- Finish my PhD.
- Get married.
- Write a (good) book.
Pick up a sport. Surprisingly enough, this has been one of the hardest items on the list, seeing that I am a couch potato and all. But after taking up Krav Maga two years ago, I have finally discovered that it was possible to enjoy sweating. Now I run three times a week.
- Quit smoking.
Have a piece published in the press. I’ve actually had two so far (in Belgian magazines, here and there), more if you count online publications. And I also have an evergrowing collection of rejection e-mails.
- Ride a hot air balloon.
Donate my hair. It was a very nice experience though retropectively, I would pick another hairdresser because I ended up with the sort of haircuts you only see on older women in 1970s sitcoms.
Art & Culture
- See the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Gianlorenzo Bernini (Rome, Italy).
- See the Bust of Costanza Bonarelli by Gianlorenzo Bernini (Florence, Italy). I almost did, but it was on loan.
- See the Sistine Chapel (Rome, Italy).
See the Acropolis (Athens, Greece). Splendid, though a bit crowded. Do research in the reading rooms of the British Library (London, UK). I did that in 2016/2017, but it never occurred to me to take pictures as I didn’t even dare coughing. Very nice experience. See a musical in the West End (London, UK). I have seen two so far: Les Mis and The Witches of Eastwick. I’m looking forward to the next show.
See a play by William Shakespeare performed.Same, I saw Richard II with David Tennant at the Barbican and Richard III with Martin Freeman at the Trafalgar Studios. Both performances were extremely impressive.
Visit the Uffizi (Florence, Italy). Amazing collection, but frustrating experience.
Visit the Louvre (Paris, France). A must-see, of you aren’t afraid of dying in a tourist stampede.
Visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna). Absolutely fantastic. You could spend a week in the museum and still not see everything.
Visit the Tate (London). Beautiful in all aspects.
Visit the British Museum (London). I love it and visit it each time I get the chance.
- Visit the Smithsonian (Washington).
- Visit Stratford-Upon-Avon.
- See a concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
Attend a live performance at the Cavern Club (Liverpool). Absolutely lovely, and not as crowded as you would expect. Obviously, it was a Beatles cover band.
See the Book of Kells (Dublin). I got extremely lucky and got a pass for a private tour. Fantastic experience.
See The Angel of the North (Gateshead). As heartbreaking as you’d expect.
See a Banksy. I have seen two so far, and the quest continues. See the manuscript of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I saw it twice; once at the Tate Liverpool and once at the British Library.
See Caravaggio’s Beheading of St John the Baptist (Valetta, Malta). Life-changing experience. His St Jerome also is in the Co-Cathedral of St. John.
See Bob Dylan perform. It was not the experience I thought it would be, but I am still glad I saw him. See Leonard Cohen in concert. A truly magical moment on St-Pietersplein (Ghent).
See Ben Harper on stage. It was fantastic.
See U2 perfom. What a show!
- See Tom Waits on stage.
- See Van Morrison. And probably cry my eyes out.
- Attend a Florence + the Machine concert.
- See Lady Gaga perform.
- Go to Glastonbury festival
- Finish reading Cien años de soledad by Gabriel García Márquez. I have been on it for a good ten years; only a couple of pages left, but I am not ready to let go of it.
- Go on a cruise
Fly on a light aircraft. Genuinely not as terrifying as I’d thought. See Hadrian’s Wall. It was cold and wet and all kinds of beautiful.
- Climb Pen-Y-Fan (Wales).
- Complete the Three Peaks Challenge (England, Scotland, Wales).
- See a real-life basking shark in its environment (Wales).
- See a platypus (Australia).
- See the northern lights (Iceland).
Live abroad for a bit. An Erasmus stay in the Canary Islands and ten years in France. Let’s see where we’re going next.
Have the afternoon tea at the Savoy (London). A magnificient experience. I loved every bit of it.
- Cross the Øresund. (Denmark/Sweden).
- See Petra (Jordan).
- Visit Jerusalem (Israel).
Participate in the harvesting of wine grapes. Truly lovely. A lot of wine was drunk that day though. Visit Schönbrunn Castle (Austria). Like Versailles, but prettier.
Lounge on the beach in the Cinque Terre (Italy). Nice and warm with a good swim in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean.
- Visit Neuschwanstein Castle (Germany).
Have a pint in Temple Bar (Dublin, Republic of Ireland). I didn’t like it much.
- Visit Charles Darwin’s house (Downe, UK).
Eat haggis in Scotland. Nice! Now I need to do it again, but with a glass of whisky, this time.
- Travel on a Pullman train.
- Spend New Year’s Eve in London.
- Eat Phở in Vietnam.
- Visit Saint Petersburg (Russia).
- Get lost in Gamla Stan (Stockholm, Sweden).
- Visit Jersey and Guernsey.
- Ride a steamboat.
- Fly in first class.
- Go to Casablanca (Morocco). Say “Here’s looking at you, kid” a million times.
Snorkel in the Mediterranean. Very pretty fish.
- Spent time on the road in a van.
- Gamble (a little) money in Las Vegas (USA).
- New York. Just New York. I don’t know what I’ll do when I get there.
Drink wine on a terrasse in Tuscany (Italy). Life doesn’t get any better than that, baby.
- Visit Auschwitz (Poland).
- See the mummies of Palermo (Sicily).
- Visit the Magnificient Seven (London, UK). One down (Kensal Green); six to go.
- See Pamukkale (Turkey).
- Travel on the Orient Express (any route will do).
- Go camping. I know most people do that as a very normal activity, but I never have.
- Visit Cyprus.
See Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)’s redsidence in Croft-on-Tees (England).
See Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s birthplace in Daresbury (England).
See Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s tomb in Guildford (England).
Note: I am not obsessed with Lewis Carroll. There’s a very good reason for all of this.
- Visit Oxford
Drink Champagne in Champagne (France). Always lots of fun; Champagne has splendid restaurants on top of its bubbly.
- Visit Kentucky. Re-read Elmore Leonard’s short stories on the way there.
Eat tapas in Spain.
- Visit Pompeii.
See a proper game of rugby in Wales. Visit Knossos. Fantastic. Every archeology nerd should visit it.
See a sea shell grotto. What can I say? I like curiosities and bonkers theories. I visited the sea shell grotto of Margate, which is dramatically underrated.
See the Roman baths in Bath. Epic.
- Spend a night in a “haunted” castle.
- Visit the Hebrides (Scotland).
All texts, pictures and videos © Justine Houyaux except the heading picture, courtesy of Pexels.com.