In my mid-20s, my friend Vicki was dying from a brain tumor. She was 35-years old, an aerobics instructor and in the prime of her life. It was a shock to everyone when she was diagnosed. Near the end of her struggles I went to visit her, and at one point she sighed and said, "I had always dreamed of going to Hawaii. Now it is too late."

This was a moment of impact for me. One must never ignore moments of impact. They can define who we are and where we take our life. I went home and created my '1st Bucket List' (though it wasn't called that then), as she had instantly made me realize we must live now, not tomorrow.

What did that list lead to? I quit my job, went back to school to change careers (I used to be a protein chemist in a biotech company), moved abroad, and traveled where I had dreamed of traveling to. I am where I am now due to it.

Over 15 years later, in 2014, as my own mother lay in a hospital with lung cancer, she said something similar as my friend Vicki had; that she had dreamed of seeing the Grand Canyon and now wouldn't be able to. In fact, my mother had been a month away from that dream trip when she fell too sick to go.

​​Follow your dreams! Now. Not tomorrow. Today.

I completed my first Bucket List in 2012. So, In 2012, I created a "2nd Bucket List", which I'm currently working on. 

Photos, L --> R: a. Mt Kilimanjaro, Kenya, Egypt, b. Pyrenees, Egypt, NYC, c. China, UAE, Australia, d. Oman, Italy, France, e. China, NY, NY. 

Some "2nd Bucket List" Items: 

  • Attend meditation retreat in Asia.

  • Trek in Nepal.

  • Bike across Thailand or Indonesia.

  • Boat around the Caribbean Islands.

  • Dive off the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

  • Publish a book.

  • Live abroad again.

  • Complete Black Belt in Kung Fu (I'm a senior student now...).

  • Deep Water diving certificate.

  • Learn to snowboard.

  • I'll keep adding as new goals come along...

Some "1st Bucket List" Items and Other Adventures Already Completed: 


  • Lived abroad (France and the UAE) for 10 years.

  • Have learned a second language to proficiency. 

  • Obtained my doctoral degree in2012 - a dream I'd had since I was 14 years old. 

  • Backpacked in South America for 3 months - 2001 - a dream I'd had since high school.

  • International adoption: I adopted a girl from Colombia in 2015, and a girl from China in 2019. I'd dreamed of doing this since the 2nd grade. Yes. Really. The 2nd grade - long before Brangelina made it popular!

  • Obtained my diving certification - 1995

  • Climbed Mt Kilimanjaro (with food poisoning no less!) - 2010

  • Safari in the Serengeti - 2010

  • Diving in Zanzibar - 2010

  • Drove in Kenya (you cannot imagine what a feat that was!!!) - 2010, 2013

  • Road trip in Baja Mexico (another driving feat...) - 1996

  • Ate dried grasshoppers in Oaxaca Mexico - 1996, 1999

  • Swam in a long bat cave in Panama - 2001

  • Swam with fresh-water dolphins on the Amazon Basin-side of Ecuador - 2001

  • Ate live ants in Ecuador - 2001

  • Climbed to Machu Piccu (Peru) from Aguas Calientes - 2001

  • Horseback trip in the Andes of Peru - 2001

  • Canal trip in the South of France - 2010

  • Wine tasting in Italy - 2009

  • Wine tasting in France (several regions) - multiple years.

  • Visited the Paris sewers (oh the smell! the smell!!!!!) - 2007

  • Pubcrawl in Paris - multiple years.

  • Pubcrawl in Brussels - 2008

  • Trekking in the Pyrenees Mountains - 2009

  • Road trip in SE Ireland - 2010

  • Scuba Diving in the Bay of Pigs, Cuba - 2007

  • Hiking in the Alps - multiple years.

  • Hiking in the Pyrenees - multiple years.

  • Camping with the Maasai - 2010, 2013

  • Horseback trip to the Pyramids in Egypt - 2013

  • Boat trip down the Nile, Egypt - 2013

  • Mopeding in Thailand - 2013

  • Meditated in a temple in Thailand - 2013

  • Visited the Sagrada Familia (one of the coolest architectural projects in our century) - 2010

  • Desert camped in the Middle East - multiple years.

  • Diving in Oman - multiple years.

  • Kayaking in the Florida Keys - 2012