Bucket List

My Bucket ListRight out of the gate, I suspect this blog will primarily be personal finance-centric up until we reach The Goal.  Now don’t get me wrong – even with this challenge put in front of us, it doesn’t mean we’ll put “living life” on the back-burner.  As you’ll come to find out, that really isn’t our style.

After becoming financially unchained, I envision this very quickly turning into a travel blog of sorts where I’ll be working my way through this bucket list with laser-like focus and documenting the journey along the way.

Personal Goals

Start a blog (April 2013) – try to become a better writer.

Ride a wave on a surfboard

Update my (super) extensive family tree electronically

Help someone else fulfill a goal

Impact one life (non-family) for the better

Teach English to kids in a foreign country

Join and carry out at least one term as a Peace Corp volunteer

Be able to play a Colin Hay song on the ukulele

Give a TED talk

Become a master negotiator and haggler so that when traveling abroad I pay about what the locals pay

Learn to be able to maintain/fix a bike

Downsize to be a 1-car family while boys are still in the house

Become a 0-car family after the boys graduate from high school

Live in a yurt

Be on national TV (Filming: Nov 2014)

Donate $10,000 anonymously

Learn orienteering

Skip shaving for a couple of months to see what I’d look like with a beard. (Ridiculous pics here)


Live in a Spanish-speaking country as a family  (July 2014 start, March 2015 update)

Hike or bike a significant trail (AT, PCT, Ice Age Trail, etc)

Cross a country by bike

Cross a country by foot

Get a family dog before our boys are out of the house

Attend a Tennis Grand Slam

Attend a FIFA World Cup

Attend an Olympic Games (summer or winter)

Attend a NCAA Men’s Hockey Frozen Four

Tailgate at Lambeau Field before a Green Bay Packers game (Nov 2013)


Do a multi-day canoe trip that includes portages

Compete in a triathlon

Travel on a cross-country train trip

Shake hands with a President of the U.S. (current or former)

Travel Milestones

Travel the circumference of the earth in 100 days using an ‘Around the World’ plane ticket

Set foot on all 7 continents (South America, Africa, and Antarctica to go)

Visit all 50 U.S. States (Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska to go)

S. Dakota, Wyoming, Montana (Jul-Aug 2013)

Visit all 59 U.S. National Parks (46 to go) – Acadia, Arches, Badlands (Jul 2013), Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton (Jul 2013), Great Smoky Mountains (Jul 2011), Mount Rainier, North Cascades, Yellowstone (Aug 2013), Yosemite (Feb 2013), Zion

Tramp the Routeburn Track in New Zealand

Drink beer in a hall in Munich during Oktoberfest

Visit the Guinness Brewery

Float around in the Dead Sea

Hike to Mt. Everest Base Camp (Annapura Base Camp)

Walk Chandni Chowk in Oldtown of Delhi (again, this time with no time commitment)

Ramp up in countries visited.  The immediate list includes: Cuba, Morocco, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, México, SE Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar), Scandinavia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, S Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya.

Countries Visited

Andorra, Australia, Austria, The Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, England (2014), France (2015), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland (2016), India (2003, 2016), Italy (2014, 2015), Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal (2015)Scotland (2014), Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey (2015), United States, Vatican City (2014).

See the following ‘Natural’ Wonders of the World

Mitre Peak – Milford Sound

Great Barrier Reef

Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis (maybe from a glass igloo in Finland?)

See the following ‘Man-Made’ Wonders of the World

Sydney Opera House

Taj Mahal

Empire State Building

Golden Gate Bridget

Colosseum in Rome (Dec 2014)

Michelangelo’s David (Dec 2014)

Eiffel Tower (Dec 2015)

Machu Pichu

Angkor Wat

Great Wall of China


16 thoughts on “Bucket List”

    1. She’s a very special ‘wonder of the world’ all right. Ha! I’ll have to take that down before the wife sees it. What is even funnier is that it’s crossed out.

  1. Nice list, very inspiring. Interested to know if you take most of your trips solo or do you take your wife and/or family with you? How can you afford to do this and still retire early? Self employed, good job, very low cost of living on a day to day basis? Best wishes that you get through this list. I am going to have to add one myself on my blog. Looking forward to watching your progress. Are you going to blog about each accomplishment?

