Making a bucket list is a great idea, I encourage you to have one and share it publicly. I also suggest that you customize your list to include a few photography items as well, or make a completely separate photography bucket list.
Things you’d like to accomplish with your photography could be included, as well as places and things you want to photograph.
Another great list to make is one that encompasses all the things you’ve already done in your life. What have you achieved, where have you visited, what are some distinctly unique things about you? I find that when I get a bit down I can give myself a little pickup just by looking at this list and feeling like I’ve done some great and cool things. I call it the Things About Me List. It’s still a work in progress.
So in this article, I’m going to share my lists with you (both of them) and suggest that you share yours in the comments below as well. Writing it down and putting your bucket list out there in the world (not just having it in your head) will put you on the path towards actually doing those things! The next step is to pick one or two and make plans to put them on your calendar over the next year. Okay – let’s do this!
Things About Me
Here are 100 things you may or may not know about me (Darlene). Make your own list like this – it’s not bragging it like your autobiography in point form. Take pride in the things you’ve done. I do. (updated Dec 7th, 2018)
- I speak English, introductory French (took in school, forgot a lot of it), and intermediate Spanish.
- Coded my first website in HTML myself in 1995 using WordPad.
- Pets I have had include; 2 dogs, 5 cats, 5 birds, 2 iguanas, 1 snake, 3 gerbils, and a guinea pig. Currently, we have 2 cats.
- I have two tattoos (one on my lower back that represents my zodiac sign, two fish, and the Chinese character for strength – the other on the back of my left shoulder which is a hummingbird that for me represents doing the impossible) and want another one (a bee on my forearm with a trail behind him that says “Just bee . . .”
- I have tandem skydived in New Zealand (my mom did it too!).
- I have worked with companies in New Zealand (9 years, visited there 9 times for meetings) and Australia (dPS 5 years).
- My husband and I bungee jumped the day before our wedding.
- Spent 6 months traveling in an RV around the states and Canada (with my new husband). Went 17,000 miles, 27,000 km. Covered around 30 states and 7 provinces.
- Have spent over five months cumulatively in Nicaragua.
- My mother and I rappelled into a cave in New Zealand.
- I have white water rafted (even though I’m terrified of water).
- I have been on four cruises.
- I do not have kids but have two great cats, a niece, and a nephew.
- Visited a Maori village in New Zealand.
- Have seen a live Hakka performed in New Zealand.
- I have been to Machu Picchu. (Come with me on a tour!)
- I have salsa danced in Cuba (come for that too!) and did karaoke in Nicaragua.
- I have taken Spanish lessons in four different countries (Peru, Canada, Nicaragua, and Colombia twice).
- I’ve eaten fire.
- I own way too many camera bags (10 – update, gave 4 away!) and may have a problem.
- When I travel I buy clothes and/or art from a local (usually a street artist), not souvenirs and trinkets.
- I have experienced three earthquakes (in Peru, Nicaragua, and Colombia).
- I can drive a stick shift (standard) vehicle and have since I was 19.
- My dad took his own life when I was 30. It was devastating. I still think of him often.
- Drank a Singapore sling in Singapore at the Raffles hotel that created it.
- I have seen a koala and kangaroos in the wild in Australia.
- Saw a howler monkey in the wild in Nicaragua.
- I live in northern Canada and hate winter but I don’t ski or skate.
- Had altitude sickness in Cusco Peru, almost had to fly out.
- I have driven a car on the other side of the road in New Zealand (piece of cake).
- My first job was at McDonald’s when I was 15.
- My first car was a 1973 Toyota Corona Mark II (blue) which I bought when I was 16! Paid for it myself.
- Have ridden in a classic convertible car in Havana.
- I drank a mojito where Hemmingway drank in Havana and bought one of his books from a shop in Paris he frequented early in his writing career.
- I love all food but my go-to choices are always Asian; Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Malaysian, Korean – all come to the top of the list as take out and eating out for me.
