I am the middle of the most ridiculous, outrageous and trying leg of a trip that I have ever had. I am beyond burnt out and in a completely foreign place both mentally and physically. At the same time, I feel at home, loved and at ease. This is why I travel. Even at my most creative moments I couldn’t possibly write something like this. Yet somehow this has become my life story.
Last night I prepared my things in order to get quarantined in a Japanese hospital. A friend of mine had been diagnosed with Avian Flu after we partied together in Hong Kong for New Years. I was feeling flu-like myself and when I googled the symptoms it practically returned a picture of me. My friend Sam was in the exact same sad state. He read a report from the Mayo Clinic, this years strand of Avian Flu has a 50% mortality rate. Neither of us were afraid of actually dying but knowing the seriousness of the virus did convince us to seek treatment.
After visiting two hospitals (the first hospital politely refused us due to the high risk nature of the virus) we were given masks and ordered to return to a specialist first thing in the morning. We went back to our apartment and locked ourselves in our room. We spent the rest of the night getting drunk off of sake and watching the movie Outbreak.
The Avian Flu diagnosis ended up be negative (a good thing) but the forced slow down set an interesting reference point in my bucket list journey. While in the waiting room of the hospital, I counted the items I have left on my life list. 23. It occurred to me that I am almost done. The end is nigh!
Prior to my current trip in Japan, I had spent Christmas in Halong Bay in Vietnam. Before that, I was exploring Cambodia. The week before that I was in Laos. The week before that, the Koreas. Before that, the Full Moon party in Thailand. For the past 6 months, I have averaged a new country (and a newly completed bucket list item) every single week. While I may be the CDC’s worst nightmare, I am living my dream.
I started my bucket list three years ago and never imagined the momentum that would build. The (very) early stages of my TV show are falling into place and I am making progress on my second book. More important than that though, is the community that I have been fortunate enough to be a part of. All of you are the fuel that keeps me going. It is cheesy but it is the absolute truth. Your comments, emails and even silent reading are my secret weapon. You keep me positive and constantly moving forward. :-)
Life has no speed limit. I felt artificially restricted by speed limits with classes in school that dragged on at lowest common denominator pace. I felt it again in my professional life at AT&T as the 300,000 person company moved monotonously forward.
I don’t feel restricted anymore. I now move at my own speed. Sometimes this is no movement at all as I sit silently and reflect. Other times, as in this month, it is as fast as airplanes can take me.
We all have choices about what life story we are going to write. The fun challenge is making choices that result in a story worth reading.
Remaining Bucket List Items (23/150)
The Big Ones
- Be listed on a patent (This is started but the paperwork is not officially filed yet)
- Learn to do a standing backflip (I have a plan for this in 2014)
- Get a six pack (I have failed at this twice now. As such, I have a foolproof but slightly drastic plan for this in 2014)
- Learn another language (No hablo espanol)
- Learn an instrument (I am planning on learning the harmonica)
- Live in the wilderness for a month (This will be my second to last bucket list item. I have a crazy plan for it.)
- Take a massage class (I am saving this one for when I am in one place for a long time)
- Learn to play chess well (I’ll be starting this in Q1 of this year)
See the World’s Most Amazing Man Made Things
- See the Taj Mahal (I am planning a month long India trip that will include this)
See the World’s Most Amazing Natural Things
- See Mount Everest (I’ll be hiking to basecamp)
Do the World’s Coolest Activities
- Go to an animal killing and eating ceremony (Spoiler, this is going to be my last item)
- Go Olympic lugeing
- Go in the Vomit Comet
- Go to Air Combat School
Go to the World’s Biggest Events
- Go to the World Cup (This is mostly locked down and coming up!)
- Go to the Opening Ceremony at the Winter Olympics (This is mostly locked down and coming up!)
- Go to the Tour De France
Go to the World’s Greatest Parties
- Go to Roskilde Festival (This is locked down and coming up!)
- Go to Pamplona Bull Run
- Go to La Tomatina
- Go to Oktoberfest
Go to the World’s Greatest Cities
- Go to Tokyo, Japan (I’ll be there in a week)
- Go to Dubai, UAE (Saving this for a rainy day)
P.S. Thank you for all of the positive support lately! I really appreciate having all of you in my life. :-p As requested, I’ll be posting the system I use for organizing and completing all of my Life List items very soon.
P.P.S I am running last survey on whether or not to hold an in-person workshop teaching the ideas discussed on this blog. If this interests you, please consider spending 2 minutes giving me your input.