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Christmas Bucket List

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Christmas Bucket ListMerry Christmas!

I hope you are enjoying your holidays with family and friends. This year we drove down to the Bay Area to spend time with my mom and brothers. Christmas is a lot more fun now that we have more kids in our family. RB40Jr is almost 5 and he has 2 little cousins age 3 and 1. Kids appreciate Christmas a lot more than grownups do. It’s great to see them opening their gifts and playing all day. We’ll be back in Portland on Sunday.

Anyway, I’m updating my Christmas Bucket List! I started this Christmas tradition in 2014 when I turned 40. I didn’t want to wake up at 65 and start a bucket list. Life is short so we need to live it now. You don’t want to wait until retirement to enjoy life.

My Christmas Bucket List


We love to travel. I have been to over 20 countries and savor every memorable experience. We spent a few nights two blocks away from San Marcos in Venice. I drove around New Zealand’s North Island in a camper van. Traveling is a ton of fun and I want to do a lot more. Now that RB40Jr is old enough to travel, we’ll visit other countries at least once a year.

  • Visit Japan again. Japan is so easy to travel around in and the food is great.
  • Visit China again. China is a huge country and we only saw a tiny slice of it.
  • Visit the UK – England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. We were in London for a few days and loved it. This would have to be a much longer trip…
  • Take 6 months and drive around the US. My parents did this and they had a great time.
  • Take Mrs. RB40 to New Zealand and visit the South Island.
  • Go in space. Hopefully, the price of space tourism will come down before I get too old to go.
  • Visit Eastern Europe. I have to research more, but I’d like to see the Czech Republic, Croatia, Greece, and Turkey.  Mrs. RB40 visited Turkey and she loved it.
  • Visit Egypt to see the pyramids.
  • Take a trip around the world.
  • Done in 2014! – Take my mom on an “overseas” trip. We went to Hawaii in 2014.


We love good food. The highlight of our gastronomic adventure so far was the French Laundry (almost 10 years ago) in Napa and sushi at the Tsukiji fish market in Japan. Dim sum in Hong Kong was good too.

*I’m removing this category (Christmas 2015.) We’ll just enjoy good food whereever we go.

Adventures and Fun Experiences

Let’s see… I already tried skydiving, bungee jumping, snowboarding, surfing lessons, riding an elephant, and white water rafting. We’d probably have to get a lot of these things done before we get too old.

  • Christmas Bucket ListHave a 20th anniversary vow renewal. We just went to the courthouse when we got married 15 years ago. We need to have a big celebration and invite all our friends and family since we never had a wedding.
  • Done in 2014! – Helicopter ride near an active Volcano. We did this on the Big Island of Hawaii.
  • Join in a Songkran festival. It was a ton of fun when I was a kid and it would be great if RB40 Jr. could experience this.
  • Added in 2015 – Visit Chiang Mai during Loy Kratong festival.
  • Be in a movie. Shouldn’t be that hard. They are always looking for extras.
  • Done in 2014! Swim with dolphins (already swam with reef sharks in Belize, they are scary…) Lucked out in Hawaii.
  • Ride in hot air balloon.
  • Zip line. So close in 2015…
  • Ride a steam train with the kid. We are a big fan of Thomas.
  • Ride a fighter jet.
  • Go to the Olympics.
  • See the Portland Trailblazers in a playoff game in a championship year. Yeah, right…
  • Skinny dip in the ocean.
  • Ride a Segway.

Self Improvement

  • Take a photography class.
  • Take a writing class.
  • Join Peace Corps.
  • Have egg laying hens.
  • Join Toastmasters for a year.
  • Become a decent photographer.
  • Become a Buddhist monk for 4 weeks.
  • Learn to speak Mandarin with the kid.
  • Build an outdoor pizza oven.
  • Build a tree house.
  • Learn Kung Fu. Might have to go with Tai Chi at my age.
  • Volunteer to help recent immigrants.

Long term goals

The long term goal category can be quite difficult. The big one I achieved so far is my goal of leaving the corporate job before 40. The rest of the stuff on this list will take a long time to complete.

  • Debt free. We have mortgages on several properties. At some point, it’d be great to be debt free.
  • Live in Thailand for 6 months and travel around South East Asia.
  • Live in South/Central America for 6 months and travel around the area.
  • Help RB40 Jr. graduate from a 4 year public college with no debt. If he wants to go to Harvard, he’ll have to get some student loans. I’m rethinking this one since I found out about the student loan forgiveness programs.
  • Invent a gadget.
  • Live within a 10 minute walk to a nice beach.
  • Own a convertible again in a warm climate so I can drive with the top down.
  • Live in Santa Barbara for a while.

