My Life List

IMG_9767Most of us have heard of a Bucket List.  This is a list one makes of the elusive things they wish to accomplish before they die or “kick the bucket”.   The problem I have with a bucket list is that it focuses on the things undone in ones life.  If I were to die tomorrow I would not want to leave behind a list of items that I wished I had accomplished but didn’t.   I would rather leave behind a list that demonstrated that I really lived.  I want to celebrate my accomplishments and focus on the amazing things God has done for and through me.

Below is a list of the the things God has blessed me with in my life.  I am so Thankful for each and everyone of these experiences and strive to live a life that demonstrates my thankfulness for God’s love and grace.   Below is not my bucket list:  It is my Life List.  I plan on adding to it each and every year as God continues to bless me with incredible experiences.

I have:

  1. Backpacked through Europe….. Three Times!
  2.  Seen the hills of Scotland and danced to the music of its bagpipes,
  3. Stood atop the English Moors and had it’s wind blow through my hair.
  4.  Heard the Chimes of Big Ben
  5. Stood behind the Berlin Wall and felt its lingering sting of separation
  6.  Walked the eerie battle fields of WWII in Bastonge Belgium.
  7. Smelled the ghostly Normandy Beach Air,
  8.  Marveled at the stained glass windows of The Notre Dame Cathedral,
  9.  Experienced the golden sparkle of the Venice canal at sunset,
  10. Tasted Italian wine under the Tuscan Sky,
  11.  Gawked at Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel
  12.  Stood inside the ancient Roman Coliseum.
  13.  Drank from a loch in Scotland
  14.   Jumped off a moving train in Italy
  15.   Rushed a castle in France
  16.   Saw Les Miserables in Queen’s Theater in London
  17.   Been to Boston in the Fall
  18.   Toured  a New England Light House
  19.   Been to the Palace of Versailles
  20.  Crossed the English Channel in a boat and in a train and plane
  21.  Seen the beautiful craftsmanship of Murano’s glass blowers
  22.   Experienced several Jamaican sunsets with those I love
  23.  Drank  Jamaican Orange Juice
  24.  Been to a Reggae concert in Jamaica
  25.  Gone parasailing
  26.  Gone Snorkeling in the Caribbean reefs
  27.  Horseback riding in the Appalachian Mountains
  28.   Seen The Niagara Falls in the winter
  29.   Walked the Washington D.C. Mall
  30.  Tearfully thanked a WWII vet at the WWII memorial.
  31.   Stood on stage at the Red Rocks in Denver
  32.  Visited the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs
  33.  Took a random trip to Rhode Island and visited a light house on Block Island
  34.   Seen the Napoleon Apartments in the Louvre
  35.   Ate Pizza in Italy
  36.   Tried Haggis in Scotland
  37.    Savored Belgium Chocolates
  38.   Stayed in England in a converted WWII POW prison for German Officers .
  39.   Showed my Cousin Oliver his first rainbow
  40.    Looked at many twinkling stars shining above lake Holiday with my family
  41.  Attended a birthday party in Valencia, and had traditional Spanish paella
  42.   Savored jamón in Madrid
  43.   Memorized the Madrid metro system
  44.  Went to a tapas expo in Madrid
  45.  Spent a perfect day in Madrid, wondering the streets, journaling, eating olives, bread and drinking wine.
  46. Sipped many morning cafés con leche in front of the Bank of Spain.
  47.  Read a whole book in el Parque de Retrio one afternoon
  48.   Marveled at the artwork in the Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Museo de Reina Sophia.  (The Thyssen was my favorite.)
  49. Took a trip by myself to Seville, saw flamenco dancers and had the best mojito ever on top of a roof across from the third largest cathedral in the world!
  50.   I have visited the three largest cathedrals in the world
  51.   I have visited the Plaza de España- the location of my favorite Word’s Fair
  52.  I went on a day trip to Segovia and saw the ancient roman aqueducts
  53.   I smelled the oranges of Seville and visited the Palacio of Alcazar
  54.  I saw fireworks in  the streets of Seville
  55.  I put my feet in a fountain in Madrid on a warm summer day
  56. I saw a mile long outdoor book fair in Retiro Park
  57.  I Climbed the cliffs of Nice
  58.  I gambled at the Monte Carlo Casino
  59. I stayed in a hotel in Zurich that was also a video store…weird
  60.  I ate Wiener Schnitzel in Wien ( Vienna)
  61.   I got lost in Czech Republic,
  62.  I walked on the St. Charles Bridge in Prague
  63.   I went to Luzurne and the top of Mt Pilitus
  64.  I  met a friend in Barcelona and with her discovered the genius of Gaudi
  65.   I  have been to bath, Jane Austin’s house, and Seen Stonehenge
  66.  I had my first Kiss in a foreign Country.
  67.   I have  watched a St. Louis Cardinals game from the top of the St. Louis Arch.
  68. I had a 200 dollar bottle of wine in a lounge overlooking Time Square
  69.  I had Campaign at restaurant with the Statue of liberty in the background.
  70. I have seen Daniel Radcliff (Harry Potter) perform How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying!
  71. I have bought flowers at the farmers market on Pike Street in Seattle.
  72. I have visited the First Star Bucks EVER in Seattle!
  73.  I’ve driven the 101 along the Washington Peninsula and hiked in the Quinault Rain Forrest.
  74.  I have taken a Ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island and visited the Buchart Gardens
  75. I have seen the Mountains of Idaho.
  76. I have seen the Big Sky of Montana.
  77. I was surrounded by friends on 11-11-11
  78. I had the best Gumbo in the French Quarter of New Orleans
  79. I visited 11 countries in 2011.
  80. I went on a cruise to Mexico with my family
