Tag Archives: bucket list

What Comes This Year?

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What Comes This Year?

I got an email yesterday out-of-the-blue from a company asking me what adventure . . . what bucket-list things . . . what was going to happen this year?

That’s actually a fortuitous question as I have a lot that may happen this year.  Some of it involves my kids.  Much of it actually does not.

As children get older they tend to have their own lives and their own things they want to do.  So as a result many of their ideas for what the year brings are different than mine, but we will still go out, do things, be adventurous on our own.

Together?  The kids all want to see the volcanic area of far northern California, so we’ll make a trip at some point to Mount Lassen.  When it’s warmer and the snow isn’t an issue, of course.

One child wants to try out for basketball.  Another is running for Fall student council.

Bucket list?  Well…I’m not ready to kick said bucket, but regardless, a couple of those items will tick off this year.

David Gilmour, of Pink Floyd, is playing the Hollywood Bowl in the Spring.  I’m going.  No question.  Tickets in-hand, trip ready, all set.

Sometime in the spring as well?  I plan on hitting the recording studio to begin work on a solo record.  I’ve been working the material for a long time.  It’s really time to get it set to tape and release it.  Will it sell?  Who knows?  But I have to get it out.  Kind of killing me not to do that.

There are a million other things I’d love to do but we will see.

I want to see the site of the first nuclear explosion.  I know, that’s weird and a bit off-the-path, but still a totally strange thing I’d be able to tell people I did.

I want to go back to the Midwest and see family.  Not a bucket list thing, but we’ll do it anyway.

Yosemite.  We did it once, and it’s close by so why not?  Our first trip was a bit odd . . . for personal reasons.  We’ll do it right this time.

To be fair, this whole post was actually inspired by that company’s marketing person emailing me.  Maybe it was a robot email.  Maybe it wasn’t.  They say they have a contest and are pushing readers of sites like mine to enter . . . as part of their outdoor gear company.  If you’re interested, you can go here and explore the company’s website.

I will be up-front and tell you that I do not actually own anything from the company nor am I able to give an endorsement as I haven’t used anything from Cotopaxi.  Not saying they’re bad, either, just that they contacted me.  Regardless, an interesting email and it did inspire me to write so for that reason I thank them.

But it does beg the question . . . what does your 2016 look like?

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See the World, Live Your Life…Be Happy!

Through the inquiries of others and their reactions I’ve come to the realization – and this is going to sound arrogant, and I’m sorry – that I’ve done some pretty amazing things.

They wouldn’t be wrong, I suppose, and the reason it sounds arrogant is the fact that I’d not really thought too much about that.  Most of the things I’ve done have been for my job not necessarily for fun or experience.

– I’ve been upside-down doing barrel rolls in a biplane
– I’ve been to Mexico
– I found pieces of the shuttle Columbia in the woods of East Texas (my Mom still tells people about that one)
– I’ve covered a number of presidents
– I’ve met John McCain and Rudy Giuliani in their pre-presidential campaign days
– I’ve been waste-deep in flood waters
– I’ve covered the 101st Airborne training to go into Baghdad…and interviewed their commander, who was on the ground during the Blackhawk Down mission
– I’ve been in and out of Afghanistan on an amazing 6-day mission

With Rudy Giuliani
With Rudy Giuliani

Okay, you get the drift.  That’s a sample, and it’s smelly enough in its arrogance I don’t want to go any farther.

The point to this, though, is I always back down from seeing these things as that amazing.  I do tell the stories, probably too often, about a lot of them.  What I don’t do is realize that they are.

I had this discussion recently and I’ve come to a couple conclusions.  Early on, some twenty-five years ago, I pushed myself, hard, to be more, say more, do more because I wanted so desperately to make some sort of mark.  Not get attention, but being just one of the people who knew told these stories of the world.  Not the same stories, but new, innovative, amazing stories.

With Adam Savage
With Adam Savage

In the end, though, I saw the world through a 3″ x 3″ black and white screen on the viewfinder of my camera.  That was it.  It was in Israel that my friend and colleague stopped me and said “take a minute, Dave, look at where you are.”  You get so caught up in the drama and the rush of getting the story you miss the experience.  He’d been to Israel for a vacation…I hadn’t taken the time to look at what I saw.  I experienced the fact that, whether you believe in the Bible or not . . . whether you have a faith or are simply a good human being, the events of Biblical history have basis in historical fact.  I was standing on pathways that had been trodden by people who likely wrote those very books of the New Testament.  It wasn’t a religious experience for me, even, it was seeing the historical significance.  We are a really young country.  Old to us is 1776.  This . . . this predates that by 2000 years or more.  The fact Jerusalem still stands, the old city itself, though now divided into quarters, is breathtaking.

The reality, I’ve come to see, is that I’ve done a lot of things through work, through the rush of adrenaline and focus but not actually experienced them all.  It was after that trip to Jerusalem, after being told by my colleague that sometimes you have to just see what you’re in the middle of, that I realized I needed to take those few-second moments.  Moreover, I needed to make new ones.

So I started taking a camera with me.  I have pictures with Giuliani and Adam Savage! (though I try to avoid asking interview subjects for pictures, this is business, after all)  I have pictures of the Old City.  I have photos of Ft. Campbell and I realized that I like seeing what I’m in the middle of for just a few seconds.

I’ve also come to realize that I don’t see these events as more than work because they are just that . . . work first, experience second.

But that’s changed.

