Driving Through Downtown Cairo

Over the past few years it’s been very “in” to create a “things to do before I die” list. There’s the book, the movie, countless magazine articles, and plenty of blogs out there for inspirational ideas and must-see places. Perhaps these lists are like New Years resolutions: nice thoughts, but very unlikely to be followed through by most. I’m lucky to have already done some very bucket-list worthy things: I’ve seen the Pyramids at Giza. I’ve swam in the Blue Lagoon in way, way below freezing temperatures in Iceland. I’ve ridden a horse through the canyons of Petra. I’ve reached the top of the Potala Palace in Tibet. I’ve climbed the Great Wall of China. I’ve eaten a live termite off a tree in the jungle of Guatemala. I’ve been in love. I have seen some incredible things and have had loads of unforgettable experiences, but they’re all teases,  just as having a couple teaspoons of rocky road ice cream would be . . . not only do I know how good it tastes, I’ve still got ¾ of the pint left. Plus, I know the best stuff is somewhere in the middle; mad tasty chunks of chocolate and swirls of marshmallow hidden within that I must take my spoon and dig into.

So I’ve made this list (just a week before my 26th birthday in case you’re wondering what to get me) because I sit around all day and can’t stop thinking about that seductive little cardboard container in my metaphorical freezer. The good news is that I’m young enough to think all of these things are perfectly attainable and too old for unrequited love; I’ve never been one to turn down dessert. And yes, of course I want to shovel the whole thing down my hatch in one sitting, but I think I’ll be uncharacteristically reasonable and try to take a few delicious bites at a time,  keeping myself day-dreaming about the next spoonful.

I’ve thought of 70 “to-dos” knowing that I’ve forgotten at least 30 things which will be added as they come to me, making a nice even 100. I haven’t included things like “get married” or “have children” or “become financially stable” or “own a house” because they are dreadfully boring and who doesn’t want that kind of crap, anyway? So here, in absolutely no particular order, are my so-far-seventy. Not just places to see, but experiences to have . . .

  1. see “Aida” performed at the Giza Pyramids
  2. go on a Mediterranean road trip, at least part of which must be done in a convertible whilst wearing a scarf á la Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief (preferably in the same car as well, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves)
  3. take a Mediterranean sail around Capri or Sardinia while wearing Pucci
  4. go on a wildlife safari in Africa ending with a dive trip in Zanzibar
  5. go on a “literary road trip” paying homage to Louisa May Alcott, Thoreau, Emerson, and Hawthorne (Concord, MA), and Washington Irving (Sleepy Hollow, NY)
  6. go on a road trip to include Acadia National Park, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland, visiting where my great-grandmother was born
  7. see the great waterfalls of Yosemite National Park
  8. stay at a yoga ashram in India
  9. take a walk along the beach at Seven Sisters, Sussex, England
  10. take a Baltic Sea cruise that stops in St. Petersburg and Copenhagen, wherein I   will roam the streets singing “Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen” á la Danny Kaye
  11. attend Bloomsday festivities in Dublin to pay homage to James Joyce, yes I said yes I will Yes
  12. visit Arches National Park
  13. go to Paris with John and picnic in the Jardin du Luxembourg
  14. celebrate Dia de los Muertos in Mexico City
  15. go to Club 33 in Disneyland
  16. take a surfing lesson and do not stop until I have stood up
  17. get made up like a geisha in Japan
  18. volunteer with UNICEF in a developing country
  19. zipline through a jungle / other lush landscape
  20. see Baryshnikov perform without any interruptions (I’ve had the opportunity to see him dance but the performance was cut short as a dancer died on stage. FOR REAL. THAT IS NOT EVEN CLOSE TO BEING A EUPHEMISM.)
  21. twirl around surrounded by St. Gilgen and Lake Wolfgang, Austria á la Maria von Trapp while listening to “The Sound of Music” on my iPod
  22. see the Bolshoi Ballet perform at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow
  23. see Rufus Wainwright in concert
  24. visit Redwood National Park
  25. wander through New York while listening to “Rhapsody in Blue”
  26. stay at a dude ranch in Montana, dressing the part encouraged
  27. paddle down the Amazon in a canoe
  28. spot a blue-footed bubi in the Galapagos (the bird, not your grandmother, though I suppose if she were wearing blue shoes and happened to be in the Galapagos it would count)
  29. stay in one of those private bungalows in the middle of the South Pacific
  30. walk amongst the lava flows at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
  31. have a travel writing book published
  32. study Buddhism and Kabbalah in greater depth without being ashamed of the trendiness factor
  33. take a breath of fresh air in Rigi, Switzerland
  34. throw a dinner party
  35. walk through Dubrovnik in a fantastic sundress and espadrilles
  36. attempt living in Los Angeles
  37. live in Europe (maybe France, Italy, Germany, England, or Ireland?)
  38. live in Asia (maybe Tokyo, Hong Kong, or Shanghai?)
  39. get a ridiculously expensive haircut at a famous salon
  40. take a dance class (which I’ve done. A lot. But as an adult)
  41. throw a really ripe tomato at someone
  42. stop, clear my head, and take it all in at the Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como, Italy
  43. buy John a really beautiful watch
  44. horseback ride on a beach
  45. go camping, legitimately, in a tent, in the middle of nowhere
  46. see the aurora borealis
  47. grow some sort of fruit or vegetable and eat it
  48. see white and blue domed buildings on the Greek Isles while wearing the  metallic gladiator sandals that John hates
  49. meet or just see Woody Allen
  50. learn how to sew
  51. learn the basics of how to play the piano or violin (which I know, but not to the extent I’d like to)
  52. have a personalized perfume made
  53. get a group of people together to spend a night in a haunted house
  54. perform onstage (yes, I’ve already done this I know, but as an adult)
  55. drive the Great Ocean Road in Australia
  56. milk a cow
  57. break a bottle of some sort over someone’s head
  58. have a pie thrown in my face
  59. gamble and win money
  60. put my hand in the “mouth of truth” in Rome while doing my best Gregory Peck impression
  61. hold a koala
  62. stuff myself with paella while overlooking the ocean in Valencia
  63. have professional, model-y, hair & makeup, photoshopped pictures taken
  64. go to an American Indian pow wow
  65. go to Antarctica
  66. go to a day spa and get wrapped in seaweed, covered in mud, and all sorts of otherwise embarrassing things
  67. go to the airport with no destination in mind and just get on a plane
  68. see the cliffs at Land’s End Beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  69. hike to Taktsang Lhakhang in Bhutan
  70. get naked in public (well, where it’s expected, like a European beach, a Japanese  bathhouse, a sauna, etc.) and get over myself
  71. send a message in a bottle
  72. ice skate in Central Park at Christmas time
  73. attend Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans
  74. not fly-over and actually visit some of those midwestern states
  75. play in a volleyball tournament with my sister, Brighid
  76. Stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona
  77. Stomp grapes at a vineyard à la Lucy Ricardo
  78. Go on a cruise with my family
  79. Attend the Yi Peng festival during Loi Krathong in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where thousands of Khom Fai (floating lanterns) light up the night sky
  80. Visit the spectacular and romantic Christmas markets in Vienna, Prague, or Germany

