If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

50-odd (or 'fifty odd') things to do before you die

I see this one has been doing the rounds, so I thought I would have a go and let you all know my innermost ambitions and life goals.  The Daily Mail has an article listing the 50 things that 'people'want to do before they die.  The list is crap, frankly.  There are some duplicated items, some of the things cannot physically be done, and some are so banal as to be hardly worth mentioning.  But here's the list, and here are my reactions:

1. Become a millionaire
Would definitely like to do this, although a million isn't what it used to be these days, really, is it?

2. Travel the world
Definitely.  And no prizes for guessing how I would travel.

3. See the Northern Lights
Another definite yes.  Which would mean travelling as far North as possible.  Which means ... another bike trip.

4. Trek the Great Wall of China
See it, yes.  Take photos, yes.  Trek all five-and-a-bit thousand miles of it?  No thanks.

5. Be mortgage free
I'm very lucky to be able to say I have done this one.

6. Go to the Inca Trail
More attractive than the China thing, but reaction similar.

7. See all seven wonders of the world
Can't be done.  According to Wikipedia, only one (The Great Pyramid) still exists.  The rest have been destroyed by earthquakes and fire.  But I'd like to see the Pyramids.

8. Visit the Egyptian Pyramids
See above.

9. Invent something that changes lives
Er, no.  Unless it was a magic bubble that protected normal people from state interference, theft and bullying.  I would be proud to invent that.

10. Visit Antarctica
Er, no.  Well, possibly.  But not if it was cold or dangerous.

11. Go on the Orient Express
Might be nice, but not a priority.

12. Go on an African Safari
Go to Africa, travel in the bush, see wildlife, yes.  Join a 'safari' with a bunch of accountants and dentists from Pinner, no thanks.

13. See the Taj Mahal
If I were passing, I would stop and look.  Not otherwise.

14. Learn to play the piano / guitar / drums
Can already do the first two, and can pass for semi-competent at the third.  But very rusty at all of them.  Taking up the guitar again is a serious ambition, the subject of New Year Resolutions for at least a decade.

15. Stay a night at the world’s best hotel
I'd rather camp.  Oh, all right then, just once for a laugh.

16. Build your own house
Design it, yes; build it, no.  God gave us brickies for a reason, you know.

17. Drive Route 66 in the US
I would definitely do this.  I might even be tempted onto a Harley for the duration.

18. Go to Lapland
Another definite yes.  I'm told my family came to England from somewhere in Scandinavia in the C18, and I do feel a draw towards the Frozen North.  Plus they drink a lot.

19. Swim with dolphins / sharks
a) Meh, and b) why?

20. Emigrate
Have seriously considered this, and would, under the right circumstances.

21. Learn to speak another language
OK with French, a little Italian and German (enough that I won't starve, freeze or die of dehydration), so I think I can tick this one.

22. Own an island
Never in  a million years.  Headaches would exceed pleasures by a factor of 10.  Also, see reply to 41.

23. Dine at a Michelin star restaurant
Maybe, just for the 'dining experience'.  But I would probably stop for chips on the way home.

24. Write a novel
I'd love to do this.  The only things holding me back are a lack of any ideas for a plot or characters.  Apart from that, I am good to go.

25. See Gorillas in the wild
No.  I avoid them when I visit a zoo.  They remind me of the bits of Leeds I used to avoid when I was younger.

26. Live and work abroad
See 20.  Another duplicate.

27. Hot air balloon ride
Might be nice.  Not a burning ambition.  But I feel more positive to this than I do to skydiving or bungee-jumping, which I would not do for No. 1 above.

28. Fly a plane
Bad with heights.  Scared of flying to the point of loss of bowel control and screaming dementia.  That's a no.

29. Travel New Zealand in a Winnebago
Winnebagos are for people in polyester leisure suits.  But the concept is a good one.  I really fancy visiting NZ one day, and this sounds as good a way as any.

30. Start and run your dream business
Work.  Stress.  No.

31. Ride a Segway
Ever since I saw an entire busload of Japanese tourists scooting round the Piazza del Campo in Siena on these I have been fascinated by them.  It was a silent and very bizarre experience.  Yes, I must do this one day.

32. Go to Disneyworld
I would rather stick rusty needles in my eyeballs, while bouncing up and down naked on a buttplug covered in Domestos.

33. Gamble in Las Vegas
I refer my honourable friend to the answer I gave to number 32 on this list.

34. Act as an extra in a Hollywood film
Why would anyone want to do that?

35. Dedicate time to volunteering
Already done that.

36. Try out an F1 car
No interest in F1 as such, but as a person who digs machinery of all sorts, especially stuff that gets you somewhere you aren't, it would be great fun.

37. Learn to fly a plane or helicopter
This is the same as 28, isn't it?  And the same answer.

38. Have a family
Two wives (an ex, and the lady who I refer to as 'the current Mrs Nowhere' if I want to wind her up), and two lovely, talented daughters who make me prouder than I have any right to be, so I will call this one achieved.

39. Be an extra in a movie
Why the fuckety-fuck would anyone want to do that?

40. Climb a mountain like Everest
Could see me doing something like that on a bike trip.  But on foot - phew, no thanks.  It's steep, you know.

41. Buy a yacht
I've had several boats (all small ones) and they add up to heartbreak, even the nice ones.  I wouldn't have a yacht as a gift, unless I was permitted to sell it on immediately and pocket the cash.  A guy I used to know in my boating days (a genuine millionaire, and a sound and decent man) gave me the wisest advice: "If it floats, flies or fucks, you're better off renting".

