The Professional Hobo’s Bucket List – Past, Present, and Ongoing

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  Yep, that’s me – doing the world’s highest (commercial) skydive in New Zealand. Skydiving wasn’t exactly on my bucket list (with 300 under my belt), but filming a tv show in New Zealand certainly was!

In reflecting on some of my life and travel experiences in the aftermath of my accident and wondering what’s next, I’ve realized I have quite an arsenal of experiences already.

I’ve written about reverse bucket lists yet shamefully, never committed to such an exercise myself – especially given my revelations in doing other similar exercises.

The other night while lying in bed, I found myself constructing a different kind of bucket list – one that reflects back on what I’ve done, reaches to the future, and includes ongoing items I haven’t yet ticked off to my satisfaction.

I lay there flooded with images and memories; reflecting on what I’ve done in turn fuelled my list of unchecked bucket list items, and even experiences I’ve touched on but want to explore more thoroughly. It was a no-holds-barred journey into anything and everything that excites me, with no rules and a very rewarding recap.

I encourage you to try it for yourself.

Here’s what I came up with (if you’re interested).

This post was originally published in 2013. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.


Here are some random achievements from bucket lists gone by – “the arsenal” as it were:

Skydiving (I did it 300 or so times just to make sure it got done)

Bungee jumping (I did it in 5 locations spanning 3 countries, including the world’s highest in South Africa)

Ride a motorcycle

Conquer a cave (I managed two – one in NZ and one in Canada)

Live on a boat

Climb the Great Wall of China (I managed that one twice)

Live on a tropical island (done, done, done, and done)

White Water Rafting (I managed the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall – in New Zealand, of course)

Sledging (like white water rafting, but on a boogie board. Sort of.)

Have a “pet” kangaroo

Go on a multi-day backcountry camping trip (In Ukraine no less)

Meditate with Buddhist Lamas and receive their blessing

Hang Gliding (and fixed wing gliding, and I even skydived out of an ultralight powered parachute. I’m bragging, now, aren’t I? I’ll stop.)

Climb a mountain

Live in an environmentally sustainable way This experience ultimately inspired my Zero Waste Kit

Race cars (auto-cross with a 1964 Corvette)

Ride in a helicopter

Walk on a volcano

Shoot a travel tv show (I have a former career in tv, but in recent years I joined a couple of shows on the road)

Ride The Ghan and Indian Pacific trains across the Australian Outback (I even wrote a book about it)

Travel across Canada by train

Travel across Europe by train (That’s in the book I wrote too)

Travel across Asia by train (The book I wrote about my evangelical love of trains? Yep – Asia’s in there too)

Play an instrument (I tackled four)

Conquer local delicacies (even if they’re the smelliest in the world)

Go on safari

Take a cruise

Visit Machu Picchu and/or other ancient ruins in Peru and Bolivia (Machu Picchu: check! Peru: check! Bolivia: check!)

Become fluent in another language

Stay and live in a meditation retreat or ashram (Update October 2017: I did it again in Peru for a couple of years, and Ecuador for about eight months)

Coming Soon

Random bucket list items I’ve yet to achieve:

Host a travel tv show (are you amused?)

Ride the “Toy Train” to Darjeeling (Still haven’t done this, but I did ride the Deccan Odyssey, which is the most luxurious train in the world, in India)

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro (since the accident this item has fallen waaaay down on my list of priorities. It’s hanging on to this list by its fingernails)

Trek in Patagonia

Find a friend of mine in Iceland purely through word of mouth (it’s a very small place…how many Canadian gay male nurses live in Iceland? Wait! Don’t tell me – I want to find out for myself)

Attend a Burning Man festival

Explore northern Canada (too bad it’s so cold there)

Travel across India by train 

Hack my way into a Bollywood dance scene in India

Go to circus school (what for? The flying trapeze of course! Also reduced to a pipe dream at this point, but I’m hanging on to the dream)

Swim with a whale shark

See the northern lights (without freezing to death; feasibility is debatable)


This is a list of things I’ve done to some extent, but want to explore further or deepen:

Give back through volunteering, fundraising, and however I can (I’ve had a few stabs at this (in Thailand and Australia), but there remains an ongoing desire to help whenever/wherever I can)

Fire Spinning (I learned to spin in Australia and New Zealand, and I still practice – without fire)

Perform in musical theatre (I’ve grown up on stage and done a few shows; it’s very rewarding)

Climb more mountains (despite going crazy enroute, I have an ongoing pull to the mountains) 

Act in a Hollywood film (although I’ve technically ticked this item off, I wouldn’t say no to another chance…)

Sing with a jazz band (I had a few teases at this…but I’d like a repertoire)

Live as a local in foreign places (a thriving and ongoing desire, and I can say I’ve done it in a few places)

…and last but certainly not least…

Make friends with people all over the world

What’s tops on your bucket list…past, present, and ongoing?

