Bucket List

Life, etc.

  • 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.

The Angel of the North

The Angel of the North

  • See a Banksy. I have seen two so far, and the quest continues.

St-Pietersplein, Ghent (Belgium): Leonard Cohen Live

  • 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.

Snorkeling in Malta

  • 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.