The anti-New Year’s Resolution: Reverse Bucket list

Dessert from the Loving Hut. Also, a map.

Dessert from the Loving Hut. Also, a map.

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

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

to do list nothing

What would you put on your list?


2 responses to “The anti-New Year’s Resolution: Reverse Bucket list

  1. Cool idea. The Hawaiian volcano sunrise? Check. Forced march by my (very morning person!) mother. I did not appreciate it at all! But then, I think I was 11.

    I think if I were immortal, I would waste a lot of time. So I don’t really want that. I do have a short list of things I’m really glad I got to eat before my adult-onset food allergies and issues, and at the top of that list is baguettes in Paris. Yum.

    • The Statue of Liberty trek was my mom’s idea, and I was just as enthusiastic at 11… I’m glad I got to eat pizza in Italy before I realized I had issues with wheat.
      Thanks for reading!

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