2012 Bucket List – Adventure Awaits!

In 2011, I went to 7 countries, got married, went sky-diving, bungee jumping, paragliding, base jumping, rock climbing, sailing, whitewater rafting, cruising, canoeing, canopy touring (zip-lining), jet skiing, windsurfing, dog sledding, helicopter touring, rappelling, trapeze swinging, caving, kayaking, and swimming with beluga whales and dolphins all with a bucket list in mind and an open heart. Also in 2011, my husband and I consciously thought about where we’d like to live in the world, chose southern California, quit our permanent positions, sold everything we owned, packed the car with what was left, and moved across the continent to our dream location. We want to live a life of fairy-tales with attention to every spectacular moment along the way. Now that I’m a mother, it may be a little more complicated to complete the extreme adventures and travels that have filled my past, but a world of opportunity awaits with my baby girl and my husband at my side. I’m sure I’ve left things off and added impossible things as well, but heck… it’s my list.

Bucket List for 2012 (The blue links are things that I’ve already accomplished. You can read about them by clicking the link):

1. See LA from a helicopter

2. Fly a Jetpack

3. Find the best Italian restaurant

4. Deliver my baby girl

5. Finish the nursery of my dreams for my baby

6. See Winter in Venice at The Venetian in Las Vegas

7. See all of my immediate family

8. Swim with whale sharks

9. Lose the “baby weight”

10. See one Wonder of the World

11. See a sunrise

12. Attend a Renaissance Festival

13. Reach 25,000 followers on my blog

14. Take a helicopter flight lesson

15. Visit a new state

16. Go to the Celtic Colours in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

17. Fly an airplane

18. Reach 5 million views

19. Go whale-watching

20. Buy a house

21. Ride in a hot air balloon

22. Fly a biplane

23. Visit a new country

24. Plan at least 5 bucket list adventures for others

25. Take a new class 

26. Be part of the Newport Boat Parade

27. Fly a glider

28. Learn how to make a new craft

29. Plan a complete surprise mini-vacation/activity for my husband

30. Read daily to my daughter

31. Visit a new state

32. Participate in a new adventure that I didn’t even know existed

922 thoughts on “2012 Bucket List – Adventure Awaits!

      • Congratulations on your marriage and baby. Thanks for liking my Blog. As a father of five I can only say that my wife and I have had many adventure, not quite so exhilerating as yours, just raising the kids. So enjoy this time of your life. I think I am already doing my bucket list when I became a writer of tales of legend, history, love, tolerance, acceptance, folklore, and mystery in my books.

      • Yes, congratulations on your marriage and baby. The sleep on the beach thing, oh definitely do that one! Yes! And, the read to your baby girl every day – that will pay dividends for you and her for a lifetime. My son is grown now. I read to him every day. It makes a difference. I’m encouraging you in fulfilling your bucket list. It’s a life worth living, dear!

      • I would just like to let you know that your blog is the first I’ve read on this website who wasn’t initally my friend. I loved your story in the beginning about visiting countries, getting married, and just packin’ up to go t S. Cal. I hope you successfully complete your bucket list! Swimming with whale sharks would sound so fun! I wish that one day I’ll have the time to do all those things. Thanks for liking my blog!

        This may be a strange question because I’m not used to people ‘liking’ my blog. But if you don’t mind me asking, what made you like it?

      • Hi Lesley,

        Thanks for reaching out to me and reading my blog.. You sound a little too young and adventurous for a bucket list. Enjoy each day (which you sound like you are doing). Congratulations on following your heart. Write down and send to me one of your favorite happy hours – I am sure you have many.

      • Your truly AWESOME…. and an inspiration just from the big smiles in your photo’s you are enjoying your life and living your dreams good on you …Thank you so much for liking my Blog means a lot. I’m heading out to Miami in August with my family to put the wheels in motion for a permanent relocation, which is number 1 on my list….Your list is however is as I said AWESOME so will have to review mine ;-) keep up the good work really enjoy bless…

      • Thanks for liking my blog and bringing me to yours. You are an inspiration and slightly crazy if I may add ;) Anything involving heights makes me queasy, minus airplanes for some strange reason. I’m in awe of all of the things you have seen and done and I’m looking forward to reading about your move and all of your new adventures and travels

      • Great bucket list! Mine is to visit the Maldives as I soak up the awesomeness of my new life in Kuwait, go back to Scotland and England, and finish my novel. All are realistic–love having a list to check off the progress!!!!

      • You rock, Lesley! Great list and congrats on all you’ve done. I’m older than you and not as physically fit, but it’s still inspiring. Maybe I’ll steal “ride on an elephant” and “take an unplanned road trip.”

