Updated on February 14th, 2020
“I made my Life List when I was desperately seeking purpose & direction. Ultimately, what I wanted was a roadmap for life & I looked everywhere for inspiration.”
At the end of 2014 I tragically & suddenly lost my husband Terry, after 20 years together. My life seemed destroyed & everything I knew changed forever. There is so much to share about how I started this next journey in my life but here is not the time. In 2016, prompted by this monumental shift in my life’s path, I wrote a Life List of all the things I wanted to achieve moving forward. It helped to give me a focus & got me through the next 3 years. Most call this a Bucket List but I felt the whole “things to do before you die” tag was a bit too close to home.
I made the List at a time when I was desperately seeking purpose & direction. My first year was spent accepting all invitations from friends & family looking for a way to help. I left my job of 18 years & was planning to start a travel blog. Ultimately, what I wanted was a roadmap for life & I looked everywhere for inspiration.
My Life List contained 117 “things” which held some huge & very open topics, for instance, Explore Scandinavia & US National Parks. It included iconic undertakings like hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu & climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. In addition, there were some very simple tasks, for example, making pavlova from my Grandma’s recipe & seeing a film in an outdoor cinema.
“That’s why I have loved the List & I used it as my guide, my sanity & my saving grace.”
To see what I have achieved, see my Video Diary “3 years in Under 3 Minutes”
But my life has changed. I have a plan, I have a direction & I am now a travel blogger! To conclude, I feel it is time to review the list, remove things that are no longer relevant or inspire me, & add items that look appealing to who I am now. Although I believe the list should be fluid, I like to keep it static for some time, just so I know where I am!
So here are the changes I’m making:
What’s coming off the List?
Everything I’ve done!
I may not have fully completed certain tasks which are huge & ongoing undertakings, but they are underway. For instance, learn Spanish, learn to dance, learn to take better photographs. I still have a long way to go with these but progress & a number of courses have been completed!
Everything that I have done but added it anyway!
There are a number of things which went in as I was searching other lists & looking for inspiration. In actual fact, I had already gained some experience of these & so no longer feel that they are relevant. For example:
I love food & I would love to be a better cook. When I was in Thailand with Terry, we took a Thai cooking course in Krabi. It was great. We learnt loads. “Bang, Bang, Chop, Chop” became our mantra! I will do a course again, but I don’t see it as a thing that needs to stay on the list.
See an Eclipse
I have actually done this too, & a solar one at that! In my old job, I was out on the road for the day. I remember it going dark & the birds stopped singing. It was a very eerie experience. I’m not sure if it needs repeating as an event so it’s off the list.
I’ve realised that I don’t have a huge desire to go in a cage while they feed the sharks around me. I’m not scared, I just don’t see the appeal! I have already swum with sharks while completing my Open Water Qualification on the Great Barrier Reef. I had challenges during the Night Dive with buoyancy issues & unintentionally popped up on the surface, leaving the team before I was prepared to. As the rest of the group were continuing on the planned dive, I headed back to the boat.
“Those who weren’t involved in the dive could stick their faces in the water to watch the sharks who would ominously patrol the back of our boat, I’m guessing because of the lights. I had to swim through them to safety. As a result, I believe I’ve swum with sharks. Done!”
Things that I may not have done, but I have done something close enough!
Attend Coachella, Benicassim & Lollapalooza Music Festivals.
At the time I made the list I saw music festivals as an exciting addition to my future. Now I’ve been to a few. I’ve volunteered at a couple. It’s no longer a priority for me, no matter how glamorous the location!
Whale Watching at Close Quarters in Mexico
This was very specific & based on an article I read many years ago. I have since been on a few tours (New Zealand, Dominican Republic) & seen whales just off the side of a boat in Australia. It will never get boring, the thrill of seeing these magnificent creatures in their natural environment. I am going to take advantage of all the opportunities to see them again in the future, however, it doesn’t need to be on the List.
Things that I don’t believe I will ever do:
Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong believer in goals. Currently, though, why have something on the list that you actually don’t believe will be possible for you to achieve?
Experience Zero Gravity
It sounds amazing but maybe more for a list in the future…
I do feel guilty about removing this one but I went to see a physiotherapist a few years ago & his response to this goal was to pull a face & say “What, with that back?” On completing a half marathon 10 years ago & hating every minute of it, I swore that I’d never speak about running a marathon again. If I did it, I’d aim to cover the miles over a week, therefore it’s not a marathon.
“Be kind to yourself is my motto. Why have something on there to taunt you that you don’t believe you’ll ever do anyway?”
What’s being adapted?
Ride an Elephant.
I’ve seen so much controversy about riding elephants & the torture they have to endure to enable us to have our moment. I have now changed this to something more ethical – Bathe an Elephant.
Things I need to be more specific about:
Visit Americas National Parks
This time I’m being more specific. The ones I ultimately want to include are Yellowstone, Zion, Yosemite, Arches, Glacier, Bryce Canyon. Please let me know if there are any you feel need to be added to this list.
I have so far spent a few days in Tokyo as a stopover on the way home from Australia. I loved it way more than I was expecting to. Now I want to focus on the Cherry Blossom in Kyoto & seeing Hiroshima.