  81. I saw the Newsies on Broadway perform King of New York in New York
  82. I have stayed in a two floor Hotel suite on Times Square.
  83.  I have Ran 4 5ks, a 10k and a 15k
  84. I have ran TWO  ½ marathons
  85. I have traveled to Middle Earth ( New Zealand)
  86. I have dug my feet into the Black Sands of Beach Muriwai
  87. I have discovered the Shire, visited Hobbiton and sat in a Hobbit Hole!
  88. I have found heaven on Middle Earth & Climbed Mt Sunday (Edoras/Rohan)
  89. I watched the All Blacks beat Ireland in a Rugby match 60-0 in New Zealand!
  90. I have discovered the Thermal Pools of Rotoua,
  91. I have hiked the Cliffs of Kaikora and discovered a seal colony.
  92.  I have sailed on the Tasman Sea
  93. I have hiked a glacier
  94. I have visited the Milford Sound and seen Mt Cook.
  95. I have walked Bondi Beach
  96. I have heard the Sydney Chamber Orchestra perform at the Sydney Opera House!
  97. I have Driven on the LEFT SIDE of the Road in Australia!
  98. I have been to The Olympic Village in Sydney Australia
  99. I have Traveled The Great Ocean Road and seen the 12 apostles
  100.  I have snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef.
  101. I Saw a quarter Final Championship Football Game in Madrid!  (14th row VIP tickets)
  102. I have toured the Alhambra
  103. Tasted the free Tapas of Granada!
  104. I Tried an orange off of a tree on the Street of Granada (they were bitter!)
  105. I watched the sunset glisten on the Alhambra, while I dined on the hill across from its mountain top resting place.
  106. I discovered a dozen PERFECT roses wash to shore on a beach in Mallorca
  107. I took a nap in the rocks and cliffs by the cost in Sawyer (Mallorca)- the crashing waves were my lullaby.
  108. I got my masters degree from Purdue University
  109. I ran my second half marathon- the Indy Monumental November 2013
  110. I Lived with my brother in 2013- a time I will always cherish
  111. I walked the great wall of China
  112. I explored the ancient temple complexes in the Cambodian Jungle
  113. I visited the floating villages of Siem Reap Cambodia
  114. I visited Angkor Watt
  115.   I got a real Thai massage in Thailand.
  116. I navigated seas off the coast of Phuket in my cave canoeing adventure.
  117.  I rode (and fell in love with) an elephant named “Sabo” in Cambodia
  118.  I saw the most beautiful orchids in the world at the Singapore Botanical gardens
  119. I journaled in front of my hotel room window that displayed the mighty Petronas towers of Kuala Lumpur.
  120. I saw an epic light show dance across the Hong Kong skyline
  121.  I stood in attention with the ancient Terra-cotta warriors of Xi’An
  122.   I explored the streets of old Beijing, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven,
  123. I ran to The Bird’s Nest and the Olympic Water Cube in Beijing.
  124. I visited a real silk factory in China
  125. I learned how to make Chinese Dumplings in Xi’An and walked its ancient wall.
  126. I was part of a Japanese tea ceremony with a 5th generation Tea Master
  127.   I sailed down the river Li and witnessed its glorious 20,000 peaks!
  128.  I met the kindest people I will ever know in a South Korean coffee shop.
  129. I got to sit on a panel discussion of several Korean teachers
  130.   I ate a black egg that had been boiled underground in the sulfuric waters under Mt Fuji. ( It is supposed to add seven years to your life)
  131. I climbed part of Mt. Fuji
  132. I attended a festival in Kyoto, saw the Golden Pavilion, and ascended the Tokyo Tower
  133. I stayed in a traditional Japanese Ryokan (inn) by the sea where I slept on mats on the floor and bathed in (public) natural hot springs.
  134. I had real Japanese Sushi
  135. I also visited a real Ninja House!
  136. I went to the top of the famous Ship shaped hotel of Singapore
  137.  I ate some bugs in Thailand and got food sick from Sting Ray from an outdoor food vendor.
  138. I had wonderfully authentic Thai curry
  139. I visited Tienanmen Square
  140.  I saw the city lights and streets of Shanghai
  141. I saw a water buffalo in a rice patty in rural China
  142. I had real Korean BBQ and Kim chi
  143. I did Asian Style Karaoke.
  144. I surprised my Uncle John with my two great  Aunts ( His two sisters) in Idaho.  We had the time of our lives!
  145. I had Pour Over Coffee in Sandpoint
  146. I bought a Huckleberry Pie from the Side of the Road in Northern Idaho…best decision ever.
  147. I kissed the Blarney Stone
  148. I drank a Guinness in a pub in Ireland
  149. Hung over the cliffs of Ireland
  150. I became a Fulbright Distinguished Teacher
  151. I saw the northern lights (The best display Lapland had seen in a decade!) from a glass Igloo. 
  152. I saw the northern lights again while on a reindeer sleigh ride. 
  153. I saw a complete solar eclipse while dog sledding across the Lapland tundra. 
  154. I saw a Russian ballet in St. Petersburg at the Marinsky Theater. 
  155. I visited the Hermitage and The Church of our Savior on Spilled Blood. 
  156.  I did a sauna and ate reindeer in Finland. 
  157. I had home cooked schnitzel and noodles in a country home in Germany.
  158. I visited the Kremlin and Red Square and visited St. Basil’s cathedral in Moscow!  
  159. I saw Swan Lake in Russia!
  160. I saw a Ballet ( Don Quixote) In Moscow!
  161. In the same night I had Belgium Chocolate, Waffels, Fries and Beer in Belgium! 
  162. I took a tour of the grand canals of Amsterdam and visited the Van Gogh Museum!
  163. I had borscht in Russia- It was actually amazing!
  164. I joyfully searched for  and found my favorite painting in the MET.  ( A Turner….it is always a Turner). 
  165. I got to see Lin-Manuel Miranda perform his masterpiece Hamilton!  And I got to go backstage and meet the original cast!  WOW!!! 