- I have eaten some things many people may say are strange or brave including: sushi, chicken sashimi (yes it was raw), alpaca, eel, alligator, beef heart (anticuchos in Peru it’s quite good), cuy (guinea pig also in Peru), friend cricket, fish bones, fish scales, chicken liver and gristle, ostrich, moose, elk, deer, frog, turtle, abolone, rabbit, and some other stuff I don’t remember (I draw the line at bugs, eyeballs, and internal organs).
- Visited Salvador Dali’s house in Spain.
- Got beads (the real way) in New Orleans and saw a St Patrick’s day parade there.
- I have ridden a camel in the Sahara desert.
- Have ridden on a camel cart in Pushkar India at the camel fair (but I’d like to forget!)
- I have slept in a Berber tent in the Sahara desert and a deluxe tent in the desert of India near Dechu.
- I have seen three Broadway shows in NYC.
- I have seen the Moulin Rouge show in Paris.
- Saw a space shuttle launch (one of the last ones in 2010).
- Have served lunch to homeless people countless times.
- I have been up to the deck of the following towers; the twin towers in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Menora tower in Kuala Lumpur, the Calgary Tower, the Toronto tower, Empire State building, the Willis tower (used to be called the Sears Tower) in Chicago, and the Eureka tower in Melbourne.
- I have been to Vegas 19 times, mostly for tradeshows (I was working at them). I actually really dislike the place – it’s too loud, expensive, and too many things to always line up for.
- I have seen a gay pride parade in NYC in the village and got flashed on the subway.
- I have been photographed nude on the beach in NZ (thanks, Sonya).
- I have seen the sea lion caves in California.
- Have been to both Disneyland in California and Disneyworld in Florida.
- Donated a car to charity once.
- I have smoked a peace pipe (at my own wedding).
- We were married by a native Canadian shaman in the middle of a river (on the sandbar) surrounded by 30 of our closest friends and family. We had our custom wedding attire made by a tailor in Thailand. We had three eagles fly over our ceremony and a waterfall in the background. To this date, almost 10 years later, people still tell us it was the most unique and personal wedding they’ve ever attended.
- I have been on TV more than 12 times.
- I have been vegetarian and vegan before (for 2 years).
- I once completed a road 10km race in 60 minutes.
- I cannot swim, I am terrified of water.
- Hate and fear spiders (but I still went to Australia twice) but am okay with snakes.
- Have been up in a hot air balloon.
- Broke my pinkie playing floor hockey at age 42.
- Broke my ankle in Colombia at age 49.
- A group I’m a part of helped 56 families in Nicaragua get houses.
- Like Star Wars and Star Trek have seen all their movies.
- I love wine, but also enjoy rum, sake, and scotch.
- Have hiked up two volcanos and slid down one (Nicaragua).
- Have slid down sand dunes in Peru (face first).
- I dislike the commercialism of Christmas as it is in North America so I try to escape and be away whenever possible. I also don’t buy “stuff” for my family but rather an experience (my niece and nephew get a movie and lunch with Auntie Dar, a gift card for the climbing wall, etc.). We even brought my mom to Nicaragua with us on our last tour!
- Hence why I have spent Christmas out the country four times (this year will be my fifth)
- I didn’t really get the travel bug until I was 35. Prior to that, I’d only ever been to the USA and Mexico. In the last 18 years, I’ve added 31 more countries (see below). My new goal is to reach 50. Not sure by when but sooner than later (I’m not getting any younger). When the bug bites, he bites hard! Have you been bitten?
- I have walked over the Brooklyn Bridge.
- Started photography with a 4×5 view camera in college, using only b/w film, did my own processing and printing in a wet lab.
- I have been doing photography for over 30 years teaching it for more than six years.
- I have had my own business since 1991.
- I have done many different things in the photography industry including; photographed food, commercial advertising photography, portraits and weddings, fine art photography (had my prints in galleries and did art shows), was an account manager for a wedding album company (the New Zealand connection), worked part-time at a camera store doing accounting of all things, right now I teach classes and workshop, lead photography tours, and am also currently the Managing Editor of dPS.