15 thoughts on “Life-List

  1. WendyD says:

    That is a fantastic list. Of all those I can only say I’ve done #64 and I could teach you #50 🙂 and I’m glad I’m not the only one to also want #63

  2. TracyW says:

    Love this post, Kiki! You are such an amazing writer (“seductive little cardboard container in my metaphorical freezer” – great phrase!. I can safely said that I ahave only done #24, #34, #47, #51, and #59.. I would so love to do #2, #5, #14, #15, #20, #37, #48, and #49. 🙂

  3. Lisa says:

    Count me in for #53!
    I like all the detail you provided for some items, like its not just visit Greece, but you have to be wearing the gladiator sandals…so much more interesting. I say submit it to Inetl 😉

  4. Rach says:

    As usual, fantastic! I think I’ve decided what to get you for your bday, (*hint* it has to do with #58!!) Hehe!

    I’m going to wish you an early very happy birthday, it’s been my pleasure and my honor to be your friend for the past 18ish years! I know you’ll succeed in completing your life list and have breath-taking photos and beautiful writings to compliment each one!


  5. I think you’re list is awesome and while you’re attempting number 36 I can teach you number 16! haha =)

  6. Terri says:

    Happy Birthday Sweetie. I’ve known you “forever” and so enjoy reading your blogs that Rach reminds me to read ;o). I know you’ll get through that list of yours. Hope to see you soon…perhaps at the Annual Lewis Latke Party :o)

  7. Brighid says:

    I have no problem helping you complete #58, I think we should both do it to each other hahha. I could help you with #51. #53….um HELLO! you seem to have forgotten OUR house IS HAUNTED haha but I know what you mean, and I totally want to be there for that, even though just our house scares me enough. I would like to complete #45 with you too. You know what I hate about you? The fact that you actually are gonna get all this done.

  8. WendyD says:

    I fully support the addition of #73 🙂

  9. WendyD says:

    And I realize I’ve done #40, #50, #59, #64 and #73 as an adult (post-high school)

  10. Chris says:

    Cool list. And you can WRITE!! Just about to do the great ocean road myself.

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