Whew! This turned out to be a huge list, but hopefully I have at least 40 years to accomplish it. What about you? Do you have a bucket list? Don’t wait until you’re 60 to make one because cliff jumping at Rick’s Café in Jamaica (check) won’t sound so appealing anymore.

Happy Holidays! Please share some of the items on your Bucket List.

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{ 36 comments… add one }

  • Pretired Nick December 25, 2013, 7:24 am

    Great idea for a tradition, Joe! Good list, too!
    Next year we can try to meet at the property I own near Portland and you guys can go crazy. We have lots of trees.
    Isn’t Jiro getting kind of old? You might need to rush that one. I wouldn’t worry about rushing skydiving, though. My grandfather went skydiving on his 70th birthday. (:
    Have a great Christmas!

    • retirebyforty December 25, 2013, 4:58 pm

      That’s be great. Let us know when you’re coming down. Yeah, Jiro is getting kind of old, I’d better move that one up the list.
      Have a great Holidays!

  • Prasun Choudhury December 25, 2013, 7:46 am

    It seems that I have quite a bit in common with your wish list. Travel is also my highest priority (I am currently traveling in Spain’s Andalucia region for the winter holidays) and I plan to explained my horizon with time. New Zealand’s south island is on top of my travel list and so are all the east European countries that you mentioned. As of now, I will restrain my ambition and keep the space travel away from my check list!

    Just curious, I see you have been to French Laundry; what’s your impression on the same? Is it worth the money? I guess, when you visited French Laundry, you were not tracking your daily/monthly expenses that rigorously. One French Laundry visit per family will cover up the lion’s share of the monthly expenditure.

    • retirebyforty December 25, 2013, 8:46 am

      I love Granada and Sevilla, but wasn’t impressed with Barcelona. Enjoy your trip!
      We went to the French Laundry years and years ago. It was definitely worth it. We enjoy good food and it expanded our horizon. I don’t know if we’ll go back though. It’d have to be a really special occasion. Once is good. 🙂

  • Pauline December 25, 2013, 8:03 am

    Lots of cool items in your list. When you live for 6 months in Central America, stop by Guatemala, you can hike the Pacaya volcano and see the melted lava a few meters away from you, and do the helicopter ride to see other active volcanoes in eruption by night. That is pretty impressive.

    • retirebyforty December 25, 2013, 4:59 pm

      That sounds like a great plan. Thanks for the tips. 6 months in Central America is probably 20 years away though…

  • C. the Romanian December 25, 2013, 10:42 am

    Great bucket list! And if you get to visit Eastern Europe (Greece is actually considered here part of Southern Europe), make a sure to have a few days in Romania too, I am sure you will like the country as well. As for Turkey, a summer spent at their all inclusive resorts will surely be great!

    • retirebyforty December 25, 2013, 5:00 pm

      I’ll add Romania to the list and will drop by to say hello. 🙂

  • Done by Forty December 25, 2013, 11:12 am

    That’s one hell of a bucket list, Joe. Way to swing big. You can’t hit a home run unless you do.

    • retirebyforty December 25, 2013, 5:00 pm

      Well, I think the only one that seems out of reach is the space. Hopefully the price will come down in 20 years or perhaps I’d win the lotto. 🙂

  • Melanie December 25, 2013, 12:17 pm

    Wow you are pretty adventurous! I want to visit China too. It’s my all time dream. I really like to esperience their culture and visit the historical places.

    • retirebyforty December 25, 2013, 5:01 pm

      China was great. One trip isn’t enough and we definitely need to go back.

  • Ryan December 26, 2013, 9:40 am

    Your list totally sounds like my dream year (or 2 or 3 years) if I were to win the lottery tomorrow. My wife and I love travelling, but the one place I want to go that she has no interest in is space. That is a definite bucket list item for the ages. I’m right there with you. Hopefully in 30 years, it will go from being 250k to maybe 25k, which even though it would be for about 30 minutes of enjoyment, is totally worth it to me.

    • retirebyforty December 27, 2013, 10:07 am

      Good luck! My list will take forever to finish off. Yeah, winning the lottery would help a lot. 🙂

  • jon_snow December 26, 2013, 9:49 am

    Have you seen Gravity? **** space travel.

    • retirebyforty December 27, 2013, 10:08 am

      Hahaha, I haven’t seen Gravity. I figure space travel will be a space shuttle ride up and down. I’m pretty sure we won’t have to spacewalk.

