#94 – Go on a helicopter ride

Next to flying a small airplane there are other aviation-related things I definitely want to experience at least once in this life. One of them is to go on a helicopter ride. My wife actually did this when we were in New Zealand some ten years ago, I chose to go on a sky dive. Well worth it, but ever since my wife keeps telling me every now and then how awesome it was. There’s just one way to find out whether she’s right, and that’s to one day do it myself.

Of course it would be best to do this in a scenic environment as she did (she landed on a glacier for a short stroll) as this would make the experience even better!

Scenic helicopter ride

Nine hours of hobbits

This weekend I finally had some time for myself, something that is pretty hard to come by with a fulltime job and a newborn child. My wife and our son were out for the weekend to my inlaws, and as the weather was not good enough to venture outside for long (I did manage a 1,5 hour run though, so not all was lost) I decided to take the opportunity to watch the complete Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

It’s been a long while since I’ve seen the films, and I never watched them back to back, but I must say I’m glad I did it. Watching all three films within 24 hours really adds something extra to the experience as you really get sucked into the story, more so than when you leave longer periods of time between two subsequent films.

Map of Middle Earth

Map of Middle Earth

It will probably take a while before I watch these films again as I feel it would take away a lot of the experience to watch a film (or a trilogy of films in this case) of this grandeur too often in a short period of time. Plus, I don’t think I’ll have this much free time again anytime soon..

As for my favourite film out of the trilogy, it’s really hard to choose between the three. It would probably be The Fellowship of the Ring first, then The Return of the King followed by The Two Towers, but they’re so close it’s hardly worth mentioning. All three films are fantastic and very worthy of the precious (see what I did there…) free time I have these days.

A screenshot from the very beginning of The Fellowshop of the Ring

A screenshot from the very beginning of The Fellowshop of the Ring

#70 – Attend a major sports event

When I was young I regularly went to see our local professional football club play. In recent years, though, I haven’t been to any major sports event, which is something I would really like to do again. And as always, why not aim for one of the biggest events there is? Be it a football Euro or World Cup match or the Summer or Winter Olympics, I would love to attend on of these one day and perhaps see some of my favourite sports personalities in action!

Taken at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics

Taken at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics

#67 – Complete a long distance walk

I’ve just finished rereading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, which is a story about a young woman hiking a large part of the Pacific Crest Trail (or PCT) in the US. I’ve also read A walk in the woods by Bill Bryson (where he walks part of the Appalachian Trail or AT) at least three times. Every time I am reading one of these books, or similar ones, it makes me want to attempt something similar myself. It doesn’t have to be a trail that long, there are lots of shorter long distance trails I would love to spend some time on for a couple of days. It doesn’t really have to be that far away from home as well, just being outdoors for a while and walking a nice trail would do. This goal would be a ideal combination with #18 (go on a multi-day hike), or serve as ‘the next step’ once I completed that one.

Trail signs

Trail signs

#66 – Camp in the wilderness

Office dweller by day, aspiring outdoors guy, well, the rest of the time. That pretty much describes me. I still don’t get to be in the outdoors as often as I’d like to be (something that I should change, especially since I want to teach my children the fun of being outdoors and leading by example), but I’m working on it.

One of the things I have never done before is to go camping in the wild. I have gone camping many, many times, both when I was young, together with my parents, as well as more recently with my wife or with friends. However, that has always been within the confined limits of a registered campground. I’d love to one day just go out and set up camp somewhere nice, out in the open. Camping in the wild is prohibited here in The Netherlands, so I probably have to complete this item while abroad. I could also hit two birds with one stone and complete this item while on a multi-day hiking trip (item #18).

Camping in the wilderness

This spot would do!

Restart, twofold

This week has marked the restart of two activities related to items on my list. After a somewhat lazy summer, with little activity (but a great holiday), it’s time to kick it up a notch again!

First of all, I’ve registered for the next year of Italian language classes. As I felt like things went a little slow the previous years – it took me two years before obtaining PLIDA A1 level proficiency – I requested to be placed in the fourth year group instead of the third year. This means I have a lot of catching up to do, but that also makes it far more challenging, meaning I should be even more motivated to get better and better at speaking, writing, reading and listening to the Italian language. It also means I will be able to try and obtain the A2 level certificate in May of next year.

Second, after a lot of cycling in the summer and virtually no running, I have put on the trainers again and restarted something resembling a running regime. The first few times were pretty tough, but this week I feel things are really starting to come together again. I’ve been doing back-to-back 10k+ workouts, even combining it with a little interval training for the necessary speed, and it feels great! This will probably mean that I won’t make my goal of cycling to my parents’ house this year (plus, the weather is really starting to get worse and cycling in the rain isn’t really comfortable), but that’s OK by me. I am looking at running a couple more half marathons by the end of the year or the beginning of next year, partly depending on how things develop with our firstborn, who should have arrived nicely by then as well.

Apart from the above, things are looking good work-wise as well, and my first side gig is developing nicely as well, so things are looking good generally. More on that in a later post.

Runners in Italy, seems appropriate given the nature of my post!

Runners in Italy, seems appropriate given the nature of my post!

Weight tracker

This post is really just a small motivator for myself. I’ve started to track my weight loss after returning from a wonderful yet not very healthy holiday in France. I’ll be posting a weekly update after my Saturday morning weigh-in here. Let’s get down to below 75kg, hopefully before the start of the festive season (as I know myself well enough to say it’ll be hard to resist eating too much of the bad stuff that time of year!).

Weight loss progress