Europe, Hudson Valley, Travel

My Life Experiences: Looking Back with Appreciation

August 5, 2013

My Life Experiences - Sweet and Savoring [quote by Pablo Picasso]

Recently, I’ve become acquainted with a lot of new bloggers. I love it: turns out that there are more than just mommy blogs and fashion blogs and DIY blogs out there! There are people like me, who…aren’t any of those things. Ha! (Of course, I’m a devoted reader to many  blogs that fall under each of those three categories)

One such blogger is Erika of Chimerikal, who is younger than me but has done a lot of stuff that I’ve only dreamed about. She wrote a fantastic post back in April called The Reverse Bucket List, where rather than list all the things she would like to do someday, she’s turned the tables. How about an empowering list of things we’ve already experienced? Why not give ourselves credit for everything we’ve accomplished?

My Life Experiences - Sweet and Savoring

My list (and Erika’s) is travel-heavy, but that doesn’t mean yours has to be. You might have a lot of accomplishments or experiences related to a career, or family, or owning/renovating a home. Or your list could be focused on a passion of yours- cooking, films, things you’ve done in your own city.

The point is, Erika’s list inspired me (seriously, her whole blog inspires me- check her out!), and she points out that it’s possible to inspire oneself. A reverse bucket list isn’t about bragging; this list is a means for me to share more of myself, for one thing. Writing about my life, who I am, and what inspires me is a big reason I blog. And I hope that reading this will inspire some of you to create your own lists, whether they are reverse bucket lists, or goals you’re setting.


  1. Live in a castle (12th century/rural Germany/3 week archaeological volunteer dig)
  2. Jump out of a plane (3 times: Hudson Valley, Long Island, Swiss Alps)
  3. Ride the giant Ferris Wheel in Vienna that was featured in the film Before Sunrise (age 23)
  4. Drive cross country (age 19, both ways)
  5. Travel cross country by train (age 24)
  6. WWOOF on the Big Island of Hawaii (age 24)

    My Life Experiences - Sweet and Savoring

  7. See a drive-in movie (another reason to love the Hudson Valley!)
  8. Work at a holistic retreat center & community (ages 24-29)
  9. Travel through at least ten countries (mostly Europe)
  10. Sleep in a hammock outside for over two weeks (Nicaragua, age 27)
  11. Climb multiple lighthouses
  12. Ride in a helicopter (age 23)
  13. Travel by train through multiple countries (Europe, age 23)
  14. Sleep in a stone cottage in the French countryside (age 27)

    My Life Experiences - Sweet and Savoring

  15. Ride on a motorcycle
  16. Attend  Broadway shows (Rent, Victor Victoria, The Wild Party, Mary Poppins, Fiddler on the Roof, The Marvelous Wonderettes)
  17. See the Rockettes in the Radio City Hall Christmas Spectacular
  18. See a movie in IMAX and 3-D (Avatar)
  19. Go apple-picking (all through my childhood)
  20. Ride roller coasters (NJ, OH, NY, MA)
  21. Be a bridesmaid (for my sister, Sue)
  22. Be a mother’s helper while traveling abroad (Costa Rica, age 27, and Aruba, age 23)
  23. Eat octopus (Barcelona, age 26)
  24. Attend Pride in multiple countries (U.S., Germany, Sweden)
  25. Be an audience member in a television game show (Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, The Newlywed Game)
  26. Model nude and get paid for it (several times, starting at age 25)
  27. Eat fish and chips in England (age 26)
  28. Stay overnight at Mohonk Mountain House (dreamy! age 30)
  29. Take lots of pictures and get paid for it (Omega, age 29)
  30. Live in a camper van and travel the U.S. (3 1/2 months with Andy, age 25)

