The Life List

And how it's impacted everything I do

Most of you have probably heard by now that the power of creating and achieving goals, and the impact it can have on the course of your life, is incredible. I created my first “Life List” as a teenager, and besides a few minor technical edits (mostly because I didn’t understand geography very well), I haven’t changed it in the slightest. Even though some of it might be less relevant now, or a little embarrassing, I am certain that this list is the main reason I have been motivated to write and document my adventures for the last decade and a half. I continue to keep this list public to keep me accountable!

What’s on your list?

People (1-10), Places (11-50) and Things (51-100), highlighted=done

  1. Meet the Queen of England (Canada) I have seen her in her birthday parade in London at Buckingham Palace, and have seen her on Parliament Hill on Canada Day 2010, but Liz and I haven’t officially met. I have also seen Charles and Camilla, as well as Kate and William in Ottawa.
 Meghan Markle (a.k.a. the Duchess of Sussex) is also my homegirl.
  2. Meet the Prime Minister (Canada)  I worked in the House of Commons during the first year of Stephen Harper’s tenure and thus, saw him quite frequently in various capacities. I also met and had some nice chats with Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin during the same year.
  3. Meet the President (USA) Individual pending.
  4. Meet the Governor General   In addition to having tea at her house (Rideau Hall), I have also met Michaëlle Jean at the Governor General’s Gala in 2006 and 2010. I met David Johnston at Rideau Hall, and Adrienne Clarkson at a poetry event.
  5. Have dinner with a famous actor or actress I’ve met a few random people but none that I would consider someone that fulfills the requirement of my list.
 Celebrity chefs though, I have indeed.
  6. Meet or cook with a celebrity chef I am beyond humbled to say that I have had the pleasure of cooking with and meeting many wonderful chefs, some of them celebrities in real life and other celebrities in their own right.
  7. Become friends with a fashion editor I am not sure why this was so important to me when I was younger, but it is not something I really care about anymore.
  8. Have a legitimately funny conversation with a comedian I love 
  9. Gain diplomatic status through self or through association 
  10. Meet the Dalai Lama  I met the Dalai Lama in the Rotunda of Parliament Hill in the Fall of 2007. 
  11. Step foot on every continent So far, Africa (2009), Europe (2008) Asia (born there), North America (live here) and South America (2011).
 Carribean and Middle East have also been taken care of, so I just need to get my butt down to Australia and New Zealand.
  12. Step foot in every province and territory in Canada Cross country tour in 2001 from Vancouver to PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario. Went to Alberta for the first time in 1996.
 Went to Newfoundland for the first time in 2015. 
  13. Tour the entire island of Taiwan   As of August 2012, I have toured the entire island from North to South: Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chaiyi, Tainan, Khaosiung, Kenting, Taitung, and Yilan being my main destinations.

  14. Live in a different country for a year  Lived in Lyon, France from 2008-2009.

  15. Go to Venice before it sinks for good In June 2009.

  16. Buy Hello Kitty technology in Japan  Have only been in the Tokyo and Osaka airport a few times and have stepped foot in Tokyo for all of one day. Trust that I have purchased many a Hello Kitty item in Korea, Taiwan, China and even Canada.
  17. Live in Australia (Swim in the Great Barrier Reef*) and/or New Zealand (Lord of the Rings site) for awhile
  18. Float in the Dead Sea
  19. Take a photo with a large turtle in the Galapagos  I got to Ecuador, just didn’t get to the Islands.

  20. See the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)*
  In Tromsø, Norway, November 2019. So much more incredible than I could have ever imagined!
  21. Sail the Mediterranean  So close: I was invited by a friend to sit on the veranda of the Venetian Yacht Club and took a gondola from Point A to Point B in Venice but never went in a sailboat.
  22. Go to the hot springs in Iceland
 So far, I have been to the Reykjavik International Airport twice, but have not actually stepped foot into this Nordic country.
  23. Go to an IKEA in Sweden
 The closest I’ve gotten is furniture shopping in Norway…
  24. Go to Québec and ask “Où est la dep?”  Done! This was a high school French goal that my friend Alanna and I always held. “La dep” is short for “dépanneur”, which is a corner store.

