Opportunities in the Bag! The Fill-the-Bucket-List

MichaelBeliefs, Family, Habits, Misc19 Comments

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So this post is inspired by Maggie over at Northern Expenditure (source) and Sarah’s take over at The Yachtless.

Maggie suggested that we create our own fill-the-bucket list which focuses on the opportunities you taken, and things you’ve taken a chance on and done.  I think it’s a fantastic idea and a great way to show gratitude for the many blessings that we already have in our lives.  I’d definitely encourage you to do your own and share with us!

Here’s my Fill-the-Bucket-List

Trip to Central America

So, I’m typically not an early morning type of person, but occasionally there are some opportunities that can’t be missed.  One of the coolest and more memorable experiences was a trip with some close college friends and my wife to Tikal National Park in Guatemala.  One of the days we woke up at 4am to hike through a rain forest, scaled an ancient Mayan pyramid, and took in a sunrise overlooking (and listening to) the forest coming alive.


On the same trip, we took the opportunity in Belize to inner tube a river that pushes you through some underwater caves.  There were some spots where it was close to pitch black which was really cool and eerie at the same time.  The water had a deep blue-green color in the light.


Cooking Class at the Le Cordon Bleu

So my wife studied in Paris, France for an entire summer during her junior year at University.  She’s been obsessed with all things French ever-since.  Anyhow, during one of our trips to Paris, we decided to take a cooking class at the world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu.

The half-day class was small with only a dozen participants and a couple of instructors.  It was given in French and translated into English for us non-native speakers.  We got to create several sauces, reductions, and dishes like duck à l’orange.  By the time we were done, we had enough food for 2 meals each.  After class we took it out to a park and had quite the feast!


Going On My First (and Last) Blind Date

So I reference this on my About Me page, but I’ll elaborate a little further here.  Back in my University days, I was kind of caught up in a series of limiting patterns and beliefs.  I was completely clueless about love and dreamed about finding the “perfect” one!  I was a hopeless romantic, but spent the majority of my time cooped up in my apartment with friends and countless hours playing video games… yes, I was a nerd!

But, eventually I decided to challenge the status quo and took up a friend’s offer to set me up on a blind date with one of her sorority sisters.  And well, long story short, that’s how I met my wife.  We hit it off and were together ever since… almost 18 years now (married 10).  Scariest thing I ever did, but also the most rewarding. 🙂

(No digital picture of this one – too long ago!)

Attending Date with Destiny

So, as you may know at this point, I’m a pretty big fan of Tony Robbin’s wisdom and tools he shares around self-development.  Just a few months ago, I had the chance to attend my first live seminar of his.  I was blown away by the insights I got and while I was there found an obvious (but challenging) opportunity that ultimately changed my life (if you care to read about it click here for more detail).

This led to attending Date with Destiny, Tony’s 5 day seminar that helps you to uncover your internal blueprint and re-write the parts you wish to change.  Life changing and priceless – point being, I’m so glad I took the opportunity to nurture and invest in myself, which ultimately allows me to love and serve others better.


Volunteering as a Field Trip Chaperon

So my daughter K attends a pre-school class a couple of times per week and I had the opportunity to volunteer as a field trip chaperon. It was a pretty simple field trip just a couple blocks away… to McDonald’s of all places!

But, more importantly it was a chance to watch my daughter interact with her friends at school and share her first field trip together.  Sometimes it’s the littlest things that put the widest grin on our face.  I’m pretty sure though, the calories we burned walking to and from the classroom didn’t cover the caloric intake from lunch that day… ah well.


Blowing Up a Car!

So, last, but not least.  I had the unique opportunity to blow up a car!  As a child I had always wanted to go into the special effects field.  After selling my company, I had the good fortune to spend some time “playing” as an adult and decided to take a 5 day special effects course out in Orlando, Florida with a special effects company and stuntman.

We got to play with the coolest toys – a heavy-duty fog machine, air canons, fireworks, blank guns, and for the grand finale we blew up the car.  🙂  And yes, this was in a completely controlled environment with safety as the priority before anything else… so don’t try this at home!


Final Thoughts

I had only planned on writing about 4 opportunities, but I couldn’t help myself.  🙂  Thanks again to Maggie and Sarah for the inspiration.  This was one of the easiest posts to write.  Remember, becoming financially alert is also about gratitude and appreciation for what you already have.

When it comes down to it, we all have had opportunities we’ve taken along our path in life.  The Fill-the-Bucket-List is a great reminder to cherish the great experiences we’ve had, and also a reminder to continue taking future opportunities.

Life is short.  Life is a gift.  Live it well.

Readers, I’d love to hear about your Fill-the-Bucket-List!  What’s in yours?

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Hi, I have been blessed to take an early retirement in my mid-30's so I can focus on becoming a better father, blogger, and investor.

My goal is to help you find your personal path to financial freedom, and to enjoy the entire journey.