    My Life Experiences - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

  31. Sing karaoke
  32. Ride in a biplane (so loud but so much fun! age 28)
  33. Snorkel! (Hawaii and Key Largo)
  34. Couchsurf (U.S., Costa Rica, all over Europe)
  35. Ride in a limo (first time when I was 16)
  36. Be an audience member during a live taping of the Daily Show with John Stewart
  37. Hitchhike (Hawaii, Costa Rica)
  38. Win a prize at a county fair (peanut butter cookies, third place in the Junior division, age 9)
  39. Audition for a movie (The Baby-Sitters Club. Ha!)
  40. Catch a scorpion and bring it outside (twice, Costa Rica)
  41. Visit the Sistine Chapel and the Coliseum, tour Pompeii, ride in a gondola in Venice, and see the David in Florence (age 16)
  42. Get a backstage tour at Madison Square Garden, NYC (age 13)
  43. Eat crab at Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco (age 19)
  44. Walk the boardwalk, play the slot machines, and stay overnight in Atlantic City (age 22)
  45. Visit Brooklyn Botanical Garden (age 27)
  46. Get arrested (age 24, unlawful assembly at a peaceful protest in Washington, D.C.)
  47. Shave my head (age 24)
  48. Play with newborn goats (Italy, age 28)

    My Life Experiences - Sweet and Savoring

  49. See a musical artist perform live at least 10 times (Ani DiFranco)
  50. Ride a horse (California & Costa Rica)
  51. Start a blog (age 30)
  52. Snowboard in northern California (age 19)
  53. Ride a trolley car in New Orleans (age 25)
  54. See Chicago from the top of the Sears Tower (age 19)
  55. Meet an author I admire (SARK, Ruth Reichl, Nicholas Sparks)
  56. Be in a play or musical (ages 12-13)
  57. Graduate from medical assisting school (age 24)
  58. Win a spelling bee
  59. Meet singers I admired (Alanis Morissette, Tegan and Sara, Dar Williams)
  60. Sail on the Hudson River

    My Life Experiences - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

  61. Visit 4 national parks (Acadia, Shenandoah, Volcano, and Everglades)
  62. Go to to a comedy club (age 17)
  63. Ride to the top of Eiffel Tower (age 23)
  64. Sleep in a boat hostel (Stockholm, age 23)
  65. Attend a birth doula training class (age 22)
  66. Ride a zipline in a cloudforest (Costa Rica, age 27)
  67. Watch a shuttle launch at Cape Canaveral, FL
  68. Eat sushi & sashimi
  69. See the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (age 23)
  70. See a live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion
  71. Go to the movies by myself
  72. Dress up in costume and take part in an English Civil War re-enactment (age 26)

    Andy's parents and me, ready to go to a battle re-enactment at Tamworth Castle in Staffordshire, England, 2009.

  73. Take part in a protest
  74. Drive a golf cart
  75. Swim in two oceans (Atlantic and Pacific)
  76. Participated in a purification ceremony (sweat lodge)
  77. Learn two foreign languages in school (Spanish and Latin)
  78. Ride my bike 20 miles at once (last happened at age 27)
  79. Drink out of a fresh-off-the-tree coconut
  80. Go to a multi-day music festival

    My Life Experiences - Sweet and Savoring

  81. Experience a full body massage, Shiatsu, Thai massage, and acupuncture
  82. Sit in a sauna (Even better: alternate between a cold shower and dry sauna)
  83. Hike a mountain (Northeastern U.S., Europe)
  84. Cook for 14 people (Germany, age 23)
  85. Take a photography workshop (age 29)
  86. Live in a trailer (on and off, ages 24-29)
  87. Make friends off the Internet
  88. Drive down the California coast on Route 1 (age 19)
  89. See the sunrise all over the U.S.
  90. Get accepted into a nursing program (2013)
  91. Drive a moped (Swiss Alps, age 23)
  92. Cross an international border on foot (Costa Rica-Nicaragua, age 28)

    My Life Experiences - Sweet and Savoring

  93. Pierce a body part other than ears (nose, age 19)
  94. Ride a camel (age 8, county fair)
  95. Appear on the front page of a newspaper (age 23, part of the archaeological volunteer program in Germany)
  96. Work with a machete in the jungle (Nicaragua, age 28)
  97. Attend a performance at Carnegie Hall
  98. Go to sleepaway camp (ages 14, 19)
  99. Struggle with depression and anxiety and share my story
  100. Get married (age 29)

What about you? What would go on your list?


The pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to. 

