I was reading "Rabbit, Run" by John Updike today and Rabbit was listening to a radio broadcast about Chinese communists battling Tibetans in Lhasa. That was in the 1950's. The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh?
So I realized that now that I've planned the next ten years, it might not hurt to get down to business as to what I actually plan on accomplishing while I'm based out of Vienna. I get asked this question on a daily basis (sometimes an hourly basis, or so it seems), so here's one way of answering it, for the blog and for the record. While at the gym today, I decided to make a list of forty goals I'd like to accomplish by the end of 2009. I tend to do better at accomplishing things when I know what I'm gunning for, so hopefully this can serve as a to-do list of sorts in the months to come. Not that this list is by any means all that I'll be up to, but all of the below listed goals are doable, don't depend on outside circumstances (well, by and large at least) and even if the list seems a little manic, it will all be a rollicking good time! Here are the first 20, in sports and travel. The second twenty in Job Stuff and Just for Shits and Giggles will turn up later this week.
1. Run a marathon under 3:00.
I've got a decent shot at running Vienna in 3:30, or close to it. In January, I ran my first marathon in 3:51. So at this pace of improvement, this can be done.
2. Go to skydiving school in the Czech Republic.
Won't get to it this summer, but plan on jumping out of airplanes for 3 weeks in August 2009.
3. Climb the Matterhorn.
Precisely because it's so cliche. And because Teddy Roosevelt did it, enough said.
4. Shoot a golf round under 100.
This one is just way overdue.
5. Take Krav Maga lessons.
This is the martial art used by the Israeli Special Forces. And a friend of my host brother Laurenz is a trainer in it.
6. Learn Snowboarding.
Filip, if you're reading this, we are hitting the Alps next year, or I am ending our friendship.
7. Try out the luge and the skeleton.
I've wanted to be a luger since age 6, when I watched the Olympics from Calgary. And skeleton looks even cooler.
8. Learn how to surf.
Preferably in Morocco, as doing this in Austria might involve some difficulties (though I'd like to learn windsurfing too, and that's a definite go)
9. Learn the hammer throw.
And compete at the Highland Games in Scotland in 2009.
10. Ironman Triathlon
This one's set for September 8, 2008 in Dorset, England. And I'm training two hours a day for it already.
1. St. Patrick's Day in Ireland (an absolute must)
2. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan (have heard great things about Central Asia- beyond Borat)
3. The Faroe Islands (because who the hell visits the Faroe Islands?)
4. Oktoberfest (absolutely embarassing that I haven't made it there yet)
5. Road trips through the Balkans, Italy and the South of France (the Balkans show kicks off on May 11)
6. Easter in Jerusalem (I had originally thought of doing Easter in Rome, then remembered that it's always better to go over the top)
7. Roskilde (arguably Europe's greatest music festival- it's Woodstock, Danish style)
8. Hogmanay (New Year's in Edinburgh- much better than being in cramped Times Square)
9. Family tree research trips (to Germany, France, Croatia, Scotland, Ireland and England. And Austria, but that doesn't count)
10. Tracking down the elusive and endemic Corsican nuthatch in its remote pine forest habitat. (don't ask, unless you're a birder, in which case this probably sounds like more fun than everything else)