  25. Stay a night at the Ice Hotel 
  26. See a real castle My favourite castles would be in Carcassone, France and in Istanbul, Turkey, both visited in 2009. I also lived beside the “castle” that is Casa Loma for quite some time.
  27. Explore a rainforest Mindo, Ecuador 2011. (Technically a “Cloud Forest”, but I did go tubing and zip-lining! Amazing times)

  28. Act out a scene from the musical Mamma Mia! in Greece So far, I’ve seen it on Broadway, which was great, but hardly the same thing.
  29. Go across the Golden Gate Bridge* Done! Winter 2010, on a family vacation to San Fransisco. Ever since the days of Full House, it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do.

  30. Stand on the Brooklyn BridgeFirst time on New York City trip in 2009 and have stood on and below it a few time since.
  31. Climb the Great Wall of China  Climbed it twice, once in 2006 and once in 2011. 
  32. See the Haja Sophia in Istanbul* May 2009. 
  33. Visit the Great Pyramids of Giza*

  34. Take a camel through the Saharan Desert Morocco 2009. This is actually one of the things on my list that I laughed at because I never thought I would actually do, but thought would be cool to put down. When I actually did it, I laughed even harder. It’s as uncomfortable as it looks, but what an experience!

  35. Visit three religious homelands in Jerusalem*
  36. Backpack through Europe During my year abroad in France, took many a little expeditions.

  37. See La Pieta in the Vatican Ever since my Grade 8 teacher showed us what the Vatican was, I have been intrigued. La Pieta was on my list because he had specifically snuck a picture of it back in the 80’s. Update: October 2017, I saw Michaelangelo’s last Pieta in Milan. A little less detailed, that’s for sure.
  38. Visit the Headquarters of the United Nations Both in New York City (2007 and 2009) and Geneva (2009).

  39. Go skiing in the Alps  To be honest, I’m not really vested in the skiing part. It’s more the après-ski that interests me. 
  40. Walk into the Colosseum in Rome  Done! June 2009. Along with many jumping shots.

  41. Visit the Taj Mahal*
  42. Frolick through Stonehenge*
  43. Go up the CN Tower in Toronto*  After living in Toronto for six years, I finally visited the CN Tower in October 2017, and the 360 Restaurant!
  44. Climb Machu Picchu*
  45. Try tapas in Spain May 2009. 
  46. Watch a Shakespearean Play (preferably in England) I went to the Globe Theatre in London in 2009, but didn’t get to see a play. Other than high school, my first proper Shakespeare play was King Lear at the Stratford Festival in 2014.
  47. Stand under a real waterfallFirst time: Philippines 2009.
  48. Stand under the Eiffel Tower When in Paris…December 2008.

  49. Go to every single Disneyland and DisneyWorld in existence  So far: Disneyland California (1993 and 2003), Disney’s California Adventure (2007), DisneyWorld Florida (2005), Disneyland Paris (2009) and Disneyland Hong Kong (2014). 
  50. Be in two places (of time or spatial jurisdiction) at once  Technically, I have been in two time zones at once, three times. Once, was when I was on the Nevada/Arizona border for the Hoover Dam. Then, I was on the Prime Meridian in London. And on the Equator in Ecuador. That’s not bad. But one day…time and space! 
  51. Start my own charity  I have done many projects through my work with Rotary International, but I still have so many ideas to be realized. 
  52. Swim with dolphins 
  53. Become knowledgeable about wine  I have come much further than my high school years, but the more you learn, the more difficult it gets.
  54. Visit a Vineyard Beaujolais Valley vineyards in France, the Napa Valley in California, as well as Niagara-on-the-Lake, Prince Edward County, and Norfolk County, all in Ontario.
  55. Host my own talk show or cooking show, or at least be a guest correspondent  This one is partially complete, as I have been a guest on a show, and have been offered to potentially do a show of my own. 
  56. Watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show  Finally after a million years of coercion by friends (mostly Brad), I watched it. And…it was even stranger than I imagined. 
  57. Watch The Nutcracker ballet live December 2010. I watched it with my friend Zandra and a whole National Art Centre theatre filled with little girls and boys dressed like porcelain dolls. It was very magical and beautiful. And Russian. 
  58. Explore a cave
 This is debatable.
  59. Go white water rafting Outaouais River, Ottawa June 2007 and Exploits River, Newfoundland, August 2014.
  60. Ride a bike through a forest  I’ve certainly ridden a bike all over town, and taken many hikes by foot through the forest, but have yet to combine the two. I feel a little less Canadian because of this.
  61. Attend a ball/gala Too many times to count. High school Annie had no idea that mom would be right when she told me that Prom/Grad would not be the last time I would wear a fancy dress.
  62. Attend a fashion showF.A.T. (Fashion Art Toronto 2010) and Ottawa Fashion Week (February 2011). 
  63. Work with a fashion magazine
  64. Milk a cow I’ve milked a goat before. Will make my way up.