Here are things I plan to Add to my Life List one Day:

  1. Glorify God with my Life
  2. Go to an Olympic Opening Ceremony
  3. Visit 30 different Countries before I am 30
  4. Visit every city that has hosted the Summer Olympics
  5. Meet The President of the United States of America
  6. Travel to all 7 continents ( North America 1986,  Europe 2006,  Australia 2012, Asia 2013)
  7. Travel to 11% of the world
  8. Travel all 50 states
  9. Live in another country (Spain 2011,  Finland Spring 2015)
  10.  Teach in another country (Finland, spring 2015)
  11. Be fluent in three languages
  12. Go somewhere in a Hot Air Balloon.
  13. Visit a Vineyard in Northern California- fall 2015
  14.  Climb on a windmill in Netherlands
  15.  Spend the night in a Castle
  16.  Find someone who will love me even when I’m fifty
  17.  Sail a Boat on the open Sea.
  18. Get a real telegram
  19. Float in the Dead Sea
  20.  Get lost in the hills of Ireland:  (Check- Spring 2014)
  21.  Eat a truly fantastic French meal in France
  22. Wander the streets in the Latin Quarters of Paris
  23. Go to an Opera
  24. See the Ice Festival in Russia
  25. Attend a 18th century ball- Jane Austin Style
  26. Learn how to play chess really well
  27. See the Northern Lights (Lapland- March 2015) 
  28. Spend the night in an igloo hotel (Finland- March 2015)
  29. Take Ballroom dancing classes
  30.  Pack my bags, go to the airport and buy a ticket to some random location
  31.  Buy a gift from a random person’s registry and send it to them
  32. Pick up someone’s dinner tab
  33. See the Cherry Blossoms in Japan
  34. Fly First Class
  35. Send a Message in a bottle
  36. See the Tonight Show Live or The Conan O’Brien Show
  37. Drink Guinness in a Pub in Ireland:  (Check 2014)
  38. Go to Vancouver
  39. Pay tribute in some major way to WWII veterans
  40. Be a tour guide at a truly remarkable place.
  41. Write something worth reading
  42. Run a 1/2 Marathon (May 2012,  and  November 2013)
  43. Walk on the great wall of China ( Summer 2013)
  44. Visit the Shire New Zealand ( Summer 2012)
  45. Drive across the country on a road trip without a real plan
  46. Inspire my students
  47. Take my mom to England (Spring 2014)
  48. Learn how to drive stick shift.
  49. Perform again
  50. See a Russian Ballet (March 2015)
  51. Make a difference in this world.
  52. Get invited to Dinner at an International Embassy
  53. Write a book
  54. See the Kremlin in Moscow
  55.  Have a family of my own. 
  56. Teach my kids to love to travel. 
  57.  Complete the Travel Challenge list of 100 places to see before you die. 
  58. Visit Patagonia.
  59. Travel to Iceland or Greenland
  60. See the Fjords of Norway 
  61. Revisit New Zealand  and hike to Milford Sound
  62.  Live in a cozy Cabin on the Mountainside. 
  63.  Volunteer or work at an Olympics
  64. Climb a mountain. 
  65. Walk or bike El Camino de Santiago.

