The Unbucket List

‘Bucket Lists,’ or a list of things to do before you kick the bucket, seem to be in style. I almost made one, but then I thought about my most memorable, shocking and proud experiences – and realised not a single one would have ever made it onto a premeditated list.  So here instead is My Unbucket List.  This is my ultimate list of unforeseen experiences that have made me a richer person, and I am glad I’ll kick the bucket with them under my belt… even if I didn’t see them coming.

  1. Involved in a middle of the night, high-speed rickshaw chase
  2. Saw sundogs at daybreak over Iceland
  3. Ate hedgehog
  4. Co-led a memorial service in the fjords of Northern Norway (on a stranger’s boat)
  5. Pet a wild tapir
  6. Rode the ‘lunatic line’ in Kenya with a malaria-infected travel companion
  7. Skinny dipped during a conference dinner
  8. Was pulled aside at the airport for having a handgun in my Birkenstocks
  9. Reassessed my (lack of a) fear of spiders while crawling through an arachnid infested cave in Madagascar
  10. Had one of my photos published by the BBC
  11. Watched ‘Rocky’ on a solar-powered black and white TV with a Berber family in Morocco
  12. Rode a camel while wearing my lab jacket
  13. Couch-surfed in a yurt and woke up to snow – in August
  14. Described a new species (and named it after a character from the French children’s book Barbapapa)
  15. Got my drivers license… twice
  16. Tossed a dead* guinea pig off of the Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver (*it was dead, of natural causes, before it was tossed)
  17. Had a picnic under the Eiffel Tower between flights
  18. Helped a sloth cross the road
  19. Cloned my own DNA (by accident)
  20. Spent the wee hours of the morning in a poorly lit (and possibly illegal?) turtle farm next to the Tashkent airport runway
  21. Laughed at the clouds going by while staring up at the Gherkin
  22. Came face to face with an aggressive moray eel
  23. Was driven to my hostel in Bucharest by a bus driver – who went well off of his route to deliver me (much to the annoyance of other passengers on board)
  24. Rode half way across Italy in a Smart car, with a weeks worth of groceries on my lap
  25. Rocked down to Electric Avenue
  26. Meditated to the music of the sea organ in Zadar
  27. Had a glass of wine in the company of a blue whale named Carolina
  28. Took a wrong turn and nearly ended up in Saudi Arabia
  29. Watched boots move around at a haunted hostel in Narvik, Norway
  30. Was attacked by chocolate-loving kids (the baby goat kind)
  31. Was generously offered the choice cut of sheep butt-fat with my rice in Uzbekistan
  32. Temporarily overcame my fear of flying and piloted a plane
  33. Rang in the new year with a bare polar bear swim in icy Canadian waters
  34. Married my sister in an apple orchard in France. In the officiant way, not the incestuous way.