Monthly Archives: January 2010

This plane ticket is just the beginning

Call me crazy, but I applied for tickets for the 2010 World Cup a year ago when the first sales phase kicked off. I tried my luck at 5 matches and came out successful for 3 of them. I dropped a few hundred bucks on an event I wasn’t even positive I would make it to. I didn’t care, I was willing to take that loss, as I thought by having tickets it would push me even harder to make South Africa a reality. Turns out, it worked. You see, I bought a plane ticket to South Africa today.

I still can’t believe I’m doing this. I’ll be gone for a month and a half, by far the longest and grandest adventure I’ve ever taken on. This will also be my first time heading overseas to a country that doesn’t reside in Europe. My time frame was dictated by the price of airfare. I leave Chicago on June 2nd and fly back from Johannesburg on July 17th. If I wanted to leave a day later or come back a day earlier, it would have cost me over a $1,000 more. I figured it could go two ways: I could pay the extra money and be back and working sooner than later, or I could stay longer, experience the World Cup from start to finish and make better use of the money. If I’m going to spend a grand of my hard earned money, I sure as hell better have some fun with it, because no matter what flight I come back on, that coach seat isn’t going to come with caviar.

For as much excitement as I have, I think I have an equal amount of trepidation. I’ve already mentioned about how this is the longest trip I’ll have taken on and my first outside of the US and Europe. While I love the spontaneity of travelling alone, I can’t shake this compulsive need to have the 46 days in a foreign land planned out in some way or form. On this date I want to be here, on this date there, etc. Plus, the sheer number of people planning on being in South Africa for the World Cup has me paranoid about lodging. I want to Couchsurf as much as possible, but I think I need to have a bed reserved someplace and take the loss on the deposit if it comes down to it. Transportation isn’t as efficient as it in other countries. The larger cities aren’t known for their great public transportation system and taking a train between cities can take over a day. Busses seem to be the best option. Then there is the whole safety thing. Every guide book I’ve picked up has addressed the issue of rampant crime throughout South Africa and yes, no matter where you are in the world, crime will be had and found. It’s up to the traveler to play it as safe as possible—don’t travel alone if you don’t have to, be a little more wary at night, keep your possessions close and on you and always be aware of not only where you are, but how you’re getting to where you need to be. Yes, I know that security will be heightened for the span of the tournament, but I also know that an influx of tourists can be a haven for pickpockets…

Nervousness aside, this is an undertaking that I’m excited to take. South Africa looks like an amazing country and I’m afraid that a month and a half won’t be enough and that it’s going to be hard to pick and choose the best things to do in my time. For now though, I’ve made the first step and can’t wait to be off and running!


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287 things to do while I’m alive List

I’ve never been a fan of the phrase, “to kick the bucket”–stand on a bucket, strap a noose around your neck and then kick the bucket.  Maybe I’m too much of a happy-go-lucky person, but if I’m going to create a list of things to do, I’m not going to call it a bucket list.

Hence, my list of things to do while I’m alive (please note that I created this list in 6th grade when I was holed up in a full body cast thanks to a broken femur.  Obviously it’s been added on to and tweaked some, but I left some of the silly ones on).

1)       Walk

2)       Burn my walker or at least smash the crap out of it

3)      Sleep in my own bedroom–upstairs

4)      Play a Class A Solo at State

5)      Graduate high school

6)      Attend college

7)      Visit all 50 states

8)      Learn the capitals to all 50 states

9)      Leave the country

10)   Get on ESPN

11)   See a Broadway show–on Broadway

12)     See Cats on Broadway

13)     Climb a mountain

14)     Climb Timm’s Hill (highest point in Wisconsin)

15)     Ski in Colorado

16)     Go to the Super Bowl

17)     Go to an NFL Playoff game

18)      Go to the World Series

19)      Go to a Brewer’s Playoff game

20)      See the Brewer’s make the post-season

21)     Go to an NBA Playoff game

22)     Go to an NHL Playoff game

23)     See the Masters–Live

24)     Go to the U.S. Open (Golf)