I have spent a couple of days in Stockholm & Helsinki so in essence this has been ticked off, but I think there is so much more to see! Instead, I am now including Copenhagen & seeing the Fjords of Norway.
Why have 2 things when you can have just 1?
Rio de Janeiro & Carnaval in Rio
When I go to Rio, I’ll make sure it’s the right time for Carnaval. That’s the joy of the List, I know what time of year I’ll be heading to Rio!
What’s being added?
This is the really exciting bit!
Things I’ve read about & think I would enjoy
Attend Burning Man
I have seen a lot of articles & photos from fellow travellers over the last couple of years. It feels like a place I need to experience at least once.
The town itself is a National Historic Landmark & with Calamity Jane & Wild Bill Hickok in its past, the area looks just like walking into the Wild West.
Things I have been meaning to do but know that I’m most likely to do them if I add them to the list!
- Buy Ingredients & Cook a Meal from Borough Market, London.
- Experience Henley Regatta, UK
- Walk the Thames Path, London.
- Get hypnotised
Things that the timing wasn’t right for before:
When my eldest niece, Amelia turned 16 I wanted to make her birthday & Christmas presents more meaningful & encourage a travelling future. Since then I have been putting a little money aside for each event so one day (after she became 18), I can meet her in New York. I hope it will happen in the next couple of years as she was 20 last year. My youngest niece, Harriet just had her 16th birthday so it’s only right to do the same. Location still to be selected by Hats!
Things I can’t believe weren’t on the list in the first place!
- See Wild Polar Bears
- Tour the Champagne Region in France
- Hike in the Himalayas
- Visit Colombia
- Explore Petra & Jordan
“So now my List contains 85 entries (a more rounded number!) & I have my focus for the next 3 years & beyond. Most importantly, I have taken it a step further & categorised into sections so I can see which area of the world needs more of my attention. All I can say is it looks like I’ll be booking a flight to Asia fairly soon!”
Now, my full Life List looks like this:
1. Stay at the Ice Hotel
2. Visit Iceland
3. See Auschwitz
4. Experience Oktoberfest
5. Tour Buckingham Palace
6. Take afternoon tea at the Ritz
7. Buy ingredients & cook a meal from Borough Market, London
8. Tour the Champagne Region in France
9. Visit Copenhagen
10. See the fjords in Norway
11. Experience Henley Regatta, UK
12. Walk the Thames Path, London
13. Hike into Grand Canyon
14. Visit New York for Christmas & New Year
15. Ice skate in New York
16. Attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans
17. Take a holiday on a horse-riding ranch in the USA
18. Tour the White House
19. Drive Route 66
20. Visit Americas National Parks: Yellowstone, Zion, Yosemite, Arches, Glacier, Bryce Canyon
21. Visit New England during fall
22. Tour Graceland
23. Take my niece Amelia to New York
24. Music road trip around Nashville, Memphis & New Orleans
25. Attend Burning Man
26. Visit Deadwood, South Dakota
27. Attend Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro
28. Visit Easter Island
29. Tour the Galapagos Islands
30. Explore Colombia
Central America & Caribbean
Australia & Pacific
32. Swim with Whale Sharks in Tonga
33. Visit the Pacific Islands (Fiji / Bora Bora)
34. Visit Kerala & stay on a houseboat
35. Walk on the Great Wall of China
36. Sit with the Pandas at the Chengdu Research Centre in China
37. See the Terracotta Army
38. Visit Nepal
39. Explore Myanmar (Burma)
40. Return to Japan – Kyoto, Hiroshima
41. Visit the Maldives
42. Tour Bhutan
43. See Mauritius
44. Explore the Philippines
45. Visit Tibet
46. See Seychelles
47. Explore Vietnam
51. Explore Petra & Jordan
52. Float in the Dead Sea
53. Visit Antarctica
Specific but not Specific!
54. Swim with wild dolphins
55. See the northern lights
56. Stay in a log cabin in the snow
57. See wild turtles hatch
58. Ride a camel
59. Bathe an elephant
60. See wild tigers
61. Learn to sail – Day Skipper course
62. Try deep sea fishing
63. See wild polar bears
64. Take my niece Harriet on a trip, as yet unspecified!
65. Fly a glider
66. Ride a scooter
67. Get a tattoo
68. Fly in a hot air balloon
69. Learn archery
70. Go to an airport for a random flight anywhere
71. Be an extra in a film
72. Learn to play the guitar
73. Ride a Segway
74. Be on a TV show
75. Get something published, somewhere
76. Gain 1000 followers on a social media platform
77. Swim 1 mile
78. Ride a jet ski
79. See a film at a drive-in theatre
80. Take a road trip in a camper van
81. Monumentally celebrate my 50th birthday!
82. See a psychic
83. Try clay pigeon shooting
84. Take an acrobatic plane flight
85. Get hypnotised
What do you think?
Why did you to write down your Life List?
What’s on your Life List that you are going to tick off in 2019?
What do you think is missing from my List?
To see more of my photos from my travels please visit my Gallery page!