A dominant impulse on encountering beauty is to wish to hold on to it, to possess it and give it weight in one’s life. There is an urge to say, ‘I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me.   –Alain de Botton

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  • Garvin Tafari August 5, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    My God, you’ve done a lot! This list was both phenomenal and inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

    • Christy August 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      Thanks so much, Gavin! It was fun to put everything together like this.

  • Nikki August 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Dang, girl! I’m so impressed and inspired! I definitely want to sit down and create a list of my own. Sometimes I get too wrapped up in the I-want-to list that I don’t focus nearly enough on the I-did-and-it-was-awesome list. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    • Christy August 5, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      You’re welcome, Nikki! I’m glad that my list is motivating you to make your own; I’d love to see it when you do!

  • Olivia @ Liv Lives Life August 5, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Oh my GOSH I love this post! What a fantastic idea! I’m going to have to remember this…
    And nevermind the idea, your list is just amazing. Such great things to go through, and I love how you put your age next to them. It makes it that much more empowering. 🙂
    Olivia @ Liv Lives Life recently posted…Topsail Beach: Part IVMy Profile

    • Christy August 5, 2013 at 10:03 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad you liked the idea and the list, Liv! Thanks so much 🙂

  • Tamara August 5, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    My first reaction was to think, “Oh look at her go! I haven’t done many cool things.” Of course it isn’t true – it just requires more thought. I love this idea so much, though.

    • Christy August 6, 2013 at 7:49 am

      I know, Tamara, that’s how I felt when I first saw Erika’s list. I thoughts, “Oh man, all my stuff feels small in comparison’. But these posts aren’t about comparing ourselves to each other, they’re about taking stock in our own lives and saying, “Wow- I kick ass!’ They’re about appreciating our notable experiences or accomplishments and using that fuel to push us to do more. The range of experience is *so* vast- I’m in awe of women who have given birth, for example, who day after day take care of and love children selflessly.
      I hope you out together your own list!

  • Shana Norris August 6, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Wow, Christy. I’m a little envious and incredibly inspired. This is an amazing list. I’m sharing this with my 19 year-old daughter, and might even start a list of my own. I agree with Tamara: it would require some thought, but – like you said – we can all make our own very unique-to-us list.

    • Christy August 6, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      Hi Shana, I was so inspired by Erika’s original Reverse Bucket List, so it’s nice to see that this one is having a similar effect! And what a wonderful thing to share with your daughter 🙂 Thanks for your kind words!

  • Alison August 6, 2013 at 11:57 am

    What an amazing idea, and your list is stunning.
    My immediate thought was, I can’t possibly have done that many awesome things.
    But I’ll be 37 soon, I must have. So I will take on the challenge and do one myself! (and credit you of course) So thank you!

    • Christy August 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      You’re too kind, Alison- I bet your list will be just as awesome! Most of us don’t really take the time to appreciate the things we *have done*- it’s too easy to get lost in what we wish we’d done or will do. This is an easy way for us all to feel good about ourselves!

  • Katherine August 7, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Sometimes on my long run days, I just try to think about everything I’ve done and count my blessings. It’s so important to do. I think a reverse bucket list post is now in the works for me though! I love that optimistic view of life!

    • Christy August 7, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      It *is* so important to count your blessings, Katherine. Get started on the reverse bucket list, I’d love to see it when you’re done!

  • Jenni Bailey August 7, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    What a genius idea! I’ve never really thought about actually writing down all of my good positive things that I’ve done. You have a great list, very inspiring!

    • Christy August 7, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks, Jenni! I give credit to Erika ( for the idea. If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend giving her list a read, too 🙂

  • Rachel August 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    This is such an awesome idea!! I’ll have to start compiling my list. I love the idea of looking back at all that you’ve done instead of lamenting what you haven’t (not to say I don’t have a bucket list–because I do and I think they can be great too), but this is just a splendid idea.

    First off, I’m totally inspired by your list. I’ll have to add a few of those things to my bucket list. You met Nicholas Sparks? How cool is that?! And what does being a mother’s helper abroad entail because that sounds like a gig I would love.