25)     Go to the PGA Championship

26)     Go to the British Open

27)     Go to Wimbledon

28)     Eat Strawberries and Cream

29)     Publish a novel

30)     Read War & Peace

31)     Read Mein Kampf

32)     Read Hemingway’s works

33)     Live abroad

34)     Study abroad

35)     Learn another  language–fluently

36)     Backpack Europe

37)     Take a round-the-world trip

38)     Visit all 7 continents

39)     Take a gondola ride in Venice

40)     Climb the Spanish Steps in Rome

41)     See the Great Wall of China

42)     Go to the Olympics

43)     See the Taj Mahal

44)     Go to mass at Notre Dame in Paris

45)     Go to the top of the Empire State Building and don’t fall off

46)     View Chicago from the top of the Sear’s Tower

47)     Go to the top of the Eifel Tower

48)     See the Mona Lisa

49)     Visit the Sistine Chapel

50)     Go to a Papal Mass

51)     Visit Vatican City

52)     Watch Citizen Kane

53)     Read On the Road

54)     Collect Disney movies

55)     Go to Oktoberfest

56)     Run with the Bulls

57)     Finish the Sunday New York Time’s Crossword Puzzle

58)     Attend an NCAA Basketball tournament game

59)     Go to the Final 4/Championship game

60)     Learn Pinochle

61)     Head to Pasadena to see the Badgers in the Rose Bowl

62)     Run a marathon

63)     Compete in a triathlon

64)     Scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef

65)     Visit Ayers Rock

66)     Go to Vegas

67)     Read Little Women

68)     See the Tour de France

69)     Be on the Price is Right

70)     Become a winner on Jeopardy

71)     Get on any gameshow

72)     Learn all of Jacob’s Ladder

73)     Volunteer at a homeless shelter

74)     Swim in all 5 oceans

75)     See an opera

76)     Take dance lessons

77)     Camp out for tickets–to see anything

78)     Go to a concert

79)     Mosh in a mosh pit

80)     Take a donkey ride to the bottom of the Grand Canyon

81)     Have a pen pal

82)     Keep a journal’

83)     Paint a piece of artwork

84)     Take an African Safari

85)     Plant a garden

86)     Keep my garden alive

87)     Question my religion and explore multiple faiths

88)     Be a part of a protest

89)     Work on a campaign

90)     Vote because I want to, not because I can

91)     Read the whole Bible

92)     Visit Vietnam

93)     See the beaches of Normandy

94)     Reflect on life and human nature at Auschwitz

95)     Walk the Red Carpet

96)     Thank the Academy

97)     Make the pilgrimage to Mecca

98)     Live beyond my means

99)     Attend the grand slam of tennis

100)   Build a house with Habitat for Humanity

101)   Dream as if I’ll live forever, live as if I’ll die today

102)   Be a big sister (the volunteering kind)

103)   Make people laugh

104)   Learn the Rosary

105)   Learn to drive stick

106)  Drive on the Autobahn

107)  Ride in a convertible with the top down

108)  Drive Route 66

109)  Ride along the Pacific Coast Highway

110)   Live on the beach

111)  Hitchhike

112)  Ride the Trans Siberian Railway

113)  Learn to knit

114)  Knit something somebody can/will use

115)   Learn to sew

116)  Learn to play the guitar

117)  Play the piano–well

118)  Write an article for Sports Illustrated

119)  Learn to French Braid

120)  Go on a scavenger hunt

121)  Win an NCAA Tournament Pool

122)  Celebrate St. Patty’s Day in Dublin

123)   See the tortoises at the Galapagos Islands

124)   Go to Mardi Gras

125)   Walk the Appalachian Trail

126)   Watch the movie “Gone with the Wind”

127)   Learn CPR

128)  Go Wine tasting in Napa Valley

129)  Spend 4th of July in Washington, DC

130)  Spend Bastille Day in France

131)  Build a sandcastle

132)  Get a manicure/pedicure

133)  Laugh so hard I cry

134)  See the Pyramids

135)  Take a cruise

136)  Do a  pub crawl

137)  Sing Karaoke

138)  Get flowers as a surprise

139)  Visit Cuba

140)  Go to Carnival in Rio

141)  Spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square

142)  Get on TV

143)  Live in the moment

144)  Live up to all my promises

145)  Have a one-night stand

146)  Attend “La Tomatina”

147)  Find the perfect little black dress

148)  Attend an English Premier League Match

149)  Go to a World Cup Game

150)  Learn the rules of cricket

151)  Be able to fit into my skinny jeans

152)  Read every book I own

153)  Catalogue my library

154)  Learn the lyrics to “Louie, Louie”

