bucket list

#94 – Watch Cirque du Soleil

‘Cirque du Soleil means Circus of the Sun. When I need to take time
to re-energize, I go somewhere by the ocean to sit back
and watch the sunsets. That is where the idea of ‘Soleil’ came from,
on a beach in Hawaii,
and because the sun is the symbol of youth and energy’
– Guy Laliberte

On 12th March 2017, after falling in love with the theatre company Cirque du Soleil many years previously whilst at University, I was finally able to see them live.

Touring Australia with their show KOOZA, I was able to see their performance at Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne. Described the The Independant as “a show that blends, almost to perfection, its subcontinental sounds, its stunning lighting and costumes with theatrical ingenuity and acrobatic wonder”, my expectations were high and my excitement ever-growing. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed. (more…)

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#95 – Attend a Grand Prix race weekend

‘I’m a sport fan. So, I have always watched everything,
and I used to watch racing. Formula One was always on.
The genius about it is that it’s on at lunchtime on a Sunday’

– Asif Kapadia

Despite growing up a stones throw from Silverstone, it took until I was in Melbourne to actually attend a Grand Prix.

It was alright, the Melbourne circuit is pretty sweet and it is a cool experience. Sure, it involves a lot of head twisting mind, and you only get to see the cars breeze past you for just a second, but (more…)

#67 – Walk on a naturally formed glacier

‘The gem of New Zealand’s West Coast Glaciers’

The west cost of New Zealand’s South Island has several stunning glaciers that provide many a beautiful photo opportunity, but perhaps the best known of all is the Franz Josef Glacier.

Glacier’s themselves are pretty awesome. A body of dense ice centuries old that is constantly moving and shifting due to it’s own weight, influenced by its on-going climate. Unfortunately, due to fluctuating weather conditions (more…)

#68 – Hitchhike

‘One of the more tiring aspects of hitchhiking is a need to be sociable and make conversation with whoever is driving you.
It would be considered poor form to accept a ride, hop into the passenger seat and then simply to crash out until you reached your destination
‘ – Tony Hawks

Unlike Tony Hawks, I am afraid to say that I did indeed crash out during my hitchhiking experience. Now, my hitchhiking experience may not be quite so exotic / painstakingly frustrating / dangerous (delete as appropriate) as other people’s experiences might be, but I believe that it still counts.

The reason I crashed out was the circumstance. For one, it was other backpackers who picked us up. Secondly, the backseat of the VW was a bed. Thirdly we had just walked the Tongariro Crossing, and I (more…)

#50 – Have a bonfire on the beach

‘Insert Quote Here’ – Teo Wolter

This memory will live on in me for as a long as I will live because it was a truly special evening for me, even if it did take me 23years to get there.

The site of my first beach bonfire experience was Hot Water Beach on New Zealand’s North Island. One of the guys that I had met right at the start of my Kiwi Experience trip – Teo – and I had made our minds up quite early on that we would be spending our one evening at Hot Water Beach sat under the stars with a little bonfire, so en route to the location we picked up marshmallows to toast over the open flames.

We made our way down to the beach after sunset, following a path illuminated by (more…)

#110 – Volunteer at the Olympics/Paralympics

‘Long hours, no pay and a mandatory cheery smile…
why do people want to be London 2012 volunteers?’
Jenny Minard

Back in 2010, before I had even celebrated my 16th birthday, my Dad spoke to me one weekend about applying to be a London 2012 Games Maker. He had seen an article in the local newspaper about it and had done all the research for me – obviously he was very aware that 15yo me wouldn’t really have done anything about it – and all that was needed to be done was to fill out the application form.

Fast forward to January 2012 and I was invited to have both a first and second interview at the London 2012 HQ as part of the 100,000+ strong candidacy search that had been whittled down from an initial 200,000+.

A couple of months later the news then came through, I was one of the luck 70,000 volunteers to be selected to be involved at London 2012! (more…)

#107 – Eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant

‘To Callum
Good luck and phone your mum.
Brum love
Glynn Purnell’

The countdown to my leaving the UK in 2016 for an unspecified amount of time was under way and, as part of my goodbyes, I was treated by my mum to a meal at the restaurant of one of my favourite Chef’s, Glynn Purnell.

The menu of choice at his Michelin star restaurant? The 9 course tasting menu.
To put it simply, it was a phenomenal dining experience.

Cornwall Street in Birmingham is the home of Purnell’s Restuarant. It is actually quite an understated building and, if you aren’t looking out for it, it is somewhere you could easily walk past without a second thought.

We were greeted immediately upon arrival, our bags and coats put to one side, and allowed to push the conversation (more…)

#106 – Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa

‘I’ve been to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s a tower, and it’s leaning.
You look at it, but nothing happens,
so then you look for someplace to get a sandwich’
 – Danny DeVito

Truth be told, Danny DeVito hits the nail on the head with this one. In fact, the accuracy can be acknowledged by the fact that the second time I ended up in Pisa I didn’t even want to bother visiting the tower, however I made my way there with my then-girlfriend so she could experience what all the fuss was about – and I mean “fuss” in the most sarcastic of ways.

Anyway, you’d have to go all the way back to 2010 and a day trip from Florence to Pisa for the first time I visited the Leaning Tower and its Duomo. Apparently either during – or perhaps after – construction, the tower began to sink due to the ground being unable (more…)

#105 – Eat Steak Tartare in France

Although popular throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the (now) modern variation of steak tartare was first served in French restaurants during the early 20th century. This version – which features finely chopped/minced raw beef, onion, capers, raw egg, ground peppers and, on occasion, Worcestershire sauce – is something that I had always wanted to try without ever really knowing why.

However, I knew that the only country I would eat this dish in was France. (more…)

#104 – Watch a show at the Minack Theatre, Cornwall

‘Cornwall’s extraordinary Minack Theatre is testimony
to one woman’s passion’
Philip Johnston

The Minack Theatre is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most beautiful performance space I have ever had the pleasure of watching theatre in. Carved into the edge of Cornwall’s beautiful coastline, this seasonal outdoor venue stands strong against the elements to deliver unique theatrical experiences to its audience.

The Minack Theatre has wowed audiences since the 1930s, with the threat of neither wind nor rain able to keep willing patrons at bay.

(more…)