  • Little House December 26, 2013, 9:52 am

    I haven’t put together a bucket list yet, but I really should. Most things I would want to add would be adventuresome and should probably be done sooner than later! (Like hiking the South to North rim of the Grand Canyon! – Did the south twice when I was in my early 20’s.)

    • retirebyforty December 27, 2013, 10:09 am

      You really should. It will be fun to cross off.

  • Justin @ RootofGood December 26, 2013, 10:09 am

    Looks like a good list, Joe. One that should keep you busy for a couple of decades at least.

    Neat to see Argentina on your list. Definitely worth a visit. Buenos Aires is a beautiful city.

  • Sandy December 26, 2013, 10:46 am

    When you come to the Big Apple you have to reserve space for pizza at a few different places! One does not just have ONE slice of pizza from ONE place in NYC.

    • retirebyforty December 27, 2013, 10:10 am

      Reserve? Can’t I just walk in a get a slice? I’ll try to get in a few places and some delis too.

  • Nate @ TheyBuyTime December 26, 2013, 10:55 am

    “Have a 20th anniversary vow renewal. We just went to the courthouse when we got married 15 years ago. We need to have a big celebration and invite all our friends and family since we never had a wedding.”

    Joe — this brought a huge smile to my face 😀

    Having an excellent marriage is key. I think it’s awesome that you have prioritized this item on your list. All of the travel sounds like a blast as well – go forth and conquer!!!!

    • retirebyforty December 27, 2013, 10:11 am

      I really need to plan this. Hopefully we can do it in Hawaii or perhaps Santa Barbara. It should be a lot of fun.

  • Erin @ My Alternate Life December 26, 2013, 4:33 pm

    Awesome list! I’m considering doing a vow renewal for our 10 year anniversary (married 4 years so far!) as we did the small courthouse wedding as well. I’m a big fan of small weddings, but I would like to have a nice party with good food and drinks to celebrate that milestone.

    My bucket list (all in my head, not official) is made up of lots of traveling and starting a family 🙂

    • retirebyforty December 27, 2013, 10:11 am

      10 year anniversary would be a great time to do it. Have fun with your bucket list!

  • Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans December 30, 2013, 9:40 am

    I hear great things about the French Laundry. I live relatively near Napa and would love to save up the money to go there, but I’m afraid the whole experience has already been over-hyped for me.

    • retirebyforty December 30, 2013, 2:11 pm

      We didn’t know much about the French Laundry when we went so it was a great experience for us. It’s hard to overcome the hype, but I think you’ll be satisfied. 🙂

  • Jon P. December 30, 2013, 10:29 am

    Just wanted to say that this year might be your year for a championship Trail Blazers game!

    • retirebyforty December 30, 2013, 2:11 pm

      I hope so, but they always choke at the finish line…

  • Erich December 31, 2013, 7:29 am

    WOW do I agree with you on Jiro’s. That man is unique and astonishing, and won’t be around much longer. His son does seem ready to take over the reigns though. They mentioned in the documentary that the michelin judges were served food made by his son during some of their visits. He reminds me of the ideal of the samurai, focusing your life on doing each task to perfection.

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2013, 9:29 am

      Jiro is very admirable. I would be happy to be served by his son too. It’s too obsessive for me, though. I’d rather enjoy life and families than obsessing about something. It’s good that someone is that dedicated.

  • theFIREstarter January 12, 2014, 12:53 am

    That’s a pretty comprehensive list!

    I think I might do this soon but I don’t think there would be as much on it as you. We’ve done a lot of travelling already and I feel like I am getting into my “settling down” stage of life 🙂

    • theFIREstarter January 12, 2014, 12:57 am

      Oh yea Croatia is a stunning country… really different scenery and the islands are fantastic! Czech republic also very nice! Not been to greece though. Any particular reason why you picked out those few European countries? If you are in the area I’d also check a few of the other eastern European countries such as Slovenia and Hungary both of which are pretty cool. I’ve heard Serbia is nice as well but can’t vouch for that one. I expect all of them have very interesting places and lovely scenery but haven’t done them all myself either.

    • retirebyforty January 13, 2014, 9:28 am

      We stopped traveling for 4 years and no we are ready to get back to it. Have fun with your list!

  • Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes December 25, 2015, 2:11 am

    Great list Joe. I can honesty say I’ve never had a bucket list before. Perhaps that’s because I only just came up for air a month ago.
    If all goes well with recent endeavors (and the stock market doesn’t tank for the next 20 years), maybe I will give it a go.

  • Kim December 25, 2015, 12:45 pm

    You should try to catch the steam train in Fort Bragg when you are in the bay area. It’s a great ride with beautiful scenery.

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