World Travel

100 things to do before you die

Be a team mascot (photo Getty Images)
Be a team mascot
"Who wouldn't want to get dressed up as an animated jungle animal and have free reign to run amongst 8000 sports fans at a national ice hockey game?"

If you knew your time was fast running out, what would you do?

Think about it … look past your job, your lifestyle and your comfort zone, and pretend for just a moment that you can do absolutely anything in the world.

What did you come up with?

A few years ago, a close friend of mine passed away and I found myself tossing this very question around. I ended up with a list of everything I had ever wanted to accomplish, and decided that the list held the key to my own happiness. So I bit the bullet, dropped everything and embarked on an epic mission — to accomplish everything on my to-do list.

First stop? Vegas.

No 2. Marry a stranger in Las Vegas ✓

Can you believe I was stood up on my wedding day by a stripper? Perhaps you can. Having met Daidra, the stage name of a sultry exotic dancer on my first night in Vegas, we agreed to marry each other at a drive-through wedding parlour the following day. As it happened, she never showed and left me waiting at the altar.

Two weeks later I found out that she'd been run over by a car on her way to the chapel, but that didn't ease my broken heart at the time. Luckily for me, one of my guests (the receptionist of my hostel) agreed to have my hand instead. Her name was Chevali … I think. Ah, the sanctity of holy matrimony.

No 29. Spend one week in silence ✓

Imagine not making a sound for seven straight days — not even a whistle. This was by far the hardest challenge I'd undertaken. Only minutes into the challenge I entered a shop hoping for a drink and quickly learned that pointing to pictures on menus would fast be a big part of my life. Directing a cabby through Manhattan … to arrive at a blind date three days into my vow of silence? Also difficult and amusingly awkward, in that order.

I succeeded in the end, and learned a few things:

  • In silence you become very insecure, then curious, then hugely frustrated before regaining calmness.
  • When you don't speak, more people listen to you.
  • Once a woman learns a man can do nothing but listen, she'll tell you her darkest secrets.

No 77. Be a team mascot ✓

Who wouldn't want to get dressed up as an animated jungle animal and have free reign to run amongst 8000 sports fans at a national ice hockey game?

Passing through Geneva, Switzerland, I noted that the nation's best ice hockey team played locally. One phone call later I was invited to be a mascot for the day. I was introduced to an at-capacity stadium dressed as an 2.5m tall tiger 24 hours later. The experience comes highly recommended; if you find yourself in this kind of situation, just remember that ice is slippery, visibility is at a minimum and your headpiece will weigh 5kg. Otherwise you'll end up tail-over-tit.

Note: Geneva-Servette are currently in the finals of the national league. Good luck!

No 12. Visit a death-row inmate ✓

I've always been fascinated with the prison system in America, specifically with death row. I did an Internet search on "death row inmate", and after a bit of research and some further fishing I found myself with a new pen pal: James Mitchell III, who had spent the last nine years on death row in Oklahoma. We wrote to one another for a year, and then "J-Loc" (as he likes to be called) invited me for a visit.

Jail's a rough place. It gets rougher when you're confined three levels underground in a tiny cell for 23 hours every day. J-Loc's norm? No sunlight, minimal food and ultimate and uncontrollable structure.

We spoke for five and a half hours on a phone that connected us through the reinforced glass that physically kept us apart. He shared his dark past (which included gang violence, pimping and a child murder case) and I shared an ear.

I left death row at sunset with a new appreciation for my own upbringing and a new empathy for my pen friend.

As of publication, J-Loc is still alive awaiting his capital punishment.

No 4. Raise $10,000 for Camp Quality ✓ (almost)

These 100 things boil down to one thing — you can change your life for the better through a few simple (and not so simple) actions. And you can make someone else's life better by contributing to Camp Quality, a charity that gives kids with cancer hope and happiness. has already raised more than $5000 for Camp Quality; help me tick this one off by donating if you can.

No 24. Publish an article ✓

You're reading it — check!

Now, back to you …

I asked a friend of mine what his dream to-do list looked like last week. He thought about it for a moment and said, "I'd travel the world and play all the top golf courses". Tragically, Chris passed away unexpectedly over the weekend.

Although he never got a chance to follow his dream, he knew what he wanted to accomplish, which is just as important. Rest in peace, Chris.

See 100 Things. What's on your list? Enter your comments below

User comments
I dont have a bucket list, all i want is to live as long as I can and enjoy the experience for as long as I can. I dont need to meet important people, all the important people in my life I have met all ready . I dont need mpney, money creares greed. When I do go ,my main wish is for my friends to say, "there goes one hell'ova guy"
This is a hard one......perhaps come up with a 20 to 1 novel would that be?
get enlightened
I think we just need to live. Too much time is spent pondering what we should do and not enough actually doing.
Thank you for this article. I have found it incredibly inspiring reading about your dreams and how you made them reality. I have resolved to do the same with my life. Congratulations on all your success with your list!
Just keep on giving. Got no money so keep on giving what I can, my wisdom and my time. Will get to see the full moon rise over the Great Wall of China some day soon, once I've given enough.
I feel sad to think that there are so many cynical people (as shown by their comments to your article) out there in the world who have nothing better to do than make disparaging comments about your enlightening article. Unfortunately, they don't have the capacity to see that your dedication in following through on all those things on your list will have given you not only pleasure but also a sense of achievement at doing some worthwhile things (like making that death row inmate's life better even for a short time, which shows that you have compassion - we are none of us perfect) - unlike so many people who just waste their lives and never do or achieve anything - like I said, quite sad!
I would like to set up a soup kitchen for homeless,helpless, penniless, low income and family-less. it has bean a dream of mine for ages, to be a member of the community who stands up for the poor and feeds them - it will be just like feeding Jesus. Matthew 25 45 I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me
i would like to meet amy lee before i die, she has helped me through quite a few rough patches im my life.
Good on you mate. Hope it is all working out. Cant really see what all these guys are moaning about. I'm just jealous...