my life list, redux

Making a new friend in Kenya (number 61) (photograph by the amazing     Morgana Wingard    )

Making a new friend in Kenya (number 61) (photograph by the amazing Morgana Wingard)

Exactly nine years and three days ago, I sat down to create my Life List — a list of at least 100 things to do before I die. The idea was inspired by my friend Maggie Mason, who was passionate about having people create a dream list of things to try to accomplish and experience. I was recently thinking about my list, realizing that I hadn’t looked at it in a while. I was surprised to discover how many things I have done, and frankly, how many there are left to go. There were also a few things that I hadn’t even considered experiencing that actually happened during the past nine years, that had I thought of them at the time, they definitely would’ve made my list. And honestly, there are a few things that I wrote on my list then, that now I find aren’t really that important to me to attempt, and needed to be removed.

Nine years seems like a long enough time to go without updating, so I thought I’d reshare my list here (edited to include some of the changes in the past nine years). And since I haven’t said this recently, I can’t stress enough how much I encourage you to create your own list. Because one of the best ways to make light is to begin by dreaming about how you are going to do it.


my life list, redux:

1. Witness the launch of a spacecraft

2. See the Great Wall of China

3. See the Grand Canyon

4. Learn Flamenco

5. Play a steelpan in Trinidad Panorama

6. Scuba dive in Bali

7. Scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef

8. Visit Iceland

9. Visit Tokyo

10. Drive an 18-wheeler

Kelly, September 2010. (one of my portraits for number 16)

Kelly, September 2010. (one of my portraits for number 16)

11. Hand churn ice cream with Alex

12. Attend a major entertainment awards ceremony (perferably the Oscars, Emmys or Grammys)

13. Attend the opening ceremonies of the summer Olympics

14. Obtain literary recognition for something I wrote

15. Own a little house by the ocean

16. Photograph 1000 adult faces

17. Learn how to make one of those kiddie friendship bracelets

18. After #17, teach Alex how to make one of those kiddie friendship bracelets

19. Visit the very top of the Eiffel Tower

20. Learn how to surf

Me, with my hair all grown out. I cut it last year (to get rid of Hurricane Harvey juju), but before I did, I was able to accomplish number 30. Also, this photograph was taken by one of my idols, photographer     Mario Testino    , helping me accomplish number 25.

Me, with my hair all grown out. I cut it last year (to get rid of Hurricane Harvey juju), but before I did, I was able to accomplish number 30. Also, this photograph was taken by one of my idols, photographer Mario Testino, helping me accomplish number 25.

21. Learn how to sing 10 national anthems

22. Learn how to hand make a lei

23. Climb Mount St. Helen

24. Learn to say "You are beautiful" in 100 languages.

25. Be in the room to watch one of my photographer idols work

26. Cook a gourmet meal from start to finish

27. Stomp on grapes to make wine

28. Visit an ashram

29. Visit India

30. Grow my hair long enough that I can French braid it into one long plait

The Shire River, Malawi, May 2015 (number 35)

The Shire River, Malawi, May 2015 (number 35)

31. Ride a parade float

32. Renew my wedding vows to Marcus, with Alex acting as maid of honour

33. Learn to play the drums

34. Visit Victoria Falls

35. Go on safari

36. Visit the Egyptian pyramids

37. Learn to yodel

38. Host a dressy, adults-only dinner party

39. Learn to belly dance

40. Take a jewelry making class

Sydney Opera House, October 2013 (number 41)

Sydney Opera House, October 2013 (number 41)

41. Visit Sydney Opera House

42. Sing blues in a bar

43. Visit Machu Picchu

44. Sew myself a garment that I would wear out in public

45. Hand make a ceramic vase that I would display in my home

46. Take a train ride across Europe

47. Learn to tango

48. Learn to play the harmonica

49. Photograph whirling dervishes

50. Photograph the faces of children from 10 countries

My henna’d hand (number 58). I actually now have henna done on important days — it’s become a self-care tradition.

My henna’d hand (number 58). I actually now have henna done on important days — it’s become a self-care tradition.

51. Learn how to properly twirl a baton

52. Drink a glass of local wine in each of the top 10 winemaking countries of the world. The countries are (a strikeout indicates that I've already had the glass!): Italy, France, Spain, Australia, Chile, United States, Germany, Argentina, Portugal and South Africa

53. Milk a cow

54. Learn how to juggle.

55. Learn how to make pasta from scratch

56. Drink 700 blends of tea

57. Kiss the Blarney stone

58. Have my hands painted in henna

59. Learn how to solve Rubik's Cube

60. Photograph 100 people blowing bubbles in a public park

About to take off in a hot air balloon, Park City, Utah, June 2010 (number 67)

About to take off in a hot air balloon, Park City, Utah, June 2010 (number 67)

61. Visit Nairobi

62. Knit myself wristwarmers

63. Learn how to process black & white film

64. Grow a flower in a flowerpot from seed to full bloom

65. Learn to start a fire without matches or a lighter

66. Visit Rosslyn chapel

67. Ride in a hot air balloon

68. Swim with the manatee

69. Dive/snorkel with a whale shark

70. Go snorkeling in the Galapagos

The aurora borealis over Alaska, October 2016 (number 77)

The aurora borealis over Alaska, October 2016 (number 77)

71. Visit Mallorca

72. Have afternoon tea at the Ritz in London

73. Visit 20 Caribbean islands (So far: Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Tobago, Barbados, St. Lucia, St Martin, Jamaica, Anguilla, Grand Cayman, Aruba

74. Visit the top of Corcovado mountain

75. Photograph the Maasai

76. Build an inukshuk in northern North America

77. Photograph the aurora borealis

78. Photograph the Milky Way

79. Have truffles in Paris

80. Taste 50 types of rum

Space Shuttle Endeavour, coming in for a landing at Johnson Space Center, a pitstop on her way to her final resting place in California, September 2012. (number 86)

Space Shuttle Endeavour, coming in for a landing at Johnson Space Center, a pitstop on her way to her final resting place in California, September 2012. (number 86)

81. Visit Cuba

82. Photograph an active volcano

83. Attend a seder

84. Attend a Hindu wedding

85. Have hot chocolate at the top of the Alps

86. Photograph the Space Shuttle

87. Take a trapeze lesson

88. Pass through the Panama canal

89. Harvest olives in Greece

90. Visit Tibet

At Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium, February 2017 (number 106)

At Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium, February 2017 (number 106)

91. Learn how to digitally process video

92. Learn how to make tortillas from scratch

93. Walk the length of Hadrian's Wall

94. Visit Angel Falls

95. Ring in the New Year in either New York City, Sydney or Paris

96. Eat caviar in Red Square

97. Ride a camel

98. Go horseback riding on the beach

99. Dive with manta rays

100. Visit the Maldives before they disappear forever

101. Visit Easter Island

102. Photograph the Karen people of Myanmar

103. Learn to play the ukulele

104. Take a photograph of Amorphophallus titanum("corpse flower," or literally, "giant misshapen penis flower" -- I couldn't make this up) in full bloom.

105. Eat squeaky cheese in Wisconsin

106. Attend a nationally-televised sports championship game.

107. See Bobby McFerrin in concert.

108. Host a creative retreat at the Kariwak Village Holistic Haven & Hotel in Tobago

109. Become an ordained minister on the internet.


Wow — only about 25% done, by my calculation! I need to get a move on.

What’s on your Life List?