A whirlwind adventure: 50 for 50

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On February 8, 2018, I turned 49. Many people thought I was turning 50 and asked how I planned to celebrate. I knew a party would be a given, but as I thought about it, I realized I wanted something more. Looking at the 40 to 50 years to come if I'm lucky, I want to make sure I will continue living with gusto and not complacency.

A month before, I learned that I wasn't selected to be The New York Times' reporter to travel to 52 places in 2018. This was not a huge shock — they received 13,000 applications! — but the rejection stung. I had wanted this role and knew I would have kicked some serious ass doing it. I wasn't interested in taking a year off to mimic it, but it did inspire me to create my own list: 50 places I've never visited that I will travel to in my 49th and 50th years.

By taking on this commitment I'm saying "yes" again to living big and following my heart and a big "no" to multiple weekends laying on my couch and binging on Netflix. Coming up with my list was surprisingly challenging as I want it be realistic in terms of time and finances and also be sure it will force me to stay on my toes to make it happen.

So here's my list. I plan to meet up with friends along the way — let me know where I'll be meeting you!

Here's to a life well lived now and well into the future. 

  1.   Skydive somewhere! (eeek!!!)
  2.   Morocco, Marrakesh
  3.   Morocco, Erg Chebbi dunes
  4.   Morocco, Chefchaouen
  5.   Morocco, Fez
  6.   Iceland, Reykjavik
  7.   Iceland, Blue Lagoon
  8.   Iceland, ice cave tour
  9.   Iceland, Northern Lights
  10.   Finland, Helsinki
  11.   Finland, Loyly sauna
  12.   Estonia, Tallinn
  13.   Russia, St Petersburg, Hermitage
  14.   Russia, St Petersburg, Peterhof or Catherine's Palace
  15.   Russia, Moscow, Red Square
  16.   Russia, Moscow, the Kremlin
  17.   Kauai, kayak the Na Pali coast
  18.   Kauai, Waimea Canyon
  19.   Kauai, birding at Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge
  20.   Boston, Massachusetts, Freedom Trail
  21.   Boston, Massachusetts, Harborwalk
  22.   Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts,
  23.   Provincetown, Massachusetts,
  24.   Horseshoe Bend, near Page, Arizona
  25.   Antelope Canyon, Arizona
  26.   Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
  27.   North Rim of Grand Canyon, Arizona
  28.   Sedona, Arizona
  29.   Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico 
  30.   White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
  31.   Olympic National Park, Washington
  32.   Canada, Vancouver Island, Tofino
  33.   Portland, Oregon, WDS stage as attendee story!
  34.   Lassen National Park, California
  35.   Pinnacles National Park, California
  36.   Celebrate my dad's 80th somewhere great!
  37.   Sierra Hot Springs, Sierraville, California
  38.   Farallon Islands, California
  39.   Andrew Molera State Park, Big Sur, California
  40.   Esalen Insitute workshop, Big Sur, California
  41.   Alamere Falls, Point Reyes National Seashore, California
  42.   Pie Ranch for a barn dance, Pescadero, California
  43.   San Francisco tiki bar bar crawl
  44.   Bike the Bay Bridge
  45.   UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens
  46.   On location TBD to tape my 3rd Amazing Race application! Who’s coming with me?
  47.   An alternative medicinal center 
  48.   Go-with-the-flow location
  49.   Surprise-the-hell-out-of-me place
  50.   Last-chance-for-50-for-50!!!