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…)

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#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
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Northwest Territories
Nunavut
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Yukon

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!

Austria

#5b – Visit all provinces and territories of Canada

Canada may well be my favourite travel destination in the world. I’ve been there two times, so far (plus a short day trip to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls when I was in the US), but I’d like to see much more of the country. Therefore, I’m making it a bucket list item to visit all of the 10 provinces (which should be relatively easy) and the 3 territories (a bit more challenging) of Canada. Again, starting from 0, which is also a good way of making myself visit British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland once more!

Provinces and territories of Canada

This item replaces the original #5 on the list, visiting all 50 states of the United States. As I said in that post, I find Canada an even better travel destination, and I think that visiting Canada on a couple more occasions would be much more satisfying than completing the list of all US states.

Looking back to 2017 and looking forward to 2018

With 2017 almost to an end, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate on what I planned to do this year, as well as to look forward to 2018 a bit.

Here’s what I wanted to do this year:

#91 – Complete a Coursera course
Sadly, I haven’t been able to carve out the time to do this. Work and family, as well as moving house pretty much ate up all of my time. I don’t consider this a particularly good thing..

#100 – Visit at least three other countries in Europe
Almost.. I managed to visit two countries that I hadn’t visited ever (Romania) or at least not since adding this item to my bucket list (the UK).

#73 – Pay off 20k of our mortgage
Done! Even though we moved house, we managed to pay off just over 25k, something I am massively proud of.

#16 – See Andrea Bocelli perform live
Done as well. Not a big achievement given that we bought the tickets in 2016, but still an amazing experience.

#33 – Run at least one half marathon
Blegh. Fitness-wise, this year has been quite crap. This is one of the biggest focus points of next year, though. I really need to get back into shape instead of feeling lethargic and growing chubbier by the week..

Other items
I managed to complete one single item I didn’t directly plan for, this being seeing a film on my own while visiting the UK. Not a score that makes me overly enthusiastic..

So.. On to my 2018 plans.

#100 – Visit at least three other countries in Europe
Like this year, I’d like to visit three more countries in Europe. One of them has already been confirmed (early March), and I do have some other traveling plans lined up, but they are to countries that I’ve already ticked off. No idea what other two new countries will be added to the list, but I’ll make an effort nonetheless!

#73 – Pay off 20k of our mortgage
I’d like to pay off another 20k of our mortgage in 2018. This won’t be an easy task as we’ve got some other large purchases coming up, but I still would like to try and do this.

#33 – Run at least one half marathon
Above, I talked about the need to get in shape again. Since following strict schedules and doing lots of interval training really isn’t my thing, it’s all back to distance running now. So that’s what I’ll do. No excuses this time.

Other
In general, there are a lot of outdoors items on my list that I’m nowhere near getting finished the way I live my life at the moment. That’s something that’s in dire need of change as well, so 2018 will see me being outside much more!

Enjoy the holidays and I’m looking forward to what 2018 is going to bring me.