Over the weekend, I was thinking a bit about the next 20 years, and things I'd like to accomplish within that timeframe. Nothing practical like "preparing for retirement" or "funding the girls' college accounts" or even "remembering to mow the lawn weekly." No, it's always more interesting to think of the fun things one might be able to do in the future.
So here's my list, focused on those things I think would be the most fun or most interesting. As with lists of this type, there's a good chance that well over half my list will remain unaccomplished--family, work responsibilities, and economic realities always seem to get in the way of our dreams. However, I will do my best to check off at least some of these items while working within the confines of reality.
The list is presented in reverse order, with my most important objective listed at the bottom of the list (it is item #1, however):
- Run a marathon: Since I really don't like running long distances, this one will be the toughest to accomplish, but also probably most important to my long-term health.
- Get some actual flying time in a business jet: There's no way I have the money or time (or need) to earn a full type rating in a business jet, but I'd love to sit in the right seat sometime and have the chance to do some climbs, descents, and turns. After flying nothing but single-engine piston planes in real life, I just think it'd be a blast to sit up front in a business jet.
- Fly a full-motion transport-category jet flight simulator: The full-motion simulators that are used to train today's commercial pilots are truly amazing. I'd love to spend a few hours flying the 747 simulator, just to see what it's like. After so many years of flying jumbo jets in X-Plane, I'd like to see how I'd do with a "real" version--try some takeoffs, shoot some instrument approaches by hand and with autopilot assistance, and see how well I could land something of that size.
- See Tiger Woods play golf in person: As someone who struggles with the game of golf (and doesn't play often enough to complain about how bad I am!), I feel amazingly fortunate to have the chance to watch what this man is doing to golf's record books. As of yet, I've only ever seen him play on television. Sometime soon, I intend to change that (crowds and all), as his talents with a golf club are amongst the best ever seen.
- Visit the remaining US states that I haven't yet seen in person: I've been lucky enough to have the chance to travel quite a bit with some of my work, and I've managed to spend some time in nearly all 50 states. The only ones missing from my list are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. Alaska will be covered this spring, on the MacMania 6 Geek Cruise. I figure I can visit the other states with a one-week trip and a car rental, as they're all in the same general area of the country.
- Spend a couple days with Skip Barber: I admit it, I like speed. But I'm also sane enough to realize that there's no place on public highways for ultra-legal speeds and aggressive driving. Enter Skip Barber.
I don't have any aspirations to be a race car driver, but I do think it'd be a blast to attend Skip Barber's two-day high performance driving school. The chance to drive the Audi S4 and RS4, Porsche 911 and Boxster, and BMW M3 and 330i on a track under the instruction of experts seems too good to pass up--other than that little matter of the amount of money it requires!
- Dive The Yongala wreck in Australia: I am a very inexperienced scuba diver--I have but a handful of dives to my credit. But from what I've read of this dive, it's one not to be missed. The Yongala sunk off the coast of Australia many years ago, and is now an amazing underwater collection of creatures, coral, and sites to be seen. Someday I want to experience it for myself.
- Visit New Zealand: From the first time I ever saw its landscape in film, I have wanted to visit New Zealand. From the flatlands to the mountain peaks, the coastal areas, and the remote regions, I'd love to figure out a way to spend a couple months exploring the islands--perhaps after diving The Yongala? :)
- Try paragliding: I tried skydiving twice--one in a "tandem" jump, which I hated, and then by taking the Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) class. The AFF was quite fun, but I knew pretty quickly that skydiving wasn't for me: I found it the most fun after the chute had opened and I was flying around the sky under this colorful canopy. We I landed (a stand-up landing, my first and only parachute landing, thank you very much) and debriefed, everyone else was raving about how much fun free fall had been. To me, though, free fall had been relatively boring; the jump wasn't fun for me until the chute was open. Unfortunately, they really frown on you opening the chute at 15,000 feet!
Then I heard about paragliding--it seems like it'd be the best part of skydiving, minus the requirement for an airplane and free fall. I'd love to find a beach site somewhere and give this a try; it looks to be an absolute blast.
- Play golf at Augusta National: As a kid, I grew up with Masters Weekend on the television; it was the one golf event that I can recall watching with my dad. From the beginning, I was taken with the greenery, the flowers, and the incredible layout of the course. Ever since, I've had a desire to someday play the course, just once.
As a non-member, though, it's pretty tough to get on. There are basically only three ways in: become a member (applications not accepted, and no amount of money will buy your way in), get invited by a member (only 300 or so, and they're basically all members of that other exclusive club, The Rich and/or The Famous), or (here's my chance) be a caddy at Augusta. That's right, if you caddie at Augusta, you can play. Well, one day, at any rate. Of course, with family and work commitments, it's doubtful I'll be able to go live in Georgia for a few months while I get enough caddy rounds in to qualify for the free play day. Still, as a weekend hacker, this is my ultimate dream, to someday play the same course where so many greats have produced so many spectacular rounds of golf.
If any of you have any insight as to how I might accomplish some of the tougher tasks on my list (#9, #8, #1), by all means, let me know! :)