Personal Challenge: 100 New Experiences for 2012

pyramids in chichen itza

pyramids in chichen itza

Inspired by writer and blogger JoAnna Haugen I’m starting my very own list of 100 and challenging myself to 100 new experiences in 2012.

Since travel is a large part of my life, both vocation and avocation, you can expect to see lots of travel related experiences.  But I want to highlight some of the other small things I’ve done.  Things that aren’t designed to wow anyone.  Things that are just representative of trying to live life on my own terms in a more mindful way.  And this yearly list doesn’t replace the list of 100 items on my travel bucket list.

Since I’ve borrowed (perhaps stolen is more accurate) the idea from JoAnna, I’m relying on her “rule” that it’s okay to reflect back on the year in making the list.  It doesn’t seem like I can think of very many things, but I know as I look back over my calendar and journal that I’ll find plenty to add.

So let’s get started – here’s my list of 100 experiences for 2012:

  1. Listened to slack guitar music
  2. Had dinner at a private membership club
  3. Attended a travel goods and products show
  4. Visited Chichen Itza (in photo)
  5. Took two gondolas up a mountain to 14,444 feet
  6. Went on the new Transformer ride at Universal Studios Hollywood
  7. Ate a chocolate hamburger
  8. Made homemade ice cream (vanilla)
  9. Attended TBEX (Keystone, Colorado)
  10. Visited The Tech Museum in San Jose (California)
  11. Ate poutine in Toronto
  12. Wore a plumeria lei
  13. Went to In-and-Out burger (not sure what all the raves are about)
  14. Saw a sandcasting competition
  15. Heard a performance of a friend’s uke band
  16. Made margaritas from scratch
  17. Planned a conference
  18. Had real tapas
  19. Went to Spain
  20. Drank Cava, Drank more Cava.
  21. Drank Catalonian beer (Moritz)
  22. Visited a winery in Spain
  23. Went to a shopping mall in Barcelona
  24. Spoke both Spanish and Catalon in Barcelona (and checked that off my bucket list)
  25. Went to a new continent (Asia)
  26. Went to Japan
  27. Ate “pancakes” in Tokyo
  28. Rode the Tokyo subway (and it wasn’t bad at all)
  29. Ate ramen in the “ramen war zone”
  30. Rode on a 787 Dreamliner, business class
  31. Stayed in Greektown (Chicago)
  32. Rode the Ducks (Seattle)
  33. Saw King Tut Exhibit in Seattle
  34. Made lemon drops from scratch
  35. Appeared on a panel at PhoCusWright
  36. Got a charm bracelet
  37. Cooked a prime rib roast
  38. Colored my own hair (not great, but not horrible either)
  39. Discovered that I enjoyed the fantasy genre reading the Game of Thrones series (and watching on television)

And hey – while we’re thinking and talking about integrating new experiences into our lives – why not start a list of your own.  I’ll be updating my list from time to time, and if you do one too, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Photo from my personal collection


Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

4 Responses to “Personal Challenge: 100 New Experiences for 2012”

  1. July 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    Yay! That’s a great start, Mary Jo! Here’s a link to my list too:

    It’s funny, really. Knowing I have this list has, in some ways, encouraged me to try things I never thought I would, like making risotto. I’m not a cook, but when my husband asked me if I wanted to learn, I thought why not??

    • July 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

      I know I’ve tried so many new things this year that I’d get bogged down in the perfection of the list if I didn’t get started. That why after I read about yours that I just needed to jump in and get started. After all, I have a whole half year to go through and add things.

      Thanks for the inspiration and the nudge to start. Part of reclaiming and redesigning this personal travel blog is to seek inspiration everywhere and to live more mindfully. Thinking about new experiences – large and small – will help me to do that.

  2. July 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    I admire those people who can have free time to travel. I am so busy this year and don’t have time to visit those beautiful places.

  3. September 1, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    You know the NVR Guys love a good challenge / goal.

    “Things that are just representative of trying to live life on my own terms in a more mindful way. ” = AWESOME

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