      • Of course I do! Make it back to my old stomping grounds in Alaska, with my good camera gear this time (and related, get a stunning aurora photo). By the way, change that ride an elephant to taking a class on being a mahout. Take it from me, driving an elephant is WAY better than riding one.

      • I’d like to fly my parents to Korea so they can experience it. I want to travel through India. I want to take the Transiberian railroad. I want to make sure my husband is happy every day. I want to cook with more vegetables (I do a pretty good job, but there is always room for improvement). I want to skinny dip in the ocean. I want to learn to speak Korean. PS I thought it would be easier to create a list, you really have to stop and think about it to make it real.

      • Lesley,
        For accomplishing “riding on an elephant”, I can recommend Chiang Mai, Thailand. You might want to wait a few years, though, when your baby is old enough to enjoy the experience with you. Spend several weeks in Thailand — it is amazing! I specialize in family travel planning. Perhaps I can help you soon?


        • Riding an elephant is fun but you are on a moving platform. When you take a one-day mahout class you sit on the neck, and with your feet bare push with your toes on the back of the ears. I did mine in southern Laos. It’s a much smoother ride than on the back, and you have control over the elephant. Of course, the real mahout is right there in case something goes wrong. Riding one in S Nepal was great too, b/c of the fact she had her baby along, and he just couldn’t stay out of trouble!

    • Thank you, Lesley, for liking my post. I am still at work on it. When I saw your “Bucket List” title I had to read more. You inspire that Lara Croft in us all. Congratulations on your new adventure with your baby! Sunny side up, Susan J

    • Thanks! Do you have one of your own?

      I use to have a Life Bucket List but I found myself wanting to complete everything that year so I switched gears a little bit.

      Keep the posts coming; you have an interesting blog.


      • I do have several mini bucket lists because that allows me to can focus on certain things. On giant bucket list just seems daunting to me. Right now I am focusing on my Russia bucket list and as soon as I get home for Winter break I will switch over to my Everything I missed while in Russia bucket list. Then switch back to my Russia and travel bucket list.

        Thank you. You also have an interesting blog and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    • Your list is huge and filled with great ideas! Although I love the idea of a Life Bucket List, I found it too vague for me and I wanted to complete everything immediately. At least with a Yearly Bucket List, I can have that need for immediacy filled without trying to do everything at once. I like the specific focus of it. :)

      Your section of Ways I Want to Make a Difference is inspirational.

      As for the last item on my list, I can’t imagine anything that has given me more pleasure (at least that I can write about in public ;) than reading.

      I can only hope that my daughter will have the same passion for reading.

      Happy Holidays,


      • No doubt your daughter will if you have the passion for it. Kids do look to their parents for inspiration and guidance on these things, even if it doesn’t always seem like it. :-)

    • Thank you for your continued support!

      I’m trying to keep with the spirit of adventure and new experiences even while pregnant; I just have to choose wisely. This weekend I’ll be taking my first airplane lesson, which sticks to my passion for flying; I’ll just remain in the plane this time ;)

    • I started to post about some of the experiences already. You can find the flight over the Grand Canyon (10. See one Wonder of the World (Nov. 25th – The Grand Canyon)), (2. See LA from a helicopter (Nov. 6th)), and (6. See Winter in Venice at The Venetian in Las Vegas (Nov. 23rd – Nov.27th)) all under my Bucket List Category.

      Watch for two more next week :)

    • I’m sure I’ve seen a sunrise before, but I never really took note of it. It’s funny how we forget to appreciate some of the most beautiful, simple things around us. I’m ready to really see a sunrise now.

      Number 30 certainly is saving the best for last. I can only hope that my daughter will embrace reading like I have.

      Do you have a list posted on your blog? I’d love to read it.


      • I agree ~ I’m sure I’ve seen a sunrise before too, but never with actual intention. My blog is pretty new, so I’m still working on getting all the pieces that I want up and running. I’m planning a “bucket list” for lifelong goals, and a “birthday list” for things that I want to achieve before my next birthday. My birthday is December 22, so I plan to debut that one then.

        As for reading, I will definitely be the one who instills that in my someday-children ~ my hubby is not so much into reading. At all!

  1. Way to go, Lesley! Best wishes for wedded bliss, and happy motherhood. I look back at my own life and see the different phases I went through. I like to dream but life dreams better than I ever do!

    • If I stuck to only what I could dream, I would not be living this life at all. My husband has opened my eyes to a whole new world and we can’t wait to share it with our daughter.

      Good luck with your adventures,


  2. What a great list and need to write my list down instead of carrying it around in my head. Especially like #26 on your list and did a blog post last night on the Newport Christmas Boat Parade. Bet it will be fun.I also have enjoyed reading from a early age and still enjoy it. Think you have a very doable list!