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16 thoughts on “The Professional Hobo’s Bucket List – Past, Present, and Ongoing”

  1. What an adventurous spirit. There will be no grass growing under your feet. Wishing you much success in your dreams and endeavors.

  2. Nice. The like seeing other peoples bucket lists; there’s always at least one idea I that is awesome and can be added to my ever growing list. Now if only I can get myself a kangaroo…

    • Hey Tim – I like reading other people’s lists for ideas too! Best place to find a kangaroo? Australia. (Just saying). 🙂

  3. Love love LOVE this! It’s too funny you posted this today, as I’ve been working on a bucket list/reverse bucket list post of my own.

    Topping the past list are: held a baby kangaroo, safaried in Africa (twice), was kissed on top of a Swiss Alp, and visited every continent except Antarctica.

    Topping the hopefully-will-do-soon list are: kayak along the cliffs of all five Cinque Terre towns, ride the Glacier Express, and go paragliding in the mountains. Oh, and I’d really like to write another book. And if it sold really well…well, I wouldn’t complain.

    Hope you are recovering well!

    • Nice items, Gigi!
      I missed out on the Glacier Express in Switzerland last summer, but hopefully I’ll get another chance.
      And oh yes….writing another book. I’m not sure if it’s on my bucket list, but it’s certainly on a list… 🙂

  4. Reverse bucket lists are just as important (and fun) as future ones, because they remind us that a bucket list is not a list of unattainable dreams but a collection of future plans…thing we CAN do! I recently completed my AtoZ of travel bucket list inspiration full of things I’ve done and those still on my list – it was a great reflective exercise, so I enjoyed reading yours very much!

    Now…I want to know more about this Hollywood citing you’ve done! 🙂

    • Hey Kellie!
      I was in a movie called “Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio” with Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson. I’m a recurring theme through about 10 minutes in the middle of the movie – the “girl in the green dress”; you won’t miss me! 🙂

  5. Hi Nora,

    I’m a little bit dissapointed in you ! Don’t tell me you haven’t suba dived (with oxygen bottles)
    and let a school of fish eat out of you hand ?! It’ll blow everything away.And espcially for somebody from Canada … have you skied in a whiteout ?(it occurs when there is a heavy fog and you can’t seperate the snow from the air ) it feels like free-falling through the air and is murder on your back. Or skieing in a blizzard at dusk..

    You should also try gliding after you have assembled the glider yourself of course…. or travel down the Nile in an old fashioned Egyptian sailing boat with only the wind to help you along . Or row the damn thing when there is none.

    I’ll race you to the Northern lights though…


    • Hi Dick!
      Actually I have my PADI licence and have scuba dived and done the fishy thing (I was more cold than thrilled, though I’ll admit it felt like another planet); and yes I’ve also skiied in all kinds of adverse weather conditions – again I was more uncomfortably cold than thrilled!
      (This is why I live near the equator now!)

      Gliding I’ve also done (I should probably add that to my list); both hang gliding, and I also did a skydive off a powered parachute glider. Only thing is I didn’t assemble either! 🙂

      The Nile experience sounds awesome, and let’s see who makes it to the Northern lights first!

      • Hi Nora ,

        Just had to look op ‘The Prize winner ‘on as a fully paid-up film junky. Did you know there was another Nora Dunn in that movie as a ‘girl group member ?! She is American though and ‘often plays doctors’?!’ Includes a picture , if you want to know what ‘you’ look like !


        • Hi Dick,
          Yes my namesake Nora Dunn (or rather, I guess I’m her namesake since I’m younger). She’s a famous actress and director, one borne of the early SNL days.
          And sadly, IMDB lists her – the other Nora Dunn! – instead of me as that part. That girl in the green dress – that’s me, through and through!

  6. Nora, See here’s the problem. Whenever I read someone else’s list I want to add and add and add to mine! I love all the things you’ve done, but I’m especially jealous of the pet kangaroo. I think every child (big and small) wants to snuggle a kangaroo!

    • Hey Corinne,
      Ha ha! Yes, Bracken the Kangaroo was an experience I’ll never forget (even if all he tried to do was hump me or anything I owned that I foolishly left outside)!


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