My Bucket List


I have had a “Bucket List” in my mind for many, many years.  For one reason or another, my list was never actually written out.  I guess the main reason is because my list is very, very personal.  What might be my zeal and passion, may mean nothing to someone else.  If I share it, will it change the way people think of me?

Oxford Dictionaries describe “Bucket List” as “a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime”.  Putting a “Bucket List” page on my website was inspired by my carefree, photographer friend named Trablogger.  He describes a Bucket List as “the list of things that you would like to do  before a certain point in life, either before 30, 50 or before you die”.  This definition really hit home, because in fact, I am VERY much into that last category.

My list would be much different than it would have been 35 years ago, and if I am still around this earth in 35 years, it would be far different than what I will be writing out over the next few months.  Aging does change perspective.  You become more aware of your physical limitations and mortality.

I am using a “Page” on the website, because it WILL change, with updates and new items being added as time allows, also updates as items are crossed off the list.  But something different from any other Bucket List I have encountered, is that I will try and explain WHY the items are here, and why this is important to me.  Because of this process, I am expecting AT LEAST a few months, before my list is fully up.

PHYSICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

1:  Complete a Full Marathon   COMPLETED OCTOBER 19, 2014

Why is this important to me? I 1st started running when I was 20, after my mom had her mental breakdown, that left her in hospital for over 2 months.  With no one that I was really comfortable to talk to, running helped me cope.  It was a release.  I would dream of being an Olympic marathoner, and finishing before thousands of cheering fans. Even though I was only running 5 miles (8k’s) at that point,  it was coping mechanism, to take me away from reality.  A few months later I injured the meniscus in my right knee playing baseball.    The knee did heal, but as a side affect, I had a knee that would “lock” during physical activity.  If it locked while running, it would cause MAJOR damage.  So simply put, I never ran, and for over 25 years, it was like that.  Over the past 10 or so years, I have cycled more and greater distances, and started to notice that “locking knee” issue was becoming less of an issue.

Last year my work became involved in a “half marathon” in Toronto.  After 35 years of not running, I thought to myself, “What are the chances?”  Before I said anything of commitment, I tried the knee out in some “test runs”, and it was fine.  No locking or hint of locking whatsoever.  Yes, there was a knee issue, but not to do with the locking.  When I completed that Half Marathon in front of literally thousands of cheering fans last year, I was hooked.  My goal in 2015 was to be that “Olympic Marathoner”, and complete my 1st full marathon.  Training went flawlessly, until 19 days before the event, when an ankle injury took me out.  Did no more running for those 19 days, and made a last minute decision the morning of the marathon to try.   The story  about it is found on the post Running from the Sidelines.

Since that momentous day I ran the same marathon the following year (and came 10 minutes shy of qualifying for the Boston marathon).  In 2016, I shifted more in trail running and successfully completed four 50 kilometer Ultras.  Pushing boundaries to see how far I can go, once attained I push them again further. On top of half marathons and 50k’s registered this year (2017), my ultimate goal for 2017 is to complete a 50 miler (80.47 kilometers).  I will be attempting this at The North Face Endurance Challenge on July 15th.

My last few steps on that "untested" ankle which carried me the distance.

Ended up running with my ankle wrapped up, and completed my full marathon in Toronto on October 19, 2014, at a time of 4:55:38.  🙂

 

2: Climb a Mountain Over 6,100 Meters or 20,000 Feet

Why is this important to me?  Having taken an instructor training course in mountain climbing in 1984, my life became a series of climbing dreams and ambitions of what would lie ahead.  But sometimes love takes a precedence.  This happened when I met my Lynne.  Although she greatly tried to have me continue to climb, I no longer saw it as important.  She was!  🙂

Mountaineering training back in 1984. :)

Mountaineering training back in 1984. 🙂

 

Six years after the course, I get a letter from Ross, the lead instructor on my course.  Ross was organizing a Canadian climbing expedition on the North Ridge of Mt. Everest that came in from the Tibet side, and he was inviting me to be a part of that historic expedition in 1991.  I would not be summiting, due to my limited high altitude experience, but would be there more as a support person, and the highest I would reach would have been Camp 1, 6,100 metres or 20,000.  It would have been an INCREDIBLE experience, Lynne was really trying to encourage me to do it.  But it meant 2 things….I would miss out on the birth of my 1st child, and it would take all the money we had saved for the down payment of our 1st (and only so far) home.  You can’t put a price on stuff like that.  Over the years, I have read mountaineering books, and now with the internet I continue to read 1st hand expeditions right as they are happening.  One day I would like to get back into climbing, but on a much smaller scale of my original dreams and ambitions.  My bucket list item is to do a climb over 6,100 meters, or 20,000 feet.  Camp 1 of Everest does not hold as much interest anymore, as it has gotten way too commercialized over the past 25 years.  There are 121 peaks in the world over that 20,000 feet mark.  Lots of research before I settle on which one!  🙂