    1. Prior to meeting my wife, I took several trips solo but since we’ve been married we’ve primarily been traveling together. Our twins are only 7 years old so international travel has largely been put on hold since their birth (although we did visit Canada last summer 🙂

      In terms of affordability, I think we’ve hit a sweet spot in terms of living in low-cost areas (Midwest flyover states), being a dual income family with good salaries, and saving around 50% the last several years. That and making travel a top priority (a “boulder” in our lives if you will) has allowed us to see and do some cool things – mostly before our twins were born.

      We leave on Saturday for our annual family summer road-trip and will be knocking off a few items from this list including new states and national parks which I do plan on documenting here on the site.

  2. Love your site and your bucket list! I can recommend hitch hiking in Northern Mexico as well as Vietnam. There isn’t a lot of tourism in northeastern MX, and its gorgeous!!! People are kind and easy going. There aren’t many local buses, so hitch hiking is the norm and everyone has a pickup truck, so you just wave people down and say, “Me puede dar un ride?” Hop in the back and make a few new amigos. Might or might not need to pay a peso when you get off.

    In Northern Vietnam, around Sapa, we hitched all around to avoid taking tourist buses and getting grouped in with all the foreigners. It was fabulous to ride on the backs of motorcycles and even on top of a dump truck that was carrying bags of rice down a canyon into a small village. The views from the top of the dump truck were amazing!

    Happy travels!

    1. Thanks for the positive feedback, Lisa! I appreciate these suggestions as well. Nothing like knocking off several items on the bucket list in one fell swoop. I look forward to visiting both Mexico and Vietnam so these are great recommendations. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

  3. Over the last month, I’ve started to pull together a bucketlist myself, but haven’t even shared it with my wife yet.
    Great job sharing it with your blog followers like myself. It must help to keep you on track.
    I might even think about taking a leaf from your book and posting my list on my blog as well…

    1. I must admit, I had to scrutinize the list a little bit more with these things out here but in the end, I’m glad I did publish them. You better believe it gives me a little more push to actually see them through. The thing is, it can be fluid and change as your interests change. I don’t anticipate anyone calling me out if I modify it over time. Do let me know if/when you post yours. I’m always looking for new ideas and inspiration.

  4. I’m updating my bucket list and will use this yours for additional inspiration. You’ve noted some items (such as helping others) that I intend to pursue, but never thought of adding it to my B-List. Good call!

  5. This is an awesome idea Buck. I totally have to do this myself. I have a few things in mind, but I’ve never committed them to paper (or pixel for that matter). This is definitely going to be a post on my site in the near future! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. I’m a list person. When a task is on a list, I’m about 99% more inclined to complete it. I just try to be picky about what gets put on a list 🙂

      Feel free to share a link to your list if/when you want to share it!

  6. Love these goals! As a fellow ukulele player, I especially like your goal to play a song on that fine instrument. I am also with you on the travel goals. I haven’t had the chance to travel very much yet, but I did get to Machu Picchu and it’s awesome! If you are the hiking type, I definitely recommend the 4 day or 6 day hike in (my friends and I went on the Salkantay trail that added a couple of days). Very rewarding!

    Best of luck!

    1. Yeah, I’m still quite green on the ukulele so that particular goal is going to take me a while. I brought it with on our move to Spain and now just need to find the time to practice & play.

      God willing, I will make it to Machu Picchu one day. I’ll have to make note of that particular trail. Thanks for the suggestion and for stopping by, Dave!

  7. Hi great ,blog and adventure,i have an american friend who lives in Ronda ,she is from florida , she wants to stay here for a permently, Im scottish ,my hubby a londoner ,we have been here 2yrs ,now in Ronda .which is cheap , not been to Granada yet ,so a visit there is a must. Im hoping your sight will help my friend find a way to stay here and get a visa, she is looking for healthcare out here ,did you get yours in spain etc. Its great to read your posts , enjoy your adventure .x

Your Thoughts?