Photo courtesy of J. Murden.

This past weekend, I took a break from the snow and went to visit my grandparents in Florida (hence the late post, my bad). Grammy and Grandpa have always been a huge part of my life, especially when I was little, but distance and circumstance have conspired so that it’s been way too long since I last saw them – over six years. Needless to say, we spent a beautiful weekend just being together and catching up, on top of celebrating Grandpa’s 80th birthday.

However, this was the first trip I’ve taken to see them as an adult and also the first time I’ve really felt the gut-wrenching impact of time. My grandpa has been battling leukemia for a number of years now and he doesn’t sugarcoat the fact that the end is inevitable. Even though we were all in good spirits and I plan to visit again as soon as I can, saying good-bye outside airport security was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

On the flight home, I tried to ease my sadness and fear with distraction, and I found myself thinking of all the things I still wanted to accomplish in my own life. When I got home, I decided to actually write them down for once; I’m a big believer in making your goals out there and seeing my ambitions physically manifested on a piece of paper (or screen in this case) helps make them seem a lot more plausible. The term “bucket list” has never sat well with me – I’d rather be thinking about all of this well before I’m even close to kicking the bucket – so here is what I like to call my “ToGoDo” list, a collection of places I want to go and things I want to do in my lifetime, some of which I’m already acting on. They are in no particular order and have no particular level of specificity, but they are all things my grandparents have always encouraged me to go out and do, even if they still think I’m a little bit crazy.


  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • All 50 states
  • Canada, especially British Columbia
  • Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Kruger National Park
  • The Amazon
  • Italy (again, I went once when I was in third grade)
  • Norway
  • Thailand
  • Peru
  • Iceland 🙂
  • The Grand Canyon
  • Any of the Caribbean islands
  • Japan


  • Learn a martial art
  • Swim with whales
  • Adopt a dog and cat of my own
  • Swim with sharks
  • Learn to play guitar
  • Learn to surf
  • Climb a mountain
  • Publish a book
  • Hike in the redwood forests of Northern California (again, I did this once when I was younger)
  • See a rhino in the wild
  • Find the statue of Balto in Central Park
  • Master my phobia of singing in front of people
  • Go on a multi-day horseback tour
  • Go on a multi-day backpacking trip
  • Send a 5.14
  • Get my AIARE Avalanche Level 1 certification
  • Learn to snowboard in the backcountry and go heli-boarding / cat-boarding
  • Dive on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Get my motorcycle license
  • Try paddleboarding
  • Try Crossfit
  • Start my own business
  • See the aurora borealis
  • See the New York City Ballet perform The Nutcracker

Do you have a ToGoDo list? Feel free to share in the comments – and remember, a list is just a bunch of words on a page until you act on it. And life is too short and precious not to.


  1. We also have a similar list. Heading to BC is huge on my “To Do”, but I want to explore all of Canada, including the Northern Territories. I’d like volunteer to help animals/communities in need around the world and take pictures portraying their stories. Also, I want to adopt a dog from a war zone through Puppy Rescue Mission.


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