    • I put a lot of thought into creating a list that was both challenging and possible. Although there are a million other things I’d like to accomplish this year, this list gives me direction and focus.

      Let me know what you come up with for your own list and dream big!


  3. LOVE your list! Every year I make a list as well, and your has inspred me to be a little more adventurous. I’ll be posting mine soon. Thanks so much for sharing! :)

  4. Reading daily to your daughter will be a breeze. It has been part of our nap and bedtime routine since day one. Just make sure some are books you enjoy too. You will start to read the same ones over and over as she shows more interest in them. And I love that you want to teach your daughter how to swim. Me and Dek have been in classes since he was 4 months old. Although he still can’t physically swim on his own yet, he is learning many key skills and starting to try it out on his own with a lifevest on (his head is too heavy to stay up on his own still ;-) Great list! I look forward to following the adventure!

  5. These are awesome! I just made a list like this and feel very inspired to see someone else’s. Thank you for sharing it, and good luck!

  6. My dear- you are ALIVE!!! My adventure for the new year is- at 38 I am moving solo to a mountain town and taking a basic job so I can pursue life, photography and learn how to shred. :) namaste

  7. I have accomplished 13 of your bucket list, not to minimize it though, its a great list!! I did tweak one – the take class, I actually taught a class this year, never thought I would do that!! Keep chipping away and I am looking forward to reading about your adventures T2C

    • The best part of making a list each year is you can add new things or continue with things you really enjoyed from the previous year. I’m sure my aviation theme will continue in 2013. Do you have a bucket list? What are some things you’d like to accomplish this year?

    • I figure this is my first pregnancy and I’m going to enjoy every second of “eating for two” :)

      With that confession, I need to have an after plan because I’m already gaining weight for two.

  8. I honestly hope you will succeed fulfilling this whole bucketlist. Seems just a bit more realistic than the one I put on my blog, because that will take me years to complete. If I will ever be able to fully complete it at all… Good luck! And I am looking forward to the blogs that will come from it.

  9. Riding an elephant is amazing – one of the best things i have ever done by far. Teaming that with getting showered by one AND feeding a baby elephant orphan its one on my own bucket list that im definatly going to repeat. Hope you have fun!

  10. You’re blog never fails to make me smile. I always tell my friends to read your blog especially those who love to travel.

    And oh,I have a bucket list too. 1000 things to do before 2016. :)

  11. You mentioned learning a new craft – how about quilting? There are some fabulous teachers in SoCal, even another karate quilter if I’m not mistaken!

  12. Thanks for stopping by my blog, because I have so enjoyed, reading yours! So exciting! I have long desired to make up my own bucket list, and felt inspired after reading how much a person could actually experience in one year, after reading yours! You rock!!!!
    Thanks for sharing with us and many blessings to you and your new family!!

  13. I love the road trip idea. I’m a big fan of these trips and they are typically so spontaneous and full of adventure in itself that planning on “not-planning” one would probably make it extra interesting.

    • A few months ago, my husband came home from work on a Thursday evening and I said, “We should fly to Alaska for the weekend…” It was one of our favorite trips yet and we filled every second of the weekend with amazing adventures even though we had nothing planned.

      Hopefully we’ll find something equally spontaneous this year.

      Good luck with your adventures,


  14. I’m inspired by your bucket list- it’s a very realistic list shown by what you’ve achieved so far. The best time for travelling is whilst your daughter is young so I know you won’t stop! I can recommend the elephant ride- great fun, especially if they go swimming!!

  15. Glad to have come across your blog! I am excited to put together a list of goals for 2012. Some of my 2011 goals were derailed by pregnancy, so it will be fun to try to achieve them and more this next year. Having a baby will sure change my focus though!

    • I’ve tried to schedule the things that would be difficult to accomplish after my daughter is born now so I can accomplish everything on the list, but pregnancy has a mind of its own.

      Regardless, I’ll be happy to experience the world with her and my husband at my side.

      Good luck with your adventures,


  16. New Year’s Bucket List sounds a lot more interesting than the New Year’s Resolution. :-)

    It seems that you’ve gotten a head-start on some of them. Just curious, which 7 countries did you go to this year? My husband and I have a bucket list of all the countries that we wanted to go to. At the pace of 2 countries a year, with some repeats (well, some countries are just too big) and new countries popping into the list, we are making slow progress in completing the list. :-)

    • This year, we visited most of the USA, Canada, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, the Bahamas, Mexico, and Jamaica. It was not our first time in the US, Canada, or Mexico, but the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Jamaica were all new.

      Where is the next stop on your list? Which countries did you visit this year? What has been your favorite country to date?

