The Life List

So this is what happens when you’re jet-lagged and find yourself lying awake in bed thinking about everything else but sleep itself. Thinking about Life, in fact. It’s a habit of mine to muse about the hopes, joys and worries of the moment during the last waking moments of the day. They’re usually brief encounters (fortunately), but when it’s been two straight days of tossing and turning, a lot of musing gets done and a long-awaited post finally materializes.

This post is inspired by Traca’s own life list which she shared last September. It spurred an awareness of all those activities and experiences that I thoroughly enjoy hypothesizing about but never get round to doing, probably because it’s far safer to retreat into the comfort of one’s thoughts than to actually take the plunge. Seeing as we’re (still) in the New Year and all, I thought it fitting to share some of the items on my list:

  • Run my own business
  • Visit Cuba
  • Take a road trip across the Continental US
  • Go bungee jumping and white water rafting in New Zealand
  • Make it to at least five of the 10 restaurants in this list
  • Travel the Silk Road
  • Camp in the Sahara Desert
  • See the glaciers in Patagonia, Argentina
  • Master the Primary and Intermediate series of Ashtanga yoga
  • Stay at this ryokan on a visit to Japan
  • Cook and host a 4-course dinner from the French Laundry cookbook for friends
  • Work on a vineyard and learn to make my own wine
  • Attend a TED conference
  • Learn to play the cello
  • Make my own pasta
  • Have coffee with Tyler Brûlé
  • Visit Morocco
  • Design and create my own chair
  • Be a vegetarian for a month
  • Trek the Himalayas
  • Go to grad school
  • Make bread good enough to make M cry
  • Take a slow boat ride up the Mekong river through Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam
  • Stay in an igloo
  • Make my own sausages
  • Sky-dive, preferably over the Australian desert
  • Design and build an environmentally-sustainable home, like this and this
  • Experience Antarctica
  • Learn how to make Skyr
  • Have tea with the Dalai Lama
  • Forage for mushrooms
  • Take a road trip through each of France’s wine regions
  • Eat a New York pizza
  • Catch and prepare my own lobster
  • Rejuvenate at the Blue Lagoon Spa
  • Have a Conversation Dinner at The School of Life
  • Take pictures with a Leica M9
  • Try not to kill the next Phalaenopsis Orchid I own
  • Have (another) coffee with Annie Leibovitz

What’s on your life list?


  1. Joy

    What a fun list, Danielle! I just re-did mine again last week as part of an ‘assignment’ and it was so fun to dream and write them down. 🙂 It’s so funny that we have some that are similar, and some that are downright the same — like attending a TED conference!

  2. I completely agree with you when you say that it’s far easier and safer to simply dream about these things. However, if we truly want to do them we have to get up the courage to go out and begin experiencing them. A year ago I wouldn’t have had the courage to go out and try some things on my own list, but after some significant changes in my life I decided that it was time to stop wasting time and start living my life. About five months ago I rewrote a life list that I had originally made when I was twelve and decided to get to work on it. I’ve never had such a good time and I’ve finally gotten around to those things that you say you’re going to do, but never actually do, such as “Give blood” or “Give someone a microloan.” Good luck with your list and make sure to remember that the joy should come from doing each item, not from crossing everything off.

  3. El

    What a great list. Very impressive. After the winter here I definitely think I’d want to avoid the igloo. Right now my list is modest. After spending a month in hotel rooms I’m just happy to have a place to call home. The bigger ideas will have to come after everything is unpacked…

  4. Divina: That’s what a community’s for – helping each other along towards our goals 🙂

    Dominique: I would LOVE to cook with you in France!! You’re in Brittany, right?

    Joy: I’ve seen the TED conference on many lists too, I think it won’t be long before a big-name food blogger gets up on that stage 🙂

    Jesse: What a thoughtful comment, thank you. Totally agree that it’s about the journey, not the destination.

    El: Ha, I added the igloo because the ice fascinates me, but I can imagine that it’s perfectly bearable only in moderated doses, not for half the year. Good luck with your move!

  5. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Life List « Bon Vivant --

  6. Alright, I need to come up with a life list – this is great.

    I’ve done some of these, but this is a great source of inspiration.

    can I add – blackwater rafting in New Zealand – that was a heck of an adventure, and I heartily endorse driving across the US – I moved a lot for work and had to do it more than once, and as much as I had moving it was a truly awesome experience.

    Morocco is definitely on my list – thanks for the inspiration.

  7. Sharon

    When you do the following, pls call me, I wanna come along:
    – Run your own biz
    – take a trip across continental USA
    – travel the Silk Road
    – stay at the ryokan
    – visit morocco
    – stay in an igloo
    – have tea with the Dalai Lama
    – eat a New York pizza
    Beautiful picture, btw =)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *