100 Things to Do Before I Go

3rd March 2008

I’ve often thought how fun it would be to keep this list somewhere online and cross stuff off as the years go by. Here’s one through twenty-five.

1. Go dog sledding
2. Safari in Africa
3. Scuba dive
4. See the salmon run in Alaska
5. Ride a camel in the desert
6. Pyramids at sunset
7. Tango in a milonga
8. Cross the Canadian border
9. See Cuba
10. Have a croissant at a French cafe
11. Try escargot
12. Take a road trip across the U.S.
13. Watch the sunrise over the Agean
14. Whiskey at a pub in Ireland
15. Linguica in Portugal
16. Open a Swiss bank account
17. Stay in the ice hotel
18. Visit that church made entirely of bones
19. Make butterscotch from scratch
20. Go on a multi-day biking trip
21. Fund and finish my art project/store
22. Gather a few dozen people to blow bubbles from the Golden Gate Bridge
23. Attend the San Francisco Black and White Ball
24. Grow vegetables
25. Learn to roll in a kayak

Surprised at how many of these are travel-related so far. Post a few of yours in comments, if you feel the urge.

54 thoughts on “100 Things to Do Before I Go

  1. The Scarlet Pervygirl

    I’ll be one of the few dozen. I even have a spare bottle of bubbles for somebody else. Just let me know a day and time a month or two in advance so I can save up for the plane ticket.

  2. Trevor

    1. Spend a week in at the Plaza Hotel.
    2. Take a boat down the Nile.
    3. See the Earth from space.
    4. See the sun rise on the East coast and sunset on the West coast of the US in the same day.
    5. Take a boat on the Great Circle Trip of the US (google it)

  3. Jodi

    I had a list like this of things to do before I got married – they were all crossed off before the wedding… and now my list of things to do before I die is getting smaller … looks like I need to rewrite it. One of mine was: find a waterfall and ‘swiss family robinson’ down it – which I did on the side of the road in Maine.

  4. Fatemeh

    I got my list up to 49 things (though mine is a list of 100 things to do in the next 10 years; somehow, I like having a timeframe on it).

    I keep my list in Google Docs, and can access it from anywhere. Sometimes, really random items get crossed off (or added!) at the most unexpected times.

  5. Margo

    Per #18, if you’re talking about the bone chapel outside of Prague, it’s totally worth the rickety bus ride to the middle of nowhere to experience it. You just don’t see things like that in the states. Despite the size of the room (a tiny church basement), I managed to take millions of pictures.

  6. sparkle

    oh, the ice hotel! i can’t find anyone to agree to go there with me. everyone either says it’s too cold or they just laugh a little so they don’t have to say no.

    what is this church made of bones? i think i just added that to my list.

    and i would absolutely go blow bubbles of the golden gate bridge. i have a friend who would like to walk across it but she’s a bit nervous. maybe i’ll coax her with bubbles. :-)

    my list includes much of yours and also a trip to antarctica, seeing the arora borealis (however it’s spelled), and diving in one of those cages with sharks all around outside.

  7. Noelle

    In my hometown of Fort Kent, ME (where warmth goes to die), there is an annual dogsled race called the Can Am 250. We shut down Main Street for a day and pack snow onto the road for the start of the race. The mushers will usually let someone ride on their sled for the first half mile or so to keep the dogs from breaking the sound barrier. I didn’t get to ride this year, but I did run the dogs in and out of the checkpoints.
    Dogsledding is pretty cool, but when you get into it, you realize that mushers are probably closer to insanity than athleticism. In a 250, there’s something like 4 days of constant isolated travel with only 6 required hours of sleep (for the dogs, anyway).
    Anyway, I was working at one of the checkpoints in the middle of the woods this weekend, and there was a huge snowstorm. After about half an hour, all you could see in the field where the dogs were sleeping were little mounds of snow. Occasionally one would shift and brush all the snow off, but for the most part, none of them cared. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me, so I guess you’ll just have to come to Fort Kent next year and check it out.
    And while you’re here you can cross of #8, as well. Although you need a passport now, which is crazy. I used to be able to walk over in the morning and buy a cinnamin bun for breakfast… damned border patrol. Good luck with your list!

  8. Maria

    Good luck! Those all sound like wonderful things to do. You absolutely should.

    I can’t wait to see your progression!

  9. Elizabeth

    I started a list of “101 Things to do in 1001 Days” on Jan 1st this year, and have already crossed 12 items off! I really needed a timeframe to work within, or everything would be put off until “one day”.

    However, since seeing “The Bucket List” I’m considering writing a list of longer-term goals as well. It’s a cool idea, and I love the goals you’ve chosen.