In San Francisco
In San Francisco

Small things become experiences.  Taking Abbi to her NYU audition in San Francisco we avoided the wharf and Union Square and ate off Market street in a little cafe run by hipsters and had the best burgers of our lives.  We went to a chocolate place two doors down and had English Toffee that made us want to melt.  I’ve been to a hole-in-the-wall jazz club in L.A. and seen Kenny Burrell, who plays better than most people 1/4 his age.  I drove the PCH from LA up through Carmel and Monterey . . . just so I could see the ocean off to the side of my car as I drove.

I want to do so many more things.  I want to see the pyramids (when Egypt is less volatile).  I want to stay for a week in the French countryside, away from Paris.  I want to see the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.  I want to drink in a pub in Ireland.

The legendary Kenny Burrell
The legendary Kenny Burrell

I want . . . the experiences.  This world isn’t as big as it used to be and I truly want to experience it.  Will I get all those things under my belt?  I don’t know.  Maybe not.  Maybe I’ll do it alone or maybe someone will be with me, but I’ll get some or all of them.  I never thought, twenty-five years ago I’d be in Afghanistan or Germany or Israel…but I did it.

Imagine now, with determination, what I can accomplish!

A bucket list . . .

I know, everyone has one . . . a bucket list.  I was inspired by another blogger, though, and I have to admit I’m gleaning inspiration (read stealing her idea) here.

Lesley Carter has a blog just around the corner from me on the information superhighway called “Bucket List Publications.”

Sure, the list is there, just like everyone else’s I suppose.  The difference is she didn’t write it in an effort to have dreams that she suddenly realizes once she’s closer to death than to youth.  No, she’s written the list and the number of checkmarks on it far outweighs the number of things on my entire list.

But it’s not the list or the comparison that made me smile.  What got me was how she describes it.  It’s not the things she wants to do because someday she’s going to die.  It’s the things she’s going to do because she wants to live!

It’s funny because I’ve started looking at life in the last year and a half as far more an adventure than it used to be.  I told a friend of mine recently – a former reporter – that in the last year I’ve started to just take opportunities as they come.  I grab for it when it’s there because, frankly, I realized last year how tenuous it all is.  It’s not that I was content or that my family was even holding me back before then.  I was very happy most of the time.  But when I lost my wife, Andrea, in 2011 the status quo just seemed so . . . pointless.  Plus, I came to the realization not long after we moved to a new home that it was falling on me to make the decisions.  If I’m deciding, why am I deciding to do things the way we always did?  It’s silly to think that.

So did we climb half-dome or hike the Mojave?  Well…no, but I suppose we could.  There are things that I wanted to do and we’ve done some of them already:

I took my daughter to New York.  I’d been before, and while I meant to share a weekend with my wife like this I didn’t.  Abbi  always wanted to go and critics be damned…we did it and:
Saw a Broadway show.  (we laughed until we cried)
Walked the beach in San Francisco – I know this isn’t hard, but do this without your love and it’s not easy
Saw a Jazz Great on stage – the amazing Kenny Burell in Los Angeles

Kenny at the Catalina Jazz Club
I have done some amazing things thanks to my job:
Went to a War Zone

At Bagram Air Base with Colonel David Talley and Major David Baker


Shot a machine gun
Visited the Old City of Jerusalem
Had a conversation with one of the engineers of the Apollo Space Program

Flown in a biplane
Flown in a C-17 – (that’s me in the red&white shirt)


Met so many presidential candidates and covered 4 presidents: 


Saw the Pentagon after 9/11 – before it was rebuilt
Wrote, voiced and edited a (2) documentary
Played Papparazo in Los Angeles – 
even though I’m not

But I did lots of others:
Met a hero: BB King and even got to spend a half hour picking his brain.  Abbi met him, too!
Played guitar with musicians better than me: that was before Andrea died, sure, but since then . . . even moreso: check out the woman whom I met: Julia Sinclair

It’s not that I had things so bad with my wife, either.  Thanks to her I got so much:
Spend the entire day in bed with someone you love – even if my kids are reading this, I did. I loved it, too.  Yes, it was Andrea . . . and yes . . . the one on the list in that link was my idea to Rene.
Go to the US Capitol – Yes, I was at work, but Andrea pushed me to do it
Start my own band.  Yes, Andrea didn’t understand my being a musician, but she really didn’t understand why I was playing with someone else when I could do it myself.
Go Storm Chasing – Yeah, I did it in my job . . . but I did it in my job with her first!
Climb a Waterfall –  Yep.  She made me do it in Jamaica.  The only high point of that trip

So what’s left?
Stand on a corner in Winslow Arizona – Now…if a girl in a flatbed Ford shows up, so much the better
Visit the Pyramids – Really no other reason than it’s the pyramids
London – Again, just London.

My absolute, probably won’t happen but going to try anyway?
Be a bad guy on Doctor Who – Yeah, that’s a stretch, but Mr. Moffat – Sherlock would do!  You’re not shooting either new season yet!  (hint, hint)
Play a gig at the Fillmore – This is actually realistic, if we ever hit the road.  I think we could pull it off, but it’s a dream.  Same place, same stage as the legendary Allman Brothers’ Live at the Fillmore?  How could I not?
Record a solo project – Yeah, I can do this, but I haven’t
Get published – Just so you know . . . the book’s written.  Editing now.  Quereys go out soon!
Grand Canyon
Gettysburg
Dance at my daughter’s wedding – 
either one, really

There’s so much more, and maybe this weekend I’ll list my bucket list itself.

But let me ask you this: Are you fulfilling anything on your list?  Are you waiting to do it, or do you see the list as things you should be striving for?

After all, my friends . . . I hit the biggest one on the list, too – I fell in love.  So is that checked off the list?  Yes.

But does it mean it can’t go back on the list?

I never said that . . . time will tell.