3: Cycle Across Canada

Why is this important to me?  I have always loved bicycling, and next to walking ins the most energy efficient form of transportation in the world, but much quicker.  Have followed several cyclists who travel the world for months, and sometimes years at a time.  My one and only experience with bicycle touring was 10 years ago.  My wife surprised me with an airline credit worth around $500 that would take me anywhere this Canadian airline named “WestJet” would fly.  She did it as a Thank You for all the sacrifices I have done for the family over the years.  What a sweet, caring wife! I am SO blessed! I thought it over, and my destination of choice ended up being the Hawaiian Islands of Maui and Molokai. (a great way to break up a Canadian winter)  :

My home away from home, on the island of Molokai! :)

My home away from home, on the island of Molokai! 🙂

I spent 7 days on Maui living in a hostel..  Lounging on the beach did not interest me, spent my time doing stuff like hiking into the crater of Haleakala, hiking in nature preserves, caving etc.  Molokai was where I tried out bicycle touring, using my tent as my home, and I absolutely LOVED it.  I am sure anyone in shape could cycle the island in one day, but I spent 10 days exploring all the nooks and crannies, as well as taking hiking side trips.  Molokai is very laid back, there was not even a traffic light on the island.  And getting to meet the local people was absolutely amazing.

At 7,200 kilometers from coast to coast, a bicycle tour across my home country of Canada would by FAR be my most gruelling adventure.  I know it has been accomplished in as little as 27 days, but that is not my intention.  To take my time, explore, take lots of photographs, meet the local everyday people, represent an important charity, and then write about my adventure journey.  It would be a commitment that would have to wait until retirement, because of the time commitment. 

4: Learn to Swim

Why is This Important to Me?  Having grown up a farm, as a child, I had very little exposure to water and swimming.  My time around water was limited to a short afternoon at the beach once a year.  Growing up into early adulthood, I had the opportunity to go on some canoe trips, which went well.  As time went on, I was doing whitewater canoeing on the Upper Clearwater River in British Columbia, (way beyond my experience) when on one occasion our canoe capsized, I got caught in the rapids, and in those rapids, I had a brush with death.

Since then I have had a milder form of the Psychology term “AQUAPHOBIA“, The Fear Of Drowning”.  A bathtub, a whirlpool, even the lap pool at my gym are all fine, I am not bothered by it.  But if the water level rises close to my neck, I get very panicky, and HAVE to get to shallower water.  In trying to overcome this fear over the years, I have actually jumped into the deep ends of pools, but as soon as I surface, I am scrambling for the sides.

It is important for me to overcome this, I would LOVE to learn how to swim, to relax in the water, to jump in, and not be all panicky.  If I ever decide I want to do a triathlon, I’m going to HAVE to know how to swim.  It is as simple as that.

5: Complete a Winter Half Marathon  COMPLETED MARCH 1ST, 2015

Why is this important to me?  Running is winter in Canada poses it’s vey own challenges not found in any other season of the year.  It is unpredictable and a person is very much at the mercy off the elements.  For me, running a half marathon in the winter is also very mental.  The day my dad died, which was the day of Winter’s First Snowfall in 1973, I tried to run away as far as I could from those memories…but was defeated by the snow.

Completed a winter Half Marathon on March 1st, 2015.  Full story found HERE!

 

PLACES I WOULD LIKE TO RETURN TO

1:  The Farmhouse Where I Grew Up

Why is this important to me?  Strangely enough, the farmhouse where I grew up is only 12 miles from where I live now.  I had so many wonderful memories growing up there.  But when my dad suddenly passed away when I was 15, it meant having to move off the farm.  The farm changed hands several times over the years.  The house was never cared for like when my dad looked after it, each new owner it seemed the house would become more and more dilapidated, until it got to the point where it was ready to be bulldozed.  It was so hard to see, that I no longer drove past the farm of my childhood, and chose a different route.   The last couple of years, there has been a wonderful change….new owners who care.  They have put a lot of time, money and love into restoring the old farmhouse.  I want to go back and visit so badly, to walk through the rooms of my childhood, and relive the memories. I don’t like imposing on others.  If I were to knock on the door, and ask for a walk through, I might be thought as someone casing the place out for robbery.  Not sure how to go about it!  🙂

Remembering that car in the driveway we used to own as a family, I am guessing this photo was taken in the late 1960's. Precious memories! :)

Remembering that car in the driveway we used to own as a family, I am guessing this photo was taken in the early  1960’s. Precious memories! 🙂

2:  Stewart Island New Zealand

My wife is a “kiwi”, we got married in New Zealand, and we spent the 1st 9 months of our married lives down under.  It is a beautiful country, with wonderful people, but at the time the economy in New Zealand was very low.  Interest rates were over 20%, and jobs were non existent, so sadly we packed up and returned to Canada, where I had a job waiting for me.