    I have a section of my blog that is devoted to tracking my progress on my list:


  10. Moose

    I once blew bubbles from my sixth floor dorm window in Manhattan. People jumped to catch them. I highly recommend it.

  11. denise

    i want to see the rats drink the milk in india. live in london again by the time i’m 40. (37 now) meet maggie and hank mason. :)

  12. courtney

    For #20 you should consider AIDS/LifeCycle – the 7 day bike ride from SF to LA to raise money for HIV/AIDS. I do it every year and I love it – a great way to see California and raise money for a good cause!

  13. heather

    I also want to visit Cuba, preferably before it’s overrun with American capitalist institutions like Starbucks and McDonald’s. I want to go on an African safari, which I may accomplish in November, along with diving with great white sharks. See the pyramids. Walk on the Great Wall of China. Scuba at the Great Barrier Reef. Boat down the Amazon. Carnival in Brazil. Capoeira on the beach at Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Visit the Galapagos. Bike through Spain. Travel the Ruta Maya. See the monarchs in Mexico. Get my LLM in human rights. Publish something.

  14. Jules

    If you’ve never been to Venice, I highly, highly recommend being led into St. Mark’s Square at night while either blindfolded or with someone else covering your eyes (obviously someone you trust!) because the sounds coming from the 3 cafes that line the perimeter of the square will likely make you weep. First, there are musicians playing string instruments, there are people eating and drinking (so there’s the clank-clank-clank of dishes and the smell of food/coffee) and there are people dancing. You should be led into the very center of the square, and allow yourself to really soak in your surroundings before you open your eyes.
    This is the way I first experienced St. Mark’s Square, and I was so overcome with emotion I had tears coming down my face before I even saw the beauty of my surroundings. Stunning!
    House of Jules

  15. misstraceynolan

    I am taking #16 and putting it on my list right now!

    This reminds me of a Jewish proverb that someone told me once (I’m paraphrasing) “Everyone should write a novel, plant a tree and have a child before they die”.

  16. ElJay

    I have done 5 of your first 25! I have an informal list of my own, but I’ve never actually written it down.

    Another fun thing to do with bubbles, which you could perhaps combine with your visit to the ice hotel, is to blow them in sub-zero temperatures. They freeze immediately, and you can catch them on your mittens without breaking them. It’s pretty neat!

  17. MomVee

    Do you know about 43 Things? (www.43things.com) You can put your list up there, and see who else has the same…things, and keep track of any progress you make. A few of mine are sing cabaret, learn to speak Welsh, learn to surf, and see Domremy-la-Pucelle, Joan of Arc’s home town.

  18. zan

    I love crossing these off. A few uncrossed: Learn to surf. Mint Juleps at the Oak Room. Spend at least a week writing and reading in an isolated cabin in the Hebrides. Fly international first class.

  19. Jessi

    I’ve done #s 10 and 11 and they were some of the best experiences in my life. Both happened in the same town in France, and both were so surreal it was wonderful.

  20. Megan

    You can cross the Canadian border and then get a flight out to Cuba from here. It would be wonderfully productive, allowing you to cross two things off of your list.

  21. MarkDM

    4. I’m pretty sure the salmon still just swim up there. If they could run, though, yeah, definitely worth the trip to see it.

    9. (Cuba) I’m with heather on this one. I fear the window of time between the end of the embargo and a Starbucks on every corner in Havana will be short.

    20. I’ve done four multiday bike trips (three weeklong Cycle Oregons and a two-day Seattle-to-Portland), and they were among the greatest experiences of my life. Good choice, Maggie.

  22. Stephanie

    You know, I was all set to attend the Black and White ball last year with a good friend and then “they” went and cancelled it. Dagnabit. Well, here’s too 2008 – I hear Seal is performing.
    I’ll also come blow bubbles in a heart beat.

  23. cmb

    Safari: Totally worth it. If you can do both a jungle and a savanna safari, as a biologist, I recommend Ngorongoro and Gorilla treking.

  24. Alex

    Leave the linguiça and try the sardines on bread with a cup of wine in June, on the all night party taken place on the streets of Lisbon.

  25. Melissa

    I made a list like this just about two years ago. Amazing experience for me – although I included some totally off the wall and seemingly impossible items for myself, a fair amount have already been crossed off the list.

    I wonder if there is something to just throwing what you want out there – I like to believe it makes things happen.

  26. Beth

    Wow, a lot of ambition.

    I would love to be able to grow vegetables. I’m just working on keeping plants alive at the moment.

  27. robin

    I have 25 lofty things to accomplish in 25 lofty years. Two of mine are to ride a trolly car in San Fran (maybe i’ll bump into you when I’m there), and hike the Appalachian Trail. Might need to wait eighteen years or so for the hiking, but I’ll get it done one way or another. After re-reading it, I was surprised at how many of mine are travel-related, too.