    Thanks again for the inspiration today. I’m excited to get working on my list =)

    • Christy August 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      Yay, I love that you want to create your own list! I think a big part of why this is so awesome to me is that it’s about appreciating who we are rather than who we want to be. And we can look and say ‘Damn, I’m capable of so much!’ and re-inspire ourselves from there, you know?
      I met Nicholas Sparks in April of 2004 when he was at an independent bookstore near me with his brother- they were talking about their co-written memoir, Three Weeks With My Brother (my favorite book of his, the others I’m not into as much as I once was). He was a genuinely nice guy- like I could imagine him being my uncle, that kind of nice 🙂
      My two travel mother’s helper situations arose without much forethought or planning (Ha! Like a lot of my travels)- they were both families that I was acquainted with here, in NY, and wanted someone to go away with them to help with the kids- Costa Rica was with a six year old for a month, and Aruba was 2 kids under 3 for just five days. But I’ve seen similar opportunities on Craigslist- you should check it out! Such a great way to travel, if you’re cool with accompanying a family and everything that goes along with that (you *really* treasure the free time you’re given!).
      Let me know when you’ve written your reverse bucket list!

  • Friday Gratitude: A Productive Yet Mellow Week | Sweet and SavoringSweet and Savoring August 9, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    […] mentioned sauna time in Monday’s epic list, and yesterday I visited the Omega sauna for the first time since last year.  I always feel so […]

  • Tahnie August 10, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Oh my goodness, your list is big and beautiful and full of whimsy and wonder. You are magnificent! Thank you so much for inspiring me and sharing all of these gorgeous adventures you have been on in your life! This is just what I needed as a swift kick of motivation for my weekend. Grateful I found you through the SITS Share Fest!!!

    Happy Saturday!
    Tahnie recently posted…Being Brave Exactly Where You Are.My Profile

    • Christy August 11, 2013 at 12:22 am

      Wow, I was out of the house most of the day and this is such a lovely comment to come home too- thanks, Tahnie! It was my pleasure share this list with you all; just seriously hoping you and others create your lists, too 🙂
      Have an awesome weekend and I am off to check out your blog, too. Yay, SITS!

  • bp August 14, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Christy, this is a crazy cool list! I love the idea of a reverse bucket list! It is very uplifting because, as you mentioned these are things that you have already ROCKED! It’s a fantastic way to reinvigorate oneself and truly give thanks! This list is kind of amaze-balls — were you just as awestruck when you recapped all of these fun things you’ve done?

    • Christy August 14, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      Thanks so much, BP! 🙂 I suppose I felt like I was just wracking my brain trying to think of things to add to the list, so I wasn’t really feeling awe struck like I was when I did some of these things. Sky diving is one of the most invigorating things ever! So is traveling solo…and getting arrested, that was pretty crazy, too, haha.

  • pinoy tambayan March 20, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    I love that you want to create your own list!

  • mamang sorbetero May 21, 2014 at 2:02 pm

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  • The Grass is Just as Green - Erika from America September 29, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    […] Because here’s the thing: when are feeling less-than-stellar, our minds can become foggier. We’re less creative when we’re negative and for me, that means less positive possibilities and more “horrendous inevitabilities.” I start feeling like I don’t really have options, that I’m being forced into my situation, and I get tunnel vision to the point that I only see what’s wrong. Even if I desperately want to get out of that rut, it’s hard for me to remember the good things when I’m in that kind of mood. And that’s one of the ways in which GRAD-ITUDE 101 comes in. How much more powerful is it for me to start thinking of positive possibilities when I’m already feeling positive? It’s not much of an effort at all for me at all to think of all of the things that make my life wonderful right now. So, instead of digging as deeply as I possibly can when I’m in a funk (and coming up empty handed), I want to create some “Positivity Master Lists” that I can easily and quickly refer to as a reminder. In fact, I’ve already created one of these lists on this blog already without even knowing it: The Reverse Bucket List. It’s a list of over 100 things that I’ve already done that are worthy of being on a bucket list that I made back in April. Having this list and reading through it always makes me smile and remember that I’ve done wonderful things in my life — and it’s also an indication that more awesomeness is possible. (And I’d encourage you to make one if you haven’t already — it really puts things in perspective! Try reading some others for inspiration, too, like Rachel’s and Christy’s!) […]

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