Looking back, I think the reason I wanted to be a vampire as a teenager was so I’d have enough time to do everything. Not things like pay all my bills, of course— but fun things. Travel everywhere, learn languages, try out all the recipes I’ve bookmarked, read all the books I’ve bought.
However, sometimes this urge to do everything can be a trap. I’ve never read the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, but the title irks me. Who has that kind of time and money? The book seems less encouraging people to travel and have new experiences and more a way to complete a tedious list of visiting countries. There comes a point when traveling that you realize you can’t see everything in the whole world.
The trap of doing too much is so perfectly captured in the blog Hyperbole and a Half.
Besides, what’s more important: checking off a to-do list, or experiencing and savoring the places you visit? The most memorable experiences I’ve had weren’t listed in guidebooks. They just happened, naturally, spontaneously, like life often does.
Much better than a pile of things you’re never likely to do is reflecting on the ones you’ve already done. So, I decided to make a reverse bucket list— a list of things I’ve seen, done or experienced. Putting this list together was harder than I thought. While I loved spending summers at my family’s cabin on Lake Huron, putting “grow up in Michigan” seemed a stretch. Also, trying to keep the list from getting too schmaltzy was tricky.
1. take a train through the Rocky Mountains
2. camp near the Grand Canyon
3. see the view from the top of the Statue of Liberty
4. see the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower
5. attend Detroit’s first techno music fest
6. go to Grand Rapid’s first Art Prize
7. see the Northern Lights
8. stick my feet in the Atlantic Ocean
9. ride a bicycle in Shanghai
10. walk on the Great Wall of China
11. see the terra-cotta soldiers in Xi’an
12. drive to California on a road trip
13. go camping in a redwoods forest
14. fly in a hot air balloon
15. attempt to steer a hot air balloon for a few minutes
16. take the Georgia O’Keeffe landscape tour in Ghost Ranch, northern New Mexico
17. also, tour her home in Abiquiu
18. camp on the shore of Lake Superior
19. hike in Porcupine Mountains, Michigan
20. see Tahquamenon Falls
21. swim along the shore of Pictured Rocks
22. kayak in Lake Michigan
23. see dolphins swim in the Black Sea
24. attend a genuine Ramadan dinner in Turkey
25. eat pizza and gelato in Italy
26. sleep in a van when your friend’s band is touring in Los Angeles
27. drive along Highway 101 in California
28. walk across the Golden Gate Bridge
29. swim in the Pacific Ocean
30. go surfing in Hawaii
31. see lava flow
32. drink a pot of genuine Kona coffee
33. swim with sea turtles
34. watch the sun rise over Mount Haleakala in Maui
35. eat poutine in Canada
36. drink champagne with friends on the Charles Bridge in Prague
37. walk through a cemetery on All Saint’s Day in Poland
38. ride a bike in Copenhagen
39. kiss someone goodbye from a train, while they’re standing on the platform and you’re on the train
What would you put on your list?