It was about a year ago that I found myself at a crossroad. I had relocated from San Francisco to Seattle. I had recently lost the most important person in my life. I was working on a project I considered to be my most important work to date. And being two years since my one-year trip and a few months since my most recent long-term trip, I had this longing for more. All that as I came up on what friends were calling a “big birthday,” but what was just another number to me. It’s not that I wasn’t happy. I was as happy as I had ever been, yet felt this pull that there was more that I could be doing. Shortly after this, when a few friends and I all gathered in Hawaii to celebrate my 30th birthday during the second week of February, on a whim, I did something that I rarely do: wake up before the sun does. After an hour’s drive toward the top of Maui’s Upcountry near Haleakala, I strapped on a parachute, ran down the mountain, and paraglided over the Hawaii island of Maui. The next day, what I thought began as a joke about my friends and I getting tattoos (and me getting my first tattoo), ended with all of us doing just that. And so began the list.
The idea behind “bucket lists” always rubbed me the wrong way. It seemed to be so jaded, only for the rich or those confronted with illness. I had always thought of myself (at least for the last couple years) as having experienced a well-lived and well-traveled life, yet with what seemed like an ever-growing list of things I wanted to do, but that weren’t getting done. Sure, I had seen people do lists, like a “40 before 40” list that stretched over a few years, and eventually wanted a list like Danny Dover’s multi-year bucket list to complete all of his goals by a specific deadline, or Akvile Harlow’s Listpiration, where she does one bucket list adventure per month. But I wanted to shake things up. I wanted life to be filled with a certain passion and urgency, and not simply wait until the end of my life or for personal tragedy to strike. And so after back-to-back days of some of my most spontaneous adventures that left me wanting more, the “30 at 30” List was born: One year, to do at least 30 things I had never done, but with the intention of doing as many things as possible. Now with 8 days left, I’m on #36.
Here is some of what I’ve done, along with what I’ve learned along the way, some being lessons I’ve re-learned, and others being new revelations (broken up into two pages, that you can click at the bottom or here to access page two)