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 (updated 1/3/2018)

  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 paragliding
  8. Write at least four books (1 poetry, 1 fiction, 1 nonfiction, 1 children’s picture book)
  9. Volunteer at a farm sanctuary
  10. Own a beach/vacation house
  11. Start and manage a successful small business
  12. Attend a fancy (fur-free) runway show
  13. Participate in GISHWHES
  14. Learn Italian
  15. Become fluent in Croatian and Spanish
  16. Learn basic German, French, Turkish, Hungarian, and Arabic
  17. Learn to play Clar De Lune on the piano (or violin)
  18. Learn how to give a good massage
  19. Run a half-marathon
  20. Try acupuncture
  21. See a movie at a drive-in
  22. Live in an ashram for a period of time
  23. Go skinny dipping
  24. Watch a meteor shower
  25. Learn the basic star constellations and be able to identify them
  26. Give a moving public speech to a large group of people (100+)
  27. Attend a TED talk/TED conference
  28. Attend a writing retreat
  29. Take an acting or improv class
  30. Take singing lessons
  31. Take a class in basic car mechanics
  32. Take a photography class
  33. Take a class in painting or drawing (or both!)
  34. Build my own garden
  35. Learn a few good magic tricks
  36. Take a ceramics class
  37. Take a jewelry making class
  38. Take a sewing class and learn the basic skills
  39. Go on a winery tour
  40. Take a social etiquette class
  41. Learn to drive stick shift
  42. Get a PhD or an advanced certification/get an MFA in Creative Writing
  43. See a Blue Man Group show
  44. Attend a fancy red carpet awards ceremony
  45. Go on a week-long train trip (ideally a Trans-Siberian Railway trip)
  46. Stay on a private island
  47. Stay in a lighthouse
  48. Go on a safari in Africa
  49. Visit the Amazon Rainforest
  50. Stay at Kindness Ranch
  51. Visit the Egyptian pyramids
  52. Go on a cruise
  53. Go camping — DONE! (Twice–once in a tent and another time in a yurt.)
  54. Visit all 7 continents (visited Europe, North America & Central America, and South American so far–four to go!)
  55. Vacation in Igloo Village (Finland) or stay in an ice hotel
  56. Learn to tango in Buenos Aires
  57. Have three meals in three countries in one day
  58. Visit all provinces in Canada
  59. Visit all 50 U.S. states (visited: California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia–36 more to go!)
  60. Visit the Great Bear Rainforest
  61. Tour the White House
  62. Go to Niagara Falls
  63. Go to San Francisco — DONE! (Summer 2017, for the AFP Conference)
  64. Visit Bora Bora
  65. Visit Stonehenge
  66. Visit Macchu Picchu
  67. Visit the manatees in Crystal River, Florida
  68. Visit the Coney Island Boardwalk
  69. Visit the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center
  70. Attend the Venice Carnival
  71. See the 7 Natural Wonders
      1. Grand Canyon
      2. Pacicutin
      3. Northern Lights
      4. Victoria Falls
      5. Harbor of Rio de Janeiro
      6. Great Barrier Reef
      7. Mount Everest
  72. Explore some of the 7 Underwater Wonders
      1. Belize Barrier Reef
      2. Deep Sea Vents
      3. Galapagos Islands
      4. Palau Reefs
      5. The Great Barrier Reef
      6. Lake Baikal
      7. Northern Red Sea
  73. See some of the 7 Industrial Wonders
      1. The Brooklyn Bridge
      2. Bell Rock Lighthouse
      3. London Sewerage System
      4. Panama Canal
      5. Hoover Dam
  74. Become a major donor to at least one organization
  75. Attend and participate in a body painting festival
  76. Create my own perfume
  77. Invest in the stock market — ½ DONE (investments in cryptocurrencies via David)
  78. Learn how to be a strong negotiator
  79. Learn to birdwatch
  80. Learn to ballroom dance relatively well
  81. Ride in a hot air balloon
  82. Participate in a Color Run — DONE!
  83. Take a solo trip to three different countries in one summer (a la Eat, Pray, Love)
  84. Work in a bakery
  85. Pay for the bill of a stranger
  86. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  87. Improve mental math skills
  88. Go white-water rafting
  89. Jump off a waterfall
  90. Create a set of greeting cards
  91. Take a helicopter ride
  92. Bathe in mud
  93. Give blood
  94. Go on a cross-country road-trip
  95. Learn to surf
  96. Attend the Olympics (summer or winter)
  97. Paint an abstract painting
  98. Ride a Segway
  99. Eat at the Melting Pot or enjoy fondue in a more glamorous location like Switzerland
  100. See a male strip show (Thunder from Down Under, etc.) — DONE (Thunder once & Magic Men twice!)

