I have never been an exceptionally adventurous individual, preferring instead comfortable and familiar things. Even now, after nearly two decades of life, I dislike anything that I am not prepared for, and the uncertain can be cause for great anxiety. However, the past few years have seen me try several extremely adventurous things, and I feel that by moving out of my comfort zone I am coming into my element.
Since 2011, I have discovered numerous new hobbies and pastimes, which have given me the basis for a great and exciting bucket list. Most of this list- as I now realize- involves either very expensive or exclusive things, and a recurring theme is the military- but what is a bucket list, if it is not something to strive for and dream of?
Jump out of a C-47 Skytrain
Ever since I began playing Medal of Honor: Airborne back in 2009, I have wanted to jump out of a C-47. I don’t simply want to skydive; the plane has to be a C-47. I imagine that being a paratrooper would be quite terrifying, and it would be fascinating to experience a bit of what they went through.
Photo of Douglas C-47 Skytrain: from Wikimedia Commons. Attributed to unknown author.
Make a HALO jump (preferably out of a C-130 Hercules)
I see a lot of C-130s in the skies around my house, so I have a great appreciation for this beautiful and utilitarian aircraft. And High Altitude Low Opening jumps, for some strange reason, are quite appealing to me- I think it would be amazing to fall so fast for so long, and to be able to look around at the landscape below.
Photo of parachutists on HALO jump: from Wikimedia Commons. Attributed to Davric.
Drive a T-34 Tank
The T-34 is a legend of the Eastern Front, and I have been obsessed with these tanks for several years. I have nothing but admiration for the T-34 tank- it is a magnificent piece of engineering and is, in my opinion, the best tank of WWII. T-34s were apparently quite difficult to drive, especially in the early days, and driving one is something that not many people have done. It also doesn’t hurt, of course, that the main characters in the novel I’m currently writing are members of a T-34 crew!
Take a tour of all major European WWII battlefields
My dream trip would be one to all major WWII sites in Europe and Russia- the fjords of Norway where the German battleship Tirpitz was moored, the Ardennes, the Atlantic Wall and D-Day beaches in Normandy, Smolensk, Kursk, and especially Stalingrad (now Volgograd), to name a few. It would be a very emotional experience for me to see such locales, and I hope very much that someday this will become a reality! In addition, someday I hope to attend both the Victory Day and November Red Army parades in Moscow’s Red Square. Russia is so proud of her soldiers’ sacrifices in WWII, and seeing these parades would be a memorable and touching experience.
Photo of Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery: from Wikimedia Commons. Attributed to Burtonpe.
Play hockey into my 60s
Ice hockey is a massive part of my life- many of my most wonderful blessings have come about because of hockey. I am a goalie and have played for almost eight years; facts which have not contributed to the wellbeing of my knees! But I would never choose to give up playing hockey, and I hope to continue playing for many decades!
Ride in a fighter jet
This may be very unlikely indeed, since civilians are never allowed to own suitably high-tech military equipment, but I still have hope. Flying is one of my greatest passions, and I deeply appreciate the incredible capabilities of modern, and recently retired, fighter jets. I have an idea of which aircraft I would most like to fly in, although I can’t narrow it down to just one! The BAE Harrier is an obvious choice, due to its revolutionary VTOL capabilities. But I also love the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker, with its enviable manoeuvrability, impressive speed, and elegant looks. Although I have these two planes in mind, in reality any supersonic aircraft would provide more than enough excitement, and all military aircraft give me the same sense of awe and wonder.
Photo of Su-27 Flanker: from http://www.airliners.net/photo/Russia—Air/Sukhoi-Su-27SKM/101428/L/ via Wikimedia Commons. Attributed to Dmitriy Pichugin.
Visit an orangutan sanctuary in Indonesia
In 2005, when I was 11, a small stuffed orangutan named Pongo came into my life, and ever since then I have been very concerned about the welfare of primates and the destruction of the world’s rainforests. It remains a wish of mine to visit an orangutan sanctuary someday, to marvel at these amazing animals in their near-natural habitat. Unfortunately, this may be the most impossible of all my bucket list dreams, given the distressing state of the Borneo rainforest and the eagerness of humanity to destroy the things that it is entrusted to care for.
Write a bestselling novel
I have a strong ambition when it comes to writing. Writing a bestselling novel would be a fantastic achievement, one that is almost too great to fathom. But my reasons for wanting this are not wholly selfish- although money would certainly be nice, I have no wish to be famous, and instead my goal is to educate and inspire people with my work. Especially when it comes to WWII, my subject of choice, I strive to enlighten people about subjects they might not know and possibilities they might not have imagined. Fortunately, WWII is a subject which offers me many such opportunities, from the Soviet Union’s role in the conflict to the contribution of women to the war effort. I feel that WWII, as well as other conflicts, is often only remembered on Remembrance Day, and I hope that my writing will encourage people to consider it with more regularity.
I now realize that this is not even my entire bucket list- there are so many things that I am excited about and want to do in my lifetime. And I may never manage any of the things I’ve just written about, but at least the dream is there. Perhaps there will be a Bucket List 2.0 post sometime in the future, but for now, I hope you enjoyed this one!