Owning our house a little more

One of the goals I set myself for this year was to pay off at least 20K of our current mortgage.

Even though we’ve had quite a few other expensive purchases (new car, holidays) I am extremely glad to be able to say that we did it. Yesterday, I transferred 20K from our bank account to the bank, and as soon as it is processed (should be done in a couple of days), we officially are the owners of our house a little more.

There’s still a long way to go before we have completely gotten rid of our mortgage, but this is definitely a step in the right direction!


Country #8: Luxembourg

I’ve just returned from a wonderful three week long holiday in the Eifel region in Germany. That in itself is nice, but not something worthy of a mention here. What is noteworthy, though, is that we made a quick day trip to do some sightseeing activities in Luxembourg during our holiday. And Luxembourg was not yet ticked off on my list of visited countries in Europe. So now it is!

I’ve been to Luxembourg a couple of times before (before I started this item), and I really love the country. It’s small, relatively close to home, yet the nature and the landscape is really different from what I’m used to. I’ll likely be visiting the country a couple more times in the future, but I can cross it off the to-do list now!

The Luxembourg flag

A night under the stars

When I added the plan to spend at least one night sleeping under the stars to my bucket list, I imagined I would do this on a holiday, possibly in a remote destination, somewhere close to the beach or maybe in the mountains.

I had no idea that I would do it at home, in my back yard.

Still, because of the heat of the last couple of days here and the accumulated humidity that unfortunately comes with it in the Netherlands, I thought last night was a perfect opportunity to, well, sleep under the stars. I took a blanket and a pillow outside and lay down on our garden couch. After getting used to the sounds (most of them you don’t hear throughout the day), and some star- and airplane gazing, I spent a short but wonderful, fresh, oxygen-laden, night under the stars.

I’ll definitely do this more often in the future. Maybe, some day, in that remote location I envisioned back then. But then again, maybe in my own back yard…

Sleeping under the stars

(By the way, that picture definitely was not taken in my back yard. I wish…)

#12b – Run the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon

This item replaces the original #12 on the list: Run the Big Five half marathon. I found out there’s no other way to run that race than to book a full tour, which is a little too commercialized an activity than I’d be willing to undertake. Also, having seen footage from previous Two Oceans races, I am of the opinion that it’s an ever more beautiful race, and it being 56km long makes it an even bigger challenge as well!

I love running. I love distance running. And I love South Africa. I’ve been there once, back in 2001, way before I started my bucket list, and I am always up for a reason to visit this wonderful country again. Browsing Youtube running video’s a while ago, I stumbled upon footage of the Two Oceans ultramarathon, a 56km foot race that leads participants along the coast lines of, you guessed it, two oceans (the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, to be precise).

And I was sold. Many runners have the New York City Marathon on their bucket list. For me, this is the one. Some day, I WILL have run this. I mean, just look at the picture below. That says it all, doesn’t it?

A picture with participants running the 2016 Two Oceans Marathon

#81b – Become a PPL certified pilot

This item replaces the original #81 – Run a sub 20 minute 5k, which is no longer something I strive to do. Running is a way to relax for me, and I’ve noticed that’s much easier to do when distance running, without having to stick to strict schedules and intervals.

As a wannabe traveler, the world of pilots, airplanes and airports has always fascinated me. So much so that I’ve put the idea in my head of becoming a licensed pilot myself. I am not looking for a career change, it would just be a hobby, which means that obtaining my PPL (Private Pilot License) would be a great goal to set. With this license, I can technically hire and fly a single prop airplane pretty much everywhere in the world. I can practically see myself cruising over vineyards and hillsides in Tuscany already…

Now I just need to save up a bit…

A Piper Archer, one of the airplanes I would be allowed to fly with a PPL license

Visited provinces and territories of Canada

Here is the list marking the progress of me visiting all provinces and territories in Canada. Plus an interactive map. I haven’t been to Canada since adding this item to the list, so there’s a lot left to go!

Province or territory Visited
British Columbia
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Northwest Territories
Prince Edward Island

Country #7: Austria

As I said earlier, this year (2018) I’m looking to visit at least three countries in Europe that I haven’t visited before I started this list.

Happy to say that I’m writing this short update from a very cold but otherwise lovely Vienna, Austria. I’ve been invited to do a presentation and demo at a local meetup here, and I’m making a city trip out of it together with my wife.

I’ve been to Austria, and even to Vienna, before, but that was long before I started this list. I’m glad that I’m able to properly check it off my list now. And glad to get a chance to eat proper Wienerschnitzel again!