Before I Die I Want To ____________ .

Before I die I want to

Last night I had dinner with five of my girlfriends. Some I have known since I was 7 years old, others I met in high school when I was 12. Our lives have all taken different directions, and I don’t see them all the time, but when we do see each other, it’s like no time at all has passed. I laughed my ass off, and it felt great.

We’re all 30 or 31 years old. Two are married, two have partners and two are single. Only one has children.

Whilst we are still basically the same people we were in high school, we have all developed and grown into more authentic versions of ourselves. I noticed a lot of conversations were preluded with the phrase “now that I’m older”, or “as you get older”, and whilst part of me was horrified, part of me felt, well, quite mature! (That was until my friend May inserted the phrase ‘pyjama shoes’ into the conversation when she couldn’t remember the word for slippers.)

30- The Age of Change…

I know 30 isn’t old, but after graduating from your twenties, it’s easy to start feeling the pull of middle age.  It’s all relative I suppose, when we’re forty we will definitely consider 30 to be young, and so on, and so on.

It is actually great to be thirty. I still feel young, but old enough to take responsibility for my actions. I am (a little!) less self-centered. I am more aware of how I treat other people than I used to be. I am trying, not always successfully, to be more humble, and less aggressive. In my teens and my twenties, I felt more of an urge to assert myself on to the world. Now, because I accept and know myself a little more, I keep my mouth shut a bit more, and try, not always successfully, to open my ears and truly listen to other people.

Most of all, I have realised that the world doesn’t owe me anything, and that in fact I want to be of more service to it, in a small way.

Before I Die I Want To ___________________ .

After dinner, I went walking with my friend Jyoti in search of an ATM. There was a street festival on, and the road the restaurant was on was closed off to cars, making way for an assortment of entertainment. Art installations, live music, and food stalls lined the street. People weaved in and out of each other, revelling in the festival atmosphere.

After looking at a lane-way photography exhibition, we came across a wide blackboard, affixed to a wall. It was divided into columns, with the phrase “Before I die I want to” repeated over and over, with a line next to each one. Festival goers had completed each sentence using chalk.

Before I dieHere are some of the entries I remember…

Before I Die I Want To…   

Go to South America  

Get my novel published

Sky dive naked

Touch a vagina (and this is one of the G-rated ones)

Get a drink at the Beaufort St Festival

Find a husband

Run a Marathon

Get a superpower

Make a vaccine

Cleanse the plastic seas

Get my License

Go to Hungry (exact spelling)

Be able to drink wine at a Cafe (a dig at our city’s strict licensing laws)

Quit smoking

Eat the best meal of my life

Drive an F1 car

Meet Christopher Walken

Snog Simon Cowell

Kill Dora the explorer

Get a Taxi

Be loved and valued

Learn to juggle

Make out in Antarctica

Quite an expression of humour, heart and wit! Some entries were silly, some heartfelt. Some selfless, some not so much.

It got me thinking about my own list. Naturally, I have a few things I want to do such as travel to Peru, conquer the Amazon (or at least a tiny portion of it) and eat my body weight in Pad Thai on a tropical island. Still though, when I actually thought about it, there are so many other things I’d like to do.

So here it is, in no specific order. Before I Die, I want to:

Publish a book

Learn Spanish

Create something amazing

Inspire others

Tell my life story

Climb Kilimanjaro

Know who I am

Bathe an Elephant

Make a difference in the life of a stranger

See a migration in Africa

Go to Madagascar

Stay in an over-water bungalow in Bora Bora

Watch my nieces grow up

Live in an ashram

Visit Tibet

Trek the Amazon

Trek through ancient Mayan ruins in Peru

Be fearless

Spend six months in India

Accept myself wholly

Live in Mexico

Forgive everyone who has ever harmed me

Forgive myself for harming others

Banish self-pity

Hike The Great Wall of China (or part thereof)

Be free of judgement

Travel the world without an agenda or an end date

Share what I discover about the world with others


Jump out of a plane

Go on an epic overland journey, on foot or bicycle


Explore the South Pacific

Volunteer in Cambodia, or Africa, or both

Be free of resentment

Go paragliding

See Mongolia

Know that I have lived life to the full

Live In Bali

Love unconditionally

So that’s that.

What does your list look like?

Before I die I want tobefore I die I want to


Before I Die I Want To ____________ . — 16 Comments

  1. Sarah, another thought-provoking post! Isn’t it incredible how seemingly few people even have a list of life goals?

    I also love how the universe leaves little messages for us along the way, when we’re in the midst of a big decision. For example, a few months before my husband and I had officially decided to cut the cord from our stable lives and travel on a sabbatical, we went out on one of our regular morning walks to the Heidelberg Castle. On the 314 stairs leading up to the castle, someone had written in graffiti, “Travel.”

  2. Thanks Tricia, that is a great story, I love getting little messages like that! Makes me feel like I’m on the right path. I’m sure my list will change over time, but why not aim high hey?

  3. Nice post! I don’t have a list but I like yours.

    If you wanna learn Spanish I recommend doing it in Guatemala where it’s über affordable and they speak in a clear Spanish dialect. Make that your first Spanish speaking destination, that way you’ll get a solid base to build on while traveling in other Spanish speaking lands.

    Trekking the Amazon now that’s hard-core.

    Mayans are actually central America while the Incas are Peru and the Aztecs Mexico. I only caught that because I used to mix the three up. The Inca Trail in Peru is an awesome hike.

    My favorite two: Be free of judgement and resentment. Banishing self-pity is great too. Publish a book, YES!

    • Thanks for the clarification! Oh yeah, the Inca trail in Peru- duh! All those ancient civilizations are the same aren’t they?! And thank you for your suggestion, much appreciated :)

  4. That’s an amazing list, Sarah. I used to have a list (I guess I still do) but it just keeps getting longer and longer. Mostly I just want to LIVE, every day and I plan to do that through travel and pursuing what I love to do. Thanks for this great post.

  5. I love this list. There’s many things on this list that I would also add to mine, and they aren’t just the traveling ones. I want to travel around the world, live in a different country for at least a year, learn Spanish, be fearless and live life with no regrets. In fact, there’s something that I’ve wanted to do for such a long time and I think it might just come into fruition next year. Reading this post reminded me to have no fear and just do it! :)

    • That’s fantastic- go girl! I may not get to do everything I want to do, and that’s ok, it’s still good to have big dreams! Thanks so much for reading and for taking the time to comment, it means a lot:) best of luck with your adventures :)

  6. Phew! At first glance I thought the top list was yours and I was like “touch a vagina??? WTF?!!” Hahahaha. Your list is much better :) Some of the things you listed would definitely be on mine – Living in Mexico (having just come back from Mexico City I’m dying to get back there as soon as possible and experience more), hiking the Great Wall and learning Spanish. Sounds like you’re in a similar place to me at the moment – I sold my house and am leaving early next year – so good luck with your prep and plans!

    • Ha ha ha haaa! Too funny. Just read a book called “Oh Mexico” by an Aussie girl who lived in Mexico city for over a year-it sounds amazing. So much to see and experience… but for now, I day dream… Good luck with your preparations too, I look forward to following along with you, I really dig your site :)

  7. Brilliant piece.- definately makes you think about what you want to achieve and reach in your own life! Thankyou