      Good luck with your travels and may the world be at your doorstep :)

      • Lesley, I seriously don’t know how you fit this many destinations into one year. We went to China and just came back from Japan. I don’t know that we have a favorite yet. Everywhere we’ve been to, we want to settle down there. :-)

        Will need to pick a few tips from you on how to quickly go through our list of countries to visit. :-)

      • We share the same problem! I want to visit the world and see everything while I’m doing it! Canada and the US were easy because we are Canadians who moved to the US last year. While we were in Costa Rica, we took a bus up to Nicaragua and while we were in Florida, we took a cruise to the Bahamas; I guess our only trick is to double up :)

        Mexico is only a two hours drive so that’s an easy one and we were married in Jamaica because it was the only cheap, all-inclusive country that we both really wanted to see and hadn’t visited.

        I think it’s safe to say that we will not be covering 7 countries this year, but I can imagine will fit in three or four.

        Keep me posted.

        Happy Holidays,


    • Next month I plan on running for President, flying into space, and catching a great white shark with only a string and two fishing hooks. Do you think I should just add those to tomorrow’s list instead and take a month off? ;)

      Hopefully we’ll chat soon.

      Happy Holidays,


  17. If you are into white water at all (I am a nut) have you ever heard of the Gauley? It is an awesome river pretty much year round, but if you get a chance to get to West Virginia next September you really need to check it out. for one month out of the year it is the best Class V-VI in the world.

  18. Nice post.

    Although obviously I’m aware of bucket lists, I’ve always thought of them a bit like car crashes… Something that happens to other people. Maybe I should give it a whirl.

    • I find it hard to complete a life bucket list because I always want to complete all of the items immediately. A yearly lists works much better and gives me something to strive for each year. You should give it a try; it can be quite rewarding.

      Let me know if you decide to put it to paper. I’d love to hear some of your ideas.


  19. You are amazing, and an inspiration. Wow! Btw, as you like new and adventurous things and I’m sure thumb your nose to convention, do consider a water birth and ‘attachment parenting’. From experience some of the greatest things I’ve done – you’ll be glad you did! Talking of adventure, you know life is an adventure no matter what you do. After just having given birth and in the early years of your baby’s life you probably won’t do quite as much sky diving and bungee jumping as hitherto… and you know that’s no loss when you consider the adventure you have signed up for … motherhood! There’s nothing in the world to touch it, trust me! And as your little one gets older sounds like you’re going to be one of the few moms that all the kids want for a mom, because of all your cool adventures …

    • I know that my whole life will change when my daughter is born, but I still want to experience everything to the fullest. Get out there and enjoy it! I bet your daughter would be happy to be at your side :)

      Happy Holidays!

      I hope the world is at your doorstep :)

  20. Wow. You are so hardcore. And this is such a cool blog idea. Can’t wait to watch it all come true. And you can feel even better about spending your time doing this because not only is it great for you, but you’re pleasing and inspiring the rest of us along the way.

  21. How inspiring to see someone really living life and having so many adventures! And congratulations on your baby girl. She is in for an exciting life!

  22. Those are all really good ideas. If you are going to make seeing a sunrise an epic event, I’d suggest the Grand Canyon deal they do from the lodge at the park there. It’s one of those “things” you don’t forget.

    I’ll have to say, I think a lot of the adventures you and your husband are going on. I wish everyone viewed life the way you do.

  23. So glad I came across your blog! I love this bucket list idea. I started an excel doc (I’m a nerd) with places I want to see, how much it would cost and how long it would take. Funny enough, I have yet to hit any of them because other places keep popping up!

    • I can relate to constantly finding new adventures. I think that’s what led me to create a list in the first place. I never put anything that I can’t accomplish and I always make it a priority.

      What is the one place you’d like to see the most?


    • I recently found out that our local zoo has elephant rides so I plan on visiting in two weeks!

      It may not be as extreme as a safari, but I’m excited for the adventure.

      Happy Holidays,


      • Hi Lesley, I’m glad you enjoyed reading some of our blog. Definitely seems like we have a lot in common! I love your bucket list and you’ll have so much fun completing it but there is one thing I would suggest you think about changing. Instead of riding an elephant I would recommend going to The Elephant Nature Park in Chang Mai in Thailand to volunteer. It was an incredible and eye opening experience and you definitely won’t want to ride an elephant once you have been there. Have a look at our blog exert about it and let me know if you have any questions….. http://tolivingdreams.com/2011/03/22/the-elephant-nature-park/
        Good luck with the rest of your list!

  24. You inspire me! I ask myself what would I do if I did not listed to the 10 reasons why I should not. You allow me to see the beauty of living without limitations. :-)

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