Gonna rise up. Find my direction magnetically.

Life List

Life List

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

What better place to collect and organize my ‘bucket list’ than on my blog.  I have had a rough list either in my head or written down in various places for a while, but it’s nice to consolidate it.  Organized by area of my life and, for now, not in any particular order. As I start to work on the list, I’ll link blog posts to those activities.

Why have a list? It’s hard to make any progress towards a goal if you don’t have a clear understanding of what that goal is.


  • Run a marathon with my wife. Done.
  • Run a sub-4 hr marathon.
    • Done. Ran the Fox Valley marathon in 2011 in 3:59. Made it with little time to spare!
  • Run the Ave of The Giants marathon.
    • Done. Not Ave of The Giants, but I ran the Napa Valley Marathon with my brother. Close enough.
  • Do a handstand.


  • Learn 2 songs on the guitar that everyone knows and can sing along to (preferably Beatles).
  • Build a really nice piece of furniture with dovetail joints. It doesn’t matter what kind of furniture really. (Love you Norm!)
  • Learn how to ride a motorcycle
    • Sept 2010
  • Skydive. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Be3yXYcBeM0


This category is mainly related to my 2 daughters. As things come up that I think would be experiences or activities that I want to do with them, I’ll add them here but I don’t want to put any pressure on them 🙂 so really these are things they have expressed interest in that I want to make happen.

  • Show my girls a Hawaiian sunset and see humpback whales breach.
    • Hawaii in Nov 2014
  • Go scuba diving in a tropical location with my girls.
    • Hawaii in 2011, St Thomas in 2018
    • DCIM100GOPRO

  • Write a song together as a family.
  • Run a 5k race together as a family.


  • Camp on a secluded beach.
  • Rim-to-Rim hike the Grand Canyon
    • Oct 2012 – Done! Hiked with Julie, Dad, Carroll, and Carrie.
    • DSC_7576
  • Visit the Old Faithful Inn in winter.
  • Adanced Base Camp, Nepal Trek
  • Climb Mt. Whitney
    • August 2012 – Julie and I climbed Mt. Elbert (2nd highest in lower 48). We planned and actually got permits to hike Whitney during the summer of 2011, but a lot of the trail was still snowed in so we bailed.
    • photo 4
  • Climb Mt. Rainier
  • Visit Denali National Park and trek through the backcountry.
  • Visit New Zealand and trek.
    • June 2018 – Visited New Zealand and Australia with the girls and my parents! Southern island plus Sydney and Hamilton Island.
  • Visit Philadelphia and tour Independence Hall (seriously, the place where it all started in my mind…. even if Jefferson was an ass)
    • July 2013
    • Liberty bell was cool to see. The building they had it in gave a lot of history and details, but it seems like they were digging for stuff by the end of the exhibits.

  • Spend a week at Lake O’Hara (preferably in the cabins… hey, I can dream, right?)

But Ryan, what about your job? You’ll notice that I don’t have any goals related to my day job on this list. While I do find a lot of meaning through the work I do, I view that work as the means to achieve the goals on this list. The products I work on save lives and will likely have an indirect impact on many people, but my work goals and career are not my life’s passion. My family/friends and the experiences that I can have with them while I am in this world are what I want to list and track here. For me, life changing events haven’t happened during my daily commute or in the office. They have happened while I am trying new things and traveling to new locations. I want more of it.


  1. Mom

    I’m so impressed with your organized list, Ryan. I’ve got a list myself, although mine is not so physically demanding (and never would have been). Looks to me like you got more than your share of your father’s genes. Whatever you do, have fun and laugh a lot. Love, Mom

  2. jfroom

    Ryan, I also like your list and it is inspiring!

    • rdobson

      Interested in doing any of these things with me Jeff?

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