It seems to me that everyone talks about what they want to do and often forgets what they have done.
Instead of a traditional bucket list, I started a reverse bucket list.
I put the opportunities and experiences I have had in my life into my bucket rather than pulling dreams and aspirations out of my bucket. It has given me a greater appreciation and gratitude for the moments and experiences I have had in my life.
1. Lived in Romania for a summer (2011): I lived in a little musician’s village and taught an English class for the community.
2. Traveled to 25 different countries: Canada (x4), Mexico (x3), Romania (x2), Germany (x3), France (x2), Luxembourg, Switzerland (x2), Belgium (x2), Jamaica (x4), Haiti (x9), Tanzania (x2), Burkina Faso (x2), Ethiopia (x3), South Africa (x2), Turkey (x2), Sweden, Finland, Norway, England, Malawi (x2), Poland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Italy, Austria
3. Flew above the Arctic Circle (2016): I picked a random city on the map in Finland and found a $50 plane ticket from Helsinki that took me above the Arctic Circle. It turns out the city I chose, Rovaniemi, is the capital of Lapland and also known as Santa Claus’ Official Hometown.
4. Crossed over 4 out of the 5 major latitudinal lines: Arctic Circle, Tropic of Cancer, Equator, Tropic of Capricorn
5. Spent 10 minutes in Asia and it wasn’t an airport layover (2013): I flew into Istanbul, Turkey with my youngest brother. We got on the metro down to the waterfront, took a ferry across the Marmara Sea to the Asian continent. We took a couple pictures and then caught another ferry back to Europe.
6. Visited the Grand Bazaar, Underground Basilica Cistern, Topkapı Palace and Sophia Hagia in Istanbul.
7. Went to the top of the Eiffel Tower (2016).
8. Drove on the opposite side of the road in Ireland (2016).
9. Hiked from Monterosso to Vernazza in Cinque Terre, Italy (2016): The hike overlooked the Mediterranean Sea. The pathway winds through vineyards, citrus orchards and olive trees. It was one of the most memorable hikes.
10. Hiked Mount Floyen in Bergen, Norway (2015): The cable car to the top of Mount Floyen was under maintenance for the first time in four years when I was in Bergen. The locals told me it was an easy hike to the top. I hiked my way to the top — being passed by locals like it was nothing — and found a restaurant from the 1700s.
11. Went to lunch in Stockholm, Sweden (2015). It was only for six hours and the only time I was in Sweden.
12. Traveled to 5 countries on the African continent: Ethiopia, Tanzania (and Zanizibar), Burkina Faso, South Africa and Malawi
13. Flew to Seattle and back to reach Platinum Status with United Airlines (2013): I was 140 miles short of the status and knew I might not get so close again. I bought a $100 plane ticket and spent an afternoon in Seattle.
14. Went to the top of Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town, South Africa (2013).
15. Flew business class on Swiss Airlines from Zurich, Switzerland to Chicago, Illinois (2012).
16. Walked with a cheetah (2016).
17. Drove a truck from New York City, New York to Portland, Oregon in 4 1/2 days (2016): The truck wouldn’t go over 55 mph. My brother and I drove 16 hours days and only stopped to see Mount Rushmore on our way home.
18. Rode a gondola in Venice (2016).
19. Visited the Louvre in Paris (2016): I saw Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting of the Mona Lisa.
20. Have seen two Broadway shows in NYC (2015): “An American in Paris” and “Phantom of the Opera”
21. Visited Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in North Vancouver, B.C. (2015).
22. Went to Giant’s Causeway and the Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland (2016): The best time to go to Giant’s Causeway is early in the morning before the tourist buses show up. It’s absolutely beautiful.
23. Tried beer for the first time in Ireland (2016).
24. Visited the Cliffs of Moher (2016).
25. Lived in Hamilton Heights (Harlem) for three months (2014): From the living room window, I could see the George Washington Bridge and the little red lighthouse. There’s a children’s book from the 1920s about this bridge and little lighthouse called The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge: Restored Edition.
26. Visited Auschwitz in Poland (2016): This was one of the hardest places I have ever visited.