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My Private Bucket List

Updated on February 24, 2022
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Deb thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and is a Search & Rescue volunteer and writer living in Flagstaff, AZ.


This is My Secret List ... So Don't Look!

I used to have a pretty long bucket list. But I'm happy to say that list was getting much shorter, as I experienced and then checked off many of the goals and adventures I'd written down.

So now it's time for a new one. Some of my "wanna-dos" will transfer over from the former list, but others will be new. I may not ever accomplish everything, but one thing's for sure: it will keep me happily busy for years to come.

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My Bucket List Begins....

I Want To....

Hike more long trails

In 2000, I fulfilled my decade-long dream of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. But that 2,200-mile hike didn't get the long-distance backpacking bug out of my system. Just the opposite!

I haven't done another hike THAT long since then, but I've been on several really satisfying multi-day treks over the years, including backpacking trips in northern Minnesota, Wyoming's Wind River Range, and the Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia. And there are many other long walks on my list. Those are trails such as....

  • The Long Trail in Vermont
  • The Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier in Washington
  • The John Muir Trail in the Sierras in California (Checked this one off ... twice! Southbound in 2015, northbound in 2016 and part of the JMT again in 2018 as a loop with the High Sierra Route)
  • The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru (Check! Did this is June, 2012! Yay!!)
  • The Pennine Way in the UK

You can see many other long trails I'd like to walk and outdoor adventure goals on my list on these web pages I made:

Running marathons and half-marathons
Running marathons and half-marathons | Source

I Want To....

Participate in more long races

In January, 2008, I ran my first half-marathon (13.1 miles) -- the P.F. Chang Rock 'n' Roll half-marathon in Phoenix, Arizona -- after four months of training. I ran it in 2 hours, 11 minutes. This was after not running for many years.

In April of the same year, I ran my first full marathon -- the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee -- coming in under my goal time of 5 hours.

After the marathon, I let the running fizzle again, picking it back up in the summer of 2010 during a three-month trip to Nepal. I needed some exercise, so I'd get up really early in the morning, before the extreme heat of the day, and run on the river rock-covered roads on the outskirts of Pokhara. I kept up the running when I got home to the States, working my way back up to another half-marathon in Phoenix in January, 2011.

And now I'm really hooked. Running feels great, and I'm looking forward to another half-marathon at the end of the year in Las Vegas (update: done!).

I hope to run many more (half-marathons, at least) after that.

**I ran the Las Vegas Rock %u2018n%u2019 Roll half marathon in December, 2011, I ran the Vegas Strip at night and the PF Chang Rock & Roll half marathon in Phoenix for the third time in January, 2012.

See more long races I'd like to run in the....

I Want To....

Travel to more distant places

I've been very fortunate to have traveled abroad quite a lot, especially while I was a teenager, thanks to my parents -- places such as Paris and France's Loire Valley; Geneva and Lucerne, Switzerland; Israel; and cruises to the Bahamas, Alaska and Europe. I also spent a few months in Nepal in 2010. But there are so many more places I'd like to see and experience and some that I visited years ago that I'd love to go back to. Some of the places on my list are....

  • Switzerland, especially the Swiss Alps
  • Australia
  • France
  • Italy <--Yay! Went there for two weeks with my fianc√© in May, 2013!
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • The Netherlands (I want to see the "Girl With a Pearl Earring" painting in the Hague.)
  • England
  • Scotland
  • Ireland
  • Hawaii
  • New Zealand (definitely gonna do some tramping)
  • Canada (all over, especially the National Parks and small towns)

I Want To....

Do more paddling and portaging

In 2003, I made my first trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota. I was on an extended backpacking trip with a hiking partner I'd met online. Turned out to be a very nice man, but our hiking speeds and stamina weren't really in synch. And the trails were overgrown and very difficult to follow. So, after a long week mostly bushwhacking our way along the Kekekabic Trail and resupplying at Gunflint Lodge, we decided to rent a canoe and paddle and portage our way through the next stretch, rather than hike it.

And from then on, I was hooked. I love canoe-camping in the Boundary Waters and went back to do that again in 2009. I want to make many more trips to that area, including paddling and portaging part of the historic Voyageurs route used by the fur traders. That is, I want to canoe from International Falls to Grand Portage and walk that 9-mile portage to Grand Portage National Monument on Lake Superior. That's a total of (round about) 230 miles. And I'd like to finish the journey during the annual Rendezvous Days historic re-enactment at the Monument, just as the Voyageurs came in centuries ago.

ou can learn more about the historic re-enactment on my page:

I Want To....

Learn how to dance

I've taken some lessons around town in the styles of swing, salsa, and two-step, but I never got very far and have lost quite a bit of what I had learned. The social dance scene is alive and well here in Flagstaff, and I'd like to be able to participate and know how to follow without looking like a dork with two left feet. (Not that what I look like is important. It's just fun!)

So, I'm going to make it a point to go to more "Dancing on the Square" weekly events, with free lessons and then social dancing, during the summer at Heritage Square in Flagstaff. I also want to take the inexpensive country dance lessons in a variety of styles down at the historic Museum Club on old Route 66 and the free swing dance lessons at Galaxy Diner on Saturday evenings. (Yep, there's dancing in a diner.)

