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  • Nora Hemsley

The Bucket List No One Asked For

Although I might be too young to write a bucket list, writing down all of the things that I want to do before I die gives me the motivation to do the more straightforward tasks I am required to complete (like studying for my first DBQ!!). So, here are some of my more ~extravagant~ bucket list items:

1. Go skydiving. I know, I know: VERY cliche bucket list item. But, I have to be honest, I am not ready to die until I have jumped out of a moving plane thousands of feet in the air with a stranger strapped to my back. End of story. I mean, what more coul

d you ask for? Plus, I have a plan to go skydiving as soon as I turn 18 with my best friend and her dad (who told me that he would soooo be down to go now if I wanted- despite the legality of it).

2. Run a marathon. For some reason, I was born with this bizarre disease which makes me enjoy running (my mom thinks it's very concerning). Every summer growing up, I have gone to Cape Cod, where my Grandma lives, and have heard about the annual "Falmouth Road Race." My grandfather ingrained the idea that I would grow up to become an Olympic runner in my head, so one year he finally took me to the race. As the front runner came up to the finish line, he whispered in my ear, "That's gonna be you someday." Ever since then, especially after he passed away, I wanted to be able to complete a marathon in honor of my biggest supporter.

3. Travel to every state in the U.S. For my birthday a couple of years ago, I got one of those scratch-off maps, and it remains its original off-gold color for about 85% of the United States. My only international accomplishments were Canada and Mexico (when I was eight months old… the trip was a BLAST). Though I don't have unearthly desires to go to South Dakota, I think it would be so cool to tell people I have traveled to every state (according to my dad, I can't count airport layovers- RIP, Illinois). So, if anyone is going to Nevada anytime soon- give me a call!

4. See the Northern Lights. Despite many of my friends thinking my two

summer trips to Alaska allowed me to see the Northern Lights, I have not yet laid my eyes on the Aurora Borealis. Another thing my grandfather instilled in me is a substantial interest in natural phenomenons. He was also an Alaska veteran and told an incredible story about driving to Barrow from Boston with his brother-in-law simply to see the Northern Lights for one night.

5. Become fluent in a second language. This one might be a little bold, but I think it would be awesome to go around speaking Tagalog to anyone not annoyed enough with me to run away. My top two contenders: Gaelic (don't let it die, people!) and ASL. Though I have made several attempts with Duolingo, I have not yet accomplished this achievement. Like many teenage girls in middle school, I thought it was my absolute destiny to learn ASL after watching “Switched at Birth.”

6. Watch baby sea turtles hatch. This one is probably my favorite item because starting in elementary school, I have had an unexplained obsession with sea turtles. In fifth grade, I came close to achieving this goal when my family was on a trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina. We were taking a walk down the beach when we noticed signs that indicated sea turtle nests. We found nest #12 (my lucky number) and discovered that the babies looked like they were going to hatch. So, much to my mother's dismay, I forced my parents to wake up at 6:00 am the next morning to go back to the nest and watch the eggs hatch (did I mention I was obsessed?). When we arrived and found nest #12, there were tons of little flipper markings leading to the beach but no sea turtles in sight. I had missed the hatching! And so, ever since then, I have told myself that I MUST see this event happen before I die.

7. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. The last item on my list is inspired by my friend Phoebe's outdoor escapades that always result in enviously sublime pictures. We made a pact last spring that when we graduate, we are going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro (assuming my mother is okay sending me 12,000 miles away to a dangerous 19,341-foot mountain). I guess this means I’d better start practicing now if I am going to have any chance of keeping up with Pheebs.

An accurate photo of us climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, taken by a professional National Geographic photographer.

Omelchenka, Anna. Sunrise on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Encyclopædia


162715. Accessed 29 Feb. 2020.

Ruggiero, Elizabeth M. Northern Lights. Outside Online, 13 Jan. 2020,

Accessed 29 Feb. 2020.

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