11 thoughts on “My Life List

  1. Your main achievement is that you live each day you are alive, while many die 50 years before they’re buried. I find it appealing that you choose to have an achievement list rather than a bucket list. And yet you go on and produce one. That aside, it is very practical to have one. You may want to add the Grand Canyon and the Calaveras County Frog Jump, if it is still held. And hang gliding and wind surfing. And participating in a pole sitting competition, truly wondering what you are doing there. And being guided through an old castle by the 17th century princess who once lived there.

    Bucket list:
    #41: Checked (Less = More article)
    #39: Hurry, time is running out
    #64: Pick Mount Kenya. It is manageable and you have been missing out on Africa.
    #22 and others: Check your spelling. You’re a teacher.

    Carry on – you’re doing great!


  2. Hi Kelly. I think you have great dreams for your life and also huge ambition. May you keep loving to teach and learn from all cultures and countries. I can’t say how much inspiration you are to all out there who wishes to travel the world. Your life list and to do list surely says a lot about who you are.

    Ps: I see you don’t have Africa down yet on point 6 of your additional list for things to do in your life. Do try my country of birth South Africa:-). Yes, this is only one part of Africa.

    I did subscribe to your blog and look to follow you in your journey to point 1. Glorify God with my Life(In Progress…..)


  3. I just started reading your blog today & I love it! Based on some of your context clues, I have a feeling we don’t live too far apart. My car is stick shift & I’d be happy to teach you how to drive it. ☺️ My Instagram username is @kengietravels if you are interested at all & want to stalk me. I’m not a teacher by trade, but I have taught one of my friends how to drive stick and honestly it’s a breeze! Anyway, thanks for letting me read about some of the amazing things you’ve done! -Angie

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am a teacher too, from Taiwan. I have been to some countries too, and just like you, I learned a lot and told my students, especially I teach Tourism. But now I am very interesting in Education in Finland, I’d like to observe their school. Is that possible by myself?
    By the way, do you need a partner to travel?? ^^

    Grace, Lin


  5. A super list – Where did you get the funds and time???
    It would be best to concentrate on your #1 item – first, because all the rest is temporary! You write very well… Really like your honest truthful site…
    Check out one of my blogs – (over 10K views a month worldwide) Like to share and converse on interesting stuff…
    Keep up you great work – Lady!


  6. Hi Kelly, great story , inspiring and true. Learned a lot reading your blog. Is there a way to get in touch by e-mail for some questions that could help out.


  7. Hi Kelly,

    I really enjoyed your story about Finnish education and going to read your other posts.
    Have you had a chance to visit all 50 states in the USA yet? I suggest you try North Dakota.
    There is a book I just read about the Mandan people, and it may be a pretty eye opening experience is my thought. I think as we tour our own country we find there is so much variety and different cultures right here at home and that most Americans miss a lot of that if they stay in one state their whole lives. There are distinct and interesting regional differences that I think sometimes Europeans appreciate more than Americans do.

    Happy Travels,

    Interested Reader


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