- I have photographed over 250 weddings (mostly between 1991 and 2004, mostly film!).
- Was a bridesmaid twice and a bride twice.
- Have a 96-year-old grandmother (good genes – sadly she passed away in Sept 2017).
- My husband and I sponsor two kids in Nicaragua to help with their education and I have met them in person 4 times. Lupe is now heading to University and I’m so proud of her and honored to be part of her journey and be her “madrina” or god mother as she calls me.
- Rode an elephant in Thailand and India.
- Learned to ride a bike at age 37.
- I was an honor student and self-professed geek in high school.
- I had a total of ONE date in high school, got freaked out, and never had another. I was THAT shy. Now, not so much.
- I attended a conference call the World Domination Summit four times and Camp Good Life three times.
- I have flown first class more than once. It’s fabulous on Thai Silk Air! Got to sit in the upstairs area with only 12 people and 2 stewardesses.
- Have seen penguins in the wild in Peru.
- I have traveled to 33 countries (some are considered territories) and 6 continents (Canada, USA, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey, Spain, France, Italy, Vatican City, Andorra, England, [ cruise: US Virgin Islands, Antigua, St. Kitts, Martinique, Barbados, Trinidad, Curacao, Aruba ], India, The Netherlands, Morocco, Japan, Vietnam and Hong Kong).
- I have been to 12 countries more than once (Canada can’t count, Mexico 10+, USA 30+, Nicaragua 5x, Cuba 3x, Columbia 2x, Peru 2x, France 2x, Singapore 2x, Malaysia 2x, Australia 2x, New Zealand 9x, and Morocco 2x).
- I have been to 22 major world cities: Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, Perth, Auckland, Istanbul, Barcelona, Paris, London, Lima, Havana, Medellin (Colombia), Rome, Vatican City, Havana, NYC, Amsterdam, Delhi, Tokyo, Hanoi, Hong Kong.
- I have been to 24 US states (airports and driving through is not counted, only overnight stays).
- I have been to 9 Canadian provinces.
- I have been to 18 major US cities (NYC, LA, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, San Francisco, Austin, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Orlando, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Honolulu, and Chicago).
- I have led nine photography tours so far and counting! So much fun. Love to have you join me on an adventure soon.
My Bucket List
Making a bucket list is all about dreaming. Where do you want to travel? What do you want to do? Try to think about experiences and not so much about things or stuff you want to have. Material things are nice to have but when we’re gone, people will remember us for what we did, not what we had. What will you do? What’s on your photography bucket list?
My list is by no means exhaustive, and it’s always evolving. When you make your bucket list just write, don’t sensor yourself. Even if it sounds ridiculous or unachievable – write it down anyway.
- To live debt free (no mortgage – working on a 3-year plan).
- Spend every winter somewhere warmer than Canada.
- Spend a month in Tokyo (and see my buddy, Nick). UPDATE April 2019 – just completed 3 weeks there but didn’t get to see Nick, so have to go back!
- See the hot tub monkeys in Nagano Japan. (DONE March 2019)
- To speak fluent Spanish or mostly (I’m at say 60% here).
- To speak fluent French (next).
- To visit the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador to see the blue-footed booby (and other animals). UPDATE I am removing this one because I now believe the ecology there is fragile and humans should not be visiting.
- I wish to ride the Orient Express across Asia to Europe. Not sure why but I’ve always wanted to do this.
- I want to visit to go all seven continents (just one left – Antarctica). I’ve got North America, South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa covered.
- Go on an African safari.
- Go to Carnival in Rio.
- Drink wine in Tuscany and stay in a castle or villa.
- Go to Carnival in Venice (DONE February 2020).
- Visit Cinque Terre in Italy.
- See the Great Wall of China (ideally camp overnight and shoot the stars over it at night).