42. Meet your idol / favourite celebrity
I don't have idols (well, not since I was about 12), and I despise the cult of celebrity, so you would find me running as fast as I could in the opposite direction.

43. Run a marathon
You are joking, right?

44. Watch a World Cup final
You are joking, right?

45. Meet the Queen
*Thinks long and hard.*  Nope.

46. Learn to surf
Might be nice.  Not going to quit my job and emigrate over it.

47. Go to Harry Potter World in Florida
I refer my honourable friend to the answer I gave to number 32 on this list.

48. Abseil down a mountain
I've roped up and down a mountain, and I have abseiled in many caves, so I claim an indirect hit on this one. Despite my lack of head for heights, I would do this without question.

49. Do an army assault course
Don't be silly.

50. Deep sea dive
Does snorkelling count?  The serious type, with the proper kit and the training?  If so, I'm claiming this one.  And one day I will tell you about the time I met an octopus ...

The Mail reckons that the average person only gets to achieve five of these ambitions.  I make my own count 8/50, and 8/~22 if you discount the ones I don't want to do anyway.  There's plenty of time for the rest.

If I hurry.

Your thoughts?


  1. 32. Go to Disneyworld
    I would rather stick rusty needles in my eyeballs, while bouncing up and down naked on a buttplug covered in Domestos.

    My dear sister Elaine has been to Disneyworld TWICE.

    I on the other hand would love to meet you to stick rusty needles in our eyeballs, while bouncing up and down naked on a buttplug covered in Domestos.

  2. Being a millionaire is easy, if you're counting in Zimbabwean Dollars. This time next year, Rodders.

    I think you'd do 10 in a heartbeat if there was a bike involved, although personally I'd prefer a windscreen and heated seats.

    If you count self-employment, I've been doing 30 for decades. It's rarely stressful because I love what I do, but I'd never ever have staff. My work also also covers 9.

    I don't have a problem with heights, have done the balloon trip (a great morning spent with my sister), and am booked to step out of a flying aeroplane as soon as dates can be arranged. However, I don't want to learn to fly for the same reason you no longer want to own a boat....

    Only interested in 40 if I can win Tara Fitzgerald as part of the deal.

    Apart from that, I pretty much concur.

  3. Number 50,would be great! from what national geographic wild depicts..its a such a magical world underneath the se, i would love to try that.

    1. It's very beautiful, and you can see some fantastic stuff for the cost of a snorkel and a pair of fins if you choose your spot. No need for all that scuba kit if you don't fancy it.

  4. For most people, No. 1 and the rest are mutually exclusive.

    1. Get 1, and 2-50 (or any others you choose) will follow.

  5. I've not invented anything that will change lives, but I've patented a few on behalf of clients. Does that count? If it does, then I'm at 10 so far with only another 4 that I'd actually like to do.

    Have to agree with you wholeheartedly on No. 25, except it was Birmingham in my case.

    1. You're a happy man, then. And if you have escaped from Birmingham, happier still. (Having thought further, for me 51 would be 'build and drive a Caterham'. There may yet be time.)

    2. I'd certainly recommend No. 51... :-)

  6. Isn't it strange that these top 100, best 50, must do 50 lists are so compelling. I think to myself 'Not my sort of thing' and then find myself half way through the list - even if its '100 top tracks of the 80s' - I hate most of the tracks from the 80s.

    ...................and I would recommend 28 and 31. Arrrrrrgh!

    1. Those Segways are way cool. The first time I saw one was on TV. There was an outdoor concert by (I think) Peter Gabriel, and he came on stage and did most of the set balanced on a Segway. A real WTFIT? moment.

  7. I'll join you on #17, but it may be an idea to change the route slightly - I'm told that Route 66 isn't entirely what it used to be.

    1. Yes, I think it's the concept rather then the route itself. Small-town America. I've had a yearning to see it ever since reading Bill Bryson's The Lost COntinent. R66 per se is, as I understand it, over-commercialised and has been 'moved' in many places.

    2. This rings a particularly poignant note - a quote from Kevin Ash's widow Caroline:
      "The trip to Route 66 was one of the most special times we had as a couple, which I will always reflect upon and draw on for support."



  8. Oh my, thank you for the chuckle.

    I am not sure who made up that list, but at least half of them sound entirely too much like torture.

    FYI - you couldn't pay me enough to do 47, well that one and a few others.

    1. Yes, and thrice yes. Why any adult would want to visit a theme park based on a children's book is utterly beyond me. And yet they do. Same with Disneyworld. I suppose it's a return to the nursery, with sweet food and moving, shiny things to distract you from your reality.

    2. Moving shiny things are good, aren't they...

      I'm afraid that this is from someone who still enjoys Disney theme parks. But this is an interesting list and I don't know why some of the items even made anyone's list.

  9. Interesting list but kind of all over the map. I gave myself 10 1/2 with part marks for things like 29 - Travel New Zealand because I did it in a car and not a Winnebego. Also not sure if deep sea diving in a submarine counts. Of the remainder there are probably only 5 or 6 I would seriously add to my bucket list, 37 - learning to fly being one and 17 - traveling Route 66 being another. Harry Potter World - bleh. Climb a mountain - why?

  10. Nice take on the "bucket" list!

    1. It's the 'sick bucket' for most of them, either metaphorically or, in the case of 28 and 37, literally.


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