This Bucket List Kicks Back

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about bucket lists. You know, the list of stuff you want to do before you die? I don’t know about you, but mine seems to get longer every time I think about it. Here’s a (work in progress) list:

  • Earn my master’s degree, and least a few more bachelor’s degrees.
  • Learn many languages, most likely Mandarin, Arabic, Russian, and French for starters.
  • Learn how to drive. (I really don’t want to, but I’m going to have to.)
  • Learn a martial art. (My college freshman jiu-jitsu course was a long time ago.)
  • Learn coding, either in terms of sites or apps.
  • Learn how to create digital art.
  • Learn how to read music.
  • Learn how to horseback ride.
  • Relearn Calculus and continue beyond it. (MIT has courses for independent study)
  • Read at least one novel a week. (I usually have a couple on hand.)
  • Write and publish a novel. (Hopefully winning a Nobel Prize for Literature?)
  • Review 1,000 games. (I’m at 702 now.)
  • Visit all seven continents. (I’ve only got South America, Australia, and Antarctica left!)
  • See at least one new country a year. (I’ve managed this three years in a row, Italy is coming up in a few months.)
  • Visit an active volcano. (Visited Kilauea in December 2014)
  • See snow fall.
  • Celebrate Holi.
  • Participate in La Tomatina.
  • Participate in the Taiwan Lantern Festival.
  • Visit the Pyramids at Giza.
  • Visit Hagia Sophia.
  • Visit Easter Island.
  • Visit Stonehenge, preferably during an equinox.
  • Visit the Burj Khalifa.
  • Visit the Taj Mahal.
  • Visit Petra.
  • Visit Angkor Wat.
  • Visit Santorini.
  • Visit Vatican City. (This might be happening soon.)
  • Meet the Dalai Lama.
  • Ride the Trans-Siberian Railway.
  • Stay in Finland’s Kakslauttanen igloo hotel and see the aurora borealis.
  • Stay in the Rangali underwater hotel in the Maldives.
  • Return to Paris and explore the Catacombs.
  • See Japan’s Nabana No Sato, Shibuya, Mt. Fuji, and all of its castles.
  • See Machu Picchu. (This one almost happened this year!)
  • See Iguazu Falls. (See above.)
  • See Victoria Falls.
  • See the Hunan province.
  • See Holland’s flower fields.
  • See the Amazon and Sahara.
  • See Uluru.
  • See the DMZ.
  • See the polar ice caps.
  • Participate in a research expedition. Classifying new species in the Mariana Trench, archeological digs in Europe or Asia, etc.
  • Visit ALMA.
  • Visit CERN.
  • Visit Pic du Midi.
  • Watch all of Hayao Miyazaki’s films.
  • Go skydiving.
  • Earn a pilot’s license.
  • Ride a hot air balloon.
  • Walk the Great Wall of China.
  • Climb all the major mountains of the world. If I can only choose one, then:
  • Climb Mt. Everest. If I can’t make it to the top, then I want to see the mountain at the very least.
  • Learn how to play an instrument, preferably the guitar.
  • Get a tattoo.
  • Watch a space shuttle launch. (Or to go space myself!)
  • Experience zero gravity.
  • Finish a marathon. (Bay To Breakers is probably the closest I’ll get.)
  • Donate to or create a charity.
  • Do volunteer work abroad.
  • Attend Comic Con, E3, and compete in EVO.
  • Start a gaming/review channel on YouTube.
  • Do voice acting for a video game or anime.
  • Invent/discover something that would be beneficial for society.
  • Have an astronomical object or theory named after me.
  • Restore the old family house.
  • Further expand my personal library.
  • Find a house big enough to store my personal library.
  • Retire in Cinque Terre. (Open to other suggestions, though!)

It seems like a lot, I know. Kind of far-fetched, too. But looking through some other people’s bucket lists, I’ve now realized that I’ve already done a ton of weird and awesome stuff. I’ve seen most of the major landmarks and buildings here in the States, been to a dozen countries, visited a Buddhist temple in Thailand, fought a fire, lived in two countries, went to the Eiffel Tower and Versailles, was a pallbearer, camped out in the Sierras the old-fashioned way, gone on a cruise, went to Chichen Itza, ate durian, bought goods in a kasbah, spent a weekend on Alcatraz, grew a garden and trees, lead a wedding procession twice, graduated from college without loans…the list keeps going and going. Judging by everything else I’ve thought up, I’m nowhere near finished.

What’s on your bucket list?

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Six Months In San Francisco

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about–Oh cool, they chose one of the prompts I submitted! Anyway, it’s about doing something new. It’s actually hard for me sometimes. I’m really shy and uncomfortable around people, but I’ve got an adventurous streak a mile wide. I don’t just step out of my comfort zone; I have to shove myself. It’s usually awkward and potentially dangerous, but it ends up being a worthwhile experience.

The last half of 2013 was one long foray into new territory. I hate being out in my neighborhood – it isn’t safe even in broad daylight – but there’s something alluring about traveling and exploring. It doesn’t matter if it’s the city, mountains, beaches, etc. Just as long as it’s someplace different and memorable, even if it is just a temporary escape. This time, circumstances required me to regularly visit San Francisco a couple of times a week. A short meeting downtown, with hours of daylight left and no plans whatsoever. I couldn’t just let the time (and the commuting costs) go to waste; I was in one of the greatest cities on Earth. So, I tackled it like I would any other trip: I began exploring.

You might have seen some of the results.

The walks started small, but I branched out with each passing trip. I visited the Metreon for the first time since 1999. I wandered around AT&T Park and beyond, crossing over to the China Basin and checking out the preparations for Oktoberfest. I got a membership at the San Francisco Public Library and checked out their historical and art exhibits. I drifted over the specialty stores on Market and kindled an appreciation for gothic lolita fashion via Angelic Pretty. I spent far too long in the Alexander Book Company. I stunned crowds of shoppers at the Microsoft store with my Killer Instinct demo skills. I attended Litquake, even though timing forced me to choose only one event. I stumbled across the BMX Dew Tour completely by accident. I infiltrated the Salesforce Expo on a whim. I walked all the way down to Japantown, discovering an arcade, awesome figurines, and tons of anime. I visited museums galleries (the Cartoon Art Museum was particularly great) whenever they had free fares. I hiked the Nob and Russian Hills, and climbed Lombard Street and Coit Tower three times. I drifted through Chinatown even more, visiting Ying’s Hobbies and Toys, Jack Kerouac Alley, and City Lights Bookstore whenever I could. I saw sea lions at Pier 39 and piles of candy at Ghirardelli Square, and did a complete run-through of the Exploratorium. If I was in the neighborhood, I’d end the journey at the Ferry Building and get a loaf of freshly-baked sourdough from the Acme Bread Company.

Yeah, it was all amazing…But now it’s over.

My meetings there are done; I don’t have to go to San Francisco anymore. And I want to, so badly. But I need to find work first. It costs nearly 20 bucks of commuting, and I refuse to spend that kind of money unless I have a good reason. Now that I’m back at home, I have to constantly remind myself that I need to get out and explore. It’s safe and warm in here, but it’ll only get me so far. My six months in San Francisco doesn’t have to be an isolated journey. I may be shy and quiet, but I still have the heart of an adventurer.