

We also discussed places we had no desire to visit. I remember my coach saying, “Idaho. Who would ever want to go there?”

I jumped up off of the sticky-hot black bus seat waving my hand in the air and said, “Me! Me!”

“Of course you do. Only you,” he said, laughing.

“I Love Potatoes!”

I settled back into my seat with a big, silly grin on my face, my eyes wide with excitement. I didn’t register the teasing nature of his voice and so naturally I continued on.

“They grow potatoes in Idaho! Idaho potatoes! I love potatoes!” My grin was so large then as I thought about everything that you could make with potatoes…French fries, hash browns, mashed buttery goodness…

He laughed again, and the conversation transitioned to different topic.

A Steadfast Love

There’s nothing particularly dramatic or exciting about this old conversation yet I still remember it all these years later. It’s a moment I come back to occasionally as it reminds me that (1) my love for potatoes is long-standing and still unshakable, and (2) that my love for travel, adventure and new experiences has always been undeniably important to me.

It’s a choice I’ve made about my life–that I will (and must for my own sanity) continually seek out new adventures, opportunities and travels as much as my budget will allow. As I’ve written before, I live my life in a way to minimize any regrets I could have later on down the road because I didn’t do this or that.

I try to do everything I want to, within reason. And at the very least I’ll know someday that I tried my very best to make it all happen.

Putting Love into Lists

To better focus my passionate travel-adventure desires, I’ve made bucket lists, both long and short, throughout my life. The same items have often appeared from list to list–visiting the Egyptian pyramids, going on a safari in Africa, learning to scuba dive, etc. etc. But what each of my old lists share is that they have gotten lost or have simply been forgotten in the abyss that is Google Docs.

Recently, I opened up a bucket list that I started at a time when I thought such a list would keep me motivated and excited about the future since I was in need of a little inspirational push. Well, no surprise: I forgot about it. As a result, it never served much of any purpose except for fulfilling my incessant need to organize my thoughts and plans.

Looking through it, however, I realized that I still wanted to do all of the things and go to all of the beautiful places listed. I was also surprised that I had already started to chip away at the list, having visited Colombia, gone camping, seen a Thunder from Down Under show (100% recommend), sat in awe during a Cirque du Soleil show, completed a color run, hiked among the beautiful rugged nature of Red Rock Canyon, and taken pole dancing classes (also recommend).

I was elated when I was able to cross these items off. I thought to myself, “Holy shit, I’m doing it!”

And so here’s to getting out there and f’ing doing it–to continuing down whatever dreampath you set for yourself long ago but have forgotten about or strayed from. Go back to it now and review whatever it is you wrote down, drew, or clipped from a magazine and saved in a folder.

It’s Time

It’s time to pick up your dreams or plans again and forge ahead–because it is an honorable and courageous act to try your best to do what makes you feel most alive.

If you feel that you need permission to go forward then I’m giving it to you now. Your steps may be small and require some time and preparation but they are not insignificant. Each step you take is a display of your own bravery and perseverance to keep on despite challenges and setbacks that life puts in your way.

To keep myself accountable to my own dreams, I decided to distill my crazy-long bucket list down into a top 100 list, a la Hanny who blogs at Beradadisini.

Here it is and here I go, moving forward every day.

Wishing you a happy journey,


My 100 List

  1. Go skydiving
  2. Learn to scuba dive
  3. Volunteer abroad
  4. Go on an eco-vacation
  5. Attend a wellness retreat
  6. Attend a silent retreat
  7. Go snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef
  8. See the Northern Lights
  9. Go paragliding
  10. Write at least four books (1 poetry, 1 fiction, 1 nonfiction, 1 children’s picture book)
  11. Visit the Amazon Rainforest
  12. Stay at Kindness Ranch
  13. Volunteer at a farm sanctuary
  14. Own a beach house
  15. Stay on a private island
  16. Start and manage a successful small business
  17. Go on a safari in Africa
  18. Visit the Egyptian pyramids
  19. Stay at an ice hotel
  20. Go on a vegan cruise
  21. Visit all 7 continents
  22. Go on a week-long train trip (ideally the Trans Siberian Railroad Trip)
  23. Attend a fancy (fur-free) runway show
  24. Learn to tango in Buenos Aires
  25. Have three meals in three countries in one day
  26. Participate in GISHWHES
  27. Learn Italian past a beginner level
  28. Learn basic Turkish
  29. Learn basic Hungarian
  30. Learn basic Arabic
  31. Learn to play Clar De Lune on the piano (or violin)
  32. Learn how to give a good massage
  33. Party all night until morning comes
  34. Run a half-marathon
  35. Try acupuncture
  36. See a movie at a drive-in
  37. Live in an ashram for a period of time
  38. Go skinny dipping
  39. Watch a meteor shower
  40. Learn the basic star constellations and be able to identify them
  41. Give a moving public speech to a large group of people (100+)
  42. Attend a TED talk/TED conference
  43. Attend a writing retreat
  44. Take an acting or improv class
  45. Take singing lessons
  46. Take a class in basic car mechanics
  47. Take a photography class
  48. Take a class in painting or drawing (or both!)
  49. Build my own garden
  50. Learn a few good magic tricks
  51. Take a ceramics class
  52. Take a jewelry making class
  53. Take a sewing class and learn the basic skills
  54. Go on a winery tour
  55. Take a social etiquette class
  56. Learn to drive stick shift
  57. Get a PhD or an advanced certification
  58. Attend the Venice Masquerade
  59. See the 7 Natural Wonders
  60. Explore the 7 Underwater Wonders
  61. See the 7 Industrial Wonders
  62. See a Blue Man Group show
  63. Attend a fancy red carpet awards ceremony
  64. Go to Niagara Falls
  65. Visit Bora Bora
  66. Visit Stonehenge
  67. Visit the Coney Island Boardwalk
  68. Tour the White House
  69. Go to San Francisco
  70. Swim in Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls
  71. Vacation in Igloo Village (Finland)
  72. Attend and participate in a body painting festival
  73. Create my own perfume
  74. Visit all provinces in Canada
  75. Visit all 50 states
  76. Visit the Great Bear Rainforest
  77. Get an MFA in Creative Writing
  78. Become a major donor to at least one organization
  79. Visit the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center
  80. Become fluent in Croatian and Spanish
  81. Invest in the stock market
  82. Learn how to be a strong negotiator
  83. Learn to birdwatch and go birdwatching with a guide
  84. Learn to ballroom dance relatively well
  85. Ride in a hot air balloon
  86. Own an electric scooter
  87. Take a solo trip to three different countries in one summer (a la Eat, Pray, Love)
  88. Work in a bakery
  89. Pay for the bill of a stranger
  90. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or to help the homeless population in another way
  91. Improve basic mental math skills
  92. Go white-water rafting
  93. Jump off a waterfall
  94. Create a set of greeting cards
  95. Take a helicopter ride
  96. Bathe in mud
  97. Give blood
  98. Go on a cross-country roadtrip
  99. Learn to make a few good cocktails
  100. Learn to surf

P.S. Want some inspiration to brighten up your inbox? Subscribe today for the monthly (sometimes bi-monthly!) Inspiration Newsletter.

Feature photo credit: Istanbul Lion / KP Original