There are Lots of Opportunities to Learn How to Dance Where I Live

Some of them are free and others are very inexpensive...

I Want To....

Get more Search & Rescue certifications

If you know me or have ready some of my articles or blogs, you probably already know that I'm passionate about Search and Rescue. I became involved with the SAR team here in Coconino County, Arizona - the second largest county in the U.S. - in 2007 and have since put in thousands of hours of volunteer time doing what, to me, is the most worthwhile thing I've ever been part of. I've learned so many new skills, not to mention taken part in hundreds of Search and Rescue missions, many of which have saved lives. When a SAR call-out comes in, I try to respond if at all possible.

As a Search and Rescue team member, there are many things you can get involved with and learn more about -- things like technical rescue, tracking, navigation, equipment operation, K9 SAR (or, in my case, being a backer for a K9 handler), mission operations, alpine (snow and ice) rescue, swiftwater rescue, and so forth.

So, while I've already learned a lot, taken some tests and received my Wilderness Search Tech patch, and joined the technical rescue team, there's a LOT more I can learn. And I'd like to eventually be qualified to do Ops. So I'm continually taking (and re-taking) trainings, both with my own team and outside of the team.

This will be an ongoing part of my bucket list that, I hope, won't end.

I Want To....

Spend another summer in the Thousand Islands

In 1995, I traveled from Florida, where I was living at the time, to the Thousands Islands on the St. Lawrence River, which is on the border of New York state and Canada, with a friend of mine, towing his boat the whole way. We spent the summer on that boat, often docked at Grindstone Island where we spent many days relaxing and nights around the campfire. We also traveled up and down the river, stopping at small towns like Alexandria Bay and larger places on Lake Ontario like Kingston and Toronto. We also anchored in beautiful coves, where we'd swim and have picnic lunches.

I'd like to do all that again and, next time, do some kayaking too. There are many things I've done in the past that I'd like to do again, especially with the number one person in my life, to share the experience together.

I Want To....

Go see a lot more live shows

I love live music of lots of different kinds, from country to classic and hard rock to bluegrass and Celtic to pop and ... well, it's a long list. And sometimes I get a particular band or singer stuck in my head and really want to go see him, her or them in concert.

These days it's -- don't laugh -- the Scorpions, the hard rock band that was really popular in the 80s and early 90s lead by singer/songwriter Klaus Meine. The band has been together a long time and is still playing and touring. That is, until 2012, when they'll officially retire. (Hard to believe they're in their 60s now.) And I'd really like to see them before they do. That may mean having to fly to Europe if they don't announce any more U.S. dates, but, hey, why not do something slightly crazy now and then? Besides, I can always do other things wherever that may be, besides seeing the show.

And there are a lot more live shows I'd like to see, from well-known names to the more obscure -- some I've seen before, even multiple times, and some I've yet to see in concert.

Here are the top ten live concerts I've already been to...

I. Joseph Kellerman by Debra Lauman
I. Joseph Kellerman by Debra Lauman

I Want To....

Turn my first published novel into a screenplay

I call this a pipe dream, but I do want to try to make it happen. And I've talked to a filmmaker about it before ... just not the right filmmaker. What I need to do is turn the novel into a screenplay and really shop it around.

When I wrote the novel, it was like I was watching a mental movie. I could see and hear, touch and smell everything. So I already see it as a film. An independent film, anyway. And I would love to try to turn that pipe dream into reality, or at least give it a try. Why not?

I. Joseph Kellerman, published by Gardenia Press, is currently available in paperback and on Kindle from Amazon.

I Want To....

Get my second novel published by a large publishing house

My first novel was published by a small press in 2004, but, this time, I'd like to shoot for a larger publisher. Small publishers do have some advantages, so I've been told and experienced with "I. Joseph Kellerman," such as more author involvement in the editing and publishing process, but they're also limited when it comes to promotion, and they can be very vulnerable. (My first publisher, Gardenia Press, shut down upon the death of its founder and president.)

Right now, my second novel, "A Picket Fence in Pawpaw," is available from Amazon's Kindle store, but in the near future, I'm going to start trying to sell it to agents in the hopes of getting it into the hands of a sizable publishing house.

You Can Read the Prologue and Chapter One of "A Picket Fence in Pawpaw"...

Car camping
Car camping | Source

I Want To....

Sell a bunch of stuff and the house and just go, go, go for a while

Eventually, when the time is right, I want to unload a lot of belongings, sell this house, pack up and hit the road .. not necessarily the RV thing, but something similar. I want to travel around the country and the world with my man and see and do some of things already mentioned on this bucket list. I do like having a home base, so if it's possible to have one and still do this, then great. (Kind of depends on finances, but it will also depend on whether or not we know where we want that home base to be, which might take time to decide and find.)

Doing the car-camping thing and the occasional B&B is more my style than an RV, but same idea. Spend however much time at a place and then move on when the spirit moves us. I can see doing that on the order of years rather than months or at least a big chuck of each year for a while. I definitely have a lot of wanderlust in my veins.

That's the End of My Bucket List

For now

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© 2011 Deb Kingsbury


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