- Donate $10,000 to charity (annually would be ideal).
- Go to see the opera at the Met in NYC.
- See the ballet at the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris.
- Attend the secret pop-up dinner in Italy.
- Attend Burning Man in the Nevada desert.
- Drive the entire Route 66 in a convertible classic Corvette (like 1965 or older).
- Spontaneously walk into the airport and randomly buy a same-day ticket to wherever looks appealing, with NO luggage prepacked – buy what I need at my destination (except maybe one pair of underwear and a toothbrush). This is a stretch for me – I always plan to the tiniest detail. My husband, not so much.
- See Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
- Visit the Taj Mahal (DONE).
- Stay in a bungalow over the water with a glass bottom to see the fish swimming underneath (Seychelles, or Bali maybe).
- Go to the Tomatina festival in Spain where they throw rotten tomatoes at one another.
- Attend Holi festival in India (have to figure out how to photograph it and not ruin a camera or take an old one). This is where they throw powered die or paint at each other.
- Attend the Pushkar camel festival in India (DONE).
NOTE: Notice that I have events attached to some of my items. So not only do I want to travel to that place but to attend or do a certain thing while I’m there. Add a level of personalization to your list.
- Other countries I want to visit yet include; Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Korea, China, Taiwan, Croatia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Czech, Poland, Greece, Portugal, Costa Rica, Panama, Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Antarctica, Ecuador, Argentina, Jordan, Samoa – just to get started.
- Create two exclusive photography workshops in Mexico (or possibly Tuscany) for a small group of 4-5 people (Would you be interested in this? One for beginners, and one for intermediate photographers. Tell me in the comments below.)
- Own my dream camera for traveling (not sure which that is but love my Fuji, and have a few lenses on my wishlist; 10-24mm, 55-200mm, 300mm reflex lens.) What’s your dream camera system?
- See and photograph polar bears in Manitoba (Canada).
Get tour information
NOTE: Get early notification of our upcoming photography tours and workshops by going to this page and filling in the form. Check off all the options you might be interested in attending. Once we have the information ready, you will get it before it is sent to my entire email list. Maybe we can help you with a bucket list item!
Your turn – planning and execution
Okay, now that you have your lists and have shared them (either in the comments below or with family and friends) it’s time to plan how to do those things and get going. A bucket list is really just a set of goals. Making goals without a plan are just dreams. Let’s take your list from being dreams, into execution and make at least a few of them a reality.
The first thing you need to do is pick your top five items from your bucket list. Which things are the top priority for you? What is really calling your name and you’re yearning for big-time? Work on those first.
Next, figure out when you can realistically take action on one of those things. Can you do it this year? If it’s a trip, start researching, ask for time off work if necessary, and make a budget. If it’s something you want to learn or do in regards to your photography – what do you need to complete that? Do you need to take a course? Find a mentor or tutor? Do that.
Break the item down into small steps that you need to do to make that list item come to fruition. I’ll give you an example from my list:
Combine bucket list items
Look at your list and see how you can check off two or more with one trip. Plan your itinerary efficiently to hit a few items along the way or things that are close to one another.
I want to speak fluent Spanish. I did some research online and found a great language school in Colombia that I went to in January 2017. But I happened to break my ankle so had to come home early. So, I planned a holiday cruise with my husband for December (#3) and a trip back to Colombia for January and February 2018 (#3 continued and #6).
Pick a date or deadline
I’ve also got a giant dry-erase calendar for the year so I can plot in my workshops, tours, and personal travel for that year. So think ahead and start making plans and taking steps toward something on your list now. If you do not pick dates and plan it, then it will never happen. “Someday” isn’t on the calendar.
A goal without a plan is just a dream!
If your list item is something you want to accomplish, give yourself a target completion date. We all work better with a deadline and as it gets closer to that date you’ll work harder towards achieving your goal.
I can’t wait to learn more about you and hear what’s on your photography bucket list! Tell me how I can help make them a reality.