Thursday, August 28, 2008

100 Things to Do Before You Die

Today I heard about a sobering accidental death.

Dave Freeman, co-author of “100 Things to Do Before You Die,” a travel guide and ode to odd adventures that inspired readers and imitators, died on Aug. 17 after a fall at his home in the Venice section of Los Angeles. He was 47.

Dave and I were only 6 months different in age. Over the past 10 years while I've been climbing, hiking, and traveling the world, I've tried to live each day to the fullest, creating my own 100 Things list. Here are a few completed entries on my list from my recent vacation and previous travels:

1. Explore the excavations of old Jerusalem with an archeologist. I did consulting for the government of Israel on coordinating electronic health records for mass causality incidents. I asked for a day with an archeologist as my compensation.

2. Walk Hadrian's Wall (separates England and Scotland in the UK) coast to coast and have a pint of ale in a rural Scottish Pub with farmers who've never met an American.

3. Kayak across the Baltic Sea (it took 3 days)

4. Gather crawfish by moonlight in Sweden (before I was a vegan)

5. Explore the fiords of Norway on foot

6. Bicycle throughout East Anglia in England, exploring the backroads and hedgerows.

7. Walk the 7 hills of Rome and climb the stairs to the top of St. Peters

8. Climb the Untersberg in Salzburg, Austria

9. Play the Turkish Ney in a Mosque in Istanbul

10. Walk the John Muir Trail

11. Climb every mountain in New England in every season of the year

12. Spend a weekend meditating and praying with Buddhist Monks at a temple on Mt. Koya

13. Spend the night on top of Half Dome

14. Play the Digeridoo in Australia

15. Scuba dive with Grey Whales

16. Watch the sunrise from the top of Mt. Fuji

17. Walk the old city of Prague where my ancestors made Pilsner

18. Play a flute concert on the top of the Eichorn Pinnacle in Yosemite (photo above)

19. Have dinner in the Smithsonian at night after it's closed

20. Walk 5 miles on the Great Wall of China

21. Climb the Grand Tetons at dawn

22. Camp under the stars at 11,000 feet in Yosemite during a meteor shower

23. Get licked on the face by a giraffe

24. Watch a sunrise from Machu Picchu

25. Ride a sleeper train with my family from Tokyo to Sapporo Japan.

Wherever I wander, I always look for the road less traveled. I never sit in a hotel room or seek the comforts of home - there will be time for that later. By filling each moment with lasting experiences instead of buying 'stuff' , I have very memorable encounters with people and places that provide me with long term satisfaction when I return home.

Dave - I wish you well and I hope you experienced your 100. I've already made a list for 2009 that includes sunsets on Santorini, playing the Hungarian Furulya with shepherds near Budapest, and climbing the East Face of Mt. Whitney. Whenever my time comes, I'll know that I balanced each day with work, family, and personal pursuits that include the best things I can find in this world.


Rick Deutsch said...

Interesting list. I assume you did #13 before 1992, since you can't camp on top of Half Dome since then.


Rick Deutsch-Mr. Half Dome
Author: "One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome"

Kate said...

Poetic John. It brought tears to my eyes.

Kate Lister

John Halamka said...

Thanks for the comments.

My wife and I spent the night on Half Dome in 1984 - it was legal back then!

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I think you did a lot within short period of time. You are adventurous people and I really feel sorry for the guy who died in early age. He was so busy person and he did different adventures in his life, I pray for him and we will really follow these 100 things.

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