You’re Not Dead Yet! Bucket Lists: Part I

Talking with one of my friends a few weeks ago, I expressed how there were so many things I still wanted to do in life.  Her bright eyes widened, looking into mine, and she exclaimed, “You’re not dead yet!”  I had to laugh at this- laugh at myself.  For some reason, it always seems to me that I’m running out of time.  But here was my friend, in her (very) early forties, telling me- a decade younger- to snap out of it.  She and her husband were about to visit Panama the following week.  And here I was, complaining about my travel forecast looking dreary, when I already visited Panama in 2007.

After all, life is different now.  I’m not single and carefree like I was in my twenties.  My priorities have changed.  I’m more interested in establishing myself in a career than running away from reality.  I want stability.  I don’t mind cooking.  To my 21-year-old self, I might even seem boring, or, dare I say, domestic?  (Oh man, that one hurt to write!!!  What would Jack Kerouac had said of my life now!?)  Ayayay.  Nonetheless, as my friend reminded me, I am still very much alive.

I have the beginnings of a family, but I don’t think I’ll ever let children seem a hindrance to traveling- it’s even more of a motivation!  I want to share these experiences with the people I love, and have my future children exposed to all the wonderful possibilities out there in the world.  And though I’ve changed, I don’t think “boring” will ever be an accurate adjective to describe me.  “Crazy”, maybe, but not dull.

I mention my 21-year-old self because I found a bucket list I wrote when I was still at UCLA. When I wrote it, barely into my twenties, the farthest I had been away from “home” was the short trip I took with my parents to see my oldest brother in Tucson, Arizona.  He was getting his Master’s degree at the time, and I was only 19.  This was my very first airplane flight.  I remember being afraid to take a flight alone from Los Angeles back to San Jose.  Obviously, that fear was conquered.

So as I initially wrote my bucket list, I vividly remember how unobtainable all of my dreams seemed.  Amidst my books, poems, essays, work, and all-night study sessions, this kind of freedom and discovery seemed like a pipe dream.  This is an edited version of my 2002 bucket list:

  • Go skydiving
  • Go bungee jumping
  • Go rock climbing (only in-doors was achieved)
  • Live in Argentina

Oh, and what a (night) life it was in Buenos Aires… Out with some of the friends I made while living in Argentina.

  • Visit the following:
  1. New York
  2. Florida
  3. Cuba
  4. Spain
  5. Italy
  6. Malaysian Borneo (to volunteer with see Orangutans in their natural a semi-natural environment)
  7. Ireland
  8. Scotland
  9. England
  10. China
  11. Africa (Ummm… Didn’t I realize Africa is a continent with 52 countries???)
  12. Costa Rica
  13. Peru
  14. Colombia
  15. Iceland
  16. France
  17. N’ Orleans
  18. Australia
  19. Japan
  20. Netherlands

A boy feeding pigeons at the Plaza Bolivar in Bogota, Colombia. Such a beautiful country to visit!

  • Become fluent in Spanish
  • Do conservation volunteer work in Australia
  • Go to an MFA program in Fiction (Didn’t do that, but instead, Got an MA in Latin American Studies, totally unplanned and completely worth it!)
  • Write and complete a novel (Still working on that!)
  • Have purple hair

I did the purple hair (plus blue, red, maroon, pink, orange and green), and Che Guevera (amongst others) was there to see it!

  • Get a 2nd tattoo (Yeah, I have six now and am just getting started!)
  • Get (yet another?!) piercing in a different place
  • Learn more about botany/zoology
  • Meet Bjork
  • Have an art exposition of my own art (um, that would require drawing/painting more!)
  • Learn to play the drums
  • Ride a motorcycle
  • Learn how to swing dance
  • Visit Jack Kerouac’s hometown and grave
  • Watch “The Godfather
  • Have blonde hair (Tried it, got close, but it only turned orange   :-/)
  • Cut my hair super short
  • Go to the James Lick Observatory
  • Visit the snow: go skiing, make snowmen, etc.

This was my more-than-ten-years-ago self, and the things that I have accomplished have been crossed out.  Looking back, I really didn’t think that I would be able to travel so much.  And ironically, some of the simplest things (and closest in proximity) are those that I’ve put off the longest.  Undoubtedly, my bucket list has changed a bit in the last decade, but it still contains some left overs.  Stay tuned for my Bucket List Part II

4 thoughts on “You’re Not Dead Yet! Bucket Lists: Part I

  1. Laura says:

    I think I recognize your friend. ;-} That is a great bucket list and you can still accomplish everything on it, if you want to. Can’t wait to read Bucket Lists Part II.


  2. Kerry K. Ray says:

    What’s a good bucket list without at least one skydiving entry? Skydiving is one of the ultimate adrenaline rushes, something that many folks dream about doing, but never follow through on due to: A) being scared stiff and/or B) lacking the prerequisite funds (it does cost some money, but probably won’t clear out your bank account). To get you started, check out this daunting, even blood-curdling skydiving adventure: Everest Skydive . ‘Everest’, yes—as in, the 29,000-foot Mount Everest. From that altitude, you’ll jump from an expertly piloted and staffed Pilatus PC-6 airplane, and witness many of the most gorgeous, snow-capped mountains and majestic glacial lakes in the eastern world.


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