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19 Comments on “Opportunities in the Bag! The Fill-the-Bucket-List”

  1. Those are great experiences! I have a lot of things I want to do in the future, with a majority involving travel, but we try and do new and different things when we can. One thing we did recently is that we went kayaking through the Mangroves in Florida. It was beautiful going through the vegetation and seeing the wildlife around us. My wife and I also realized how fast we can paddle a tandem kayak when it started down pouring for the last 20 minutes we were out there 🙂

    1. Wow, kayaking through the Mangroves sounds awesome Thias! Even though you had sore arms the next day, I’m sure that extra paddling locked in the experience for life. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. Thanks Sarah. Yeah, I’m so lucky to spend time with my daughter every day, but still… she’s growing up so fast!

      I’m so glad I found your and Maggie’s fill-the-bucket-list. 🙂

    1. Such a great idea Maggie! It was so much fun participating… thank you.

      For my future bucket list, I plan to take with my wife up to Alaska within the next few years – it looks so beautiful and we love to fish. 🙂 I’ll have to hit you up for ideas before we go!

  2. Wow, you have an awesome life! 🙂
    I need to invest in myself more. Life gets so busy and I feel so bogged down with everything. I’m also a bit too cheap when it comes to spending money. I really need to loosen up when it comes to growth.

    1. Thanks Joe! Yes, I can’t really complain too much. I have been blessed immensely all throughout life.

      It’s never to late to invest in yourself. The way I see it, is that any positive returns that come of it ultimately benefit your family and friends.

  3. You and your wife’s had some amazing adventures. My wife and I love to travel — our kids had been to almost 20 countries by the time they graduated high school. We’ve spent time in Bora Bora, Europe (several times), South America, Canada and we’ve been to almost all 50 states.

    Some of my favorite memories are:

    – Waking up in Bora Bora, diving off the deck of our over water bungalow to wake up
    – Viewing Machu Picchu at sunrise
    – Ziplining over a 2,000 foot Canyon in Ecuador
    – Learning to Barefoot Ski at 12 years old
    – Watching a huge tortoise bury her eggs in the Galapagos Islands

    All great stuff!

    1. Wow Steve, I love your list too! Galapagos Islands is definitely a must for us. My wife is a biology teacher and super passionate about her subject. 🙂

      Machu Picchu at sunrise sounds incredible too! (As well as everything else you listed).

      A must admit there was a time that I used to be all about “things”, but have since come to realize that it’s the experiences that I’ll treasure forever.

      I’m looking forward to reading more about your upcoming travels!

  4. That’s awesome Michael!

    One thing that I regret before I had a child was that my wife and I didn’t travel much. It was because we weren’t on solid financial footing until she was born. I wish we knew better so that we could have traveled to Central America! We’ll travel there in the future – it’s definitely a lot more challenging with a little one!

    A field trip to McDonald’s? Doesn’t sound too nutritious 😉

    I just might have to steal yours, Maggie’s, and Sarah’s idea for a future blog post!

    1. I’m sure you’ll have the opportunity to travel in the future Vic! And, you can definitely do it on the cheap but still experience amazing things.

      When we travelled to Central America, it was actually pretty cheap overall. The dollar went pretty far and we even stayed with a friend in her peace corp apartment. Definitely an adventure!

      And, no a field trip to McD’s is definitely NOT nutritious! But, it’s all about balance. As long as my daughter doesn’t consume that on an ongoing basis it’s fine. Plus, they were more excited to play in the McD’s playground than eating silly things like burgers or french fries…heh.

  5. Wow you’ve done some cool things, love the blind date story :).. Must admit to date most of mine are travel related including:

    – Spending 4 months in Canada on exchange while studying at University
    – Hitting up a Cirque du Solei show in Vegas (highly recommend this)
    – Climbing to Everest Base Camp
    – Doing Machu Pichu & South America in general
    – The Kokoda Trail in PNG (a significant part of Aussie history)

    There’s many more smaller experiences but these are the big ones.

    Wanting to give back more and my own blog is a big part of enabling this


      1. Hey Mike, taken me a few days to get back to you however it’s 5,335m (17,500ft): (even included the ft option though down under we use meters ha).. It’s a great adventure and not one that is super difficult..

        I’d say definitely do Machu Pichu (not to boast or brag although I’ve done that one too) in 2014.. It’s a bit easier than base camp although both are rewarding / awesome :)..

        Any questions hit me up man! Happy to share experiences tips and tricks

        1. Thanks for the conversion. It saves me a conversion in Google…heh. 17,500ft is super high, but I guess low relative to the peak of Everest. I don’t do too well with altitude… got sick visiting the Rockies in Colorado which is only 13,000ft. Maybe I just need to bring some extra oxygen with me. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  6. WOW, this was a great article. You have some crazy and amazing experiences. I can’t even imagine doing half of these things. My goal is to try and cross off some items off my bucket list each year but with work and the children it becomes so difficult. I’m working on finding a balance and posts like these help me a lot. Thank you so much!

    1. Thanks for the comment Tom. It’s always a challenge to balance work and children. The good news is it gets easier… at least theoretically! 😉

  7. Pingback: The Fill-the-Bucket List | Northern Expenditure

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