We had an extended 7 week honeymoon backpacking the south island for 4 weeks, and then Stewart Island for 3 weeks.  Stewart Island is very much a secret paradise.  When we were there, there was about 400 people on the island, the rest was all bush, with incredibly challenging backpacking trails.  Every beach you encounter is COMPLETELY secluded. This island left a very special place on my heart.

My wife has returned to New Zealand 4 times to visit and reconnect with family, which is SO important.  I  returned to New Zealand for the 1st time in 28 years in December 2016 attended my daughter’s graduation from teachers college.  I tried to work Stewart Island into my schedule, but it just did not happen.  A great reason to get back to New Zealand sometime soon (and not take me another 28 years).  🙂

 

 

18 comments

  1. Congratulation Carl on completing your first full marathon.

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  2. Hey Carl, I stumbled across you blog and, as an alpinist, I’m intrigued by the second entry on your bucket list. Out of curiosity, have you picked a peak to climb yet? There are some beautiful options!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so glad you stumbled across my blog. This is really cool.

      There are definitely some beautiful options. I do not have a set peak picked in stone, but the one that I am leaning towards is Chimborazo, in Ecuador. It is predominantly non-technical (good for a rookie like me). 🙂 Also while being in Ecuador, I would love visit the rainforest. Environmental concerns are very dear to my heart.

      Have also thought of Aconcagua. There are some very reputable guiding companies operate there. A bit more commercialized, being the mountain that it is, but then again, it is one of the 7 summits. Bragging rights, right???….lol.

      Then again, there is the Himalayas. I follow several bloggers from India and are saying, I NEED to come to India!! There is such an array of choices there. 🙂

      Would you have any suggestions or feedback. I quickly visited your blog, and you are a EXTREMELY accomplished climber.

      THANK YOU! 🙂

      ~Carl~

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      • Haha I have skills to hone and many routes to climb before I’d consider using that adjective to describe myself. I do have a lot of fun though, and I can’t imagine a life without climbing.

        Suggestions? I currently have my eye on the Ogre and the north ridge of Latok 1, although both of those are pretty technical routes. If you dive back into the game headfirst and can take a couple months away from work/life, give me a call.

        Aconcagua does have a nice infrastructure in place if you’re looking for a professional guiding service…but I agree with the bloggers from India, as long as you’re investing a significant amount of time and money, go somewhere off the grid in the Himalaya. My two cents 🙂

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  3. I love this bucket list! It makes me realize that I have yet to truly sit down and determine my own. Thank you for the inspiration! Do you think you’ll add more to it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Becca. I would absolutely LOVE to see your bucket list when written out. You have already done so much, and visited so many countries 🙂

      There are a quite a few things that I would like to add to the list, just have not gotten around to it.

      Your touching comment, and question has prompted me, so thank you! 😀

      Maybe this weekend! 🙂

      ~Carl~

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  4. Hi Carl, just wanted to drop a qucik line to say hello! your blog is VERY inspiring, and I wish you all the best with completing the rest of your bucket list 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your bucket list is very impressive – I would love to summit a mountain and learn to swim too… I’m slightly obsessed with movies about mountaineering (Everest; Meru; Touching the Void; etc), but it is just one of those things that cost an arm and a leg and takes years of dedication to prepare for. As with swimming, I’ve never quite gotten over my near-drowning experience either at my local pool when 10 or something. Funny how such memories just never fade. Great to hear your wife is a Kiwi. It can be quite lonely Down Under, but at least they have us Australians keeping them company!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jolene for your very generous comment.

      And wow, you understand this whole thing about being afraid of water and trying to overcome the fear. Those memories never do fade.

      I love the mountaineering movies as well, and although I don’t have the time to read as much as I would like, I love reading books on expeditions. To be the top of your game it really takes so much time and commitment.

      Thank you again for your kind words! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good luck with overcoming those fears. Sometimes I consider it quite perverse really, if someone fears drowning they should be learning to swim so that they don’t drown! But I guess it’s not as easy as that…😳

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Carl and Happy New Year! I love your blog and will be following you. I was reading your bucket list and and saw number 2 under places I would love to visit. I was reminded of my childhood home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. While working on writing my memoirs I have mentioned it a few times. I was in Baton Rouge last year and drove by it. It was wonderful to see, but I longed to see the inside. They have changed the outside a good bit so it looks, similar but not exactly like I remember it. I doubt I will ask to see inside because of that reason, the changes. However, I have decided to write a little more about growing up there and when done I will send the owner of the home a copy of it. Perhaps this is something you could think about. If you were to write about all the wonderful memories of growing up there, you could send it to them as an introduction to who you are and ask permission to see it again, Just a thought. Even if you decide not to do this, you should still write your memories of this old place for your children and their children’s children. Many blessings this coming 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

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