Accomplishment Check: SabbaticaLIST 30/30

Here we go. Nothing like holding yourself accountable, right? You have the ability to be your best critic. Why let that ability go to waste?

The comfort zone is a scary place to me. The spot outside of the comfort zone is where the learning and good stuff happens. Inside your comfort zone, you already know everything and everyone. Not a whole lot of shock and awe going on there. No shock, no awe   > no learning, no growing.

If I do say so myself, I'm pretty good at existing just outside the comfort zone. Though it turns out, doing things that are uncomfortable for most people, like have no itinerary when travelling or attempting to hike up a cliff as an acrophobic, are now neutral experiences, at best, for me. So, I've adjusted a few. Here's how I've done so far, as the list itself is still a work in progress:

1. Become conversational in Spanish
In progress. Oh yea. I totally I feel The Judginess every time I attempt to speak Spanish.

2. Get diving certified
I got PADI and Advanced PADI within the same month while diving in Bali/Lombok. Fear of breathing compressed air? Squashed. 

3. Hike a volcano (preferably active)
Active, check! This was in Bali as well. The hike down was quite interesting. While all of my friends ran down the path, I slow-strolled it. Why? I really, really had to go to the bathroom. Know how many trees and bushes are on a volcano in Indonesia? Zero.
Mount Batur Sunrise

While we're here, do you know how much stupid crap I've climbed in utter darkness to SEE a sunrise? A lot of stupid crap. So, I'm taking charge and making a alteration...

4. Beach sunrise

No hiking with a head torch. No climbing in the dark. This laziness can't last for long because I need to....

5. Maintain physique (!) 
Running, jumping rope and strength training fairly regularly. 4-pack, where are you?

6. Snowboard in fluffy snow

7. Build something

Built my coffee table (totally rocks) and my bar table (on the correct path, but needs serious, serious help.. Speaking of which...Does anyone know where I can get a big piece of butcher block for close to free? Ok, ok, I'll settle for reclaimed wood. )
French Wine Crate Coffee Table
8. Get comfortable with puff/pie/bread/pastry techniques
Once, I made a mean poppy seed-lemon meringue pie. Then I ate pie as breakfast for the next couple of days. No joke.

9. Attempt hand-eye coordinated sports 

10. Fly a kite

11. See the best remains of the Greek and/or Roman Empire
Acropolis and the Temple of Hephaestus in Greece. The temple was pretty awesome and though it was a better structure than the Parthenon, it had very few visitors. I would tell people to stop following the beaten path... but then that would ruin it for me. 

As a side rant, prior to travelling extensively, I was asked what most awe-inspiring man-made structure was. My answer was the cathedral in Koln. Incomprehension was the reaction. What about the Duomo? Notre Dame? It's been a few years now. I still stand by my original answer.

12. Attempt surfing
The west coast of Morocco was awesome (I'll reserve my feelings on the rest of Morocco for another time). The people were fantastic, the fries were delicious, and the surfing experience on my second day was positively surreal. I can't possibly convey the panorama effectively, but I did try to write about it here.  

13. Write a hand-written letter and post it
This used to be attempt paddleboarding. Then I was told paddleboarding is boring. So I replaced boring with boringer.

14. Gallop on a horse

15. Travel to a country whose name ends in '-an'
Japan! I was actually aiming for any of the -stan's or otherwise middle east countries, but hey, this works. Japan was incredible. Can someone please find me a job in Tokyo? Thanks. 

16. See Aurora Borealis

Volunteers to take me to Norway/Finland? Cool.

17. Go to sub-Sahara Africa

18. Drive Fairy Tale road in Germany

19. Foz de Iguacu   

$%#!!!!... still annoyed. Almost annoyed enough to not want to do this one anymore. Creative, weird, non-travel related suggestions welcome.
19a. Learn CPR (again)

20. Feed/play with an elephant
I want to do this, but the best/only place I would do it is northern Thailand. I did not get a chance while I was there and I'm not sure I would fly there just to hang out with an elephant  
20a: Take the train across the US. That's right, people. TRAIN. I will keep you posted on the weirdos I encounter.
*Update: Stories. So many stories.
21. Temper chocolate
Who cares, right? Unless you're invited to a party where I have homemade chocolates...
Theo Chocolates
Chocolates courtesy of David Lebovitz's blog

And I'm probably going to follow this guy's recipe. Mostly because I've been following him a while and his bog is awesome. 

 22. Find my perfect red lipstick 
Turns out I'd already found it in HK. Then it turns out I lost it on a Friday night out (hey-o!). Third 'turns out' is that it is not sold anywhere on the interwebs (wtf?). So I found a replacement. London's Rimmel.
23. Learn how to whistle (Momski & Mum JE are amazing at this)

23a. I'm thinking about changing this one to: Get everything in my closet that needs tailoring, tailored. 
23b. Learn how to build a fire.

24. Drive a manual car

The more I think about this one, the less I give a toot about it. How about drive a Tesla? 24a. Yes, drive a Tesla.

25. Dabble in authentic Thai cooking
Chiang Mai, Thailand. There are dozens of schools from which to choose, but the place I went was the best:

26. See wild roses
So...this is not only not easy but dam near impossible. Better:

Isle of Skye

27. Photobomb. 

I'm not sure I succeeded. I snuck into a Japanese tour group's photo. In Japan.

28.  Find the best burger in 'Muricaaa

A lot of food writers list places in NYC as having the best burger, mainly Minetta Tavern, where I have yet to go. How about this, then: Best burger outside of NYC?
29. Using a dart to choose the next travel destination

30. Dye my hair platinum blonde. 

I had another idea, but I forgot it. This one is good enough. I would replace it with "Be able to make my favorite drink," but as it stands, pouring spirit over an ice cube is not that challenging.
30a. Master the Selfie

Suggestion very welcome to replace weak items. I would actually appreciate suggestions for my little town of NYC. Who gots?

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