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Feature photo credit: Istanbul Lion / KP


Why This, Why Now

I have this hunger gnawing at me — but in a pleasant way. So gnawing is not the best word….nor is hunger, perhaps…

…let’s revise! One more go…

I have this deep, deep and ever-replenishing well of creative energy inside of me and it’s going to burst and explode all over like f’ing confetti at a kid’s birthday party if I don’t start this damn blog and write the shit outta it.

There. Much better. (BTW — I’m PG-13 rated.)

With that, I welcome you to my very first blog post of my second, third, fourth…(who’s counting anymore?)…blog.

(You can find one of my still active blogs from a few years here — from a time when I explored Croatia as an English language teacher post-undergrad. I also have a fun, new Tumblr of GIFs I started with a good friend that you can check out here.)

I am excited to be here, and writing and publishing once again — finally! (Hallelujah!)

But why this blog, and why now?

I’ll tell ya: because it’s time!

It’s time to fully embrace my creativity once again — that creativity I once had by the boat-fulls in high school art classes and overflowing in college creative writing workshops — and harness this crazy energy inside me that wants to jump for joy and scream at the same time.

(Creativity is such a marvel, isn’t it?)

And so, as all good writers and poets do, I will tell you a story:

Once upon a time, like many folk, I was self-conscious to the extreme, very shy, and very self-critical, always second guessing my words, my actions and ultimately, myself.

Why? I’m sure for a variety of nature and nurture reasons — but let’s not busy our pretty selves with that now. Because frankly my dear, I don’t quite give a damn any longer.

And so, not long ago I decided it was high-time to kick that silly self-critical bandwagon to the curb (because we’re all pretty frickin’ awesome BA people just walking each other home) and focus on what really matters — living your life the way you want it to feel.

Now, I live for myself — but also to help others.

I continually strive to be a strong, successful woman working to make the world a more sustainable, humane, compassionate and happy place, knowing that every little bit helps. (Personal mission here, folks — hello buzzwords!)

I also live continually inspired by the retrospective thoughts folks have later in life that whisper to their internal brainlobes, “Looking back on my life, I wish I could have experienced that or done this differently. I regret…yadda, yadda, yadda…”

I am inspired thinking of this often quoted generic scenario not because I aim to think such thoughts myself as I grow better with age (pinot grigio, anyone?), but because I aim to not have such thoughts, or at the very least to minimize this nostalgic and sad internal dialogue.

We only have one life anyway — so why cloud up our precious mental landscape with sad, worrisome and negative dialogue if we have the ability to change our thoughts and our ways?

Of course, we will all reach a day when FOMO* becomes a reality you can’t rewind — but I would prefer, as much as I possibly can, to embrace life with all its warts and bruises and all its soft spots and light, breezy skies — because this is it.

This big, beautiful, strange, at times horrible, and usually pretty okay thing we have going for us is life. Our life. One. Just one, folks.

Let’s just say I’m ready and willing now more than ever before to explore this life to the fullest and see how far it can take me until I can look back on all the wonderful and challenging experiences I’ve had by myself and with those I love and think — “Wow. That was a pretty damn good ride.”

Onward — and rock on.

Ciao for now,


P.S. Here’s what you’ll discover on this site over time:

  • Musings about life growth and journeys.
  • Thoughts on all sorts of relationships (friendships, familial, romantic).
  • Travel posts that go beyond the “see this, do that!” formulatic article style.
  • Musings on the world of activism and movements.
  • Random injections of humor and lightheartedness.
  • Less click-bait, and more meaningful content.
  • Posts on writing, reading and books as my heart desires.
  • Random posts on my personal obsessions.
  • Occasional guest posts by some extra, special folk.

P.P.S. You can check out my writing on other online spaces here, here, here, here and here.

P.P.P.S. Sign up for monthly InspirationInspiration for Good‘s newsletter! You will have my heart forever. ❤

*FOMO = fear of missing out — a brief footnote for all the folks like me still stuck in the early 90s and beyond who have no f’ing clue what everyone around you has been talking about in this 21st century of ours…

Feature photo credit: Book and Relax / KP