As morbid as it may seem, a bucket list isn’t really about death, it’s about living out your dreams — no matter how big.
Given my career path as a journalist, I’ve been able to do some pretty cool things: Interviewing Jane Goodall, sitting down one morning with then Maple Leafs GM, Brian Burke, and doing yoga with Trish Stratus.
For me, there are plenty of other things I’d like to do before I leave this corporeal existence. And it is inevitable, as much as North Americans continue to wage war against the Reaper who, in their eyes, has become an unnatural entity.
But, we’ll save my rant/essay on North Americans and their unnatural fear of dying for another more opportune time. Below is my Top 25 Bucket List Items.
*Editor’s note: I’ve updated this list (June 6, 2016) to accommodate the fact I’m now a father of two children and Lauren Bacall, an actress from the Golden Era of Hollywood, has gone to the great gig in the sky. So, I can’t really interview her now.
|What: Attend a Lebowski Fest
Why: Perhaps not in Toronto, but heck, I’d love to pay tribute to my favourite film, The Big Lebowski, by attending a get-together of Dude fans.
|What: Attend a Victoria’s Secret fashion show
Why: There’s more to it than seeing models in their knickers. I’ve covered a snippet of the fashion industry, and I’d like to be at one of the industry’s more pop-culture-infused shows.
|What: Drive a Shelby Cobra
Why: Why not take a drive through the Mojave Desert en route from L.A. to Las Vegas in your favourite sports car? Nothing but the warm sun, the desert wind and Led Zeppelin or AC/DC blaring on the stereo.
|What: Travel the California Coast
Why: The wife and I have spoken about a trip from San Diego to San Francisco (and all points in between) along the California Coast. It’s doable, and not too far off. Though we may have an extra passenger now.
|What: Visit Corvin/Bran Castle
Why: Ah Romania, home of two of the creepiest castles ever built: Bran Castle near Brasov and Corvin Castle in Hunedoara. I’d love to check them out, perhaps spend a night in one of the drafty lodges too.
|What: Travel the length of Loch Ness
Why: From its northern tip called Lochend to its southernmost point, Fort Augustus, I’d love to take a (large) boat ride on one of the most infamous bodies of freshwater in the world.
|What: Attend Glastonbury
Why: While some may prefer Coachella down south, I’d prefer to go across the pond to the reported land of King Arthur and check out the Glastonbury Festival.
|What: Get a byline in Esquire, Playboy or National Geographic
Why: Three magazines I’ve always wanted to see my name in print for are of course Esquire, Playboy and National Geographic. They cover all the facets of society I love: Social criticism, pop culture and nature.
|What: Publish a novel
Why: It’s not about self-publishing a novel, but it’s about going to a major publishing house and getting my words bound and pressed by a big company. Then distributed to the populations of North America.
|What: Visit Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s grave
Why: I’d like to pay my respects to my favourite poet. Rime of the Ancient Mariner is number 1 on my top poems list, and I would often emulate his verse, or other Coleridge contemporaries like William Blake.
|What: Get taught “Give a Little Bit” by Roger Hodgson
Why: I tried learning the ditty by Supertramp before I got married to my wife. I planned on playing it at the reception, but it never transpired. Still, being taught the song by the man who wrote it, so I could play it for my wife, would be priceless.
|What: See wolves in the wild
Why: Zoos are a guilty pleasure, but admittedly, it’s not where I want to see my wild animals. I’m a bit of a nature nut, so to see wolves in the wild would be spectacular.
|What: Visit Prague, Czech Republic
Why: There’s something about that city that draws me to it. Maybe it’s the Czech burg’s great history. Perhaps the Bohemian architecture. Regardless, I want to see Prague more than any other European city.
|What: Attend the Humphrey Bogart Film Festival
Why: I’m a fan of Humphrey Bogart films, so why not take a trip to Key Largo, Fla., to attend the festival held in his honour at the beginning of May?
|What: See puffins in the wild
Why: Funny how I’ve never actually seen my favourite animal in the wild. I’ve crossed sea otters and bald eagles off my list, but the puffin still eludes me.
|What: Go to a party at the Playboy Mansion
Why: The reasons to attend have changed with time. There’s more of a curious writer aspect to it now: To watch the characters in attendance and make note of it through the written word as the proverbial fly on the wall.
|What: Visit Machu Picchu
Why: I graduated university with an archaeology degree, so this one cries out to me. UofT didn’t really focus on Mesoamerican or Norse archaeology — regardless, I want to see this Incan site.
|What: Interview Cindy Crawford or Daniela Pestova
Why: Is it so terrible to want to grab a coffee, with a celebrity you crushed on during your teen years? Certainly as a journalist, I’d be interested in doing a profile piece on either Crawford or Pestova as it would make my inner child smile.
|What: See a Reds game in Cincinnati
Why: You’ll get a sense of a trend over the next few picks. Baseball is my number 3 sport, and Cincy is my favourite team. Though there might not be a lot to see in the city, this is the big ticket for me.
|What: Go on a photo shoot with Walter Iooss Jr.
Why: I grew up flipping through Sports Illustrated as a kid, and always appreciated Iooss’ work. As a journalist shooting photos myself, it’d be great to shadow one of my idols.
|What: See a Saints game in New Orleans
Why: The French Quarter, Jackson Square, Lafayette Cemetery are all hotspots on my To See list in NOLA, but a Saints game? Even better.
|What: See a Blackhawks game in Chicago
Why: I’ve always wanted to see Chicago, being that I appreciate the city’s history, you know Eliot Ness and John Dillinger and all. But to see my favourite sports team play at home — even better.
|What: Go on a bonafide ghost hunt
Why: Some people want to go extreme with their bucket lists, like my number 2 option, however nothing gets you closer to the other side than an overnight stay at Eastern State Penitentiary.
|What: Sky dive over the Nazca lines
Why: I’ve always been intrigued by ancient mysteries. I’ve also had an inkling to go skydiving. So why not do something epic like descend on the hummingbird or phoenix on the Nazca plateau?
|What: Watch my kids grow up
Why: Once you’ve witnessed the births of your children, you want to hang around long enough to see them grow up and grapple with the world in their own way.