  28. heather (errantdreams)

    I’m with you on #s 2 and 6. Travel for its own sake doesn’t appeal to me, but the pyramids and the wildlife in Africa enchant me, and I’d love to see them in person.

    A few of the others I’ve managed… I can make butterscotch, which as far as I’m concerned is a life skill, although not as absolutely necessary as the ability to make caramel.

    I’ve tried escargot, which tasted and felt just like garlicky mushrooms, so you haven’t missed much on that count, IMO.

    And if you get the chance to grow vegetables, YES! Do it! There’s nothing like a home-grown squash, tomato, or pepper, particularly if you live in a city and can’t just jaunt out to a local farm. We grew our own squash, cucumbers, and strawberries in New Hampshire, and now we’re planting tomatoes in Maryland this year.

    Somehow I’ve never been able to make one of these lists… I just can’t pin down what I want to do in that way.

  29. Susan

    If you do decide to make butterscotch (#19), try out the recipe from Nigella Lawson’s ‘Nigella Express’. It’s amazingly good, and EASY – like it’ll take you ten minutes to make. Put it over vanilla ice cream, and it’s totally to die for.

  30. Nicole

    Seriously… you’ve never crossed the Canadian border? I hear there is an ice hotel near Montreal, so another example of two birds with one stone.

    A few of mine:
    sing the national anthem at a pro baseball game (even if it’s minor league)
    learn to tap dance
    go to Alaska
    Ride a boat down the River Seine
    Visit Morocco
    See unique species in Madagascar before they die out

    Some crossed off items:
    take a hot air balloon ride (2004, one of my friends has his license!)
    ride a camel (Australia, 2000)
    see Uluru (Australia, 2000)

  31. kristen

    I’d like to:

    Hold a chimp
    See a moose in the wild
    Take a retreat at a monastery or convent
    Stay in a Big Sur yurt
    Visit Thailand
    Sleep in a tree house

    This is a great idea. Thanks to Fatemah I’m keeping my list in a Google Doc too. I’m up to #70.

  32. Sara

    I am going to start a list in Google Docs too…and unfortunately it won’t include the Alaska and wildlife-related things, as I was born and raised there! It WILL include “Go on an African safari” and “Meet Bono” though!

  33. Lisame

    Thanks for that! I’m having a bad day and, you know what! I’ve done a lot of those things and now I don’t feel so pathetic. Life is good.

  34. Sarah

    See a shuttle launch.
    Get a tattoo.
    Live overseas.
    See the Northern Lights…

    I have gone dog-sledding and eaten a croissant in a French cafe, both amazing, can I add them to my list and immediately cross them off?

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’ll have to start a list somewhere I can track!

  35. Claire

    Fabulous list! Makes me want to get out my own neglected list.
    And if you need more folks for the bubble blowing off the bridge, I am IN!

  36. Beth

    Escargot is tasty, especially with lots of butter and garlic–cross it off your list at once.

  37. stacey

    how fitting that you put see cuba on your list. i just did see cuba, about five hours ago… from the air. it seems so unfair that it’s all of 90 miles from my state, and 90 miles from where i just vacationed (the caymans), yet i can’t just GO THERE. grr.

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  39. Anita

    Count me in as another one of your bubble blowers! Just give me a little lead time and I will try my hardest to be there.

    Also, one suggestion – for the best croissants in France, don’t go to a cafe, but just walk in to the best smelling patisserie in the area. Choose your favorite croissant, walk out into the fresh air, and enjoy the glorious tastes while also soaking up the sights and sounds of France! That’s my favorite thing to do when I’m in Paris. :)

  40. Janelle

    I cannot stress enough that you should cross the bone church off your list stat. I thought I’d find it cooler… and I used to listen to Samhain, so I feel I’m a pretty tough critic of the creepy.

  41. Michelle

    You know, if these comments are anything to go by, crossing off #22 shouldn’t take you very long. Count me in!

    I’ve just started my own list, thanks for the inspiration. A lot of my stuff is travel, too, but also learning new things and relearning things I used to enjoy.

    A few from what I’ve listed so far:
    1. Make a tasty pot of chili not involving a premade seasoning packet.
    2. Sit on that Japanese Bridge and dangle my feet over Monet’s Water Lily Pond.
    8. Own a Victorian style home, complete with claw-foot tub, window seat, and sparkling crystal chandelier.
    14. Learn to sing again.
    15. Learn some Latin Ballroom dance.

    And of course:
    7. Watch my kid accomplish some items on his own bucket list.

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