  65. Reach my ideal fitness goals 
  66. Actually see a beaver  February 2007 at the Biodôme in Montreal. Now the next step is to visit the crazy animals in their natural habitat!

  67. Get into the Page Program  Very concretely did it! August 2006-2007 was a life changing year for me. And now that I look back, I still kind of can’t believe it.
  68. Go on a road trip with friends Many done, many more to go.
  69. Work in retail for awhile to know what it’s like Summer 2007. It’s easier to make mistakes on cash registers than I thought.
  70. Get into law school Graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2014.
  71. Donate my hair to a cancer patientSeptember 2007, Angel Hair for Kids.
  72. Plant my own rose garden
 Right now, I have a balcony garden with three kinds of herbs. Very unimpressive.
  73. Cultivate a library (preferably with a ladder like in Beauty and the Beast. And a telescope)
  74. Eat crocodile or alligator Alligator. New Orleans, May 2011. Tastes like chicken.

  75. Win a public speaking competition
 Does winning Trial Advocacy count?
  76. Learn to play guitar I am now campfire-level guitar ready.
  77. Live in a big city and then in the country I’ve got half of that down and a few suburbs.
  78. Make my own perfume
  79. Run a half-marathon This isn’t really the biggest deal, but it would be nice.
  80. Paint a mural  Assisted on a mural at Carleton University. Helped to paint part of a mural for Philadelphia in August 2017. Want to do a proper one in San Francisco ideally.

  81. Dance in the rain
  82. Ride in a hot air balloon I’ve been to a hot air balloon festival even, and still didn’t do it!
  83. Cut the ribbon at a ceremonial ribbon cutting  September 2011, selected to open the Osgoode Hall Law School Bistro. Next time, I hope a red carpet and a proper outfit is involved!.
  84. Start a clothing line/make my own clothes  Let’s just say the few items I’ve created are not exactly runway ready. I still don’t really know how to use a sewing machine…

  85. Own an island, or at least an island home
  86. Learn to fence
  87. Learn how to do some Latin dancing  Got my start in Ecuador, gotta keep working at it!

  88. Ride a motorcycle (myself), preferably own a Vespa
  89. See a Broadway Musical (on Broadway) Hairspray (2007), Avenue Q (2009), Mamma Mia (2010) and Annie (2013), and finally, Wicked (2014).
  90. Be fluent in five languages  So far, I am more or less fluent in English, French and Mandarin Chinese, conversant in Taiwanese, and I know enough Spanish for emergencies. I am currently learning Norwegian, and you can speak to me about food in Italian.
  91. Be flexible enough to touch my toes in a full forward bend in yoga/do a teddy bear stand  I’ve been working on the teddy bear stand since 1995.

  92. Build an igloo
  93. Start a blog Well, this one is obvious.
  94. Help build a house for someone else
  95. Develop and grow a brand Chu on This grew out of this Life List item!
  96. Learn how to surf and scuba dive
 As an adult, I realize now that these are two very different feats, and I have accomplished neither. The furthest I’ve gotten is snorkeling in the Bahamas, 2019.
  97. Buy stocks
  98. Write (and publish) a book
 Coming eventually!
  99. Have a full spa dayMy favourites are the Papa Llacta in Ecuador, the Tang Spa in Taipei, and Le Scandinave in Blue Mountain. I originally added this item to my list when I met two awesome new friends (Katie and Jill) and we thought it would be a really cool grown up girl thing to do. I definitely did not imagine that ten years later, I would be opening a spa of my own (now closed).
  100. Become Governor General of Canada 

* indicates items that have been declared “Wonders of the World”

Life List originally created in February 2005, 
modified slightly in October 2008
, and edited for clarity and relevance in Fall 2011.