155)  Do everything because I want to, not because somebody told me to

156)  Run on a daily basis

157)  Build something functional

158)  Make the perfect drink

159)  Own my own home

160)  Walk down the aisle for my wedding at St. Ambrose

161)  Skydive

162)  Bungee Jump

163)  Ski the Birkie

164)  Learn to really cook

165)  Perfect homemade chili

166)  Learn to can tomatos

167)  Build a snowman

168)  Make a naked snow angel

169)  Camp in the woods

170)  Go Christmas Caroling

171)  Tell my family I love them everyday

172)  Have kids

173)  Live in 5 different time zones

174)  Stay in a villa in Tuscany

175)   Be buried in my Kimberly t-shirt

176)   Go on a shopping spree

177)   Start a stamp collection

178)  Scrapbook my travels

179)  Sneak into an event

180)  Crash a wedding

181)  Pull an all-nighter

182)  Be the life of the party

183)  Recreate the diner scene from When Harry Met Sally—I’ll have what she’s having

184)  Never forget where I came from

185)  Really listen to what people are saying

186)  Think before I speak

187)   Sing in the rain

188)  Tube down a river

189)  Learn to water ski

190)  Jump off a cliff into water

191)  Make no excuses

192)  Learn something new everyday

193)  Try anything once

194)  Don’t make the same mistake twice

195)   Make a New Year’s Resolution and keep it

196)    Go to Oprah’s show

197)    Streak

198)  Always write a thank you note

199)  Eat a piece of humble pie

200)  Rescue an animal

201)  Always give change to somebody who needs it

202)  Find a cause worth fighting for

203)  Fight for that cause

204)  Call Delilah some night and ask how she’s doing

205)  Slow roast a marshmallow

206)  Always look both ways

207)   Have great make-up sex

208)   Go spelunking

209)  Get Packer season tickets

210)   Own stock in the Packers

211)   Take an amazing photo

212)   Dance like no one’s watching

213)  Write a poem

214)  Visit the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior

215)  Make a wish on a falling star

216)  Hang glide

217)  Go zorbing

218)  Watch a sunrise

219)  Experience a sunset

220)  Visit Old Faithful

221)  Go to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival

222)   Catch a game at Wrigley

223)   See a game at Fenway

224)   See a game at Yankee Stadium

225)   Visit the NFL Hall of Fame

226)  Learn Chess

227)  Watch a game in every NFL stadium

228)  Go to Alcatraz

229)  Go to Burning Man

230)  See the Matterhorn

231)   Hike to Machu Pichu

232)  Visit the Cathedral in Cologne

233)  See the Kremlin

234)  Trace a name on the Vietnam Wall

235)  Visit Robben Island

236)   Walk along the Hollywood Walk of Fame

237)  Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge

238)   Walk the length of the Brooklyn Bridge

239)  Drive along the Great Ocean Road

240)  Cage Dive with sharks

241)   Participate in Darwin’s Beer Can Regatta

242)   Meet Mr. Right

243)  Theatre Hop

244)  Take a brewery tour

245)   Run the sausage race for the Milwaukee Brewers

246)   Stay organized

247)  Walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage

248)  Take a haunted tour of Edinburgh at night

249)   Visit Easter Island

250)   See ancient ruins

251)  Explore Zion National Park

252)  Enjoy the wonders of Alaska

253)  Visit the 7 Wonders of the World

254)  Watch a game in all of the MLB stadiums

255)  Keep in shape

256)  Visit Hoover Dam

257)  Figure out what I want to do with my life

258)   Lay on the beach in Fiji

259)   Put together a family tree

260)   Learn where my ancestors came from and visit there

261)   Visit Ellis Island

262)   Read the entire Declaration of Independence

263)   Be Happy

264)   Understand that shit happens, get over it

265)   Don’t hold a grudge

266)   It isn’t whether your judgment of someone was correct, it’s that you judged them

at  all–so never judge a book by its cover

267)   Hit a home run

268)   If I ever say what if, just do it–unless you think it’s going to kill you

269)  Stay away from the ER

270)  Have a savings account–with money in it

271)  Stay out of debt

272)  Get an autograph

273)  Give an autograph

274)   Don’t do drugs

275)   Go to Gettysburg

276)   Take a tour of the White House

277)  Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes

278)  Be a mentor or tutor

279)  Realize good advice and take it

280)  Visit Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest in Berchtesgaden, Germany

281)  Do the waltz in Vienna

282)  Sit on Abe’s lap and kiss him for good luck

283)  Be in a scrum

284)  Learn how to mow a design on my lawn

285)  Write for a newspaper

286)  Learn to surf in Hawaii

287)  Cross off all the items on my list

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