This is not a bucket list.

I wrote this list a few weeks ago as the realization dawned on me that, without exaggeration, I want to do “all of the things.”

There is not a country I wouldn’t want to visit, a language I wouldn’t like to study, an art or dance I wouldn’t want to learn or a food I wouldn’t want to try.

Whenever someone shares a story of adventure, I listen carefully—not only out of friendly curiosity, but also out of a vested self-interest—making mental notes for the day I can follow their trail, or blaze my own.

In the invigorating—and overwhelming—rush of ideas that tends to accompany an “I want to do all the things” epiphany (it’s not my first) I decided to try something new.

I decided to write it all down.

This list is a work in progress. I have surely forgotten things, and will doubtless add other ideas I haven’t even thought of yet. The list of places on the left is woefully incomplete, and I know I’m missing something major… no matter.

One thing is certain, however: This is not a bucket list.

These are not things I’m hoping to do some day in the future, before I “kick the bucket”; rather, these are (all) things I want do do now. Tomorrow. Next month. As soon as possible… It might take a decade or five, but I’m starting yesterday.

My list includes the following items:

  • Travel the TransSiberian (or TransMongolian) Railway
  • Go to Argentina to study Tango—and Spanish
  • Go to Brazil to study Capoeira—and Portuguese
  • Travel across a country by horseback
  • Join the circus (learn a circus skill first)
  • Travel through Poland and Eastern Europe with my grandmother’s suitcase.
  • Chase the Northern Lights (I tried last week… no success)
  • Hike the Long Trail (VT)
  • Climb some tall mountains
  • Find a way to contribute—anywhere… everywhere.

That’s just a few.

Is it an extraordinary privilege to be able to look at every single item on this list as a real possibility? Absolutely yes. Am I still searching for the right way to be of service as I pursue these passions? Of course—although, since starting work at elephant journal I feel more assured of that side of things.

Perhaps most importantly, why? Why do I want to do/try/learn/see all this?

Why the tireless pursuit of adventure?

A little secret: There is no why.

There are secondary reasons—to learn, understand and grow are all real and valid motives. But they are secondary. The primary “reason why” is formless.


Adventure, travel, wandering, journeying for me have always been (and may always be) a raison d’ĂȘtre. A “why” unto themselves.

That is, I do not wander because ______, or travel to _______; but rather, when in movement, when in the pursuit of adventure, I have no need of why’s.

I do not wonder why I am here, what I should be doing or what my purpose is… I simply am.

And so I want to do “All of the Things,” because so long as this list (and its much longer mental counterpart) are close to my heart, my wings beat of their own accord. Existence, then, is its own end—and that is every thing.

So… what’s on your list?
[I’ll be in London now through (almost) the end of October. Checking in after 2 weeks in Helsinki, Finland, which were so packed with adventure I haven’t had time to write about them yet! Much more to come on that very soon.]